The latest body blow to the Miami Dolphins‘ defensive backfield: Safety Brandon Jones will go on injured reserve, head coach Mike McDaniel said Monday, and is likely out for the year.
Jones appears to have suffered a significant knee injury in Sunday night’s 16-10 Dolphins victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. McDaniel alluded to some potential uncertainty about the exact nature of the injury during his Monday news conference but made clear that it’s highly unlikely Jones plays again this year.
Miami Dolphins Lose Another DB to Injury
Either way, that means the Dolphins against the Detroit Lions in Week 8 might have just three of the top nine defensive backs on their projected depth chart when they put their roster together back in the spring.
Jones is the third significant DB to go on IR this year, joining Nik Needham and Trill Williams.
The Dolphins have also been without No. 2 cornerback Byron Jones all year with an Achilles injury, and he won’t be back this week either. What’s more, there’s no guarantee Byron Jones plays at all this year — which would be a huge blow considering the team, as recently as August, expected him back for the opener.
“When will Byron Jones return?”, McDaniel was asked.
“I literally have no idea,” he responded, adding the situation “is frustrating to all involved.”
Two other Dolphins DBs missed Sunday’s game but should be back at some point: Keion Crossen and Kader Kodou. Both have been unexpected contributors and solid pieces, but more is certainly needed.
Dolphins Should Trade for a DB
The cumulative effect of all those injuries has changed how Josh Boyer has had to call games in 2022.
After blitzing 39.6% of the time in 2021 — second-most in football — the Dolphins bring an extra rusher less than once every four dropbacks in 2022. Not surprisingly, they have the third-worst pressure rate (13.7%) in football this year. And that, in turn, makes it harder to force turnovers.
Even after Sunday’s excellent performance — they picked off Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett three times — the Dolphins still rank 23rd in takeaways (seven) in 2022. They allow the eighth-most yards per pass in football (7.2) and rank 27th in dropback EPA (.13).
All of this is a long way of saying they need help.
The good news? Help is available to them. Teams can make trades for another week, and there should be options available.
At the cornerback position, names include Steven Nelson, Brandon Facyson, Amani Oruwariye, CJ Henderson, and William Jackson III.
As for safeties, Ronnie Harrison, Eric Murray, Andrew Wingard, Johnathan Abram, DeShon Elliott, and Juston Burris all could be on the market.
Dolphins GM Chris Grier has been loath to part with 2023 draft picks, and that position has likely only hardened since the NFL stripped Miami of its first-round pick due to tampering. But we’re not talking about top-tier players here. A late-round pick — even into the future — might be enough to pry one loose.
And with a roster built to win now — including a quarterback in Year 3 of his rookie deal — Grier shouldn’t sacrifice the present for the future.
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