Chris Lammons has no assurance of making the Miami Dolphins’ final 53-man roster. Lammons spent part of the 2018 season on the Dolphins’ practice squad after going undrafted following a four-year career with the South Carolina Gamecocks. Training camp for him is about earning one of those final spots in the secondary for his hometown team.
The best way for a fringe-roster defensive back to prove his worth is to make plays on special teams. In Miami’s third preseason game, Lammons did. Lammons, listed on the two-deep depth chart at one of the cornerback spots, made two crunching special teams tackles, one of which briefly seemed to give the Dolphins a lead in the second quarter.
Lammons, who starred at Plantation High School before becoming a four-year starter for South Carolina, played a gunner role for Miami on both kickoff and punt coverage against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Hard Rock Stadium, and made plays in both phases. His first was on the Dolphins’ first punt of the game when he beat the Jaguars’ blockers down the field and blew up wide receiver Keelan Cole for no gain.
“It’s all hustle,” Lammons said.
After Miami finally scored for the first time in the second quarter, Lammons nearly put the Dolphins ahead. Wide receiver DJ Chark tried to bring a kickoff out of the end zone in Miami Gardens and, again, Lammons was the first player down the field. The cornerback again blew up the return specialist and jarred the ball loose. Running back Mark Walton scooped up the fumble and ran into the end zone, although Chark was eventually ruled down upon replay review.
The hit knocked Chark out of the game with a concussion.
Lammons finished the first half with the two tackles in a pivotal week for borderline players like himself. Cornerbacks Eric Rowe, Xavien Howard and Jomal Wilkes are all locks to make the roster, leaving an opportunity for Lammons to win one of the last couple roster spots at his position. Tyler Patmon, Cornell Armstrong and Nik Needham are among the other cornerbacks fighting for the last roster spot.
“Some of us been doing this since we was 5 years old,” Lammons said. “Just go out there and play freely, and you’re going to do what you do.”
Laremy Tunsil sits; Sam Eguavoen starts
Laremy Tunsil was a late scratch for the Dolphins, although his absence isn’t injury related.
The tackle was one of 13 players Miami announced were not playing ahead of the Dolphins’ third preseason game. On offense, Miami was also without running back Kenyan Drake and wide receivers DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant. On defense, the Dolphins were missing defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, linebackers Andrew Van Ginkel, Kiko Alonso and Raekwon McMillan, and safeties Reshad Jones, T.J. McDonald and Walt Aikens.
With Tunsil out for the second time in three preseason games, Miami started Zach Sterup at left tackle. The rest of the line, from left to right, was the usual alignment of Michael Deiter, Daniel Kilgore, Shaq Calhoun and Jesse Davis. Running back Kalen Ballage got the start with Drake out, and Kenny Stills and Preston Williams started in the injury-depleted wide receiver corps. Nick O’Leary started at tight end, Chandler Cox at fullback and Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback in the all-important third preseason game.
On defense, the Dolphins moved Sam Eguavoen into the starting lineup after a breakthrough second preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday. He started alongside fellow linebackers Jerome Baker and Nick DeLuca. They lined up behind defensive ends Charles Harris and Tank Carradine, and defensive tackles Davon Godchaux and Christian Wilkins. Rowe, Howard, and safeties Bobby McCain and Minkah Fitzpatrick started in the secondary.
Eguavoen, who earned a starting shot this week after recording eight tackles against the Buccaneers, finished the first half with four total tackles and one tackle for loss. Baker had seven total tackles, one tackle for loss and pass defended after a good performance of his own in Tampa.
This and that
▪ McCain briefly exited the game in the second quarter with an apparent shoulder injury. After quickly being checked out in the medical examination tent, the defensive back didn’t go to the locker room for any further testing.
▪ Kicker Jason Sanders continued a good preseason in the first half, sinking a pair of field goals from 40 and 46 yards out.