By Abraham Gutierrez
Five injured Miami Dolphins players boarded the team’s flight to the United Kingdom for a must-win showdown with the rival New York Jets in Week 4. The good news for Joe Philbin and his coaching staff is that all indications are that only one player will be in street clothes when the Fins and Gang Green kick things off in Sunday’s matinee.READ MORE: Lauderhill PD Investigating Deadly Shooting
According to NFL Week 4 injury reports submitted to the National Football League, tight end Dion Sims is the only player on the roster to have been officially ruled out. After playing limited time in the season opener against the Washington Redskins, the third-year man out Michigan State has failed to clear concussion protocol and will miss the third game of the young campaign. The news is particular troublesome for Miami’s fragile offensive line, as Sims absence takes away Ryan Tannehill’s first and (potentially) second-string tight-end options with Jordan Cameron (10 receptions, 151 yards) also spending some time in the trainers room this week with a lingering groin injury. The former USC standout is officially listed as questionable after limited time in practice this week.
That leaves Miami with one healthy tight end, Jake Stoneburner (3 catches, 31 yards, TD), who was called up from the practice squad two weeks ago. It’s going to be interesting to see what types of protection schemes the Dolphins employ this week. Going up against a blitz-happy defense that specializes in creating turnovers by penetrating into backfield could spell for a disastrous afternoon in London.
Tannehill comes into Week 4 having already been sacked seven times, which ranks seventh in the National Football League. The second-year man out of Texas A&M is also tied for ninth in the NFL with three interceptions, all which came last week versus a Bills’ pressure-defense that limited Miami to 14 points in a 27-point blowout.
“We are what we are right now,” Philbin said following last week’s loss in Miami’s home opener. “We’ll look at everything we’re doing. If I had a magic potion, I would have brought it out earlier. We are either going to stick together or not. We don’t have anyone to blame. There’s nobody to blame.”
Also on the offensive side of the football, the Fins could be without one of the key pieces to solving this O-line puzzle. Philbin’s NFL Week 4 injury report indicates that left tackle Branden Albert, who’s listed as doubtful following limited practice time, could also sit out due to a hamstring injury. The eighth-year man out of Virginia, who initially suffered the injury in Week 2, was forced to watch from the sidelines as Miami’s O-line was crushed by Buffalo at Sun Life Stadium. This week, he went off about his string of injuries while speaking to the media in anticipation of this week’s international showdown with the Jets.
“I’m very, very frustrated, because for one, I know what people are going to start saying, I know what people are going to start insinuating,” Albert said. “It’s part of the process. If people understand the injury I have, it wasn’t just an ACL/MCL (tear). I tore everything in my knee. I was out for 10 months.”READ MORE: Citizens Insurance Nears 600,000 Policies
Opening kickoff for this AFC East showdown is slated for Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. ET live from Wembley Stadium in London, England, on CBS Sports. The Miami Dolphins are currently listed as two-point underdogs against the New York Jets, the over/under tallies 42 points, and straight-up lines go as follows: Fins (+105) vs. Jets (-125).
Dolphins Week 4 Injury Report & Game Status (Recap)
(DT) Earl Mitchell (back) – Limited Participation in Practice
(TE) Jordan Cameron (groin) – Limited Participation in Practice
(RB) Jonas Gray (calf) – Did Not Participate In Practice
(T) Branden Albert (hamstring) – Limited Participation in Practice
(TE) Dion Sims (concussion) – Did Not Participate In Practice
Abe Gutierrez’s (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, Examiner.com and other online publications.