Williams’ groin strain is “feeling good,” which explains why the Dolphins’ starting center was on the practice field Thursday, testing out the injury that’s forced him to be shut down on two separate occasions.
“I’ve had the opportunity to heal and reset what was going on, and now I’m day by day on it,” Williams said, referring to a strain he initially injured in Miami’s 70-20 win over the Denver Broncos.
The question the Dolphin’s medical staff, and coaches must ask themselves is whether allowing Williams to play in Sunday night’s nationally televised game against the Philadelphia Eagles, a showdown between Miami’s resurgent offensive line, the unit Williams leads, and what’s viewed as the best defensive front in the NFL, would be wise.
The Miami Dolphins might have to play without their center, Connor Williams, for a few games due to a groin strain. Williams is concerned about the challenges that his replacements will face against strong defensive players like Jordan Davis, Fletcher Cox, and Jalen Carter. However, the head coach, Mike McDaniel, is more focused on ensuring that Williams is healthy for the second half of the 2023 season and the playoffs. As a result, Williams could be held out of some games to allow his injury to heal.
McDaniel is open to the possibility of starting Williams without him participating in every practice, as the center-to-quarterback relationship between Williams and Tua Tagovailoa is crucial to the success of the offense. However, he admits that it is not ideal. The Dolphins have confidence in Liam Eichenberg, who has shown significant improvement in his three starts at center. According to ProFootballFocus, Eichenberg was Miami’s top-performing offensive lineman against the Panthers.
Offensive coordinator Frank Smith praised Eichenberg’s development at center, but starting him in Sunday night’s game against strong defensive players like those of the Eagles could be risky. It might be like throwing a novice swimmer into the deep end of the pool. The coaches and medical staff are faced with a tough decision about whether to start Eichenberg or risk further injury to Williams.
Williams understands the risks and is preparing for all possible scenarios. He believes that the team is on the same page and is communicating well. However, at the end of the day, the decision is about risk versus reward.