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Late Tannehill fumble opens door for Bills victory

Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

The Dolphins cut down on the amount of sacks they allowed on Sunday, but it was still one too many for them to snap their losing streak.

Mario Williams sacked Ryan Tannehill in Dolphins territory with just over two minutes left to play and Kyle Williams recovered the ensuing fumble to set the Bills up in great field position. Their running game, dormant to that point in the proceedings, churned up enough yards to move into position for a 31-yard Dan Carpenter field goal and Carpenter nailed it to give the Bills a 23-21 victory over his former team.

The choice to have Tannehill throwing in that spot, as well as on a previous drive that went three incompletions and out, is likely to bring some criticism in Miami. The Dolphins had one of their best running days of the year with Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller combining for 103 yards on 21 carries while Tannehill was being held in check, so the decision not to work some clock and protect a lead against a team quarterbacked by Thad Lewis is curious.

That won’t be the only question. Tyson Clabo was beaten for the fateful sack and gave up another sack to Mario Williams earlier, continuing a dreadful year at right tackle. There will be calls to replace him after the Dolphins chose to keep their line intact coming out of the bye. It had been a strong first three quarters for the blockers, but the fourth quarter breakdowns will keep the issue in the forefront.

Tannehill’s three turnovers are some more grist for the mill in Miami, which means it will be a long week for coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.

It was a slog for the Bills offensively for much of the day, but they didn’t make blunders that would make it harder for their defense to remain in the game. And the defense did just that thanks to Nickell Robey’s interception return for a touchdown and the late fumble that got them in position for a victory.

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Dolphins show little life in 27-14 loss to Jets

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04:  Brandon Marshall #15 of the New York Jets holds off  Reshad Jones #20 of the Miami Dolphins during the game at Wembley Stadium on October 4, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images) Getty Images

The question that everyone will be asking after the Dolphins’ 27-14 loss to the Jets on Sunday will be whether Joe Philbin will be the team’s coach when they return from their Week Five bye and it’s a pretty fair question given the way his team played in London.

For most of the game, there was a good battle going on between the Dolphins offense and defense to see which unit was having the worst day. The team’s only points of the first three quarters came after two pass interference penalties set the Dolphins up close to the end zone and the Jets were piling up more than 400 yards of offense a week after getting shut down by the Eagles.

Miami got another score in the fourth quarter after a good Jarvis Landry punt return put them in business, but the day was still marked by an offensive line that couldn’t protect Ryan Tannehill, a run game that only theoretically existed and an unflagging commitment to checking the ball down even when facing third and long. The defense, meanwhile, couldn’t tackle Chris Ivory (who ran for a career-high 166 yards and a touchdown) and couldn’t take advantage of long bouts of inaccuracy from Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick ended the day 16-of-29 for 218 yards, one touchdown and one interception on a poorly thrown deep ball to Devin Smith. He added 40 yards on the ground to those numbers and wasn’t sacked as the Dolphins’ pass rush remained as toothless as it was in the first three weeks.

The win moves the Jets to 3-1, but they’ll have some work to do over their bye week. They committed 14 penalties, many of which helped keep this game from being the rout it looked like on the field and gave the Dolphins life well into the fourth quarter. Their last real gasp came when Darrelle Revis intercepted Tannehill in the end zone with five minutes to play and the nail was placed in the coffin when Marcus Williams did the same a few minutes later.

Now it just remains to be seen if that was Philbin’s last gasp with the Dolphins as well.

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Bears being coy about more trades

Matt Forte AP

The Bears aren’t having a fire sale. But if someone is interested in a fire buy, the Bears may be interested.

That’s the takeaway from a flurry of Sunday morning reports. The Bears aren’t looking to make more trades after dealing linebackers Jared Allen and Jon Bostic for a pair of six-round picks, but they’ll listen to whoever happens to call.

That puts running back Matt Forte firmly in play, especially since he’ll turn 30 this year, and he’s in the last year of his contract. If the Bears can get anything for him now, they’d be wise to at least consider it.

