WHAT NOW AT LEFT TACKLE?

The Dolphins have had to turn to Plan B at left tackle following the season-ending knee injury sustained by projected starter Brent Smith. But that plan apparently will not include a big-name signing.

Almost immediately after Smith went down on July 27, the name of Bruce Armstrong was brought up. And the connection made sense.

Armstrong is a six-time Pro Bowl selection and he played his high school football at Miami's Central High. But the Dolphins indicated they had no interest in signing the veteran, who was released by the New England Patriots in the offseason.

The Dolphins did sign a veteran after Smith's injury, but that was little-known Spencer Folau, who was a backup throughout his five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. Folau brings some much-needed experience to the offensive line, but it's not considered likely he would wind up becoming the starter at left tackle.

Rather, the Dolphins would like to see either one of two players grab the position, free agent acquisition Marcus Spriggs or rookie Brandon Winey.

Spriggs will be given every chance to win the job, and he currently sits atop the depth chart.

Winey was a sixth-round pick in last April's draft, but most observers would suggest his talent should have gotten drafted much earlier. How quickly he can develop will dictate how soon he can challenge for a starting job.

If Spriggs and Winey both fail, the Dolphins could then turn to Folau. Or they could move Mark Dixon from left guard to left tackle and promote veteran Heath Irwin to the starting lineup. Or they could move Todd Wade from right to left tackle, and plug in either Spriggs or Folau at right tackle, which is a less crucial position along the offensive line.

But that's down the line. The first step is seeing whether Spriggs can prove worthy of the starting job.


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