Six days after trading Laremy Tunsil to Houston, the Dolphins added a veteran offensive tackle Friday, signing J’Marcus Webb after giving him an audition Monday.
Webb, 31, has started 65 games through eight seasons, with the Bears, Vikings, Raiders, Seahawks and Colts. He began last season as Indianapolis’ starting right tackle but sustained a hamstring injury in the opener and was placed on injured reserve.
But he has appeared in only 10 games and started four during the past three seasons. He was cut by the Colts last weekend.
“We felt he’s a guy who has got some experience and will help our team,” coach Brian Flores said, noting Webb can play left and right tackle.
To open a roster spot for Webb, the Dolphins placed rookie linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel on injured reserve with a foot injury. He’s eligible to return for the sixth game of the season, but Flores was non-committal about whether he would play this season.
Van Ginkel “had a good start to camp,” according to Flores but missed the past three weeks of practice and preseason games because of the injury.
Webb’s signing gives the Dolphins four offensive tackles — Julien Davenport (Houston’s starting left tackle last season), Jesse Davis (the former guard who was converted to right tackle) and Ohio State rookie Isaiah Prince.
Davis has been working some at left tackle this week and Davenport at right tackle. Davenport last season started 13 games at left tackle and two at right tackle.
The Dolphins listed no players as out and six as questionable. Of those six, one of them (linebacker Trent Harris/foot injury) didn’t practice all week. One of them (defensive end/linebacker Charles Harris; wrist) practiced fully.
The other four were limited in practice: safety Bobby McCain (shoulder), receiver Albert Wilson (hip/calf), cornerback Johnson Bademosi (hip) and guard Danny Isidora (hamstring).
▪ In a vote of players, center Daniel Kilgore was named captain on offense. McCain and linebacker Jerome Baker were named captains on defense, and Walt Aikens on special teams. “It’s greatly appreciated,” McCain said. “They see the work you put in; it’s nice. You have to do the right things all the time.”
▪ Cornerback Jomal Wiltz said he expects to play on defense on Sunday, and Miami used him a lot in the slot during training camp. If he plays in the slot Sunday, it will be interesting to see how Miami allocates safety snaps among McCain, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Reshad Jones.
The most pleasant surprise of this Dolphins offseason thought he would be a narcotics officer, stopping drug deals instead of running backs.
“Riding along was not interesting,” Eguavoen said of a week spent accompanying Dallas officers as part of police academy training four years ago. “I didn’t like it.”
Nor was he enamored with his job selling sneakers in a Mesquite, Texas, mall.
Instead, Eguavoen — undrafted out of Texas Tech and the neatest story of this Dolphins training camp — officially begins his NFL career Sunday as a key piece on this Dolphins defense, slated for a role in the nickel defense and potentially more after three years in the Canadian Football League.
When the Dolphins signed him this spring, it marked the first time he ever received a check from an NFL team.
“When I clicked on his CFL tape when I first got here, the thing that jumped out to me was, this guy is all over the field making tackles — like explosive tackles, running down people, and violent on contact,” linebackers coach Rob Leonard said.
“This being the first time that I’ve gotten a player from Canada, I can’t help but think that experience, that three years there of just playing football, had to help him. I don’t know the player he was coming out [of Texas Tech] but it’s hard to teach that — just being instinctive, and finding the football, and being violent on contact. You can work on tackling all you want, but that’s kind of a mentality more than anything. Sam is that way just naturally.”
So how did the Dolphins know his play would translate from the CFL, where he spent three years with the Saskatchewan Roughriders after missing a year with a knee injury?
“Just doing your own thing and being a better athlete than other people doesn’t translate to the league because you get here and everybody is pretty good,” Leonard said. “But, if you’re making plays within the defense, that’s a whole different thing. With Sam, he has that discipline and he has the tenacity.”
Eguavoen’s rise — initially to a role with the starters in a nickel package — “really started in the spring,” Leonard said. “He really impressed me. The detail that this guy takes into account every play, every meeting. Then the physicality, putting it all together once we put the pads on, was really impressive to me.”
Eguavoen believes playing in the CFL, which has a wider and longer field, helped him become a better pass rusher.
“That’s huge,” he said. “If they throw a screen to the left side here and I’m not [in that exact spot], I can get there. If I’m running full speed, I’m going to get there. In the CFL, sometimes you don’t get there; but you’re trained to go sideline to sideline out there since the field is so big. Going from the CFL into OTAs helped me a lot because I was pass heavy coming from the CFL and in OTAs, it is pretty much all passes. There’s no pads.”