Miami Dolphins: Derrick Shelby

Walker's Fab 40: Nos. 25-28

January, 27, 2015
Jan 27
4:00
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ESPN.com’s Miami Dolphins page continues to rank the team’s top 40 players.

Next up we have Nos. 25-28.

No. 28: Derrick Shelby

Position: Defensive end

2014 stats: 26 tackles, three sacks, one interception

Analysis: Shelby is a player who continues to hang around and be a valuable contributor for the Dolphins. He’s the third defensive end in the rotation and often gets high grades from the coaching staff. Shelby’s steady play is one of the reasons former No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan doesn’t get many reps in the base defense. Despite less physical talent, Shelby understands leverage and technique and has earned the trust of the coaching staff. Shelby did run into some off-the-field trouble last season that is still being resolved. He was briefly suspended and then reinstated.

No. 27: Jimmy Wilson

Position: Safety/nickel cornerback

2014 stats: 59 tackles, one interception

Analysis: Wilson’s versatility came in handy this season. He started a career-high 13 games for Miami due to various circumstances. Dolphins starting safety Reshad Jones was suspended for the first four games of the season and fellow starting safety Louis Delmas missed the final three games of the season. Wilson also played nickel cornerback and earned six additional starts when Miami began the game with that defensive alignment. Wilson is a jack-of-all-trades player who has some value. He finished fifth on the team in tackles and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March.

No. 26: Knowshon Moreno

Position: Running back

2014 stats: 148 yards, one touchdown

Analysis: Moreno is a difficult player to rank. He would have been much higher had multiple injuries to his elbow and knee not derailed his season. But durability and production are big parts of this equation. So Moreno comes in at No. 26 after playing parts of just three games with the Dolphins. He was dominant in Week 1 against the New England Patriots with 134 rushing yards and one touchdown, which showed promise for a big season. But injuries forced him to miss 13 games and he’s about to hit free agency.

No. 25: Cortland Finnegan

Position: Cornerback

2014 stats: 44 tackles, zero interceptions

Analysis: Finnegan had an up-and-down season for the Dolphins. There were positive flashes, such as his performance against the Chicago Bears. But there also were poor performances, such as his game against the Green Bay Packers. Finnegan’s biggest contribution was his steady influence and professionalism on younger cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Will Davis. The Dolphins may ask Finnegan to take a pay cut or release him in the final year of his contract this offseason.
The Miami Dolphins (8-7) will host to the New York Jets (3-12) in the final game this season for both teams.

Here is a look at the final injury report for Miami:

Questionable: LB Jelani Jenkins (foot), DE Derrick Shelby (ankle), RT Dallas Thomas (foot)

Probable: TE Charles Clay (hamstring, knee), CB Cortland Finnegan (ankle, knee), LB Jonathan Freeny (hamstring), S Don Jones (shoulder), LB Koa Misi (hamstring, knee), DT Earl Mitchell (back), DT Jared Odrick (ankle), RB Daniel Thomas (knee), WR Mike Wallace (back)

Analysis: The Dolphins are as healthy as they’ve been in weeks. Shelby was the only major injury concern, and he practiced for the second consecutive day on Friday. Thomas also practiced every day this week after missing last week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. For the Jets, receiver Percy Harvin (ankle, ribs), center Nick Mangold (finger, ankle) and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (toe, illness) are all questionable.
DAVIE, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins (8-7) held their first full practice in preparation for Sunday's game against the New York Jets (3-12).

A few notes and observations:
  • Dolphins starting right tackle Dallas Thomas returned to practice on Wednesday. Thomas missed last Sunday's win over the Minnesota Vikings with a foot injury. Backup right tackle Jason Fox made his first start and did a decent job. Miami only allowed two sacks. I’m curious to see who will start if Thomas is healthy.
  • Backup defensive end Derrick Shelby did not participate in practice. He suffered an ankle injury against Minnesota and worked on the side with trainers. If Shelby cannot play, that will open up reps for backups Dion Jordan and Terrence Fede.
  • Miami running back Daniel Thomas, who missed last Sunday's game, also practiced. He is recovering from a knee injury.

