Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert, who missed Wednesday’s and Thursday’s practices with a knee injury, is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against Houston on Friday’s injury report.
Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is listed as questionable due to a knee injury but everyone else is cleared to play, which means the Dolphins enter the game fairly healthy. .
Punter Thomas Morstead, who missed this week’s previous two practices with an illness, had full participation in Friday’s practice and doesn’t have an injury status (doubtful, questionable, etc…) for the 1 p.m. game against Houston at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.
Left tackle Terron Armstead, who didn’t practice Thursday due to an ongoing toe injury, had limited participation in Friday’s practice and, such as Morstead, doesn’t have an injury status for the Texans game.
Defensive tackle Raekwon Davis, who was limited Wednesday and a full practice participant Thursday, was limited Friday due to a knee ailment. But Davis doesn’t have an injury status for the Texans game.
Coach Mike McDaniel said it would be an “uphill battle” as to whether Mostert, who had been the main kickoff returner until wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. started sharing duties recently, would play Sunday. Mostert had limited participation in Friday’s practice.
“It’s days away in terms of whether or not he can [play],” McDaniel said. “If he doesn’t, he’ll be close but we’ll just have to do the smart thing. I’m not willing to bet against that guy, but we’re also having to be very mindful to protect him from himself as well.”
If Mostert, the Dolphins’ leading rusher with 543 yards, doesn’t play look for newly-acquired running back Jeff Wilson Jr. to carry more of the load. Wilson, acquired from San Francisco at the Nov. 1 trade deadline, rushed for 119 yards in the 39-17 victory over Cleveland.
Another run defense test
Houston running back Dameon Pierce is the third consecutive top rusher the Dolphins will face, capping a trio that started with Chicago quarterback Justin Fields and continued with Cleveland running back Nick Chubb.
“They’ve got a hell of a running back,” safety Jevon Holland said. “It’s going to be exciting to go from a good back to a good back, back-to-back like that.”
Pierce is seventh in rushing with 780 yards. Fields, who totaled 178 rushing yards against the Dolphins, a NFL regular-season record for a quarterback, is sixth with 834 yards. Chubb, who totaled 63 yards rushing against the Dolphins, is fourth with 923 yards.
Houston might rely more heavily on Pierce considering they’re making a quarterback change to Kyle Allen from Davis Mills.
The Dolphins, who are 17th in rush defense at 116.9 yards per game, have already faced the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 rushers among Fields, Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook (841 yards rushing, 77 yards rushing vs. Dolphins), and Chubb.
Tunsil vs. Chubb…and other matchups
Keep an eye on the matchup between Houston left tackle Laremy Tunsil and Dolphins edge rusher Bradley Chubb. McDaniel will be watching. He won’t zero in on the matchup during the game, but he’ll check it out after the game.
“I really, really enjoy it and magnify it in team settings when there’s some very competitive individual matchups versus very good players,” he said.
“I think that is the name of the game. I think that that is what pushes the winners and losers in the sport. When you have an elite player and then you happen to have another elite player and they’re going against each other generally that matchup has a factor in the overall outcome. There’s nothing cooler than that.”
The Dolphins said there’s little chance of overlooking the Texans (1-8-1).
“The idea of being entitled to winning a football game is nothing that this team would ever enter into because it is a quick learning lesson when you do that in the National Football League, especially with a team like Texans where they play hard,” McDaniel said, before making a reference to the 2020 Dolphins that started 1-7 and finished 9-8
“And, as I think you guys know literally [from] last year, teams that play hard through a lot of losses are dangerous, and you do not bait fate and say, ‘Hey, you know what, we want to learn a hard lesson, come punch us in the mouth.’ “
The Dolphins award camouflage practices jerseys to the players who had the best week of practice. Friday’s camouflage jerseys were worn by defensive back Justin Bethel, offensive tackle Kion Smith, who is on the practice squad, and fullback Jake Bargas, who is also on the practice squad.