Dolphins offensive tackles Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James have proven to be two of the Dolphins’ most indispensable players this season, based largely on what has happened when they’re not in the game.
So the Dolphins are very much hoping their injured knees will be healthy enough for them to play in Green Bay on Sunday. Both were limited in practice on Wednesday, participating only in some individual drills.
And though Miami cannot be certain either will play, they’re hopeful.
“We’re trying to make sure we can get them as healthy as they can for Sunday,” coach Adam Gase said. “Hopefully it goes smooth to where they’re both out there and we roll. If something comes up where they can’t, then we’ve got to make some adjustments.
“We’re just going to have to go through this entire week and kind of see where we’re at. It’s going to take time to make sure those guys are right and ready to go for Sunday.”
James, walking out of the locker-room alongside Tunsil on Wednesday, said the team does not want them speaking to reporters this week.
Quarterback Brock Osweiler sounded optimistic about their availability.
“I am sure they’re doing everything they can to be ready; they’ll be good,” Osweiler said.
If Tunsil hadn’t left the Cincinnati Bengals game with a concussion, Miami might not have blown a 17-3 lead in a 27-17 loss. And if the Dolphins hadn’t blown that lead, it could be the Dolphins holding the sixth playoff seed instead of Cincinnati.
Sam Young struggled mightily after replacing Tunsil against the Bengals, allowing a pressure that led to a Ryan Tannehill interception and committing two penalties, among other breakdowns.
Then Zach Sterup allowed three sacks, according to Pro Football Focus grades, after replacing the injured James on Sunday against the Jets. James then returned to the game.
According to Pro Football Focus, Tunsil has allowed one sack in 281 pass blocking snaps and James has relinquished three sacks in 280 pass blocking snaps. PFF rates Tunsil 18th best among all tackles this season and James’ 40th best.
Sterup said he and Young both switched between left tackle and right tackle in Wednesday’s practice. But Sterup is better at left tackle and Young probably at right tackle.
Gase blamed some of Sterup’s problems on Sunday on needing to play right tackle when James went out.
“He’s a left tackle and when you get thrown in at right tackle, it’s not ideal for him,” Gase said. “He got singled up a few times and it’s tough. You get thrown in there; it’s a little out of position. We are debating what we want to do.”
Right guard Jesse Davis, who has experience playing tackle, said he took no tackle snaps at Wednesday’s practice and the team hasn’t raised that as a possibility.
Also, left guard Ted Larsen was limited in practice because of a neck injury that forced him to the sidelines briefly during a game two weeks ago.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Defensive end Charles Harris, who has missed four consecutive games with a calf injury, was again unable to practice on Wednesday.
Receiver Jakeem Grant was limited with an Achilles’ injury and Kenny Stills was limited because of the groin injury that he played through against the Jets.
The Dolphins hope Tannehill returns Nov. 25 against Indianapolis, but that’s far from certain.
▪ Jerome Baker, who had an interception return for a touchdown against the Jets on Sunday, said he had 357 text messages waiting for him after the game and has watched a replay of the interception at least a dozen times.
“I must have got tagged on Instagram and Twitter over 100 times,” he said. “I kind of stopped looking at it now. It’s definitely cool, to see the [celebration] dance, everybody else dancing.”
▪ When Baker got to the sideline after the interception, teammate Andre Branch told him: “Welcome to the NFL.”
▪ Gase, to Green Bay reporters about facing Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers: “I don’t want to piss Tom Brady off, but he’s probably the top guy.”
▪ A week after indicating he would like to keep the quarterback job even after Tannehill is healthy, Osweiler was more measured Wednesday, saying: “I totally respect whatever decision is made.”
Gase already has said that Tannehill will resume starting when he is recovered from his shoulder injury.
Osweiler conceded the offense has “underachieved in some games.”
Miami has scored 31, 21, 23 and 13 points in his four starts, but the only touchdown in last week’s Jets game was scored on an interception return.