The San Diego Chargers (5-3) will travel to face the Miami Dolphins (4-3) in an important game with early playoff implications. Both teams could be fighting for a wild card in the AFC, which would make owning the head-to-head tiebreaker important.

Who will prevail in this matchup? ESPN Chargers reporter Eric D. Williams and ESPN Dolphins reporter James Walker discuss:

Walker: Miami has won two in a row and San Diego has lost two in a row, so momentum may be a factor in this matchup. Where are the Chargers in terms of confidence and ending their losing streak?

Williams: The Chargers are a veteran-led group that understands the ebb and flow of an NFL season, so confidence will not be an issue traveling on the road to face the Dolphins. Two of San Diego's three losses have come on the road, against teams that have one loss apiece (Denver and Arizona). San Diego's other loss was a three-point setback to AFC West rival Kansas City at home.

The Chargers don't make a lot of mistakes and generally force opponents to beat them. Coach Mike McCoy is meticulous in his game-day preparation and his staff is skilled in making in-game adjustments. I expect San Diego will be ready for whatever the Dolphins plan to do scheme-wise on both sides of the ball.

The Dolphins are doing a nice job of running, ranked No. 6 by averaging 138 rushing yards per game. How has new coordinator Bill Lazor turned things around on offense?

Walker: Most people expected Lazor to come in and quickly fix the passing game, but he has made his biggest contribution with the running game. Miami's ground game has been consistent, whether it was Knowshon Moreno early, Lamar Miller lately or even quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has three runs of 30 yards or more in the past three games. Lazor has done a good job of spreading out defenses and calling run plays at the right time. His read-option with Tannehill and Miller has been a huge success. Miami's passing game still needs work, but there is progress.

West Coast teams often don't look the same in Miami; San Diego hasn't won here since the 1981 season. How are the Chargers combating that and will the 10-day layoff help?

Williams: Although West Coast teams traditionally struggle in early games traveling east, the Chargers have been relatively successful of late, posting a 7-5 record in 10 a.m. PT games since 2012. The extra days off have given this banged-up team a chance to get some players healthy, and with Philip Rivers controlling the offense, the Chargers are competitive more times than not. One of the keys for San Diego will be the possible return of running back Ryan Mathews. Out for the past six games with an MCL sprain, the Fresno State product could help provide some much-needed balance to San Diego's offense if healthy and cleared to play on Sunday.

After starting 1-2, the Dolphins have won three of their past four games to get back into the AFC playoff race. What has been the difference?

Walker: Part of it is the schedule. The Dolphins cannot hide from that fact. All three of Miami's victories during this stretch have been against the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7), Oakland Raiders (0-7) and Chicago Bears (3-5). Those are bad teams the Dolphins must beat if they want to be considered playoff contenders, and to their credit they took care of business.

The Dolphins are 1-3 against teams with winning records. That is why this game against San Diego is such a good measuring stick of where the Dolphins stand. Miami's next four opponents have a combined record of 22-9 (.709 winning percentage), so we are going to find out quickly whether the Dolphins are contenders or pretenders.

San Diego was banged up before its previous game against the Broncos. Where are the Chargers injury-wise heading into Sunday's game?

Williams: The Chargers should be in a better place health-wise. Four weeks ago against Jacksonville, the Chargers barely had enough healthy bodies to fill 46 spots on the active roster. Along with Mathews, cornerback Brandon Flowers and running back Donald Brown are possibilities to return from concussions. Pass rushers Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) and Cordarro Law (ankle) also should have a chance to make it back on the field on Sunday. Offensive linemen D.J. Fluker (ankle) and Rich Ohrnberger (back) have been playing with injuries, so the extra time should work in their favor as well.

The Dolphins are No. 3 in passing defense, holding teams to just 212 passing yards a game. How does the front seven set the tone?

