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Starting offensive line for 2009 is complete

Remember these names and in this order:

Jake Long, Justin Smiley, Jake Grove, Donald Thomas, Vernon Carey.

That is the look of the Dolphins 2009 offensive line now that Grove has signed a five-year deal worth $29 million with $14 million in guarantees. That is the look of the offensive line since the Dolphins retained Carey with a deal that is reportedly worth up to $42 million with $14 million in guarantees.

(By the way, Carey's six-year deal pays him a $12 million signing bonus, a $2 million roster bonus, $200,000 in workout bonuses and $800,000 in 2009 base salary. So Carey will make $15 million in 2009, making him the highest paid right tackle in the NFL. His base salaries beyond this season are scheduled as $950,000 in 2010, $4.15 million in 2011, $5.05 million in 2012, $5.65 million in 2013 and $4.95 million in 2014.)

But I digress.

That is the look of an offensive line with Smiley (leg, ankle, shoulder) and Thomas (foot) coming back from injuries. I am told neither player has suffered any setbacks in his rehabilitation following their injuries and surgeries so both are penciled in as starters, although Thomas will have to beat out recently acquired Joe Berger and Samson Satele.

That is the look of the offensive line with a Pro Bowl left tackle that is one year wiser, more experienced, further along in his blocking technique, and ready to challenge as one of the better left tackles in the game -- we hope.

And if you don't think that is good enough consider that depth is much improved from a season ago. Consider that Berger is an upgrade from either Andy Alleman or Ikechuku Ndukwe, who started when injuries befell Thomas and Smiley. How do I know Berger is an upgrade over Alleman and Ndukwe?

I've watched Alleman and Ndukwe play. I've watched them all practice going back to when Berger was with the Dolphins. Berger is an upgrade. But even then, Alleman and Ndukwe should get better in 2009 because they have more experience now, they are going to be in the workout program this offseason, and they will go through training camp. So they are by no means discards. They have good value.

Also consider that Satele, the starting center the past two years, now becomes a swing guy, someone who can play either guard or center. He will compete for a starting job, no doubt about it. But I don't see him beating out a healthy Grove. He has a better chance of winning a starting job at right guard. And if he doesn't, he's still a valuable depth guy with a lot of game experience.

So step back and look at the entire panaroma that is the Miami offensive line. It has well-paid players at right tackle, left tackle, left guard and center. It has competition at right guard that includes a former starting center in Satele, a new acquisition in Berger, and a budding prospect in Thomas that coaches love. 

And it has depth along the interior of the line that will include three players with starting experience. It is an impressive picture.

I grant you the Dolphins could use some quality depth at the tackle spots. But in the salary cap age, you have to make concessions somewhere. I can tell you there will be competition for the backup tackle spots that might include Nate Garner and Brandon Frye.

But overall the picture is quite good. Quite good indeed. 

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This is a very solid line with a lot of potential. They will make the entire offense better by opening up bigger holes to run through and providing Chad with more time to throw.

This might be the most comfortable I have felt about our o-line since the Marino years.

Sounds like we got some HOGGS!!!!!!!

So does this mean Phins don't need to go after a Center in the draft?

WoW, opening bigger hole's,deeper penatration, guy's are we talking about football or making a porno here ???

What happened to drafting a Center? Why would we pay top dollar for Grove who has a lengthy injury history and is not a clear upgrade over Samson? Every draft Centers drop like rocks. We probably could have gotten a top quality center with one of our 2nd rounders possibly even a 3rd rounder. We would have saved a ton of the $$$ we are paying Grove. I hope Tuna and company know what they are doing.

How many roster spots are there for the O-line?  It seems to be getting a little heavy isn't it?

To improve the OL this much before the draft is very impressive. Now go draft some tackle depth.

Now that we signed Jake Grove; why don't we trade him to New England for James Farrior? This way we will be the favorites to win the AFC. Also we should draft another Kicker and punter to shore up special teams. Just a thought.

