Running out of receivers, Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase pressed running back Kenyan Drake into duty as a wideout with a quick tutorial.
“We were telling Kenyan, ‘Run straight, turn left,'” Gase said. “We were trying to get creative. It’ll be interesting to see how we do it this week.”
The Dolphins (4-3) need all of their inventiveness — and some reinforcements — to address a void difficult to fill.
Dynamic receiver Albert Wilson’s hip injury is likely season-ending, Gase said Monday, although a visit to a specialist was planned before a final determination. Also ruled out of Thursday’s game at Houston was receiver Kenny Stills with a groin injury.
Wilson and Stills — who have four touchdown catches each — were hurt in Sunday’s loss to Detroit. Another receiver, DeVante Parker, has been nursing a quadriceps injury and was inactive, which is how Drake became an emergency receiver.
Compounding turmoil at the position, Parker’s agent, Jimmy Gould, questioned Gase’s competence and complained that his client is healthy and should be playing.
Parker will be back in the lineup against the Texans.
“We don’t have any more receivers,” Gase said, managing a slight smile. “So I’m sure he’s going to play.”
One or two receivers from the practice squad will likely be promoted. At quarterback, Brock Osweiler will make his third start in place of Ryan Tannehill, still sidelined by a throwing shoulder injury.
“I’m sure a lot of people are probably counting us out with all these injuries and new guys we’re going to be playing,” Osweiler said. “But that’s what makes this fun. It’s going to be an us-against-the-world mentality, and we’re going to have fun with it.”
Another receiver, Danny Amendola, was limited in practice Monday because of a shoulder injury. Even Osweiler was on the injury report with a sore back, but Gase said that issue wasn’t serious.
The 32-21 loss to Detroit knocked Miami out of first place in the AFC East, and the defense looked like a cellar-dweller, allowing 248 yards rushing and forcing only one punt all afternoon.
But that performance was overshadowed by the injuries at receiver, particularly the deflating loss of Wilson.
He leads the Dolphins with 391 yards receiving on 26 receptions, including touchdowns of 75, 74 and 43 yards, and a 52-yard touchdown pass. He was on the verge of another long score when hurt while being tripped up in the open field.
“I saw him at halftime,” Gase said, “and he was like, ‘Man, I was one step away from taking it to the house.’
“I was like, ‘Yeah, I wish you would have.’ We wouldn’t be in the position we’re in right now.”
Gase said there was a “very high possibility” the injury was season-ending. Stills’ injury is less severe, but the timetable for his return is uncertain.
The same is true with Tannehill. He’ll likely start throwing this week, but that doesn’t mean his return is imminent.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be an NFL football,” Gase said. He added jokingly, “We’ll grab one of our kids’ nerf balls.”
Source: The Associated Press