Walker: Miami's front four are the strength of the entire team. The Dolphins have waves of good players, starting with defensive ends Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon and defensive tackles Jared Odrick, Earl Mitchell and Randy Starks. Miami also is getting contributions off the bench from Derrick Shelby, Chris McCain and Dion Jordan, who recorded a couple of tackles in his first game off suspension. This group sets the tone for the defense. The Dolphins' linebackers have been inconsistent with the exception of Jelani Jenkins, who leads Miami in tackles (53) by a wide margin.

Rapid Reaction: Miami Dolphins

October, 19, 2014
10/19/14
3:51
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CHICAGO -- A few thoughts on the Miami Dolphins' 27-14 win Sunday over the Chicago Bears.

What it means: The Dolphins continue their roller-coaster ride by picking up a key road victory and improving to 3-3. This was a complete performance on both sides of the ball. Miami cashed in on three red zone touchdowns and forced three turnovers on defense, bouncing back from a last-second loss in Week 6 to the Green Bay Packers. The Dolphins, who have yet to win two in a row, will try to work on their consistency.

Stock watch: Dolphins fans have been clamoring about the lack of fast starts. Miami finally got it going early by jumping out to a much-needed 14-0 halftime lead on the road. The offense moved the chains and had early touchdown catches by tight end Charles Clay and receiver Mike Wallace. The defense also picked off quarterback Jay Cutler and held the Bears scoreless in the first half. The second half wasn't as clean. The Dolphins allowed two touchdowns defensively and had a field goal blocked. However, Miami was good enough in the first half that it didn't matter.

Jones, Shelby make impact: The Dolphins received key contributions from two players who were recently suspended. Miami starting safety Reshad Jones had his best performance of the season in his second game back. He recorded seven tackles and a second-quarter interception to set up a Miami touchdown. Sunday also marked the first game back for Derrick Shelby, who missed one game after being arrested at a nightclub. He registered an early sack off the bench.

Game ball: Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill gets his second game ball of the season. Tannehill was locked in and threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns. He had a 123.6 passer rating. Tannehill produced a near-perfect first half by completing his first 14 passes. His first incompletion happened with 54 seconds left in the second quarter.

What's next: The Dolphins will continue their stretch away from Miami with another road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6). The Dolphins will play four of their next six games on the road.

Ten surprising Dolphins statistics

October, 15, 2014
10/15/14
3:00
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The Miami Dolphins have been up and down this season, which is reflected in their 2-3 record.

Here are 10 surprising statistics to help explain Miami's season through five games:
  • Miami is a below average team at home. The Dolphins are just 5-6 in their last 11 games at Sun Life Stadium.
  • Miami rookie receiver Jarvis Landry is currently second on the team with 18 receptions, which is ahead of starting tight end Charles Clay (17) and starting receiver Brian Hartline (16).
  • Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill is on pace for 3,625 yards, 25.6 touchdowns and 16 interceptions this season.
  • Tannehill also is Miami's third-leading rusher with 102 yards on 16 carries. Tannehill also averages an impressive 6.4 yards per carry.
  • Miami backup running back Daniel Thomas leads the team with 7.1 yards per carry.
  • The Dolphins have been outscored 30-13 in the first quarter of games.
  • The Dolphins have been dominant in the third quarter coming out of the locker room, outscoring opponents 56-28.
  • Derrick Shelby remains second on the team with two sacks, despite serving a one-game suspension.
  • Ten of Miami's 109 first downs this season have come via penalties.
  • The Dolphins have converted on 22.2 percent (2-of-9) fourth downs this season. Miami's opponents have converted on 57.1 percent (4-of-7) of fourth downs.

The Dolphins will travel to face the Chicago Bears (3-3) on Sunday.
DAVIE, Fla. – Miami Dolphins defensive end Derrick Shelby was back at his usual spot in the locker room on Tuesday. For more than a week, it was questionable if Shelby would be allowed to return to the team.

