The offensive line already was a position of uncertainty for the Miami Dolphins heading into the Labor Day weekend.
And then Labor Day arrived, and things actually got even more complicated.
There was, of course, the news of starting left tackle Austin Jackson being one of two Dolphins players (along with tight end Adam Shaheen) placed on the Reserve-COVID-19 list and then that was followed by the absence of Greg Little from the portion of practice open to the media.
Now, there could be all sorts of reasons why Little wasn't spotted at practice, so it's unwise to jump to conclusions here.
But let's just say that maybe it was less than ideal for Little not to be out there for the first practice of the week considering he definitely figures as one of the potential replacements should Jackson be unavailable for the season opener against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.
Truth is, simply inserting Little at left tackle is just one of the many options the Dolphins could consider.
“I think Greg has done a nice job," head coach Brian Flores said of Little, who was acquired from the Carolina Panthers in a trade Aug. 17. "Greg has worked hard to learn the offense, to learn the terminology. He’s a hard-working kid. He’s taken in all the information and tried to apply it in practice and in games. I think he’s had some bright moments the couple of weeks that he’s been here and we’re just going to continue to work with him and develop him.”
It's no big secret that the Dolphins have made it a point in recent years to add offensive linemen with the ability to play both on the interior of the line or at tackle, and some have experience on either side.
That's why there are so many possibilities for what the line could look like against New England if Jackson can't play:
-- One option is simply inserting Little at left tackle.
-- Another option is putting rookie second-round pick Liam Eichenberg at left tackle. Yes, Eichenberg's practice reps this summer came at left guard and right tackle, but let's not forget he played left tackle — and played it very well — at Notre Dame. Eichenberg has been nursing a leg injury in recent days, but he was at practice Monday.
-- Yet another option is moving current right tackle Jesse Davis to left tackle, moving right guard Robert Hunt to right tackle, and inserting either rookie Robert Jones or maybe Eichenberg at right guard. Davis and Hunt each has experience at those positions, but each has practice at right tackle and right guard, respectively, throughout the summer, so there's an issue with disruption here.
"We’ve got a few different options," Flores said. "We’ve got multiple players who have played over on the left and on the right. We’ll work a few different combinations today and see what that looks like in practice and talk about it over the next few days. There’s an opportunity to get both guys back, so we’ll see how it goes.”