Mike McDaniel predicts Byron Jones will return for Miami Dolphins like ‘folk hero’

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Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones remains off the field, but Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel believes that the veteran will become a “folk hero” when he does return.

When Jones underwent offseason Achilles surgery, his rehabilitation was expected to have him taking part in training camp. Despite that optimistic timeline, he has yet to make his 2022 debut for the Dolphins.

The Dolphins have been able to manage without Jones in the lineup, compiling an 8-3 record despite other injuries in the team’s secondary.

Early on this season, the Dolphins’ pass defense struggled by allowing eight touchdowns and only grabbing one interception. Against their division rivals, the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins allowed a season-high 382 yards through the air.

The Dolphins were able to win three of those first four contests and have allowed just nine passing touchdowns in the past seven games. However, with a potential playoff run on the horizon, having the team’s best players on the field is vital to any success they might achieve.

Jones signed as a free agent with the Dolphins in 2020 after five seasons in the secondary of the Dallas Cowboys. In his first year with the Dolphins, he picked off two passes, had four passes defended and also forced a fumble.

Last season, Jones ended the year with no interceptions but offered the Dolphins solid play on the corner. He finished with 10 passes defended and forced a fumble and also had 58 tackles on the season.

The mystery surrounding Jones’ continued absence has led to some joking references to his whereabouts. Yet, McDaniel is making every effort to ensure that the veteran is fully healthy when he’s back in the lineup.

Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers marks the start of a pivotal three-game stretch of road contests. A Dec. 11 clash against the Los Angeles Chargers will be followed by a pivotal matchup one week later against the Bills.

That arduous test could help determine if the Dolphins are headed back to the postseason or will make the road more difficult for their final three games. The first of those matchups is a Christmas Day home contest against the Green Bay Packers.

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Brad is a freelance writer for Dolphinnation.com and has been around long enough to remember the 1972 perfect season, and even when Don Shula was coaching the Colts. He still follows the Dolphins and other happenings in the NFL, so he can offer a little perspective when it comes to the ups and downs of each season. Some of his opinions may end up differing from the people who read them, but that's par for the course when it comes to life in South Florida.