Dolphins juggle as Covid protocols affect TEs. Plus updates on Tua play, Howard injury

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The Miami Dolphins offense is going to do some juggling at Monday’s practice, the last one before pads go on Tuesday.

Co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach George Godsey will not be present at practice, per coach Brian Flores. ESPN reported Sunday that Godsey tested positive for COVID-19.

Co-offensive coordinator Eric Studesville will presumably call the offensive plays during drills.

“Obviously Eric and the rest of the guys on offense will fill in for the things George did,” Flores said. “We’ve talked about that. We have a plan. We’ve had a plan, it’s no different than last year. If I go down, we have a plan for that. If George goes down, we have a plan for that.

“I think that’s the case throughout the league. It’s not just the coaching staff but, really, every department because it’s not just one group. We all have the potential of contracting Covid. We have to be ready of contracting Covid. We’ll be flexible as a staff, as an organization.”

The Dolphins are also without tight ends Mike Gesicki, Adam Shaheen and Cethan Carter, which they placed on the Covid-19 reserve list on Sunday -- not necessarily because they’ve tested positive, but perhaps also because they’ve been in close contact with their position coach.

The Dolphins signed tight end Sal Cannella and Klaif Jackson before practice on Monday and have rookie Hunter Long, Durham Smythe, Carson Meier and Chris Myarick also available.

The club placed wide receiver Preston Williams on the Covid-19 reserve list as well although that has no real change in practice because he is still on the Physically Unable to Perform list as he continues recovering from last year’s foot surgery.

“I think it’s something the entire league is dealing with and we’re going to follow league protocols,” Flores said. “... We’ve had to put guys in tight end group on the Covid list. We’ll make our adjustment as a staff as far as who’s practicing where and how we handle that.

“This is something we’ve been dealing with a year-and-a-half now and, you know, we’ll continue to follow protocols and do our best with this Covid situation. It’s ongoing. It’s not over.”

So far so good on Tua

With the start of a new practice week, Flores offered an evaluation of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s first week of training camp:

“Tua has, I think he’s gotten off to a good start,” Flores said. “It’s still a long way to go, it’s still very early. Good command of the offense. His techniques and QB mechanics, fundamentals, trying to work those every day and get those where they need to be so his footwork, his timing, that all works toward his accuracy as a pass but also ballhandling with the backs, things of that nature.

“I think he’s off to a solid start. It’s still very early. It’s still so early. We have a long way to go and we have to continue to string good days together. That’s always my message to the team: One meeting, one practice, one walk-through, on play at a time. He’s taken that approach and we’ve seen small improvements on a daily basis.”

Xavien Howard injury news

Xavien Howard missed two of the first four days of practice this training camp while nursing what the team called an ankle injury.

The cornerback practiced on Sunday but Flores said Howard suffered “a little setback” and is not practicing on Monday.

And the ongoing contract disagreement in that Howard wants a reworked contract and the Dolphins have so far declined to offer any changes?

“We continue to have dialogue with X about that,” Flores said, “and we just take it one day at a time from that standpoint. I like to think we’re moving in the right direction.”

Safeties so far so good

Flores spokes highly of the players -- rookie Jevon Holland, veteran Jason McCourty, Brandon Jones, Eric Rowe -- competing for playing time at safety.

“Jevon, I think he’s doing some good things,” Flores said. “Obviously, it’s very early in training camp, we haven’t put the pads on, but up to this point, just from an alignment-assignment standpoint, he’s moving in the right direction.”

Holland was drafted in the second-round and seems to be the future in the Dolphins deep secondary. But this training camp he has to compete first with McCourty, who is entering his 13th season.

Interestingly, Mcourty has played mostly at cornerback throughout his career so safety is somewhat new, although not totally, to him.

“As far as Jason, I have some familiarity with him,” Flores said. “Obviously I have more familiarity with his brother (Devin). He’s a smart, tough, experienced, he’s got leadership qualities ...He’s played the position in the past so it’s not the first time he’s done it.

“He’s done a good job so far, along with Eric Rowe, Brandon Jones, etc ... We’re pleased with all the guys and hopefully we can continue to string good days together.”

This and that

Receiver DeVante Parker, who spent the first week of practice on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a hamstring injury was removed from that list after passing his physical and is ready to practice ...The Dolphins are taking what Flores called “a modified approach” to the practice repetitions of certain players, including offensive lineman Jesse Davis, cornerback Byron Jones, and others so that they won’t always line up for all their repetitions in order to nurse minor injuries or keep them fresh ... Flores said “it’s early, so early,” when asked whether rookie Liam Eichenberg is more likely a longterm NFL guard or tackle. Eichenberg has practiced at both right tackle and left guard the first few days of camp. “We’ll continue to move guys around,” Flores said.

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