After suffering an injury during the Dolphins’ season opener, Austin Jackson will be shut down for a stretch. Mike McDaniel said the third-year offensive lineman is headed to IR.
The Dolphins stationed Jackson at right tackle to start this season, having signed Terron Armstead to man the left side. Jackson suffered a sprained ankle in Miami’s Week 1 win. Greg Little, who replaced Jackson against the Patriots, is expected to start on the right side in Week 2.
Jackson played 14 offensive snaps against the Pats, beginning a full-time foray at right tackle. Drafted to be the Dolphins’ long-term Laremy Tunsil replacement at left tackle, Jackson did not stick at that position and spent much of his 2021 season at guard. The Dolphins, who have been keen on moving O-linemen around the formation in recent years, shuttled Jackson to right tackle after giving Armstead a five-year, $75MM deal in March.
A former Panthers second-round pick, Little arrived in Miami via August 2021 trade (for a seventh-round pick). Little has not started a game since the 2020 season. Little’s Panthers tenure did not take off; the Ole Miss product made just six starts with Carolina. The contract-year O-lineman will have another chance to make an impression Sunday.
Should Little falter, the Dolphins added some insurance this week. Brandon Shell signed with Miami’s practice squad. Shell, 30, has been a full-time right tackle starter since 2017. The former Jets and Seahawks blocker would make sense as Jackson relief, having made 61 starts in his six-year career.
Armstead, whose Saints career included a number of injuries, is battling a toe issue. McDaniel expects the 10th-year left tackle to play through it, however. With fourth-year interior lineman Michael Deiter and 2021 UDFA Robert Jones residing the team’s only O-line backups on the active roster, more help will be added once Jackson’s IR move processes. Jackson cannot return to action until Week 6.