It turns out Terron Armstead’s Wednesday absence from Miami Dolphins practice may have been more about the veteran rest than the toe injury — but still maybe something to do with the toe.
Armstead, the Dolphins’ three-time Pro Bowl left tackle that was acquired in free agency this offseason, was back at the team’s practice on Thursday. He missed Wednesday drills with both a toe injury, which caused him to miss two snaps in Sunday’s 20-7 win over the New England Patriots, and veteran rest listed as reasons on Miami’s injury report.
On Thursday, Armstead was listed as a limited participant in his return to the practice field.
Dolphins right tackle Austin Jackson, who left Sunday’s game in the second quarter with a right ankle injury and did not return, missed a second consecutive practice.
Miami could be in for another game, on Sunday at the Baltimore Ravens, where backup tackle Greg Little is called upon. The Dolphins had a number of contingency plans on the offensive line tested against the Patriots as Little, who practiced fully on Wednesday and Thursday with an ankle injury, left momentarily, as did Armstead later.
“You always want to create consistency up front through guys playing their position, communicating with each other, and then when injuries occur, basically you’re moving through Plan A, B, C, D all the way up until you don’t have anybody left at the position,” said offensive coordinator Frank Smith on Thursday morning.
“We’re always evaluating what’s the variable going on and who do we believe are the guys. Sometimes, it might not be the combination that would be the most obvious, but to us, it’s already been drilled in practice.”
Along with Armstead, wide receiver Cedrick Wilson (toe) and running back Salvon Ahmed (heel) returned to practice as limited participants. Outside linebacker Melvin Ingram, who missed Wednesday for veteran rest, also returned to Thursday drills and is now off the injury report.
The Dolphins had defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (back) and safety Brandon Jones (hip) pop up as limited participants on the Thursday injury report. Cornerback Xavien Howard was also limited but to receive rest. Safety Eric Rowe (pectoral) and tight end Tanner Conner (knee) remained limited on Thursday.
Tight end and special teamer Cethan Carter (concussion protocol) missed practice again on Thursday.
Coaches weigh in on Tua
Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith and quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell weighed in on Thursday morning about how polarizing quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has become and how hotly contested debates and analysis of his play have become.
“It just comes with the territory,” said Smith. “If you play quarterback in the National Football League, the performance is always going to be the most scrutinized position — over, under, too much credit, all the blame.
“I think he handles it extremely well, especially being around many different quarterbacks from Drew Brees to, last year, Justin [Herbert], Derek Carr, Jay Cutler. … Just take it as a compliment. They’re talking about you because, the minute they don’t talk about you, it’s probably because you’re not playing.”
Bevell, who has coached the likes of Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford and Trevor Lawrence before his first season with Tagovailoa, agreed with Smith.
“It’s part of playing the quarterback position,” Bevell said. “You’re always going to be looked at. I think the year that Tua is in, everybody says, ‘Oh, this is the important one.’”
Tagovailoa was hard on himself on Wednesday in dissecting his first outing of 2022, detailing what went wrong on missed throws and questionable decisions, but Bevell has been pleased with Tagovailoa’s approach.
“I couldn’t be more happy and excited about what Tua has been doing,” Bevell said. “The growth process that he’s had, the information that he’s digesting learning a new offense again. He’s doing a really good job in it.
“This first game is not going to be our best game. We want it to be a good game, and then we want to continue to grow from there and play our best football when it’s really going to matter.”
Bevell said he wants Tagovailoa to play smart situationally and added he likes where he is with his mechanics.
Punt return rotation?
Dolphins special teams coordinator Danny Crossman indicated there could be a potential rotation returning punts after safety Jevon Holland handled the role in the opener.
“We have multiple guys that we feel comfortable with,” Crossman said. “Sometimes, it’ll be a situation. Sometimes, it’ll be part of the game. Sometimes, it’ll be how the game is going offensively and defensively. We feel we have four or five guys that we like. We’ll just see how the game goes. Maybe this week we’ll get some other people and maybe it stays being Jevon.”
On the Dolphins’ depth chart, they list Holland as the No. 3 punt returner with Tyreek Hill No. 1 and fellow wide receiver Jaylen Waddle behind him.