But if the Bears act like they’re desperate to ship Forte or others out of town, they won’t get proper value.

That’s what it comes down to. The Bears are willing to make deals, but if they’re too willing to make deals they’ll get screwed.

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Glazer: Tyrod Taylor has been playing with an ankle injury

Tyrod Taylor AP

Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor has looked good this year. He’ll probably look even better when he’s healthy. Because for now, he isn’t.

Taylor is listed as probable for Week Four with an ankle injury, the first time he has appeared on the injury report with an ankle problem.

According to Jay Glazer of FOX, Taylor has been playing with an ankle injury all year, and he has yet to be 100 percent. He hasn’t missed practice time, but as Glazer puts it the ankle has been bothering Taylor for more than this week.

It’s technically enough to get the NFL poking around regarding whether the Bills took liberties with the injury report in Week One through Week Three, but the league’s “nothing to see here, focus on the games” approach to 2015 likely will keep that from happening — unless and until Taylor pulls a Brett Favre circa 2009 and starts repeatedly talking about the how the injury affected him.

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Suh’s latest kick to the head looks accidental

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Sunday’s London snooze fest included yet another maneuver from Miami defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh that is drawing scrutiny.

Seth Walder of the New York Daily News has the video, which shows Suh chasing Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and then swinging a left leg around Fitzpatrick after he falls and kicking him in the head.

It looks accidental unintentional, with Suh merely trying to avoid tripping over or stepping on Fitzpatrick (because the last thing Suh should be doing is stepping on anyone). Because of Suh’s history, it’s not a surprise that some will assume Suh meant to do it.

I think he didn’t, and if the NFL didn’t take action in response to Suh’s apparent kick to the head of Washington running back Alfred Morris in Week One, it’s hard to imagine the league office doing anything about this one.

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Todd Herremans joins Andrew Luck on inactive list

Jack Mewhort, Todd Herremans AP

As expected, the Colts will be playing without quarterback Andrew Luck when they face the Jaguars on Sunday.

In a less expected development, they’ll also be playing without right guard Todd Herremans. Herremans wasn’t on the injury report this week, which means he is a healthy scratch for the game a week after getting benched during the Colts’ victory over the Titans.

It also means another blow to Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson in a season that’s seen quite a few of them. The Colts jumped on Herremans shortly after he was released by the Eagles and otherwise avoided bringing in help for an offensive line that wasn’t very good last season. They haven’t been very good this season either and Herremans clearly wasn’t the answer to what’s ailed the Colts up front.

Tight end Dwayne Allen is also inactive, so Matt Hasselbeck will have to look elsewhere when throwing the ball against Jacksonville. Assuming, of course, he actually has time to throw the ball.

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Jay Cutler active, starting today

Jay Cutler AP

After one week off with a hamstring injury, Jay Cutler is back.

The Bears have confirmed that Cutler is active and will be the starting quarterback today. Jimmy Clausen will be the backup, and third-string quarterback David Fales is inactive. Making Fales inactive and going with only two active quarterbacks strongly suggests that the Bears are confident Cutler will be able to make it through the game without re-aggravating the hamstring.

The 0-3 Bears are underdogs today against the Raiders, and if they drop to 0-4 the fire sale may continue. But they’re still trying to win today, with Cutler back under center.

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Texans RB Foster active, will play limited role

Arian Foster, Troy Polamalu AP

Arian Foster is active for the first time this season, but he’s expected to be on a pitch count of sorts in Sunday’s game vs. the Texans.

Texans Coach Bill O’Brien had said Foster would be a game-time decision. It’s no surprise that the Texans made him active when they submitted their active roster 90 minutes before kickoff of Sunday’s game vs. the Falcons, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that Foster will play “situational snaps.”

Alfred Blue figures as the primary back for the Texans. Jonathan Grimes, who had six carries and caught four passes last week, is inactive due to a knee injury.

The Texans’ other inactives are Jaelen Strong, Akeem Dent, Chandler Worthy, Lonnie Ballentine, Kourtnei Brown and Greg Mancz. Left tackle Duane Brown is back in the starting lineup after a two-game absence.