We still don't have a lot of size with many of our o-linemen. Grove is 305, Satele weighs 295, Frye is 305, Alleman is 310, Smiley is 310 as is Thomas. We don't have anyone outside of Vernon Carey who has a lot of size.

our o line looks perfect to me, we can draft an NT , CB, WR and worry about players that are getting old such as potter maybe find someone to replace him down the line. i see this team in the playoff next season

Armando - no criticism from you on this pick up? It sounds like you are getting on board with the Trifecta, which is a good thing. I would not bet against them.

wow...on paper that looks one of the top 5 O-lines in the NFL..on paper! we'll see...

that suggests they're going LB/DE in the first round and CB+WR in the 2 rnd, or WR in 1st and trade one of the 2nd rnd picks (or both) for a quality CB starter.

With this signing the remainder of the offence needs will be handled via the draft - high potential WR (2 year development type), back-up TE and depth RB.

Therefore, I see most of our picks being used on our defence - CB, LB, DT prospects.

Good job Trifecta, especially when you consider the depth chart they inherited just over 1 year ago!

First of all, I haven't heard much about Grove, but I trust Ireland and especially Sparano in this area, so if they say he's a starter, than I'm all for it. Secondly, hopefully this means only one thing: that Miami will draft the best WR available with their #1 pick (the only other acceptable choice to me would be a stud CB). Finally, and Mando I'd love to know if this is the thinking with the top brass, but this offensive line should mean that the Dolphins WILL have a 1,000 yd. rusher in the upcoming season. And if they don't, then either/both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams will be gone next year. Is that the idea? And while we're on that subject, Mando, have you heard any word on Ricky Williams (is he still a coach's favorite)? Personally, I think he played well enough to earn another year, but he isn't getting any younger, and after last year's performance of all those young, talented running backs around the league, I know it'd be tempting to upgrade if possible.

Marcus, I like the Grove signing because it upgrades a position of need without spending a draft pick. He is better than Satele, assuming he stays healthy.

And you guys see it correctly: I think the Dolphins concentrate on OLB, CB, WR early in the draft, although not necessarily in that order.

... Gotta get a NT also but some of the better ones come later, in the third, fourth, fifth round.

Sparkito,
as pointed by Huss, the draft will be NT, 2 CB and WR. Expect a tackle/center late rounds. I suspect another DE also being drafted.

"I hope Tuna and company know what they are doing". What has happened during the course of Bill Parcells carreer that has you wondering if he knows what he's doing? Is turning two 1-15 teams around not proof. How about the fact that every team he goes to turns into championship contenders? None of this shows you that he knows what he's doing? Why would you assume they won't draft offensive linemen? Not a clear upgrade over Satele? WHAT? The guy played 8 games with a broken hand and regularly man handles nose tackles. He helped pave the way for the 10th best rushing game in the NFL last year. He's an excellent signal caller and is as tough as nails. People really need to start following the rest of the NFL as well as the Dolphins. Otherwise you really shouldn't comment on players you know nothing about. Grove IS a clear upgrade over Satele. Everyone knows it and beyond that, the fact that Tuna/Ireland/Sparano signed him is all the proof you need.

Kev you forgot Jake Long. He's all about size. We have two very big guys anchoring the outsides of the line with the three in the middle a tad smaller but more agile and better able to pull. Great line make up.

NYScott--Are you Bill Parcels fluffer? Quit drinking the Kool Aide. Look at it from an objective standpoint. You can't tell me that Grove is bigger and better than Satele at this point. Bill Parcels is very knowledgeable but when is the last time one of his teams made the superbowl?

Hmm.. interesting. Just as long as Grove stays healthy.

1st Rd - Smith (CB)
2nd Rd - Ron Brace (NT to be)
2nd Rd - ILB/OLB

Id be most pleased with the first 2 picks for sure


I`ve got a trade idea. Cromartie from San Diego to the Dolphins for Satele. What do you think Ron Burgandy?

