Offensive line was enough of a problem for the Miami Dolphins before a pair of injuries hit them in their 31-6 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Jesse Davis, who began the game at left tackle, went down with an elbow injury after just 20 snaps. Danny Isidora, who started at right guard, lasted just 30 before suffering a likely season-ending foot injury.
Now the Dolphins stare down their third different starting offensive line combination just four weeks into the season. While Davis practiced in a limited capacity all week and is questionable for Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers in Miami Gardens, Isidora’s injury means the Dolphins are looking for a new starting right guard.
Flores wouldn’t commit to any new alignment following practice Friday at the Miami Dolphins Training Facility, but mentioned guards Shaq Calhoun and Evan Boehm as two options after both played more than 40 snaps in Arlington, Texas. Boehm took over at left guard when Davis went down and fellow guard Michael Deiter shifted from left guard to left tackle, and Calhoun stepped into Isidora’s place when the guard left the game.
Calhoun, an undrafted rookie from the Mississippi State Bulldogs, started at right guard all throughout the preseason before the Dolphins traded for Isidora nine days before their season-opening loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 8.
Later the same August day, Miami also traded for Boehm with the hope he could provide a flexible bench option capable of playing both guard and center.
He had experience with offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo — both were with the Indianapolis Colts in 2018 — and DeGuglielmo was impressed enough to make him a trade target. Last season, Boehm got thrown into the Colts starting lineup at center just two weeks after he was signed off the Los Angeles Rams’ practice squad. He started the final 11 games with center Ryan Kelly sidelined and helped Indianapolis finish 2018 with the fewest sacks allowed.
“It was my second week of being there, but Kelly was down that whole first week I was there and the second day I got there I was running with the ones,” Boehm said Thursday after practice in Davie. “I had to learn everything fast on the run. I think my football intelligence [impressed DeGuglielmo].”
When the Dolphins’ first offensive lineman went down Sunday, Boehm was the first to get the call.
“I thought he played hard. I thought from an assignment standpoint he knew where to be and what to do. His communication was good,” Flores said Thursday. “It wasn’t all perfect, but he’s a guy who has gotten better since he’s gotten here every week and getting more comfortable. Hopefully that continues.”
The constant shuffling has presented a major challenge for a unit which was already perhaps the weakest on the roster. Julien Davenport, who started the opener at right tackle, broke his leg in practice following the loss to the Ravens, forcing fellow tackle J’Marcus Webb, whom Miami signed on Sept. 6, to take over at right tackle for the Dolphins’ loss to the New England Patriots on Sept. 15.
Miami enters the weekend as the only team in the NFL averaging fewer than 200 yards per game. The Dolphins rank second to last in yards per play, yards per pass attempt, yards per carry and rushing yards, and third to last in passing yards per game. Miami’s 13 sacks allowed are tied for third most in the league.
Injury updates and a new addition
With linebacker James Crawford landing on injured reserve Thursday, the Dolphins made a new acquisition on the offensive line ahead of their meeting with the Chargers at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami claimed Keaton Sutherland off waivers Thursday and the interior lineman made his debut at Dolphins practice Friday.
Safety Bobby McCain was also limited for the second straight day Friday after he missed practice Wednesday with hamstring and shoulder injuries. He is questionable. Wide receiver Allen Hurns and cornerback Jomal Wiltz both missed practice for the third straight day after sustaining injuries Sunday. Neither will play Sunday due to a concussion and groin injury, respectively.
Linebacker Trent Harris is also questionable with a foot injury and safety Reshad Jones is questionable with an ankle injury.