Already down Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb for the season, the Dolphins continue to run into brutal injury luck on their front seven. Injuries to Jerome Baker and Andrew Van Ginkel on Sunday night appear likely to be season-enders.
Just activated from IR ahead of Week 18, Baker sustained a wrist injury for which he has already undergone surgery. The sixth-year linebacker is out for the Chiefs matchup and likely the rest of the playoffs, according to NFL.com’s Cameron Wolfe. Van Ginkel, who has played a key role since Phillips’ injury, is also likely done for the season due to the foot injury that forced him out of Sunday’s night’s game.
In addition to these adjustments DC Vic Fangio will need to make, Mike McDaniel said the team is not expected to have Xavien Howard back against the Chiefs. Additionally, backup edge rusher Cameron Goode suffered a torn patellar tendon in the loss to the Bills and will miss the season, McDaniel said.
In the event Miami’s defensive personnel turns this into a shootout — a less common occurrence with this Chiefs edition compared to previous Patrick Mahomes-piloted teams — McDaniel said (via Wolfe) Jaylen Waddle and Raheem Mostert are looking more likely to return to action Saturday night. Waddle has missed the past two games with a high ankle sprain, while Mostert — the NFL’s touchdown leader, with 21 — missed Weeks 17 and 18 with knee and ankle trouble.
Still, Fangio’s troops are depleted to a point the defense will look quite different even from the shorthanded crew that took the field against the Bills. Goode’s injury left the Dolphins with Emmanuel Ogbah and Melvin Ingram on the edge. Fangio had benched the former early this season, and the Dolphins only re-signed the latter in December. The team used Ingram as a practice squad elevation in Week 18, doing so not long after cutting Jason Pierre-Paul. It would be interesting if the Dolphins reached out to JPP in this emergency circumstance. Miami still has quality personnel inside, in Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler, but its OLB setup has been gutted.
Van Ginkel has been effective as both a rotational rusher and a starter this season, notching a career-high six sacks along with 19 QB hits. He also posted a pick-six against the Commanders. Baker battled back from an MCL sprain; the Dolphins had used their final IR activation on their middle linebacker last week. A seventh-round pick, Goode played only 76 defensive snaps this season.