DAVIE, Fla. -- It remains to be seen how long Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey will be sidelined with a left hip injury. What we know at this moment is Pouncey will miss the final two weeks of the preseason, and his status is up in the air for Miami’s regular-season opener on Sept. 11 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Dolphins players also aren’t sure how long they will be without Pouncey. It could be two weeks, or it could be a month or more.
This particularly impacts the offensive line, which lost arguably its best player and someone who calls out the line adjustments during the game.
“What you really lose is the leadership and camaraderie on the field together out there,” Dolphins offensive lineman Dallas Thomas said Monday in the locker room. “He’s like the glue. He brings everybody together and makes sure everybody is on the same page.”
The Dolphins, like many teams, are taking the “next man up” approach. That player is expected to be backup Anthony Steen, who has never played in a regular-season game. Steen was briefly on the active roster last season as a guard with the Arizona Cardinals.
This week’s third preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons Thursday will be huge for Steen and the rest of the offensive line to gain continuity in the event he is the Week 1 starter in the regular season.
“Coach said it’s next guy up, and I’m the next guy up trying to do my job,” Steen said. “It’s the same plays, just the next level. ... You’re going against different guys, but it’s the same plays.”
Miami’s offensive line has been criticized for years. The group has allowed the most quarterback sacks (184) since 2012, which included 45 sacks last year, and Pouncey's absence in the middle is a big loss.
“You've still got to work,” Thomas said. “You have to [move on]. You've got to do what you've got to do.”