The Miami Dolphins are struggling with injuries at every position on the offensive line. Starting center Connor Willims was placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL following last week’s loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Starting right guard Robert Hunt has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, but it sounds like Liam Eichenberg is aiming to play despite missing practice Wednesday and Thursday due to a calf injury.
“I am trying to get better every single day,” Eichenberg said on Friday. “I would not be surprised if I was out there playing. Yeah, I’m getting better every single day. Just kind of having the athletic trainers get me right and improve every single day. Day by day. That’s the plan.”
Eichenberg played the first six snaps of Monday Night Football at right guard before sliding over to center. He played the game’s final 66 snaps in the middle of the offensive line while Robert Jones stepped in at right guard.
“I just feel bad for Connor, man,” Eichenberg said. “That’s one of the closest guys I’m with on this team. He went down and the [crappy] thing is I wasn’t even there to be near him. I was taking snaps. So that’s part of how it is. But I felt bad. I hoped it wasn’t too bad. I saw him on the sideline and he said what it was and I said are you kidding me? It just sucks. He’s such a good leader and hard worker for this team.”
Another option if Eichenberg can’t go is Jonotthan Harrison, who signed to the 53-man roster earlier this week. Left tackle Terron Armstead and right tackle Austin Jackson are both questionable for Sunday.
Eichenberg played all 70 of the team’s offensive snaps at right guard and didn’t allow a pressure when the Dolphins toppled New York 34-13 in Week 12. If healthy, he’ll likely be the team’s starting center for the remainder of the year.
He allowed two hurries at center against the Titans and hasn’t allowed a sack since week four against the Buffalo Bills. The former Notre Dame offensive lineman has played 354 of his 577 snaps at center this season,
“Just getting the ball to the quarterback,” Eichenberg said of the position’s largest challenges. “That’s the biggest thing. Snapping it on time, making sure guys aren’t offsides, kind of getting back in that rhythm, and getting the ball off.
“It’s different at guard. I kind of would jump in at guard. But center I need to jump even more. So it’s one of those things you have to be conscious of.”