Just when it seems plenty going against Dolphins, know they have plenty going for them| Habib
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — For a guy who rarely misses a chance to say his crystal ball is broken, Mike McDaniel is more prophetic than he thinks.
McDaniel has long warned his Dolphins' adversity will come and it’s all about how they respond to it. Hence, the “adversity is opportunity” credo on the walls at the training complex.
Well, look at all the opportunities suddenly afforded the Dolphins. How fortunate they must feel.
After waking up Sunday on a five-game winning streak, they lost to San Francisco 33-17.
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Then the Dolphins woke up Monday with a barrage of more adver — uh, excuse me, opportunities.
Instead of inching toward possibly getting both of their starting tackles back to protect Tua Tagovailoa, it was revealed that’s not happening in 2022. Right tackle Austin Jackson is back on injured reserve with an ankle problem, basically turning this into a forgotten season for him.
The news was brighter regarding left tackle Terron Armstead. McDaniel said Armstead, who has a strained pectoral, nearly played vs. the 49ers, should practice some this week and appears on track to face the Los Angeles Chargers on “Sunday Night Football.”
McDaniel also is confident Tagovailoa (ankle) will be fine for the game, and receiver Jaylen Waddle said Monday he’s ready to go.
With the line in flux, the Dolphins put out a call for reinforcements and landed tackle Eric Fisher, the overall No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft by the Chiefs.
McDaniel said Monday that the Dolphins had been working on signing Fisher for a couple of weeks. Fisher has been a left tackle for all but his rookie season, but McDaniel said the signing was not based on concerns over Armstead’s durability. Perhaps the Dolphins and Fisher see him as a potential replacement for Jackson on the right side.
“Our intention is to have a season longer than the regular season, in that being both pretty thin on the roster and seeing an opportunity to add a player of high quality with big-time game experience,” McDaniel said in explaining the Fisher signing.
Who knows what to expect? Fisher, 31, has Pro Bowl pedigree, twice over and as recently as 2020. On the other hand, he was out on the street, in December, and hasn’t played a snap in 11 months. For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus gave him a career-high grade of 80.0 two years ago, when he allowed three sacks. That number fell to 68.2 last year, when he was called for eight penalties.
Scheduling of Bills game puts Dolphins at a disadvantage
There’s more. Much more.
The NFL announced Monday that Miami’s game at Buffalo, which until now had no date and no time assigned, is now scheduled for Dec. 17 at 8:15 p.m. as part of an NFL Network tripleheader.
That’s respect, but it comes at a price. You know how teams are at a disadvantage during short weeks when they travel for Thursday night games? That’s not quite what this will be for Miami. But it’s close.
Is it fair to the Dolphins? You decide:
After the Chargers game, the Dolphins will finally fly home from California overnight, probably landing around sunrise. Red Bull can brag all it wants about giving you wings, but not even a truckload will turn Monday into a productive day for players and coaches. That leaves a few short days before they’re back at the airport that Friday, heading to everyone’s favorite December destination, Buffalo.
The Bills, by the way, have no such concerns. They’re home this weekend, against the Jets. How nice.
“We are very much focused on the Chargers but there will be an adjustment to the schedule,” McDaniel said of next week. “It will be somewhere between what a normal game week is and what a Thursday night game is.”
Not exactly how you want to approach the most likely game to decide the AFC East. Or an opponent that has beaten you the past five years by an average of 17 1/2 points inside the igloo they call a stadium.
“Bottom line is we have two opportunities to play for a national audience, something we’ve been building towards for the whole season in terms of how we play,” McDaniel said. “But only one of which we can really do anything about in the immediate future. So that it's definitely challenging, but not something that anyone's going to spend any time feeling sorry for themselves.”
Dolphins still in good position for a playoff run
Once a trendy pick high in the NFL rankings, the Dolphins now are 8-4. Fine. You still have to like their playoff chances, which The New York Times computer puts at 81 percent and fivethirtyeight.com has at 87 percent.
After Buffalo, the Dolphins close out the season with three very winnable games: vs. Packers (who are 2-5 on the road), at the Patriots (a Patriots team in name only) and vs. the Jets (who have lost five straight in Miami). Regardless of these next two weeks, sweeping those final three alone gives Miami 11 wins, which should do the trick when it comes to the postseason. Plus, they’re 1 1/2-point favorites to beat the Chargers. No way 12 wins doesn’t get them in.
Oh, one other thing regarding the playoff picture: The seeds show Miami now in the No. 6 slot, meaning as of now, they’d be at No. 3 Baltimore. Yeah, the Ravens, still breathing fire over that stunning 42-38 rally by Miami in September.
Hal Habib covers the Dolphins for The Post. Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Miami Dolphins absorb hits (injuries, travel), but they can overcome it