The Miami Dolphins locked horns with the Chicago Bears on Wednesday for the first of two joint practices and the team’s offensive performance could be classified as something of a mixed bag. There was plenty of good and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa navigated pressure well enough; but one can’t help but wonder what things could look like if the Dolphins got the rest of their talent from the skill group into the fray.
DeVante Parker. Will Fuller. Preston Williams. Albert Wilson.
No, this isn’t just an inventory of the top of the Dolphins’ wide receiver depth chart. This is a summary of all the Dolphins receivers who did not suit up for Wednesday’s practice against Chicago. And given the issues present last year for Miami with a watered down wide receiver corp, any traumatic flashbacks of the 2020 unit would be understandable.
So what gives? Is it time to push the panic button after Miami overhauled the receiver room, only to see injuries bottleneck the progress?
Not yet. Williams is still recovering from foot surgery that ended his 2020 campaign and his return is indefinite. He’s also likely the Dolphins’ 6th-best receiver at best given the influx in talent.
Wilson and Parker have apparent minor injuries and their status on a daily basis may simply be a case of load management and not pushing players too hard, too fast. Parker is reported to have a hamstring issue.
Fuller is a bit of a mystery, as he has not practiced since Day 1 of training camp. But he’s also set to serve a suspension for Week 1 based off of a 2020 drug test and therefore has a little bit more runway to prep for the season.
It is certainly not time to push the panic button. But this is a situation worth monitoring given that this group of wide receivers has seemingly dealt with injuries every year of their respective careers. These four receivers have combined to total 20 cumulative years of NFL experience between them (including Albert Wilson’s 2020 opt out). And in those 20 combined years of NFL play, the foursome of Williams, Parker, Fuller and Wilson has combined to complete just two full 16-game seasons.
Two of twenty. Or, if you’re feeling generous and don’t want to count Wilson’s opt-out, two of nineteen.
And so the Dolphins’ attention must go into how to best align these injuries for the start of the season and be prepared to be without any one given player on any given week. Because based on the track record, it will happen. But given the depths of Miami’s wide receiver room, it would seem as though this isn’t anything that is a surprise to the Dolphins. They’re well prepared, it is still early and if there was a game tomorrow, we’d bet half of the four receivers in question (Wilson and Parker) would play.
So while we should be watching this situation closely, there’s nothing to officially worry about. Yet.