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Today's Top 5: 8.27.17

Posted Aug 27, 2017

1. Corner question: There could be some changes coming at cornerback, based on Head Coach Adam Gase’s post-practice comments Sunday. Byron Maxwell and Xavien Howard have started the first three preseason games at that position, but Gase said the Dolphins would be looking at every scenario heading into the Sept. 10 season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gase praised the work of veteran Alterraun Verner, who was signed July 25 after spending seven seasons with the Tennessee Titans and Buccaneers.

2. Maualuga makes debut: New linebacker Rey Maualuga practiced for the first time with the Dolphins on Sunday and there’s a chance he could play against the Minnesota Vikings in the preseason finale this week. Maualuga worked on his conditioning last week after signing with the Dolphins and didn’t play against the Philadelphia Eagles. Maualuga practiced on a limited basis Sunday. He remains without a jersey number and said after practice he was hoping to again wear the number 58 he had during his time with the Cincinnati Bengals. Linebacker Brandon Watts currently has 58, and Maualuga said the two hadn’t yet been able to agree on financial compensation for the number.

3. Injury update: Watts (back) was among the group of players who sat out practice Sunday because of injuries. The others were LB Neville Hewitt (shoulder), RB Senorise Perry (knee) and TE Thomas Duarte (concussion). Center Mike Pouncey had a rest day, while T Laremy Tunsil and TE Anthony Fasano were excused for personal reasons. Safety Walt Aikens was back at practice after missing time with a back injury.

4. Punting battle: Gase described as “competitive” the battle between incumbent punter Matt Darr and rookie free agent Matt Haack. The two have been rotating in practice and in the preseason, and they both had strong performances against the Eagles. Haack had a net average of 49.5, and Darr came in at 46.5 yards — both excellent figures. Haack has the advantage of being a left-footed punter, which can cause opposing returners problems because they’re not used to fielding those kind of kicks, while Darr is the proven commodity with the NFL experience. Gase said he would get together with Associate Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi and assistant special teams coach Marwan Maalouf after the end of the preseason to decide which punter to keep.



5. Practice visitors: The Dolphins again had a group of visitors at practice Sunday, although this time it was entire families. The Dolphins invited police officers, firefighters and fire responders from Miami-Dade and Broward counties, along with their families, to watch practice inside the bubble at the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University. The Dolphins, of course, welcomed youth and high school teams throughout training camp. The idea to reach out to police officers, firefighters and first responders came from a meeting with the Miami-Dade Chiefs of Police that, among others, included Dolphins director of team security Drew Brooks; team security emeritus Stu Weinstein; senior director of security Joe Cicin; and President and CEO Tom Garfinkel.

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