The Miami Dolphins began their week of practice at UCLA while sitting on the West Coast between road games against the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Chargers.
Coach Mike McDaniel is trying to get the team’s running game more involved after going just eight times for 33 yards in the loss to the 49ers.
“When you only have eight rushing attempts, you definitely look back and understand why you made those decisions and then how you’re going to adjust them going forward,” McDaniel said before Wednesday’s practice. “A lot of it had to do with the flow of the game at this point.
“When we did hand the ball off, we had some big gains and were doing solid things, but you’ve got to get into a rhythm in the run game.”
Running back Jeff Wilson Jr. had just one carry for 3 yards. Raheem Mostert carried most of the load on their return to the Bay Area with seven 30-yard attempts. McDaniel wants both to get more touches, even if not necessarily on handoffs.
“It’s a shame they didn’t have more opportunities,” McDaniel said. “I see it as 100 percent on me to find ways to get them involved in the game, and if that means we’re not running the ball, that’s no excuse. They are very good receivers.”
Another factor that could influence how much the Dolphins go against the run would be the return of left tackle Terron Armstead after he missed Sunday’s game with a pectoral strain. Miami runs next to him most of the time because of his downhill blocking ability.
McDaniel said Armstead will not practice Wednesday, but was seen doing light individual work at Wednesday’s session at UCLA. Last week, he missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday before being a limited participant on Friday and was listed as questionable for the game in San Francisco.
“I’m working hard at it,” McDaniel said. “The bottom line is he’s an important part of our team, which is one of the reasons we’re here.”
The Dolphins begin a 21-day practice window for left guard Liam Eichenberg to return from injured reserve with a knee injury, as McDaniel said he will participate on a limited basis in Wednesday’s practice at UCLA.
“We’ll get something from him [Wednesday],” McDaniel said. “It will be in a very limited way. Most things will be to one side, but he’s done an incredible job of really getting to where he is.”
Eichenberg suffered the injury against Detroit on October 30 and has missed the last four games.
“I’m excited for him because he was playing his best football when he got hurt,” McDaniel said.
The Dolphins coach added that he doesn’t expect any imminent return for top quarterback Trey Flowers, who has been on IR with a foot injury since he was injured in the Oct. 16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
We’ll keep Fisher updated
After signing veteran Eric Fisher on Monday, the Dolphins are looking to accelerate their new team’s No. 1 of 2013, starting with their week of training out west.
Fisher, who will wear No. 79, joined the California Dolphins but did not see any activity with the team.
“We didn’t even have a tackle and he didn’t play football in a minute,” McDaniel said of the linebacker who last played for the Colts last season after eight seasons with Kansas City. “On the other hand, one of the reasons we’re so lucky to get it is because we know that clock. He’ll be up to speed pretty quickly compared to most players just because of his experience, intelligence and commitment. I just don’t know exactly how long it lasts.”
Fisher has played the most left tackle in his career, so he could fill in for Armstead if he is out. He could also compete at right tackle, where Brandon Shell fills in for Austin Jackson, who may not return for the regular season as he is out at least four of the last five weeks.
Tua leads the Pro Bowl votes
Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa topped Pro Bowl voting, the NFL announced Wednesday.
Tagovailoa, at the most recent update, has 138,390 votes, ahead of Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (137,826). Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (133,607) is third and Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill fourth (132,100).
In the previous update announced on Nov. 28, Tagovailoa was not in the top five and was third among AFC quarterbacks behind Mahomes and Buffalo’s Josh Allen.
Along with Tagovailoa and Hill, Armstead leads the AFC in tackles, Alec Ingold leads the conference in cornerbacks, and Blake Ferguson is now the best long snapper in the AFC.
This story will be updated.