Miami Dolphins Training Camp Primer: Offensive Line


San Diego Chargers v Miami Dolphins

It is rare that a teams number one need heading into the offseason is as obvious as the Miami Dolphins was headed into this offseason. Giving up 58 sacks will do that. Having a scandal hijack your season will do that. Needing to replace 3/5ths of your offensive line will do that. There is a possibility that the only returning starter for these Miami Dolphins may be Mike Pouncey. And that is just fine.

New blood can help wash away the bad memories of last season. Not all the struggles were the lines fault. The running backs could have pass blocked better. Ryan Tannehill could have gotten the ball out quicker. Mike Sherman could have done a better job calling plays. At the end of the day you have to play the hand that is dealt you and do the job in front of you.

The offensive line is the position group most dependent on working as a team. I do not believe that you need superstars on the offensive line. Having good solid players who work together and communicate is much more important. At first blush heading into the 2014 season the offensive line is already much improved.

I expect the starting unit to be as follows: Branden Albert, Shelley Smith, Mike Pouncey, Dallas Thomas and first round pick Ja’Wuan James. Of the group the biggest surprise of the offseason is the performance of Thomas. While some (myself included) did not expect much from him he seems to have improved immensely since his rookie season.

For the reserves I expect to see: Sam Brenner, Nate Garner, Jason Fox along with rookies Billy Turner and Tyler Larsen. Before the draft I would have even been happy to have Fox as our starting right guard. Fox, Brenner and Garner should do well filling in for the starters if called upon. Turner and Larsen may surprise and develop into solid reserves or even possible starters down the line.

Compared with last season I feel much better about the line headed into training camp. What was once a trouble spot now seems to be a strength of the roster. Cannot wait for preseason.



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