Mike McDaniel confident in Dolphins' CB depth amid Jalen Ramsey injury

Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey speaks during a news conference at the NFL football team's training facility, Tuesday, July 25, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Wilfredo Lee, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Jalen Ramsey, set for surgery on Friday, addressed his Miami Dolphins teammates a day earlier about the injury and told them not to worry or feel sorry for him.

The six-time Pro Bowl cornerback suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee at the end of Thursday's practice and is expected to miss the start of the regular season. But he vowed — bragged a little — that he could beat whatever timeline for return doctors give him.

“It really moved a lot of people,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Friday. “He first let everybody know how much he appreciated this team, how this team has accepted him, how he has been in the league a little bit and how he knows what we're doing here, in his opinion, is special, for his position group not to waiver, and exuded all the confidence that he had in that position group.”

McDaniel said Ramsey will have surgery Friday afternoon to repair the tear and his timeline for return won't be known until the procedure is complete.

The injury happened during an 11-on-11 drill during Miami's second practice of training camp. McDaniel said it was a non-contact injury that happened while he was matched up against receiver Tyreek Hill. Ramsey and Hill collided on the play, but the injury, McDaniel clarified, happened before the contact.

“That end of the season push (will) be legendary!” Ramsey tweeted Thursday night.

Miami acquired the All-Pro cornerback Ramsey in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams in March.

When veteran players reported to training camp on Monday, Ramsey spoke of the potential of the Dolphins defense, which is adjusting to a new scheme under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

“I’ve been a part of his defense for the past three years so I kind of know how to play it,” Ramsey said. "I know what’s needed to play this defense and be one of the best defenses in the league and be elite. And we got all the pieces — edge rushers to the secondary. We even got the linebackers and all that. Like I said, I don’t compare, but I look at other teams I’ve been a part of and I feel like we, on paper, we stack up well. But the work comes first.”

The Dolphins dealt with several injuries at the cornerback position last season. Veteran cornerback Xavien Howard played through groin injuries all year.

Byron Jones missed the entire season after having surgery on his Achilles tendon. The Dolphins cut him earlier this year in a cost-cutting move.

Trill Williams tore the ACL in his left knee during the preseason. Nik Needham tore his Achilles last October.

Williams and safety Brandon Jones are still working their way back from their respective season-ending injuries.

McDaniel said he's confident in the team's cornerback room, which also includes Kader Kohou, who had a breakout 2022 season as an undrafted rookie free agent, Keion Crossen and 2020 first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene.

Earlier this week, Howard pointed to Kohou as a player to watch as camp opened.

“My boy, Kader. Dude is a straight dawg,” Howard said. "His mentality he has, just being an undrafted guy, I continue to see him grow and get better on the field.”

Miami also drafted cornerback Cam Smith in the second round in April to add more depth. Smith's role will likely increase in Ramsey's absence.

“I feel good about the entire crew," McDaniel said. "We are dealing with some injuries now in that group, but I feel very, very, very good about the competition there and the guys that are ready to go see some more opportunities.”

With the cornerback room not at full strength, McDaniel said the team will work out a cornerback soon for “depth purposes.”

Notes: McDaniel said linebacker Jaelan Phillips was “stepped on” during the first practice of training camp. McDaniel said the team is not worried about the injury, but it would “not be healed” if he continues practicing with it. Phillips did not practice Thursday. ... Crossen has an undisclosed injury and will not practice Friday. ... McDaniel said he's happy with Miami's running back group as the Dolphins continue to be linked to Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook.


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