An injury can set Preston Williams back physically but certainly not mentally.
Even with setback after setback throughout his first three seasons with the Miami Dolphins, he always feels like a breakout is close to happening.
“I feel like that every day,” Williams said. “Even at practice.”
It looks like Williams will have the chance again on Sunday when the Dolphins (1-5) host the Atlanta Falcons (2-3) at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.
After his best game of the season — three catches for 60 yards in the Dolphins’ loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 10 — Williams was inactive against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week due to a groin injury, which he said happened when he was “running too fast” during practice last week.
On Friday, Williams said he feels “great.”
“Good to be back,” Williams said. “I’m back out there with the boys.”
He hopes being back on the field translates into tangible results. Williams has played in 18 career games since being drafted in 2019. He has 54 catches for 778 yards and seven touchdowns in that span but has played in just two games so far this season.
“I just haven’t made the play when the ball comes my way,” Williams said. “If it’s three passes, it needs to be three catches. If it’s 10, then it’s 10.”
Williams is just one several players the Dolphins hope to get back this week. Fellow wide receiver DeVante Parker (shoulder/hamstring), cornerbacks Xavien Howard (shoulder/groin) and Byron Jones (Achilles/groin), and tight end Adam Shaheen (knee) all missed last week’s game against the Jaguars.
Shaheen has no injury designation after Friday’s practice.
The other four — Parker, Williams, Howard and Jones — are listed as questionable for Sunday against the Falcons and have been limited participants in practice all week.
Also listed as questionable: outside linebacker Jaelan Phillips (ankle), offensive lineman Greg Mancz (groin) and cornerback Noah Igbinoghene (knee).
Extra reps for young safeties
The Dolphins have gone with a youth movement at safety in recent weeks.
Getting more reps: Rookie Jevon Holland and second-year defensive back Brandon Jones.
Moving into backup roles: veterans Jason McCourty and Eric Rowe.
Holland played all 66 snaps on defense against the Jacksonville Jaguars and has missed just two snaps during the past two weeks, while Jones played 48 of 66 defensive snaps against Jacksonville and 62 of 74 against the Buccaneers.
McCourty and Rowe each played 41 combined snaps on defense over those two game.
“You focus on whatever plays you do have,” McCourty said. “Obviously, every single guy in that locker room would love to be out there every play of the game and we all feel like we can make an impact to help win. But the one thing I’ve learned throughout my course in the NFL is control what you can control.”