The Miami Dolphins will be extremely shorthanded after all, at least offensively, in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against the New England Patriots.
Dolphins leading receiver DeVante Parker, top tight end Mike Gesicki, and receiver and return specialist Jakeem Grant will not play on Sunday after practicing in a limited basis this past week and being marked questionable for the game. Starting left guard Ereck Flowers (ankle) will also be inactive for the second straight week.
The absences mean starter Tua Tagovailoa will be without his top-four receiving targets of the season and must rely on several Dolphins backups as he tries to become the sixth rookie quarterback to beat Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Sunday.
Without Parker, Gesicki, Grant and receiver Preston Williams, who remains on injured reserve with a knee injury, Tagovailoa and the Dolphins will rely on rookies Lynn Bowden Jr. and Malcolm Perry, veterans Isaiah Ford and Mack Hollins, and tight ends Adam Shaheen and Durham Smythe in the passing game.
The good news is Miami’s defense will be close to full strength:
— Linebacker Jerome Baker, who injured his knee in practice on Friday, participated in pregame warmups and is active.
— Starting safety Bobby McCain, who injured his ankle last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, will also suit up and play.
— Linebackers Kyle Van Noy (hip) and Elandon Roberts (chest) will return to action and play against their former team after missing the Chiefs game.
And Tagovailoa will have some more help in the run game as rookie running back Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) will return to the lineup after missing the past three games.
Leading rusher Myles Gaskin remains on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list, and will miss his second straight game.
Dolphins fullback Chandler Cox and rookie defensive tackle Jason Strowbridge are also inactive for Sunday’s game.
This story will be updated.