Center Daniel Kilgore came to the Miami Dolphins in a trade with the San Fransisco 49ers this past offseason and has stepped up nicely– immediately earning a position on the starting offensive line and playing up to expectations throughout training camp and preseason.
But who is behind him at center should an injury befall him?
The Dolphins offensive line seems to suffer injuries to it’s lineman every season dating back to… it seems like forever.
Whether it was tackles JaWuan James or Laremy Tunsil or former center Mike Pouncey, a lineman going down was a plague that was bound to strike the team each season at some point.
The same applies to Daniel Kilgore.
Kilgore has not suffered a significant injury since December of 2016 when he was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. He played in all his games for the 49ers in 2017.
But Kilgore is a Dolphin now, and the dormant disease has probably already attached itself to him in some capacity. So the Dolphins must plan.
So who fits the bill?
Backup Jake Brendel has recently been placed on injured reserve since dealing with a calf injury during the early stages of training camp. This means he will miss the first 8 weeks of the regular season. The Dolphins must feel confident in Brendel since they decided to keep him on the 53 knowing he will and has miss so much time.
Mike Matthews, who filled in for Brendel in his absence, was released from the team during the final cuts to assemble the 53-man roster. Matthews did not make the practice squad.
Former Lions center Travis Swanson was recently signed but quickly released in favor of ex-Patriots running back Brandon Bolden. So no luck there.
This means the Dolphins must turn to an offensive lineman who did not play center for them during the better part of the preseason.
Left guard and pro-bowler Josh Sitton has never played center in his entire 11-year career.
Starting right guard Jesse Davis? Nope.
That’s just about it for the team’s interior offensive linemen. The rest of the team’s O-line depth is consisted of tackles, unless you count guard Isaac Asiata or rookie center Conner Hilland who are currently placed on the practice squad.
Versatile veteran lineman Ted Larsen has experience playing center going back to his days with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in 2012 & 2013. But that is about to be 6 seasons ago come this Sunday.
Since then, Larsen has spent most of his time playing left and right guard since joining the team a year ago. He is labeled as a center/guard on the team’s roster, but like i said earlier… he hasn’t spent much time at that position since joining the Dolphins. Larsen also suffered a torn biceps injury during the early stages of last year’s training camp which held him out of a significant portion of the 2017 season.
But at the moment, it looks he’s the next-best player the task will fall to in an emergency situation.
Let’s hope he’s up to it.