Dolphins safety Jevon Holland has not yet cleared COVID-19 protocols and remains sidelined, but two other Dolphins who missed a game due to the virus – receiver Jaylen Waddle and running back Phillip Lindsay – will be able to practice on Wednesday.
The Dolphins remain hopeful that Holland will be able to play Monday night at New Orleans. But he must get another negative COVID test. Holland was removed from the COVID list on Saturday but hasn’t yet been cleared to practice or play.
Two Dolphins players remain on the COVID-19 list: cornerback Justin Coleman and practice squad running back Gerrid Doaks.
Beyond Holland, Coleman and Doaks, one other Dolphins player will miss Wednesday’s practice: receiver Albert Wilson. Flores said Wilson is out for personal reasons but will be available for Monday’s game.
Receiver DeVante Parker is being given a rest day on Wednesday.
Flores addressed other issues in his Wednesday Zoom session with reporters:
▪ Asked how players taken off the COVID-19 list should be handled (with regard to level of contact initially), Flores said it’s taken on a case by case basis. Whether the players had symptoms obviously is a consideration.
“Myles [Gaskin] came right off, practiced Friday and played on Sunday,” Flores said. “I’m not sure that’s easing someone in, playing in a game two days later. Health and safety of the player is priority number one.”
▪ Flores likes this team, which has won six in a row: “It’s a hard working team, competitive group, they perform for one another, prepare the right way.”
Flores said he won’t be paying attention to results of other games that affect the Dolphins. Sunday’s Patriots-Bills game will have a significant impact on Miami’s playoff chances.
If the Bills win Sunday and the Dolphins win their final three games, Miami has a 99 percent chance to make the playoffs, per fivethirtyeight.com. But if the Patriots win on Sunday and the Dolphins win their final three games, Miami’s chances to make the postseason sink to 54 percent.
Flores said the team will be flying Sunday when key games are played.
“We have only so much energy,” Flores said. “I want to put all our energy into this opponent.”
▪ Flores spoke glowingly about the Saints’ defense: “Dennis Allen has done a great job with that defense a number of years. Tua [Tagovailoa] has to prepare the right way. He has to protect it. He understands that…. We have a great opponent. Going into a hostile environment. It’s going to be a great atmopshere.”
▪ On Tagovailoa taking on a Jets defender head-on on an eight-yard run on Sunday, Flores said: “When you’re in the moment, you want to see most guys slide in that situation. I’m not sure if he thought he was going to get a first down. When you’re in the moment, those guys have got to make decisions. I prefer he slides and keeps himself out of harm’s way…
“It was a positive gain, eight yard gain. He was excited about making a positive play, as he should be, got back in the huddle, moved on to the next play.”
▪ On how he identifies players that play with the motor that Flores wants: “You can see it on film, guys who are running to the football, finishing blocks, playing in the kicking game, guys who enjoy playing and play 100 miles an hour, great effort on every snap.”
▪ On the bunched AFC standings, with Miami standing 11th at 7-7 but just one game out of the fourth spot:
“There are a lot of great players, lot of great coaches, slim margin for error,” Flores said. “You have to play good situationally, but even then, there’s so much talent in this league, from a coaching standpoint, a playing standpoint, every game is tough.”