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Dolphins Searching For Answers On Special Teams

DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins returned to the practice field on Monday for the first time since their 25-20 preseason win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Even though the Dolphins came away with the victory, there were several areas that will be worked on during practice this week as the team prepares for its final preseason game against the St. Louis Rams on Thursday.

Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin had the team working in shorts and shoulder pads while going through drills.

Special teams received a lot of attention on Monday following a rough showing by the unit against the Cowboys.  Special teams coach Darren Rizzi had his players working in several different drills and was spotted speaking with front office officials, possibly discussing the teams options at kicker.

The Dolphins kick coverage gave up a couple big returns, including a 50-yard kickoff return from Dallas receiver Dwayne Harris in the first quarter while the first team was still intact.

Rookie Jarvis Landry fumbled a punt return but quickly recovered it.  Landry returned two other punts, the longest of which was good for 16 yards, while his two kick returns were good for 21 yards each.

Miami also had a punt blocked but were fortunate that it was called back on a procedure penalty (Dallas had a man line up over the Dolphins' center).

Adding insult to injury (quite literally), Miami lost another kicker as newly signed John Potter injured his hip while attempting a field goal, leaving punter Brandon Fields to handle all the kicking duties for the rest of the game.

The Dolphins signed kicker Jake Rogers who has spent time with the Buccaneers, Cowboys, Giants, Redskins and Browns after signing with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2011, though he has never played in an NFL regular season game.

Rogers attempted four field goals during Monday's practice, making kicks of 41, 44 and 49 yards while missing from 44.

He is the fourth kicker that Miami has had on its roster since the beginning of training camp.

Following incumbent Caleb Sturgis' injury woes, the Dolphins had Danny Hrapmann kicking during the team's first preseason game in Atlanta.

Hrapmann hit his only field goal attempt during the Falcons game but was cut a week later when Miami signed John Potter the day before the Dolphins played Tampa Bay.  Sturgis was expected to return to the lineup for the Bucs game but re-aggravated his injury during pregame warmups, opening the door for Potter to leave an impression on the coaching staff.

Potter made both his field goal attempts in Tampa, from 48 and 51 yards, and remained the Dolphins kicker through the week as Sturgis remained sidelined.  Potter made his first kick against Dallas, a short 26 yard field goal, but injured his hip on the play and did not return to the game.

The situation is not ideal but head coach Joe Philbin isn't sounding the alarms just yet.

"We're going to get through it," Philbin said following Monday's practice. "We got through it the other night. It looked like [Rogers] kicked the ball relatively well today. We'll take it one day at a time and see how it plays itself out."

Watch Miami Take On St. Louis This Thursday On CBS4, Your Official Dolphins Station!

 

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