Armando Salguero

Mike Pouncey out today but not for season; a playoff caliber team still wins matchup like this

LOS ANGELES -- Mike Pouncey is back with the Miami Dolphins today after flying to the east coast and back to the west coast to see a hip specialist in recent days. And there’s good news and bad news.

The bad news is Pouncey is still out for today’s game against the Los Angeles Rams. His hip needs rest and treatment and the 5,000 miles he just logged didn’t help.

But Pouncey, inactive today, is not out for the season. The Dolphins are privately calling that “good news” because it suggests Pouncey can return to his starting center spot in the next couple of weeks if not next week against San Francisco.

Of course, that doesn’t help the Dolphins today who will face the Rams with Anthony Steen at center, Kraig Urbik at left guard and Laremy Tunsil at left tackle. The right side of the Miami offensive line remains intact.

The rest of the Dolphins inactives include defensive end Mario Williams and linebacker Jelani Jenkins. Xavien Howard, Nick Williams, and obviously Albert are inactive.

And, of course, Dolphins fans are sweating because the Rams will come at the Dolphins with a relatively healthy and outstanding defensive line. Robert Quinn, who missed all but one day of practice last week, is expected to start for L.A. So is backup Eugene Sims, who missed much of the week with a concussion.

So Dolphins fans are fretting what this Rams front might do to the Dolphins game plan. I wrote about this in my column today. The details are here.

I get that.

But here’s the deal: Rams starting center Tim Barnes, nursing a foot injury, is active for the Rams today but he’s obviously not 100 percent. So the Rams will either go with a diminished Barnes or second-year backup Demetrius Rhaney or some other backup player.

At center.

With rookie quarterback Jared Goff at quarterback.

Pause ...

That means Ndamukong Suh and Earl Mitchell -- Miami’s veteran defensive tackles -- should freaking, fracking feast! I say it is the Rams who should be worried about the health of their young starting QB as much as the Dolphins are worried about the health of their young starting quarterback.

I say that if running back Todd Gurley has struggled so far this year behind a healthy offensive line against everyone else, he should continue that struggle against Miami’s defense with a banged up offensive line.

That make sense?

The point is the Dolphins paid a lot of money to players on their defensive line. Suh is their highest[-paid player. It should look like they’re all worth the investment today.

One more thing: The Rams are 4-5. They are not the New England Patriots. They are not the Seattle Seahawks. They are not going to the Super Bowl.

If the Dolphins cannot beat this team when it plays a rookie quarterback starting for the first time behind a backup center, then the current Dolphins’ playoff run deserves to be derailed.

Playoff caliber teams win matchups like this.

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