Miami Dolphins Week 6 Injury Report: Connor Williams Out, Jeff Wilson Jr. Trending Down for Sunday

The Miami Dolphins enter a Week 6 matchup with the Carolina Panthers as overwhelming favorites, but Miami will have to overcome several injuries on offense.

The Miami Dolphins are already operating without the team’s best offensive lineman, as OT Terron Armstead was placed on injured reserve and will be out through the rest of October as he rehabs a knee injury.

Now, the team is down center Connor Williams, who’s attempting to manage a groin injury that’s already hampered his availability this season. Miami has several other injury-related questions it must answer ahead of Sunday’s contest, including whether to activate RB Jeff Wilson Jr., CB Nik Needham, and G Robert Jones from injured reserve.

Connor Williams Unavailable, Jeff Wilson Jr. Doutbful for Dolphins

Williams has been one of the league’s better centers since Miami signed him via free agency prior to the 2022 season. He had some snapping issues last year but has mostly resolved those in 2023 and has excelled both as a run blocker and pass blocker.

MORE: 2023 NFL Offense Rankings

The Dolphins’ starting center suffered a groin injury in the team’s Week 3 trouncing of the Denver Broncos and was held out in Week 4. After returning and gutting through Miami’s Week 5 victory over the New York Giants, Williams was held out of each of the team’s three Week 6 practices.

“We expected [his groin] to be hurting him, and it has. We knew there would be residual effects with the groin from that just because that’s why we’re so overly cautious about soft tissue stuff,” head coach McDaniel said ahead of Friday’s practice.

With Williams unable to play, 2021 second-round pick Liam Eichenberg will start in his stead. Eichenberg filled in for Williams during Miami’s Week 4 loss against the Buffalo Bills. QB Tua Tagovailoa was sacked four times in that contest, a game in which Miami’s offensive line had trouble in pass protection in contrast to the unit’s strong performance over the course of the season. Tagovailoa has been sacked just twice across Miami’s other four games.

“I think that ultimately when you’re playing center for the first time in an environment like that, was it perfect? No. But there were plenty of things that we can build upon,” Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith said of Eichenberg’s performance after that Week 4 matchup. “With how conscientious Liam is and how intentional he is, we’re very confident with his growth for the rest of the season as we ask him to do that work.”

Uncertain for Sunday’s matchup with the Panthers is RB Jeff Wilson Jr., who is officially listed as doubtful. Wilson has been on injured reserve after starting the year unavailable due to finger and rib injuries. He will likely be called upon to contribute immediately should he be activated from IR, as rookie sensation De’Von Achane is out for the next few weeks due to a knee injury.

“We have one available roster spot right now. Otherwise, we’d have to do moves. There’s kind of a lot of things going on with regard to the entire roster. So we’re going to let Friday play out,” McDaniel said before Friday’s practice about the possibility of promoting Wilson to the 53-man roster.

Miami is also hoping to get ascending pass rusher Jaelan Phillips back against the Panthers after the former Miami Hurricane missed last week with an oblique injury and is questionable for Week 6.

“He’s not used to being injured, so he wanted to play last week. So, triple that down this week. That’s one of the reasons why there’s some stuff up in the air. We’ll let today progress and see where he’s at and then make a call,” McDaniel told reporters about Phillips’ potential availability.

On Needham (Achilles) and Jones (knee), McDaniel said, “Those are the other two, in particular, that we’re kind of digesting today. And it’s really more about just the whole roster and what the game day active (list) will look like. There are special teams things that are involved in that. Just the overall complexion of everybody. We’ll be making that call here after practice.”

MORE: Miami Dolphins Depth Chart

Needham is officially doubtful, while Jones is questionable.

The Panthers will be without starting running back Miles Sanders (shoulder), guards Chandler Zavala (neck) and Austin Corbett (knee), and safeties Xavier Woods (hamstring) and Von Bell (quad). Pass rusher Brian Burns (ankle) and defensive tackle Derrick Brown (knee/ankle) are questionable.

Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins Week 6 Injury Report

Miami Dolphins

Questionable

  • LB Jaelan Phillips (oblique)
  • G Robert Jones (knee)
  • FB Alec Ingold (foot)

Doubtful

  • RB Jeff Wilson Jr. (ribs/finger)
  • DB Nik Needham (Achilles)

Out

  • C Connor Williams (groin)

Carolina Panthers

Questionable

  • TE Stephen Sullivan (hip)
  • TE Ian Thomas (calf)
  • LB Brian Burns (ankle)
  • DT Derrick Brown (knee/ankle)

Out

  • RB Miles Sanders (shoulder)
  • G Austin Corbett (knee)
  • G Chandler Zavala (neck)
  • S Xavier Woods (hamstring)
  • S Von Bell (quad)
  • TE Giovanni Ricci (shoulder)

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