The Miami Dolphins may be getting some good news as they look to get healthy over the 10-day break they have between their Week 4 game and their Week 5 contest. Center Mike Pouncey, who has been sidelined since mid-way through the preseason with a hip fracture, appears to ready to return to practice.
The Dolphins need the return of Pouncey, adding a Pro Bowl player back to an offensive line that has been hit with several injuries over the past week. Backup center Anthony Steen, who had been starting in Pouncey’s place through the first three games, missed Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals with an ankle injury, leading to Kraig Urbik starting in the middle of the offensive line. Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert also missed Thursday’s game, leading to rookie left guard Laremy Tunsil moving out to left tackle, his college position, and Billy Turner sliding into the left guard position.
The Miami offensive line struggled in Week 1, allowing five sacks, but then found their rhythm in Week 2 allowing no sacks and again in Week 3, allowing just one sack. With all of the changes to the line in Week 4, however, it became another five sack day.
Adding Pouncey back into the offensive line could help with the pass protection. It also could help with the run blocking. Currently, Miami is using an offensive line - when everyone is healthy - consisting of four tackles and a center. Albert, Tunsil, right guard Jermon Bushrod, and right tackle Ja’Wuan James have all been tackles during their college and NFL careers, with Tunsil and Bushrod moving to guard this year. Typically, that does not lead to much support in run blocking from a pulling offensive lineman. Pouncey is an exceptional pulling center, often getting into the second-level and blocking linebackers. His presence in the line could assist in getting the Miami ground game re-established, which then could take some of the pressure off the passing game.
Hopefull, with Pouncey appearing ready to practice, the Dolphins will be able to insert him back into the starting lineup when they face the Tennessee Titans on October 9 in Miami.