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A search for the right answer at right guard

First a little background: You all saw the post on this blog about the midseason All-Rookie teams as personnel guru Gil Brandt sees them. You saw that Donald Thomas was on that team even though he played only one game this season because, as Brandt put it, Thomas has future Pro Bowl potential.

I should also share with you that loyal reader Chris Nelson also asked me recently to inquire about the right guard situation. I'm assuming he recognized the RG position is a problem because, well, it is.

And coach Tony Sparano pretty much confirmed that when asked if he's getting what he wants from the position.

“No, probably not quite to the level that I think I’d like to see it," Sparano said in getting his point across while trying to tread softly. "They are young guys that are playing at that position right now that are probably not playing fast enough for me right now. But they’re getting better. I’ve seen progress. I’ve seen improvement from both of them. We’re going to kind of mix that whole deal up a little bit, see how that goes.”

What is currently happening there is Ikechuku Ndukwe and Evan Mathis are sharing snaps at the position. Neither has been great. Fact is neither has been good enough. So this week the Dolphins are taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to the position.

The coaching staff is not leaving any stone unturned in order to upgrade the position. That is one reason the team signed Brandon Frye. The kid is primarily a tackle but he's going to get an opportunity over the next week or so to prove whether he can play guard. If he can do that, he'll get a chance to see if he can play well at RG.

The team is also looking into the possibility that backup center Andy Alleman can play at right guard. Of course, rookie Shawn Murphy is in the mix but I understand he's still not ready to make a push for playing time which is kind of disappointing.

The reason the Dolphins feel so uncertain at right guard is because they felt so secure with Thomas as their starter. Can you believe that? The rookie sixth-round selection had not only been good in training camp but had also popped out as a potential star.

His strength and explosion were extraordinary. The Dolphins believed they had a real gem on their hands. Obviously they hope he will recover from the foot injury that forced him to the injured reserve list.

“I think it would make a tremendous difference," Sparano said of having Thomas healthy. "In my mind, if Donald was healthy, I don’t think Donald would have been moved out of that position. I think he would’ve played that position. He would still be playing that position. We may have a few more questions right now on some of these younger players where all of a sudden we are seeing EK (Ndukwe) with a body of work.  We just want to see it happen faster.

"We’re in the middle of something here and it’s got to happen faster and he’s doing a nice job to his credit. The same thing with Mathis. We’ve been able to see a couple young players there that probably we wouldn’t have seen if Donald was there. We had a pretty good young guard.”

And now they're searching for another one. 

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Any scenario that would see Carey moving to guard, at least for this season?

I'm not quite sure how the IR thing works. It sounded like there was a chance that Thomas could return this season. Is that true or once you are put there, do you have to stay on IR? I would like to see them try anything they can including having Alleman give it a shot. Alleman is said to be a smart player but I wonder if he's quick enough to pull effectively.

"The reason the Dolphins feel so uncertain at right guard is because they felt so secure with Thomas as their starter. Can you believe that? The rookie sixth-round selection had not been good in training camp but had actually popped out as a potential star."

Armando, Thomas had a very good camp and won the starting RG job. What are you talking about?

NYScott, once a player is placed on IR he is ineligible to play for the rest of the season.

Mr. Bungle, I think you misread Armando. He was saying the same thing you are. Thomas was destined to be a stud.

Patrick, "the rookie sixth-round selection had not been good in training camp but had actually popped out as a potential star."

"Had not been good in training camp". I don't understand what I'm misreading.

How was he not good in training camp but won the starting RG spot and was destined to become a stud?

It’s a real shame Thomas got injured he was a steal in the sixth round, but that’s football. Hopefully it won’t turn into something lingering. We have heard a lot about Sparano never singling out a particular position or player in the media but it looks like he has done just that. This far into the season it will be hard to find a replacement not currently on the roster so I have to believe there is an ulterior motive for Sparano going out of character.

He’s playing psychologist… Sending out a little message to Ikechuku Ndukwe and Evan Mathis, step up one of you boys, you are the weakest link. Jimmy Johnson was a master at using the media and Parcells is pretty good. Think maybe Bill told Sparano to call these guys out see if it has a positive affect on their performance? It should be interesting to see if there is a little better play at right guard this week.

"The reason the Dolphins feel so uncertain at right guard is because they felt so secure with Thomas as their starter. Can you believe that? The rookie sixth-round selection had not been good in training camp but had actually popped out as a potential star."

I think Mando meant to write (which he didn't) is "The rookie sixth-round selection had not 'ONLY' been good in training camp but had actually popped out as a potential star." That makes a hell of lot more sense than what was written...

Maybe change it to "had not ONLY been good"?

Mr. Bungle, Grammatically it's a little funky, missing that word "just." ...he had not "JUST" been good in training camp but had actually popped out as a potential star. I choose to overlook such things.