I posted this on the previous blog, but now it's off, so I'll post it again:

"With the kind of money baing paid to Grove, I'd be really surprised if he is not the starting Center. That takes off Center as our first round selection. So it's down to NT, CB or ILB. Whoever falls to us (if any) between BJ Raji, Malcom Jenkins, Vontae Davis, Rey Maualuga, Clay Mathews and James Laurinaitis (in that order) is going to be our pick. Sad thing is I don't see any of them falling to 25. If none of the above falls to 25, I guess we'll go for the best avaliable OLB. PLEASE don't draft a WR in round 1!!!!"

No surprise that Tuna and Sparano are trying to build an elite O-line. I just hope they've picked the right players. If so, the team is already better than last year, in a key area!

Now, where do we go in the first round of the draft - LB or CB?

DRAFT ALEX OUT OF S/CAL CENTER

Mando, good point on the NT, almost forgot about that one...one thing we need to be aware here, that is that the trifecta are all about building from the lines out. With O-line set, there is still some work to be done on the D-line, especially with Vonnie out and Jason already "over the hill", so we're definitelly missing some big bodies there...

Mando enjoy your work...
What are the possibilities for the following:?
Roy williams (SS)
Antonio Cromartie from San Diego
Samari Rolle ????
on offense:
Devery Henderson?
Thanks let me know if you think the Dolphins should, could and would get any of these guys.

draft... WR Hicks with first pick?

Yes on Hicks. I would love that. 1st--Hicks, 2nd--C. Barwin 3rd--Smith Utah

The Trifecta will still add a big mauling o-lineman, likely in the second day so I think they are going to deal Satele to a team that covets smaller 'quick' pulling line men.

Think Denver or San Diego.

I'm betting Parcells will target one of the big 3 LB's if they're still there at 25. Cushing would be great.

If they're gone they go after the best corner on their board. Its the biggest weakness and now have zero depth their.

The second rond will be for WR, I think Robiskie is a Parcells type of player.

And they'll likely target NT with their second pick overall.

You know they're going to try to get a 2nd rounder for Setele. They have to keep up with the Jones', I mean Belichiks'.

This team has placed us in the unique position of being to draft the best player available in the first few rounds. Outside of CB, we can be successful with what we have at each position. This is a distinct advantage to our competitiors because historically teams that pass up talented players or draft busts as a result of trying to find the right piece for what they need now rather what can impact their team the most for the next 5-10 years. This might mean a surprising pick, maybe a player like a Michael Ohr falls to us, or Max Unger is there in the late 2nd round. You can never have too many talented players. You will find a way to use them, look at the Pats and Cassel, they get a 2nd rounder (which they should have gotten more) for a player that will be on their bench.

I love that this regime is spending money on the offensive line, the most important part of the the football team (along with QB). That is where I would spend money too.
I just wonder how they got past the fact that Grove has missed time in the past due to injuries. They dont like guys who get injured.

How could you spend this kind of money on Jake Grove and not come up with Jason Brown...the difference isn't that much. I'm stunned...and very disappointed.

One thing about Grove is that he is just downright nasty. Can you imagine walking into a bar with Grove and Jake Long. I cant wait to see those 2 lunatics talk to each other. Those 2 are going to just kill people next year.

Hoffman,

I was wondering the same thing. It didnt make sense to me at first. The only answer I can come up with is that the Dolphins just dont think Jason Brown is that good. Can you shed some light on this Armando?

I'm skeptical. The reports I'm hearing are that Grove is injury prone and, while he's a solid center, he's not Pro Bowl caliber. That's a big contract for such a player. This is where trust comes in. I trust Tuna and his Helpers know what they are doing. It doesn't look right to me though.

maybe we can trade Satele to baltimore since cameron drafted him and they now need a center

Is there any chance the 'phins go after Chris McAllister? If not, then CB will have to be addressed elsewhere. The OL is good - very good. Still see them drafting an OT late. I would like to see Ron Brace in Miami if he plays up to his measurements. He's a big dude. Then again, we could say the same thing about Paul Soliai - WAKE UP DUDE!!!!