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DeMarco Murray active for Eagles

DeMarco Murray AP

Eagles running back DeMarco Murray is back.

The Eagles have activated Murray for today’s game in Washington, a week after he sat out with a hamstring injury.

Now the question is whether Murray will be able to get anything going. In Weeks 1-2, the Eagles’ running game was brutally bad with Murray at the helm: Murray has 21 carries for 11 yards so far this season, an average of 0.5 yards per attempt.

Washington’s strength this year has been its run defense, so don’t expect Murray to do much better today.

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Week Four early inactives

LeSean McCoy AP

The Jets and Dolphins are already in action in London, so this list won’t have all the early Sunday inactives this week. We’ve got all the inactives from the 1 p.m. ET kickoffs for you in one post, though, constantly updated with the latest information. So check back often to see the full list as it becomes available.

Texans at Falcons

Texans: S Lonnie Ballentine, LB Akeem Dent, RB Jonathan Grimes, WR Jaelen Strong, WR Chandler Worthy, LB Kourtnei Brown, C Greg Mancz

Falcons: RB Tevin Coleman, S Ricardo Allen, TE Jacob Tamme, WR Devin Hester, WR Justin Hardy, C Gino Gradkowski, T Jake Long

Giants at Bills

Giants: WR Victor Cruz, DT Markus Kuhn, DE Robert Ayers, TE Jerome Cunningham, S Cooper Taylor, LB Jasper Brinkley, TE Daniel Fells

Bills: RB LeSean McCoy, WR Sammy Watkins, G John Miller, WR Marquise Goodwin, S Aaron Williams, DL Alex Carrington, LB Tony Steward

Raiders at Bears

Raiders: DE Benson Mayowa, CB Keith McGill, DE C.J. Wilson, RB Taiwan Jones, LB Ben Heeney, OL Jon Feliciano, OL Matt McCants

Bears: T Jermon Bushrod, WR Alshon Jeffery, QB David Fales, P Pat O’Donnell, RB Ka’Deem Carey, C Hroniss Grasu, DL Jeremiah Ratliff

Chiefs at Bengals

Chiefs: QB Aaron Murray, WR Albert Wilson, CB Steven Nelson, LB Dezman Moses, T Jah Reid, TE Brian Parker, DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches

Bengals: WR Greg Little, WR Mario Alford, S George Iloka, TE C.J. Uzomah, DT Marcus Hardison, DT Brandon Thompson, DE Margus Hunt

Jaguars at Colts

Jaguars: WR Marqise Lee, G Brandon Linder, TE Julius Thomas, RB Denard Robinson, DT Sen’Derrick Marks, DE Chris Smith, S Sergio Brown

Colts: QB Andrew Luck, RB Tyler Varga, CB Greg Toler, TE Dwayne Allen, DT T.Y. McGill, G Todd Herremans, T Denzelle Good

Panthers at Buccaneers

Panthers: LB Luke Kuechly, WR Jerricho Cotchery, G Amini Silatolu, T Daryl Williams, WR Kevin Norwood, RB Brandon Wegher, S Dean Marlowe

Buccaneers: QB Ryan Griffin, CB Johnthan Banks, S Major Wright, C Evan Smith, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE Luke Stocker, WR Russell Shepard

Eagles at Redskins

Eagles: LB Kiko Alonso, DE Taylor Hart, DE Cedric Thornton, QB Thad Lewis, S Chris Maragos, OL Julian Vandervelde, LB Marcus Smith

Redskins: WR DeSean Jackson, CB DeAngelo Hall, LB Perry Riley, WR Andre Roberts, DE Kedric Golston, T Tom Compton, QB Robert Griffin III

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Jets take 20-7 lead to halftime at Wembley

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04:  Eric Decker #87 of the New York Jets evades Brice McCain #24 of the Miami Dolphins and Koa Misi #55 of the Miami Dolphins  during the game at Wembley Stadium on October 4, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images) Getty Images

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s accuracy faltered after completions on his first three passes on Sunday, but he used his legs to help the Jets extend their lead to 20-7 just before halftime.