But Shelby is preparing with the Dolphins (2-3) as they get ready for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears (3-3). He will rejoin the team's rotation at defensive end as a backup to starters Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon.

Shelby
“It was a great relief,” Shelby said in the locker room. “When you’re at home, you got a lot of time to think about things. When you’re here at least you’re staying busy. You don’t have to think about many things outside of your control.”

According to Fort Lauderdale police, Shelby is accused of groping women at a nightclub and refusing to leave the establishment when asked. He also was tased by police. The Dolphins immediately suspended Shelby without pay but reinstated him this week following the completion of their process.

Shelby would not elaborate on the exact details of what happened because the case remains “an ongoing legal matter.” Shelby wouldn’t say if he believed it was fair to suspend him without all the details being released.

“I mean, it is what it is. I can’t look at it that way,” Shelby said, “I messed up and we have our rules here. That’s what it is.”

Shelby, who is third on the team with two sacks this season, is focused on moving forward.

“When you mess up, you know you messed up,” Shelby said. “You just got to roll with it. I mean, I’m not perfect. Have you made a mistake before? All right. You just roll with it.”
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Tuesday from around the Web:
  • Mike Florio of ProFootballtalk.com reports Dolphins backup defensive end Derrick Shelby will be reinstated to the team.
Morning take: The Dolphins acted immediately by suspending Shelby indefinitely when the initial details at a nightclub were released. But Miami appears to be changing course in order to be patient until everything is known.
  • Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes the Dolphins’ coaching staff must get better at recognizing flaws of their players.
Morning take: This is a very good point. The Dolphins have talent but are not getting the most out of their roster. Miami’s coaching staff has the tendency to highlight players’ weaknesses too often, such as leaving linebacker Philip Wheeler in man-to-man pass coverage at the end of Sunday’s game.
  • Chris Perkins of the Sun Sentinel writes Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said he was “queasy” about passing late in the game.
Morning take: Philbin’s mentality explains much of why he gets conservative in big moments. Instead of playing to win, Philbin played not to lose against the Green Bay Packers. That usually will cost you against a stud like Aaron Rodgers.
  • Alain Poupart of the Dolphins team site writes rookie receiver Jarvis Landry is making an impact.
Morning take: Landry acted and played like a veteran from the moment he showed up to rookie camp. Landry should have a bright future ahead.

Morning take: Joe Philbin vs. Packers

October, 10, 2014
10/10/14
11:00
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Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Friday from around the Web:
  • Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald writes Dolphins coach Joe Philbin is still revered by the Green Bay Packers, his former team.
Morning take: Philbin came up through the NFL ranks in Green Bay. He's 17-19 so far in Miami and needs to turn that around.
  • The staff of the Sun Sentinel makes their Dolphins-Packers predictions.
Morning take: Not many people are picking Miami in this one. I will have my prediction this afternoon.
  • Andrew Abramson and Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post report Dolphins defensive end Derrick Shelby will not get paid during his suspension after he was charged with felonies.
Morning take: The Dolphins are taking a hard line on Shelby’s incident, and it’s hard to blame them with the current climate in the NFL. All the facts eventually will come out to determine the full picture.
  • Alain Poupart of the Dolphins team site writes receiver Mike Wallace is looking for another memorable game against the Packers.
Morning take: Wallace caught a game-winning touchdown against Green Bay during the 2009 season while playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Wallace and the Steelers also lost to the Packers in Super Bowl XLV. Wallace has done well and needs another big game to help Miami pull the upset.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The defensive end position recently has been hit hard by suspension for the Miami Dolphins.

First, former No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan was cited for dual suspensions for violating the NFL’s performance enhancement and substance abuse policies. Top backup Derrick Shelby was then suspended indefinitely for “conduct detrimental to the team” following his arrest over the weekend at a Fort Lauderdale nightclub.

