Today's Top 5: 8.22.17

Posted Aug 22, 2017

1. Philly practice: The Dolphins wrapped up their two days of two joint practices with the Eagles at the NovaCare Complex on a hot sunny day in Philadelphia. The practice lasted about two hours, as it did Monday, and again included several team periods as well as seven-on-seven drills. There also was a brief passing drills using only either the right or left side of the field. The Dolphins will conduct a walk-through Wednesday in preparation for the game Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field. Head Coach Adam Gase declared himself pleased with the work the Dolphins were able to get the past two days against the Eagles.

2. Howard not having it: The defensive highlight of practice for the Dolphins came during a red-zone session when second-year cornerback Xavien Howard was matched up one-on-one with Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery on the left side of the offensive formation. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz tried to connect with Jeffery on consecutive plays, but Howard was all over the receiver on both plays and knocked the ball away. This was just more impressive work from Howard, who had a very impressive training camp.

3. Cutler slings it: On the other side of the ball, Jay Cutler again made a couple of eye-catching throws. One was a rope to tight end Julius Thomas to beat tight coverage in the end zone. Another was a beautiful deep ball down the middle of the field to Kenny Stills, who got behind the Eagles secondary. Wide receiver DeVante Parker had several catches in team drills, including a long completion from Cutler on a play that had broken down.

4. Pouncey plan: Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey will make his preseason debut Thursday against the Eagles. Gase said after practice that Pouncey will start against the Eagles, although no decision has been made as to how much he will play. Either way, this is great news for the Dolphins, who have been methodical in their approach with Pouncey this summer to make sure he’ll be ready for the start of the regular season. Sticking to the on-off schedule they’ve used, Pouncey did not practice Tuesday but said afterward he was feeling great.

5. Injury update: There was some good news on the injury front Tuesday as running back Kenyan Drake was removed from the concussion protocol. That puts him on track to play against the Eagles on Thursday. Cornerback Jordan Lucas was back at practice after sitting out Monday because of a groin injury. Players who sat out practice Tuesday, in addition to Pouncey, were DB Walt Aikens (back), LB Neville Hewitt (shoulder), TE Chris Pantale (concussion) and G/C Kraig Urbik (knee). Gase said that barring an unexpected setback right tackle Ja’Wuan James will play against the Eagles on Thursday after missing the first two preseason games because of a shoulder injury. Rookie cornerback Cordrea Tankersley left practice early Tuesday because of illness.

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