With a little more time and a lot more publicity, Dolphins offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg could have a case for Comeback Player of the Year. Not really, but Eichenberg has done an impressive job of turning around his career, which was trending downwards through his first two years in the league.
An offensive tackle at Notre Dame, Eichenberg struggled as a rookie full-time starter at left tackle in Miami. In 2022, Eichenberg slid inside to the left guard spot and delivered a more admirable performance before having his season derailed by injuries.
Eichenberg opened this year as a sixth-man for the Dolphins’ offensive line, specializing on interior play. When injuries held out starting center Connor Williams, Eichenberg stepped in to complete his trifecta of starting at every position on the left side of the line. Later on, he filled in with starts at right and left guard, as well. He’s reportedly more comfortable at right guard, but the Dolphins opted to start him at left guard last week ahead of Lester Cotton, who had started there the past two weeks.
In fact, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Miami’s staff has been so impressed with Eichenberg that, barring a miraculous return by Isaiah Wynn from a significant quadriceps injury, Eichenberg could have won the starting left guard job for the remainder of the season.
Here are a few other rumors from around the AFC East:
- Patriots star pass rusher Matt Judon has now missed the team’s last nine games on injured reserve. Judon has certainly missed enough time to come off of IR, but there’s been no word of that possibility yet. According to Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald, when head coach Bill Belichick was asked about the possibility of Judon returning this year, the long-time skipper replied, “We’ll see. That’s a good question.” He continued, “I know he’s working hard. Matt’s been in here, works hard on a daily basis, but again, that’s a medical question that I wouldn’t be able to answer.”
- When Bills running back Nyheim Hines suffered an off-site jet ski injury that would end his 2023 season before it even began, that put the veteran rusher in an uncomfortable position concerning his contract. Since the injury occurred away from play, Hines was placed on the non-football injury list, “which technically doesn’t require the team to pay him anything,” per Zak Keefer of The Athletic. Hines was out millions in incentives and bonuses. It took the two sides a few months to hammer out the details, but eventually, they “agreed on a smaller sum” than the $9MM over two years that they had originally agreed to. This allows the Bills to stay on good terms with Hines when he’s able to return to the team next year while saving them from having to pay his full contract for a year in which he won’t see the field.
- When it was reported that Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown failed to make the trip to Frankfurt with the team for personal reasons, Brown took exception to the speculation that followed. Per ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Brown felt the need to clarify that the reason he was unable to make the trip was because of the second opinion he sought on his ankle sprain. While he did attend a funeral during the team’s visit to Germany, he was not able to spend much personal time with his family as he was due back in New England for rehab.