With one starting tackle out and the other one doubtful to play Sunday at the San Francisco 49ers, the Miami Dolphins elevated two offensive linemen from the practice squad.
Veteran Kendall Lamm and undrafted rookie James Empey got the call up to the game-day roster on Saturday.
The Dolphins (8-3) have right tackle Austin Jackson already ruled out with his ankle injury. A pectoral strain has three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead, who is also dealing with a lingering toe injury, unlikely to play against the 49ers (7-4).
Assuming neither plays, Miami is likely to start veteran Brandon Shell at right tackle, where he has most of his career experience and has done well in Jackson’s absence, while putting fourth-year tackle Greg Little on the left side. The two backup tackles have a tall task against a talented San Francisco defensive front and pass rush that includes star defensive end Nick Bosa, a former St. Thomas Aquinas High Standout who has 11 ½ sacks this season.
Lamm and Empey help provide depth Sunday for an offensive line that will also have Michael Deiter as a reserve while starting Connor Williams at center, Robert Jones at left guard and Robert Hunt at right tackle.
Lamm was just signed to Miami’s practice squad on Monday. He has seven seasons of NFL experience between time with the Houston Texans (2015-18), Cleveland Browns (2019-20) and last year with the Tennessee Titans. He was with the Detroit Lions for training camp this preseason.
Lamm has 86 career games played with 28 starts.
“He’s made a footing in this league,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said of Lamm on Monday. “Playing at this level, he’s done a good job. I think the more NFL game experience that you have on your NFL team at the offensive line position is critical, just because it’s not something that you want to come off as a reserve or off the bench and enter in your first situation. It’s not ideal at all. He’s a good player and I’m happy to have him around.”
Empey signed with the Dolphins on Sept. 1 before the season started. He entered the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent but didn’t make their roster.
Miami also had the option of signing practice squad tackle Kion Smith to the active roster. The team had already used its three free elevations on him, so a roster spot would’ve had to be cleared to bring him aboard.