Top News: Steen To Start, Maualuga Update & More

Anthony Steen will be the starting left guard when the Dolphins open the regular season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Steen and Jesse Davis have taken turns at the position since free agent acquisition Ted Larsen, who was projected to start, was sidelined by a biceps injury.

“Right now it looks like Steen will probably be our guy, unless something changes throughout the week,” Head Coach Adam Gase said before practice Monday. “He’s done a really good job with the flexibility to move to multiple positions; for us, it’s always a positive. The more centers you can have on your roster, the better. He’s really come through for us in a lot of different spots and we like a lot of the things that he does.”

Steen started seven games at center last season in place of the injured Mike Pouncey, including the first three. It had been the first time Steen had played center, going back to his days at the University of Alabama.

Steen first joined the Dolphins late in the 2015 season when he was signed to the practice squad.

Asked about the starting assignment after practice, Steen said he was still practicing at every interior position along the offensive line.

“Obviously it would be important for anybody in the National Football League to be a starter,” Steen said. “It’s always been a dream, but I’ve got to focus on every other position as well.”

Larsen was placed on injured reserve Monday and he’s eligible to begin practicing with the team after six weeks and play in a game after eight weeks.

Steen said he was more prepared for the starting assignment this time.

“Last year was a big step, especially going at center never doing it,” Steen said. “I’d just say (the biggest thing I learned was) stay focused, stay in the game. (I have) a little bit more games under my belt, so hopefully I won’t be as nervous.”

• Battles continue: While the starting left guard battle has been settled for now, the same can’t be said for the cornerback or defensive tackle position. Returning starter Byron Maxwell and Alterraun Verner are the candidates to start at cornerback opposite second-year cornerback Xavien Howard, while Jordan Phillips and Davon Godchaux have done battle to land the starting job alongside defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

• Pouncey plan: Center Mike Pouncey was out with his teammates for practice during the portion open to the media. Gase said before practice the team would be sticking to the same practice plan for Pouncey as the preseason, which pretty much involved a day-on, day-off approach.

• Parkey pleased: The weekend was a bit of a whirlwind for kicker Cody Parkey, who thought he had a good camp with the Cleveland Browns before being waived. Everything worked out for him, though, because he was claimed off waivers by the Dolphins, the team he grew up rooting for in Palm Beach County. Parkey was a big enough Miami fan even as he played for the Eagles and Browns he would sign up for alerts to get Dolphins scores.

• Maualuga moving along: Veteran linebacker Rey Maualuga said Monday he’s made progress in terms of his conditioning and he’s ready to contribute in the season opener. Gase, for his part, said before practice it was too soon to determine how much playing time Maualuga would get.

Numbers game: Maualuga was happy to be able to land 58, the same number he wore during his time with the Cincinnati Bengals. Fellow linebacker Brandon Watts wore that number during training camp, but was waived/injured Saturday. Three Dolphins players changed jersey numbers for the start of the regular season — Vincent Taylor went from 53 to 96; Maurice Smith went from 2 to 27; and Torry McTyer went from 5 to 33. New kicker Cody Parkey will wear 1 and new linebacker Justin March-Lillard will wear 53.