Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said he anticipates quarterback Tua Tagovailoa playing on Sunday, amid an ankle injury, and said the left tackle Terron Armstead is “optimistic” that he will be able to play Sunday at the Chargers (8:20 p.m., NBC).
McDaniel also said that Monday’s signing of offensive tackle Eric Fisher does not indicate any setback for Armstead.
Tagovailoa’s ankle injury isn’t expected to force him to miss any time. But McDaniel said he will be “mindful” of what Tagovailoa does in practice beginning on Wednesday.
“Make sure we don’t do anything to have any setbacks,” McDaniel said. “Don’t anticipate any sort of setback that will negate him from playing.”
Armstead has missed one game with a pectoral strain but is working to get back on Sunday. Greg Little started at left tackle in his place against the 49ers.
Armstead is “optimistic to play in this upcoming game,” McDaniel said. “I feel pretty good about where he’s at. He was pretty close this past week, relatively. He continues to defy normal timelines with injuries that would keep a lesser athlete out longer. I expect him to get some work in practice this week. I don’t know exactly [what day]. Every day is so important for that healing process.”
As for the signing of Fisher - a longtime NFL starting left tackle - McDaniel said that’s “something we’ve been working on for a couple weeks. The intention is to have the season longer than the regular season. Seeing an opportunity to add a player of high quality with big time game experience [was appealing].
“It’s not a reaction to Terron as much as taking advantage of a player on the market than can make sure [that if there’s] anything unforeseen [that] we can have high quality play in the most important time of the year.”
McDaniel addressed other issues in a Monday early evening Zoom call from California, where the team will practice this week:
▪ On the importance of the Chargers game on Sunday: “A conference game [is] second most important thing to a division opponent. Guys really wanted to get the victory. It didn’t happen. There are definitely places we can get better. The next game can’t come fast enough. The guys are eager to get started on the Chargers. You bask in the opportunity to play on a national audience... and get back on track after a one-week hiatus.”
▪ On the Bills game being set for Saturday, Dec. 17: “There will be an adjustment to the schedule. It will be somewhere between what a normal game is and a Thursday game. It’s a challenge. I don’t want anybody taking any time feeling sorry for themselves. We have two opportunities to play for a national audience, something we’ve been building for in how we’ve [played].”
▪ On the struggles offensively Sunday against the 49ers: “You want to be hitting on all cylinders at all times. A passing game can be very potent when a passing game is hitting on all cylinders. Clearly it wasn’t. The completion percentage and throwing to the opposing team as opposed to our own team. As I told the team, there were times guys were pressing.
“There were times we had time to make a play... We kind of let plays linger and [affect subsequent] plays. These are things that are very correctable. We needed that stage, that environment. You have a really good team, one of the best units in the league trying to defend you in a certain area. A lot of guys learned stuff... without losing confidence. They were very accountable today, which is one of the reasons I’m so confident in this team and expect them to look better this next coming week.”
▪ Asked about Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and his arm, McDaniel cracked: “He has an arm, I believe two of them. It’s strong. He can throw the ball far. I’ve seen his college tape. It keeps you honest as a defense. In the same realm as Josh Allen, if you don’t have appropriate rush lanes, he can make you pay. You have to be a little more responsible in your rush lanes. Great challenge.”
▪ On why the defense has allowed far more points on the road than at home: “It has to do with particular opponents.”
Receiver Jaylen Waddle said the lower leg injury that sidelined him for part of the game against the 49ers is “feeling good” and he will play on Sunday at the Chargers.
“Ready to get after it,” he said.