Dolphins defensive tackle Paul Soliai didn’t practice Tuesday, and the team is preparing to face Atlanta on Sunday without him.
Soliai suffered a left knee injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win at Indianapolis. Miami hasn’t given any indication of the injury’s severity, but defensive tackle Randy Starks didn’t sound as if he expects Soliai to be in the lineup.
“We can’t replace a guy like Paul Soliai,” Starks. “Everybody will have to pull their own weight, do a little extra to help the team win.”
Soliai is a standout defensive tackle, but the Dolphins have one of the NFL’s deepest lines. Starks, a Pro Bowl selection last year, has been coming off the bench behind Jared Odrick after sitting out offseason practices in protest of not receiving a long-term deal.
If Soliai is out, Starks would almost certainly move into the starting lineup next to Odrick.
Coach Joe Philbin, who doesn’t discuss injuries, said “I’m confident we’ll have a good defensive line group on the field Sunday.”
The Dolphins signed defensive tackle Isaako Aaitui, who was with the team in 2011, to the practice squad Tuesday.
Miami is catching a break in that Atlanta starting running back Steven Jackson will miss Sunday’s game with a thigh injury. The Falcons made the announcement Tuesday.
“They still have good backs who are capable of making plays,” Starks said. “We still have to stop the run no matter who’s back there.”
Shelby setback: Defensive end Derrick Shelby is off to a great start in his second season, recording a sack in each of the first two games.
But after celebrating a win in Indianapolis, Shelby came home to his Fort Lauderdale apartment Sunday night to find his bathroom flooded after a pipe burst in the apartment above him. It’s still a wreck.
“I came back feeling good on Sunday, and that wasn’t the best thing to come home to,” Shelby said.
On the field, Shelby is making a difference and getting more snaps at defensive end than Dion Jordan, the No. 3 overall pick in April’s NFL draft.
“He’s very technically sound, a good fundamental football player,” Philbin said of Shelby. “He’s smart, instinctive, and he’s done a really nice job.”
Defending tight ends: Miami struggled to defend tight ends last season, and the problem hasn't gotten better this year. Cleveland's Jordan Cameron had 108 yards and a touchdown in the season opener, and Indianapolis' Coby Fleener had 76 yards and a touchdown Sunday.
Now the Dolphins will face future Hall of Famer Tony Gonazlez of the Falcons.
“I think we have the capability of doing a good job against tight ends,” Philbin said. “We’ve got a tough one this week. He’s outstanding. He’s a tough guy to defend, no doubt about it. He knows how to get open. He has extremely tough hands. It’ll be a challenge, but I think we’re capable.”
Injury updates: Cornerbacks Dimitri Patterson (groin), Jamar Taylor (sports hernia) and Will Davis (toe) all practiced Tuesday. They were out against Indianapolis.
Safety Chris Clemons has an undisclosed injury and didn’t work in team drills.
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