Top News: Wake Watch, O-Line Updates & More

The Dolphins are facing some questions along the offensive line as they begin their preparations for the game against the Carolina Panthers on Monday night.

Specifically, the Dolphins have question marks at left guard, where veteran Ted Larsen could be in line to make his first appearance of the season, and at right tackle, where Ja’Wuan James could be sidelined because of a leg injury he sustained in the game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday night.

Larsen lined up at left guard during training camp and figures to take over that spot once he’s deemed ready for game action. He was activated from injured reserve Saturday but was inactive for the Oakland game.

“Today is going to be a big day for us to kind of figure out the best five guys we want to play together,” Head Coach Adam Gase said before practice Wednesday. “Everybody is assuming it’s just automatic (Larsen) jumps back right in there, but this is his first day in pads against defensive players. It’s just going to kind of be, how quickly will he adjust to the speed of the game when we get going? That’s really what we’re going to find out today.”

Jesse Davis started at left guard the past two games after Anthony Steen landed on injured reserve with a foot injury, but he also has had practice time this year at right tackle. He would be an option to start at that position if James indeed is unable to play against Carolina on Monday night; another option is veteran Sam Young, who took over for James after he was injured against Oakland.

“That was a tough spot to get thrown in there because we were basically throwing the ball the entire time and all of a sudden coming in cold off the bench for your first action of the year and you got (Khalil) Mack across the ball from you,” Gase said of Young. “He did exactly what we needed him to do.

“As for Jesse, he’s trained across the board pretty much the entire season because when he wasn’t a starter he was playing so many different spots. He’s worked so much at right tackle. We’ve got some good flexibility with those guys up front.”

James status: Gase said he was hoping to know about the exact nature and extent of James’ injury by the end of the week. Based on Gase’s comments, it appears that every scenario was possible, including a long-term situation. “We’re still going through the process with him,” Gase said. “There’s a possibility (it will be long term). I don’t know. I don’t have all the information. We’re still meeting with doctors. He’s kind of getting some second opinions and things like that to make sure that whatever we decide to do this year, if it’s long term or short term, we just need to figure all that out.” James was injured midway through the fourth quarter against the Raiders with what initially was called a hamstring injury.

New safety duo: With veteran safety T.J. McDonald expected to be activated in time to make his season debut against Carolina, the question becomes how he’ll work with Reshad Jones. Gase likes the options the two will present him and defensive coordinator Matt Burke. “We felt really good with what we’re doing in training camp,” Gase said. “It gives us a lot of flexibility to be able to put either one in the box, blitz either one, play either one in the middle of the field. We have two guys that complement each other well.”

Watching Wake: Defensive end Cameron Wake hasn’t been on a pitch count this season as he was in the early weeks of 2016, though the Dolphins have used him in a rotation with veteran William Hayes. Now that we’re heading into the second half of the season, Gase was asked Thursday whether Wake’s snap count would increase. “A lot of it is going to be situational based on how the game is going,” Gase said. “Every game is going to be different. I’d love for us to get a lead one of these times so we can actually let him rush the passer. I’m all for it. I just want to see one time with a lead late in the third quarter going into the fourth quarter and watching those (pass rushers) go to work. We hadn’t given them that opportunity really in the last two years. It’s one of those things the offense is really taken it personal that we haven’t done that yet. I know those guys want to do that because they do want watch those guys rush the passer snap after snap with another team trying to catch up to us. That’s one of the main goals we have on offense.”

Rookie’s Mo-ment: Undrafted rookie free agent Maurice Smith got his most extensive action on defense against Oakland when he played 18 snaps in relief of starter Michael Thomas. Smith, who has been contributing on special teams, was credited with one tackle and one pass defensed. “That was kind of our thought going into the game,” Gase said. “Every time I looked up I felt like he was around the ball. He made some good plays.”

“That was a tough spot to get thrown in there because we were basically throwing the ball the entire time and all of a sudden coming in cold off the bench for your first action of the year and you got (Khalil) Mack across the ball from you,” Gase said of Young. “He did exactly what we needed him to do.

“As for Jesse, he’s trained across the board pretty much the entire season because when he wasn’t a starter he was playing so many different spots. He’s worked so much at right tackle. We’ve got some good flexibility with those guys up front.”

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Advertising