Written by Matthew Cannata at 3:20 PM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
The Miami Dolphins top free agent signing was Branden Albert and now, he’s out for the year with a torn MCL and PCL. The injury, which occurred in the second half of the game against the Detroit Lions, will be a huge blow to the offensive line that was already tinkering with their interior over the past several weeks due to injuries and poor performance.
Now, several players will need to step up and be a reliable presence on the line in an effort to protect Ryan Tannehill and open the lanes for the team’s running backs.
After Albert went down, Joe Philbin thought their newly re-configured offensive line did a respectable job and competed the best that they could.
“I thought those guys competed. I think the first play was a negative yardage run, then a sack. I think the next drive we ran a reverse. If I’m not mistaken we had a negative yardage play. We didn’t get off to a very good start on offense, but I thought Dallas (Thomas) came in there, Shelly Smith came in there, moved Ja’Wuan James over and I thought they did OK.”
Mike Wallace, who said that the Dolphins need to do a better job scoring when they’re in the red zone, called the loss of Albert huge and said that up to this point, he was the MVP of the team.
“It’s huge, man. Anytime you see a guy go off on a cart, nine times out of 10 it’s not going to be too good. It’s a big loss to our team. Up to this point I feel like he was probably the MVP of our team, just kind of coming in and stabilizing our line. So, it’s a huge loss for us, but we’ll have to make up for it. I think Ja’Wuan (James) will do a decent job at the left tackle, somebody else will step up in Ju’Wuan’s spot, we’ll be alright.”
Mike Pouncey, who played with Albert on the offensive line, said they knew right away that the injury was serious. He said he’ll do everything he can to help him through the healing and recovery process.
“When we saw him on the ground, we knew he was in a bunch of pain and thought it was pretty bad. They carted him off, so we’re just going to be there for him right now in spirit because I know he’s going to be going through a tough time. Especially one like him, he’s such a good dude, such a great player and you hate to see that happen to these kinds of players in this league. He has a long road ahead of him, but he’ll get back healthy because he’s a fighter. He’ll be on the road to recovery soon and we’ll be with him the whole way.”
With that in mind though, Pouncey said that someone is going to have to step up in his place and be the next man up off the bench.
“Well, it means someone is really going to have to step up and fill in in place of a great football player. We’ll figure that out going into this game who that left tackle is going to be, but I think Ja’Wuan (James) is going to do a great job over there. He’s a really good football player, he’s been coming along all year and it’s just tough to lose a friend and a football player like that.”
The Dolphins offensive line will all need to step up their game starting on Thursday against the Buffalo Bills, who boast one of the best defensive lines in the NFL.