Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel gave some uplifting news about the injury rehabilitations of both safety Brandon Jones and cornerback Nik Needham.
Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel ahead of first OTA practice open to reporters.
Brandon Jones and Nik Needham, who sustained season-ending leg injuries in ‘22, are on schedule with their rehab. “Excited about them,” McDaniel said. pic.twitter.com/wCRbr9UQF6
— Daniel Oyefusi (@DanielOyefusi) May 23, 2023
Jones started the first seven games of last season before hurting his left ACL during the 16-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 23. Prior to the injury, he had 49 combined tackles on the season as well three passes defensed and one forced fumble.
In addition, he served as one of the Dolphins’ top blitzers, which made life difficult for opponents. In his three seasons with the team, he’s managed to force one fumble each season, with his lone interception taking place during the 2021 campaign.
Needham’s season-ending injury was a ruptured Achilles that came in the 24-16 home loss to the Minnesota Vikings, one week prior to Jones’ injury.
Jones was originally drafted by the Dolphins during the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he started four of 16 games before gaining a more prominent role in the 2021 campaign by starting 13 of 15 contests.
In the case of Needham, his path was more of a challenge after signing with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Texas at El Paso in 2019. He was actually released by the Dolphins that season before being brought back.
Needham’s four seasons have seen him start 27 of his 51 games with the Dolphins, collecting a pair of interceptions during each of the first three seasons.
Getting Jones and Needham back will help bolster a Dolphins secondary that definitely needs to step up in making big plays.
Last season, the entire Dolphins team snagged only eight interceptions. Safety Jevon Holland was the lone Dolphins player to have more than one pick during the campaign.
The injuries suffered by Jones and Needham can be difficult to return from. The Dolphins will no doubt make sure that both players are healed before allowing them to return to the practice field.
Without Jones and Needham available, the Dolphins were still able to reach the playoffs last season. The hope is that they can be part of a deeper playoff run in the upcoming campaign.