The Miami Dolphins face the possibility of being without both starting tackles against the Buffalo Bills’ fierce pass rush in Sunday’s 1 p.m. kickoff at Hard Rock Stadium between two AFC East unbeatens.
Three-time Pro Bowl tackle Terron Armstead has his status in doubt going into Sunday’s critical matchup against the Buffalo Bills.
“It is literally up in the air,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said on Friday ahead of team practice. “Only his body really knows, and I don’t think he knows yet if he’ll play.”
This comes as Miami already is without right tackle Austin Jackson, on injured reserve with an ankle ailment, for at least three more weeks. But the team has been pleased with backup Greg Little’s work filling in at his spot.
The Dolphins didn’t send Armstead, who played through a toe injury last Sunday in Baltimore, out to any of the team’s practices this week as he missed a third consecutive day on Friday. Last week, he participated on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday before playing against the Ravens, but McDaniel expressed confidence in Armstead’s ability to play without practice.
“He’s a vet that we can count on if he’s able to play,” McDaniel said. “Traditionally, you don’t really mess with that stuff. Guys have to practice to be able to play. He’s proven otherwise.
“We thought it’d be extra helpful if we didn’t hurt how he’s treating [the toe] by making it worse with practice, and we need to get guys prepared should he not be able.”
If he plays, Armstead will be crucial in blocking Bills edge rusher Von Miller, and the prospect of backup tackles having to deal with him could be scary. Buffalo also has second-year standout defensive end Greg Rousseau, a University of Miami alum, opposite Miller.
Should Armstead be unable to play, McDaniel may opt to insert Robert Jones at left guard while sliding Liam Eichenberg out to Armstead’s vacated left tackle spot, as he did when Armstead missed snaps in the opener against New England. This would keep Little at right tackle.
Little has impressed offensive line coach Matt Applebaum since getting thrown into the lineup for much of the Patriots game and the entire outing in Baltimore.
“He did really well in there. I was proud of him,” Applebaum said on Thursday. “I think it’s been a little while since he played, and he had a great week of preparation. He went out there against some good players and performed pretty well.”
Little could be on a path to revitalizing his career after underwhelming in two years with the Carolina Panthers, which drafted him in the second round in 2019, and not getting game action in 2021 with the Dolphins.
“The guy’s got a lot of physical tools,” Applebaum said. “There’s a reason he was a high pick. I mean, he’s [listed at 6-5, 322 pounds]. He’s got long arms, good feet and can bend. Those guys don’t grow on trees.”
Little said Armstead’s presence has instilled confidence in him.
“We speak all the time. He always says I’m …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment