The Miami Dolphins are ready to rule out one offensive tackle for Sunday’s game at the San Francisco 49ers, but not the other.
Right tackle Austin Jackson won’t play, and Terron Armstead is unlikely to give it a go, officially listed as doubtful on the the team’s Friday injury report.
Coach Mike McDaniel is leaving open a slight possibility for Armstead, the three-time Pro Bowl left tackle, to play through his pectoral strain at Levi’s Stadium.
Armstead was seen participating in the team’s Friday afternoon drills on a limited basis before the team flies out to the Bay Area in the evening.
“He has a diligent process,” said McDaniel after Armstead missed Wednesday and Thursday sessions. “We’re going to see how he is and adjust on game day, but we’ll give him his time. He’s earned it.”
Armstead, who has also been playing through a lingering toe injury since the opener, left last Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans late in the first half with the chest ailment.
The status of Miami’s tackles is vital this week as the Dolphins face the 49ers’ top-ranked defense and star pass rusher Nick Bosa’s 11 1/2 sacks.
Jackson was the only player on the active roster that didn’t participate in Friday’s brief practice. With Jackson out after aggravating his right ankle injury suffered late in the Houston game, the Dolphins will likely reinsert Brandon Shell back into the lineup at right tackle. That’s where Shell filled in admirably for several weeks of Jackson’s initial absence from the high-ankle sprain suffered in Week 1 against the Patriots.
Should Armstead also get held out in Santa Clara, Greg Little should see time at the other tackle position. In the snaps where both were in against the Texans, Little played on the left side and Shell on the right, where he has said he is far more comfortable.
McDaniel has been pleased with the contributions of each as both backup tackles have seen significant playing time this season.
“It is a tough task to play tackle in this league, and I think it’s a credit to them how they’ve played,” McDaniel said. “They’ve just really done their best to keep the offense moving forward and have been huge contributors.”
McDaniel also continues to monitor backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s availability after he missed the past two games due to a knee injury.
“He’s working through it,” said McDaniel of Bridgewater, who will enter Sunday questionable. “He’s spending more time than he ever has in the training room, trying to get right, but we’ll see how it responds.”
McDaniel added he and the team are “ready for either” backup quarterback between Bridgewater and Skylar Thompson, who has entered for Tua Tagovailoa late in blowouts the past two games, with Bridgewater out.
Running back Myles Gaskin (shoulder/ankle) was back at practice Friday after missing Wednesday and Thursday drills. He is questionable for Sunday while Raheem Mostert is good to go.
The Dolphins coach said cornerback Byron Jones, who remains on the physically-unable-to-perform list since his offseason lower left leg surgery, won’t travel with the team to the West Coast.
“He’s focused on getting right and seeing if he can be the Miami Dolphins’ folk hero,” said McDaniel as not traveling also means Jones will miss the team’s week of practice ahead of the ensuing game against the Chargers. “Just when you guys don’t expect it, that’s when you’ll see him.”
Dolphins left guard Liam Eichenberg is eligible to return off injured reserve from his knee injury after the 49ers game, and McDaniel said he could return “sooner than later” between next week or the one that follows.
“I don’t really totally know at this point the exact date,” McDaniel said. “He’s working hard, and he got injured when his game was as strong as it’s ever been. He was making some plays, doing his job well, and I think he’s very confident.”
My Cause My Cleats
Across the NFL this weekend, players and coaches are bringing attention to causes important to them through the league’s My Cause My Cleats initiative, when custom-painted cleats can be worn to support non-profit organizations.
More than 30 Dolphins players and coaches are participating this weekend at San Francisco.
Defensive coordinator Josh Boyer, a Parkland resident, is supporting Stand with Parkland in advocacy for victims of gun violence.
“What struck me probably the most was the trial and the verdict and the disappointment, for me personally,” said Boyer after the gunman who took 17 lives at Stoneman Douglas High on Feb. 14, 2018 was given life in prison but not the death penalty.
“And then I would say the beauty of the human spirit and the families of the victims, the way they were able to compose themselves, handle themselves and articulate their feelings, their wants, their desires, I thought it was a beautiful thing for the human spirit. I really did.”
Multiple Dolphins are supporting Dolphins Challenge Cancer for cancer research and awareness, including McDaniel, safety Brandon Jones, linebacker Elandon Roberts and quarterback Skylar Thompson.
Thompson lost his mother, Teresa Lynn Thompson, and grandfather, John Walter Thompson, to cancer within seven months of each other when he was a child.
“Cancer affects all of us in some way,” Thompson said in a statement released through the team, “and my family wants to be a part of the cure, so others don’t have to go through losing their loved ones like we did.”
A full list of what the Dolphins are doing for My Cause My Cleats can be found at nfl.com/news/my-cause-my-cleats-2022-dolphins.
This story will be updated.