DAVIE, Fla. — Offensive line adjustments are the reality for the Miami Dolphins this week because right tackle Ja’Wuan James is expected to be sidelined due to a left hamstring injury. The good news is Miami expects left guard Ted Larsen to be active for the game and starting this week. Larsen was put on the 53-man roster last week after being activated from reserve/injured.
But the overall upheaval could be concerning because Miami is changing two offensive line positions – left guard and right tackle – and it comes at a time when they face Carolina, which has one of the NFL’s best defenses.
In fact, Carolina has 29 sacks, second in the NFL.
Miami head coach Adam Gase isn’t sure how the team will replace James between tackles Sam Young or Jesse Davis, who had been the starter at left guard in place of Larsen. Or whether Larsen will start.
“Today is going to be a big day for us to figure out the best five guys we want to play,” Gase said Thursday. “Everybody thinks it’s automatic (Larsen) just jumps back in there.”
Gase said Larsen must acclimate to game speed.
At right tackle, Young did a decent job against Oakland last week under tough circumstances considering he faced All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack while Miami was trailing and largely in passing situations.
“Sam, that was a tough spot to get thrown in there because we were basically throwing the ball the entire time,” Gase said, adding, “There were a couple of times he got edged a little bit,” but Gase said those are fixable things.
Miami also signed first-year tackle Zach Sterup from Cleveland’s practice squad. That means either Larsen or Davis could start at left guard and either Young, Davis or Sterup could start at right tackle.
“We’ve got some versatility up front,” Gase said.