I understood the comment as Thomas being not good but great.

Forget Right Guard, any chance the trifecta take a look at Deangelo Hall now he's been released?

Hey Armando, thanks for getting Sparano to shed some light on the situation. Much appreciated.

We arent going to take Deangelo hall, I'm willing to put a lot of money on it.

HEY ARMANDO, OFF THE SUBJECT BUT DO YOU THINK ARE RUNNING GAME IS BETTER THIS YEAR THAN LAST? RONNIE WAS HAVING A GREAT SEASON LAST YEAR UNTIL THE INJURY? THIS YEAR THEY DO NOT SEAM TO BE RUNNING THE SAME SMASH MOUTH WAY. JUST YOUR THOUGHTS. I KNOW THE OVER ALL TEAM IS IMPROVED JUST NOT SURE THE RUNNING GAME IS.

1. Thanks Patrick. That's what I thought but after I read (or mis-read) the blog I wasn't sure. 2. No to De'itsallaboutme'alo Hall! He would be a HUGE locker room cancer and as we did pick up a lot of Cowboys I don't want the team to resemble the new Cowboys, A bunch of pri-madonnas and criminals. Lets stick with the guys that have heart and are about team unity. 3. What's the deal with the "allcaps" guy? You should write your posts normally because I'm sure when most people see all of those caps they skim right over your post. Just some friendly advice.

Well words mean things and the way it was written said Thomas didn't have a good training camp. That was my beef. That's why I asked the question. I could have read between the lines but I'm not one to speculate when I don't really know where Armando was coming from.

I thing Armando was saying the Thomas outperformed everyone they tried at the position. Too bad he was hurt.

We can still use guys on D, but I think that the Phins want to run more. That would save the D some work if we are running 4 and 5 yards a play and eating clock time.

Armando,

An update on Thomas'progress and prospects for full recovery wouold sure be nice.

Thanks!

Ditto jorser, I'd like to know how Thomas is progressing and if he'll be good to go in 09.

Its a shame Donald Thomas wont be playing with the team @ tampa!!

The update is today Sparano said Thomas is out of his cast and in a boot now. He should be ready for 2009.

anything on the deangelo hall situation?

Kill 2 birds with one stone.

1. Move Carey to RG - hopefully resolve that issue. What it also does it potentially down play is Free Agency Value thus making him cheaper to keep, and if he does well at RG could be the 6th man off the bench if, by the looks of things, they want to resolve RT concerns. (Yes it coudl backfire and drive up his value)

2. By this move, one of the recently aquired OT's gets in the game and we see if any one of them is a solution, therefore resolving a further position that appears to be on the spotlight for freeagency/draft exploration.

Pat

Did Armando add the word "only" post-blog? If not, then Mr. Bungle is a douchebag. Oh wait, Mr. Bungle is a douchebag anyway.

Average article Armando, did you even graduate HS level writing class? Who cares about Thomas right now? He's hurt, get over it. Don't waste a whole f'n paragraph turning a rookie into the next Keith Sims. Move on and deal with the season at hand.

Could there ever have been so much hype about a RG? There were like 20 articles over the summer about Thomas - I get it, the guy may be good or even great. He is till a RG at the end of the day. A position that nobody would spend more than a 3rd on in there right mind. Annoying...

Pat - go back to the pub mate. Why would you move Carey (a 1st round pick and solid RT) to RG? To downplay his value? Please. That post was even dumber than Armando's.

Hey Armando
Is there any way you could find out if there’a any truth to the rumors that MIA is kicking the tires on DeAngelo Hall.

I personally think this would be a great addition he’s young quick with good hands put also strengthens up our Nickel and Dime packages by dropping J.Allen into Nickel and Goodman to Dime

Wahoo - Didnt say to move Carey to G to downplay his value, just said it maybe a side effect.

Right now we are in a situation that we need to run the ball coming into the second half of the season. Best 5 on the line should be the approach, if that means Carey to Guard and one of the Newbies at T rather than the newbies at G then its an option that should be looked at.

Now...im off to the Pub.

last time I checked the tackles are far more important than guards...why would we move a starting calibre RT that has played LT to guard? and leave the RT to an inexperienced player? if you ask me its not just guard but center...satele does pretty good downfield blocking but seems to get blown up at the POA often...

Pat, I'm going to join you at the pub! A pint or six would be real nice about now... But I have to agree with Marc, moving Carey to guard would just open up another hole. It sounds like Sparano is going to try one of the recently acquired tackles at the guard position.

I'll heft a pint for you!

Hey everyone, look at Wahoo the gutless piss ant who insults people from his computer.

And yes Armando did add the word 'only' after the fact, sh!thead!

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