Fitzpatrick scrambled for 19 yards on a third down just after the two minute warning to keep a Jets drive alive and Fitzpatrick recovered his touch in time to throw a touchdown to Eric Decker just before halftime. Fitzpatrick was on a 4-of-12 run thanks to a slew of scattershot throws — a few of which should have been intercepted — before hitting on four straight passes to close out the first half with a bigger lead.

Fitzpatrick is 11-of-19 for 172 yards overall and the Dolphins should probably consider themselves lucky the Jets have thrown that much. Chris Ivory has run over, around and through the Dolphins, including Ndamukong Suh on one big gain, on his way to 89 yards on 16 carries through the first two quarters. With Bilal Powell questionable to play again on Sunday because of a groin injury, Ivory should have a big role in the Jets’ efforts to make this lead stand up in the second half.

The Dolphins got their touchdown on a nicely thrown pass by Ryan Tannehill to Jake Stoneburner that was set up by a pair of pass interference penalties that handed Miami 58 yards. The Dolphins have managed just 65 yards on their own in a dismal offensive performance that’s seen them show neither aggressiveness nor a consistent ability to block the Jets pass rush.

That makes a big hole for Miami to climb out of and there will be fervent speculation about possible coaching changes in the event that they remain at the bottom of it come the end of the fourth quarter.

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Broncos right tackle Michael Schofield prepares not just for first start, but for first snap

Cody Latimer, Michael Schofield AP

Maybe Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning really should swap the pistol formation for punt formation on Sunday.

With a Vikings defense that repeatedly pummeled Matthew Stafford and Philip Rivers over the past two games coming to town, the Broncos have been forced to shuffle their tackles, due to an injury that will keep Ty Sambrailo from playing. Sambrailo, the season-long replacement for Ryan Clady, has a shoulder problem.

As a result, Ryan Harris moves from the right side to the left side, and Michael Schofield moves into the starting lineup.

For Schofield, it’s not just his first NFL start — it’ll be his first snap in an NFL regular-season game.

I’ll definitely have some butterflies,” Schofield recently said, via Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post. “I’m sure everyone does in their first game. I’ve just got to go out there, play with confidence and play with good technique.”

Schofield now has to prove that he’s worth of the third-round pick the team invested in him.

“This is a great opportunity for Michael,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “As a player, that’s all you ask for — work, work, work and then someday, OK, hey, here we go. Then you find out. It’s Michael’s turn.”

It could end up being Brian Robison’s turn to make Schofield into a turnstile. Ditto for Everson Griffen, who’ll be facing Harris on the other side. The Minnesota defensive line has been stout this season, and Manning may have to get rid of the ball even faster. Or, if all else fails, hit the deck.

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Brent Grimes limps off as Jets extend lead

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

Things aren’t getting any better for the Dolphins in London.

They’ve punted twice on offense, allowed a touchdown on three plays on the Jets’ first offensive drive and now trail 10-0 after watching their top corner limp off the field in the first quarter.

Cornerback Brent Grimes got beaten deep by Brandon Marshall on the first Jets possession and pulled up while grabbing his leg after Marshall made a catch to move the ball into Miami’s territory on the second drive. There’s been no update about his status from the Dolphins at this point.

The Dolphins defense was able to keep the Jets out of the end zone as the drive continued, although they probably should have come up with an interception on a pass that Ryan Fitzpatrick threw right at linebacker Koa Misi. They settled for a Nick Folk field goal to extend their lead with just under five minutes to play in the quarter.

UPDATE 10:09 a.m. ET: The Dolphins call Grimes questionable to return with a knee injury.

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Jets strike first in London

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13: Chris Ivory #33 of the New York Jets reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the fourth quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium on September 13, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets won 31-10. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) Getty Images

If the Dolphins are fighting for coach Joe Philbin’s job in London on Sunday, their first salvos won’t do much to create security.