Shelby
The Dolphins (2-2) enter Sunday’s game against the hot Green Bay Packers (3-2) without two top reserves on their defensive line. Here are Miami’s fallback options when starting defensive ends Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon need a breather chasing around Packers Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers:
  • 1. Terrence Fede: Miami’s seventh-round pick was a standout during training camp and the preseason. But a knee injury in the exhibition finale kept Fede sidelined for Miami’s first three games. Fede made his regular-season debut in London with a tackle against the Oakland Raiders. He has the benefit of the bye week to help round into form.
  • 2. Chris McCain: The undrafted rookie exploded on the scene in Week 1 with a blocked punt on his first NFL play and a second-half sack on Tom Brady in Miami’s win over the New England Patriots. Since then, McCain has been quiet. McCain didn’t record a stat in two losses against the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. He also missed Miami’s Week 4 win over Oakland due to a personal issue. Reps are available this weekend if McCain can get it going again.
  • 3. Jared Odrick: It’s easy to forget that Odrick joined the Dolphins as a defensive end. Miami head coach Joe Philbin and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle felt Odrick, a tweener, could help the Dolphins more at defensive tackle. But Miami’s coaching staff could use Odrick at both this week with Shelby and Jordan both on the shelf. "We’ve got a lot of options as we move forward," Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said. "We have different combinations that we started to look at even [Monday] and we will here the rest of the week."

It will be important for Miami’s defensive ends to get pressure on Rodgers. Green Bay’s offensive line has had issues protecting Rodgers at times. That’s the best way to slow a Packers offense averaging 40 points per game in the past two weeks.
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Wednesday from around the Web:
  • Chris Perkins of the Sun Sentinel writes the Dolphins, statistically, should be able to run over the Green Bay Packers.
Morning take: Miami’s running game is ranked No. 6 and the Packers are 32nd in stopping the run. Looks like a natural part of the game plan for the Dolphins to me.
  • Greg Cote of the Miami Herald writes Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is shooting up the rankings.
Morning take: Tannehill had his first strong game against a bad Oakland Raiders team. I’m still in wait-and-see mode.
  • Brian Coyle of the Dolphins team site writes guard Daryn Colledge is ready for his Packers reunion.
Morning take: Colledge spent five years in Green Bay and knows the roster well. The Dolphins will need Colledge to be at his best and motivated Sunday.
  • Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post writes the Dolphins could use Jared Odrick more at defensive end.
Morning take: Derrick Shelby’s indefinite suspension means someone will need quality backup reps at defensive end. Miami has options with Odrick, as well as rookies Terrence Fede and Chris McCain off the bench.

Morning take: Mike Pouncey at guard?

October, 7, 2014
10/07/14
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Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Tuesday from around the Web:
  • Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes Mike Pouncey could play guard upon his return.
Morning take: It’s a bad idea to take a Pro Bowl center and move him out of that position. But the Dolphins have explored this for a while and may finally put it to work.
  • Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post writes Dolphins tailback Knowshon Moreno returned to practice.
Morning take: Moreno has been out with an elbow injury since Week 2. But he looks healthier and continues to make progress.
  • Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel writes the Dolphins are caught in a spot to rush to judgment on defensive end Derrick Shelby.
Morning take: Not all the details have emerged. But the Dolphins believe they have enough information to suspend Shelby indefinitely. Image is more important than ever to NFL teams.
Morning take: I thought Williams did enough in training camp and the preseason to earn a roster spot. Bu Williams was one of the final cuts who gets a chance to return.

Morning take: On to Green Bay

October, 6, 2014
10/06/14
8:00
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The Miami Dolphins ended their bye week. Here are the most interesting Dolphins stories Monday:
  • Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post wonders if the Dolphins are better than average.
  • Morning take: It's on to the Green Bay Packers for Miami, which has a 2-2 record. This game will say a lot about where the Dolphins stand.

  • Omar Kelly and Brett Clarkson of the Sun Sentinelwrite Dolphins backup defensive end Derrick Shelby was arrested outside a Fort Lauderdale nightclub and being charged with trespassing and resisting arrest.
  • Morning take: All the facts will eventually come out. But it is simply not a good look to get arrested during the bye week.

