With another actual practice remaining ahead of the Miami Dolphins’ Week 2 game against the Baltimore Ravens, questions remain about what the offensive line will look like at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.
It looks like the Dolphins will be without a proper tackle on Austin Jackson, who has yet to train this week as a result of an ankle injury that kept him out in the second quarter of the opener against the New England Patriots.
Tyrone Armstead was back in training on Thursday, but was listed as limited due to a toe injury he sustained in the fourth quarter against New England. Armstead did not participate on Wednesday with the toe injury labeled “unrelated to injury – veterinary rest.”
If there is good news on the offensive line, it looks as though backup intervention Greg Little will be available after he missed a game against New England with an ankle injury. Little was included as a full participant in practice on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Big concern with Armistad
In the big picture, the biggest concern here, perhaps not in terms of injury severity but because of the player involved is Armstead.
His importance to the offensive line cannot be clearly overstated and any injury he suffers would be cause for concern given his long injury history – he has played more than 10 matches just twice in the past six seasons.
“I know that in his career Tyrone has been able to fight through injuries to the best of their ability,” coach Mike McDaniel said before practice on Wednesday. “So you know they are going to do everything they can. Obviously we will make the best decision later in the week on who gives us the best chance of winning counting on all those injury issues and what that looks like.”
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McDaniel said Wednesday that Jackson’s ankle “certainly didn’t break.”
“It’s one of those issues where the ankle is hard,” McDaniel said. “He’s doing everything he can to get ready.”
Dolphins options for different scenarios
Left guard Liam Eichenberg, who replaced Armstead, started on the two misses against New England, while Robert Hunt slipped off the right guard to take the shot Don Jackson and Little.
Dolphins currently has three offensive linemen on the coaching squad with tackles by Arnell Coleman, Keon Smith and goalkeeper James Embry, and there’s definitely a chance that one or more of them could be raised for the match in Baltimore.
There have been reports that veteran Brandon Shell has agreed terms to join the Dolphins coaching squad, but the move wasn’t official until late Thursday afternoon, and there’s no way he’ll be available in such a short time.
In terms of the starting lineup in the event that Armstead is unable to play, the two obvious options would be to return again with Eichenberg on the left tackle and introduce either Robert Jones or Michael Dieter in the left guard, or have Greg Little play on the left, the center played at the University of Mississippi and in the two seasons His first two were with the Carolina Panthers before he traded him with the Dolphins in August 2021.
If Armstead can play but Jackson can’t, having a bit of a head start on the right tackle seems the most likely move given the way things played out against New England.
There’s a chance we’ll get some answers on Friday and the best answer that could come out is to completely remove Armstead from the infection report and not receive the game state mapping.
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