The Jets needed just three plays to score a touchdown in the first quarter and take a 7-0 lead at Wembley Stadium. After forcing a Dolphins punt, Ryan Fitzpatrick loaded up the cannon for a 58-yard bomb to Brandon Marshall that put the Jets deep into Miami territory. Chris Ivory ran 12 yards on the next play and then finished off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run through the Dolphins defense.

Fitzpatrick’s opening pass stood in stark contrast to what Miami did on their opening possession. Ryan Tannehill threw three short passes to Jarvis Landry, one of which Landry dropped and one that came on 3rd-and-16 when the Dolphins pretty much threw their hands up to set up a punt.

We’ll see if they get more daring now that they’re on the wrong side of the scoreboard.

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Jags prepped for Luck and Hasselbeck

Indianapolis+Colts+v+New+York+Jets+sGXlOtxjb8Bl Getty Images

Colts coach Chuck Pagano may have tried to fool the Jaguars. It didn’t work.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Jaguars prepared to face both quarterback Andrew Luck and quarterback Matthew Hasselbeck on Sunday.

They spent time getting ready for the 40-year-old former franchise quarterback even though Pagano was both “supremely confident” and “absolutely confident” Luck would play.

Then again, based on the preseason assessment of Hasselbeck’s current skills from Bob Kravitz of WTHR, maybe the Jaguars didn’t need much time to get ready to face Hasselbeck.

If there are any concerns about Hasselbeck’s arm strength or other physical skills, look for heavy doses of Frank Gore on Sunday — along with eight or nine Jaguars defenders creeping around the line of scrimmage.

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Report: Bears optimistic Jay Cutler will start

Bears Cardinals AP

The Bears host the Raiders on Sunday afternoon in a game that sees the Raiders in the rare position of being favored to win a game on the road.

The presence of Jay Cutler at quarterback for the Bears might not do anything to change that, but the Bears are reportedly feeling good about having him back in the lineup. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the team will make a final call after Cutler tests his hamstring in pregame warmups, but that they are optimistic that he’ll be able to play.

Jimmy Clausen started in Cutler’s place in last week’s 26-0 loss to the Seahawks and would start again if Cutler remains out another week.

Whoever plays at quarterback is expected to go into the game without wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury and was listed as questionable along with Cutler, but reports during the week indicated he’ll be out this weekend.

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Report: Andrew Luck won’t play on Sunday

Matt Hasselbeck AP

On Wednesday, Colts coach Chuck Pagano said he was “supremely confident” that quarterback Andrew Luck will play on Sunday. On Friday, Pagano said he was “absolutely confident” Luck will play.

It’s now Sunday, and maybe Pagano will say he’s not going to be the Alabama coach.

According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Luck will not play on Sunday. (So it’s safe to say he won’t be taking 11 of 12 snaps today.)

Luck has a shoulder injury that kept him from practicing this week. He reportedly had a private throwing session with coaches on Saturday. Apparently, they didn’t like what they saw.

Colts fans may not like what they see from backup Matthew Hasselbeck. During the preseason, Bob Kravtiz of WTHR suggested that Hasselbeck, who has since turned 40, is done.

If the Colts lose to the Jaguars then follow it up with losses in prime time to the Texans and Patriots, the Colts could be done, too. And maybe Pagano could then be the Alabama coach, since the Alabama coach could end up being the Indianapolis coach.

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Arian Foster expected to play today against Falcons

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans Getty Images

The Texans appear to have settled on a quarterback, and now he’ll have someone very important to hand it to.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Texans running back Arian Foster is expected to play today against the Falcons, after missing the first three following preseason groin surgery.

Of course, that’s with the standard “barring pregame setback” proviso, which is true of any player.

But getting Foster and some degree of running game established will be big for Ryan Mallett, who has had to scratch through without much of a supporting cast of skill-position talent, and with mismatced lines in front of him each week.