  • The Dolphins' website releases a statement that the team is gathering information.
  • Morning take: Miami will wait to see if any discipline is needed once the full story is released.

  • Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald write the Dolphins' replacement parts have been an upgrade.
  • Morning take: The Dolphins definitely have a more talented roster due to pickups in the draft and free agency. But Miami (2-2) can't be a .500 team.
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Friday from around the Web:
  • Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel writes Dolphins backup defensive end Derrick Shelby continues to grow his role.
Morning take: Shelby has been a consistent performer off the bench for two seasons. He led the Dolphins with two sacks in Miami’s win over the Oakland Raiders.
  • Brian Biggane of the Palm Beach Post writes the Dolphins' tight ends are on the rise.
Morning take: Charles Clay's production hasn't been as strong as in previous years. But backup Dion Sims and Gator Hoskins have made a few plays. The Dolphins still need more consistency from this group.
  • Brian Coyle of the Dolphins team site writes receiver Mike Wallace is off to a fast start.
Morning take: Wallace is on pace for 80 receptions and 12 touchdowns this season under first-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. Both would be career highs.
  • Surya Fernandez of Fox Sports Florida writes the Dolphins are embracing music in the locker room.
Morning take: Miami has been a more loose and relaxed bunch this year. The tension couldn’t get any worse after last year’s bullying scandal, but the group has moved on.

Miami Dolphins Stock Watch

September, 29, 2014
9/29/14
3:00
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LONDON -- The Miami Dolphins improved to 2-2 with an important win over the Oakland Raiders (0-4).

Here is a look at whose stock is rising and falling during the bye week:

Rising

1. Ryan Tannehill, quarterback: No Miami player had a tougher week of preparation than Tannehill. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin refused to publicly back Tannehill for the first time in two years, which led to national headlines and speculation that the quarterback could be benched at any time. Tannehill blocked out the distractions and played one of his best games against Oakland. He threw for 278 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in three-and-a-half quarters in the blowout victory. There are no questions about Tannehill’s status heading into the bye week.

2. Dolphins' secondary: This group has been essentially missing in action all season when it came to big plays. Miami’s defensive backs had zero interceptions in three regular-season games and the preseason. However, turnovers for this group came in bunches Sunday. Dolphins defensive backs Brent Grimes, Jimmy Wilson and Walt Aikens all had interceptions and cornerback Cortland Finnegan also returned a fumble 50 yards for a touchdown. The four forced turnovers were a season high for Miami and all came from the secondary.

3. Lamar Miller, running back: Miller is quietly putting together the best season of his career. He rushed for 64 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. His best run was for 21 yards. Miller is breaking more tackles and getting to the second level more often in his third season. He is averaging 5.7 yards per carry this season. Bill Lazor’s offense appears to be a good fit for his skills.

Falling

1. Ball security: Even in victory, the Dolphins had three turnovers. Miami’s two fumbles by Miller and rookie receiver Jarvis Landry and late interception by Tannehill were masked by the blowout win. But the Dolphins know you can’t have a trio turnovers and expect to beat the good teams in the NFL. In fact, Miami’s turnovers have been an issue all season. It’s one of the reasons the Dolphins are only a .500 ball club.

2. Pass rush: The Raiders are an awful team. Still, the Dolphins didn’t generate much pass rush against Oakland. Backup defensive end Derrick Shelby recorded two hustle sacks in the game, and that was it from Miami’s defense. The Raiders' quarterbacks, Derek Carr and Matt McGloin, otherwise had a clean pocket. The Dolphins need more consistent pressure from their blitz packages and four-man rush.

3. Jarvis Landry, punt returner: As we mentioned earlier, Landry had one of Miami’s three turnovers. Landry fumbled a punt for the second time in four games, and it may be time to pull the plug on that experiment. Landry averages only 5.7 yards per return and has two fumbles. With Marcus Thigpen back on the 53-man roster, it may be time for Miami to consider going back to its usual punt returner after the bye week.

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