The Miami Dolphins canceled their second joint practice with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday morning with a stomach bug affecting players.
The Dolphins instead met virtually “out of an abundance of caution as a result of a non-COVID illness,” as stated in a team release before a team source told the South Florida Sun Sentinel it’s a stomach bug spreading among players, which coach Mike McDaniel later confirmed in a Thursday morning press conference.
“That was a unique curveball early this morning,” McDaniel said. “It was just the accumulation of some players having a stomach bug that we don’t really know totally where it was coming from and just trying to be overly cautious so that we didn’t further affect players on the team, as well as had to think of the best interest of the Philadelphia Eagles. Couldn’t, in good conscience, just move forward and try to limit reps of practice.”
McDaniel added it’s “more than a couple of players” ill, along with a few staff members — but “not half the team.”
“That’s what I was trying to prevent,” he said. “I didn’t want to have half the team drained out from a stomach bug fight through the heat and then have depleted performance in the preseason game because, for a lot of guys, it’s the most important game of their career, and I hold a strong amount of value to that and didn’t want to compromise that in any way.”
The Eagles held an intrasquad practice on Miami’s practice field. The two teams have a preseason finale scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday night.
“It all comes down to wanting to be able to fully play the preseason game as planned,” McDaniel said. “The best way to do that with the unknowns was to just keep everyone away from each other because, clearly, it’s some sort of contagious, but it appears to be the normal symptoms of stomach bugs.”
The Dolphins and Eagles held one joint practice on Wednesday in front of fans. Miami misses out on a key practice for players fighting for a roster spot as Thursday’s session was the final one of training camp for the team. NFL rosters must be cut down from 80 to 53 players on Tuesday by 4 p.m.
“I was pretty excited about [Thursday],” said McDaniel. “Now, you just have to really reassess [Friday], when you get everyone in and make sure everyone is safe, not put in in harm’s way and then take it from there.”
Gesicki trade talks?
McDaniel was asked on Thursday about a Wednesday report from Pro Football Focus stating the Dolphins have “brought up” tight end Mike Gesicki’s name in trade talks. McDaniel did not deny Miami’s involvement in mentioning Gesicki in trade conversations, instead noting it’s commonplace for many players to be discussed among NFL general managers.
“These reports are tricky to me,” McDaniel said. “When they use the that loose verbiage of ‘his name has been brought up’ or whatever, I mean, the report is kind of misleading because there probably should be a lot of names on that report. … That stuff happens more often than it doesn’t.”
Gesicki set career highs with 73 receptions for 780 yards in 2021 for the Dolphins. He was placed on the franchise tag this offseason as he transitions to a new offense where he will be asked to play more often as a traditional tight end and improve his blocking.
“I’m focused on coaching Mike. Mike’s focused on getting better,” McDaniel said. “You have to be able to do stuff with the ball and you have to be able to block for other people that are doing stuff with the ball, and we continue to work those techniques with everyone.
“He had a great week of practice this week, which tells you a lot about that individual because there has been random noise that he hasn’t listened to clearly.”
Van Ginkel has appendix issue
McDaniel revealed Thursday why Dolphins outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel missed practice all week.
“He had an unforeseen appendix issue, so we removed him of said issue,” McDaniel said, insinuating Van Ginkel’s appendix was removed. “He’s feeling great. I just talked to him recently, and we’ll be moving forward. There’s some significant optimism that it shouldn’t affect anything in the season, but I know he’s going to do his best to get back as fast as possible.”
McDaniel also noted cornerback Nik Needham is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury that caused him to leave Wednesday’s joint practice with the Eagles.
“It’s nothing super significant,” McDaniel said. “Really happy for him because I feel good about where he’s at.”