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Demoff addresses Kroenke’s silence

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As the next ownership meeting looms, it’s likely that plenty of official and unofficial discussions will be occurring regarding the NFL’s return to Los Angeles. Presumably, Rams owner Stan Kroenke will break character and actually say something.

Recently, team COO Kevin Demoff addressed Kroenke’s strategic decision to say nothing about the future location of the franchise.

“They want to hear Stan speak, but they want to hear what they want to hear,” Demoff said at a recent Washington University panel on the business of sports, according to Brian Feldt of the St. Louis Business Journal. “If Stan said he will let the process play out, well, people would rather hear him say he’s committed to St. Louis. Honestly, Stan wants to go through the process.”

Still, Demoff acknowledges that the silence — and the ensuing uncertainty — has done damage.

“There are so many fans who I feel like we are letting down no matter what the outcome is because they feel differently today [about the team] than they did a year ago, and we feel responsible for that,” Demoff said.

They may feel even more differently a year from now, especially if the Rams move out of St. Louis. That’s hardly a lock. As PFT reported last week, a group of owners (including Panthers owner Jerry Richardson) are actively opposing Kroenke’s effort to relocate to L.A., supporting instead the Chargers-Raiders proposal in Carson. Or, ultimately, only the Chargers.

Silence or not, the calendar is creeping closer to the moment of truth for 2016. Part of the political maneuvering this week could entail pushing the decision back a year, given the perception that this could help Kroenke ultimately prove that: (1) St. Louis doesn’t have a viable plan for building a stadium; and (2) San Diego does.

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Eric Decker active, Branden Albert out in London

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The Jets waited until Sunday morning to decide if wide receiver Eric Decker would be in the lineup after listing him as questionable with a knee injury and the decision wound up being the one they wanted for their offense.

Decker is active for their clash with the Dolphins in London a week after missing the Jets’ loss to the Eagles. The Jets offense missed Decker, who scored touchdowns in each of their first two games, in that contest and it also missed running back Chris Ivory. Ivory was active but never played because of a groin injury, something that’s expected to change this time around.

On the other side, the Dolphins are without left tackle Branden Albert again this week. Albert made the trip across the pond, but was doubtful to play due to the hamstring injury he suffered in Week Two. Jason Fox will start in his place. Defensive tackle A.J. Francis, tight end Dion Sims, cornerback Tony Lippett, guard Billy Turner, wide receiver Matt Hazel and running back Raheem Mostert are also out for Miami.

Wide receiver Chris Owusu, cornerback Darrin Walls, linebacker Jamari Lattimore, guard Jarvis Harrison, guard Willie Colon, offensive lineman Ben Ijalana and tight end Jeff Cumberland are the Jets inactives.

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Kevin Coyle on hot seat for Dolphins, too

Kevin Coyle AP

On the person who would take over for coach Joe Philbin if he’s fired after Sunday’s game to the Jets, the Dolphins have not yet crossed that bridge. One possible reason for that? Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle may be thrown off it, with Philbin.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Coyle could be let go after Sunday’s game in lieu of Philbin. Obviously, that makes Coyle not a viable candidate to take over the team on an interim basis, if Philbin is let go.

As Rapoport characterizes it, a mutiny could be coming on the defensive side of the ball. He reports that players had a “very frank and contentious” meeting with Coyle this week, where complaints were aired about Coyle’s schemes. They reportedly “begged” him to simplify his schemes; coincidentally (or not), Coyle has said this week that the schemes may be simplified.

The broader message, then, is that if Philbin goes, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor becomes far more likely than Coyle to get the whistle. Or maybe a non-coordinator will inherit the job.

It’s also possible — but highly unlikely — that Philbin would hire someone from the outside to take over. Apart from the logistical issues (for example, the Rooney Rule would have to be satisfied for an in-season hire from outside the team), good luck persuading someone currently out of coaching to come in and clean up a mess on the fly.

Mike Shanahan seems to be very interested in getting back in, but it’s hard to imagine Shanahan or anyone else accepting the ultimate change-a-tire-on-a-moving-car challenge.

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