I am not skeptical, instead very pleased with the methodical way Ireland and Parcels have gone about reshaping the roster. I think draft day will hold a few surpirses from the Dolphin think-tank. Don't think for a minute they will just stay put and draft with what they have, if there is a deal to be had these guys will get it, and they will get the better side of that deal as well. It is good to be a Dolphin fan, I think we will draft a QB/RB/WR with a West Virginia tie.............thoughts anyone??

Robert,
$2 Million a year not that big a difference? Jason Brown has not played in a probowl but is now the highest paid player at the center position. (more than Faneca & Hutchinson were paid who both have multiple pro bowls). You would also make him paid better than our young pro bowl left tackle and right tackle. That is bad business. Grove was the third rated Center in free agency behind Brown and M. Birk. Brown was overpaid and Birk is older and will demand more money than the team would pay. Remember, last year everyone was asking why not get Faneca instead of Smiley and they were playing the same high level until he was hurt. That extra $2 Mill a year if you do that for a handful of players is a lot of money.

NYSCOTT , I thought you weren't coming on this blog anymore . You were crying over how posters were impersonating and bashing each other . but you come on here with your condescending attitude and talking down to some of the posters. Then you wonder why people were bashing you . Why don't you snowboarding and make sure the snowboard hits you in the head. By the way , grove isn't that big of a upgrade , Smart Guy !!

I'll take a good center that's not a pro bowler for 6 mil a year over a good center that's not a pro bowler for 8 mil a year (Brown)

The name no one is talking about is Larry English....he is a beast !.I think with the quality of OLB's late in 1st , no way the Tuna [passes on these guys....corners and wr's will be still available in 2nd...I agree that Robiskie is a Parcells guy...Big, good hands,best route runner in draft, and Ted Ginns best friend that could join the family on the sidelines.....Cam Cam style !

"You shouldn't comment on players you know nothing about" and " Grove IS a clear upgrade over satele " posted by NYSCOTT. Maybe YOU should follow your own advise ( and stop putting others down ) . Grove has played just 1 full season and has played in double digit games twice in 5 seasons ( including the 12 last year ) He's about the same size as satele ( more injury prone ) and get pushed around by big nts . So how IS he a clear upgrade over satele ?

I like it ! We have depth on the OL. Experienced depth. So, does our main need now become corner and D-Line ? Seems that way, and maybe pick up a young outside LB later in the draft to help phase out the aging Joey Porter??

I bet Cam Camoron would like Satele in Baltimore. We can trade him and his whole family to them for a second round pick.

alright, for the people who are saying that he is not an upgrade. what the hell do you people know?? are u guys some sort of great secret recruits that no teams knows about or something? just shut up and let BP and the gang work their magic.

p.s. i like the two comments about satele reuniting with cam =D

a mill more would have brought in jason brown this move is the dumbest one by the FO ever......

nfl.com reports that Jake Grove has always been regarded as a "top talent".
Tom Cable is a former college guard, and O line coach for both the Falcons and Raiders. When asked if he was comfortable with Grove’s status as a free agent, Cable said, “Not really. There’s a place in free agency where all that pans out. We want him to be back, obviously. So if he’s not there or until it’s resolved I’m not very comfortable at all.”

Guys, if Jake Grove stays healthy, he's our starting Center. Why would anyone else think otherwise? The Raiders played against the AFC east last year, so I'm guessing we have good game tape of him against our rivals. The Trifecta is believing that with their offseason conditioning program, Grove can be healthy an entire season... much like what they did with Yeremiah Bell!

Armando,

Do you know what Carey's 2009 cap number is? Also, after this signing, how much cap space do the fins have left?

I agree that Grove is an upgrade over Satele...when healthy. Grove has completed a full season only 1x so far. While a full offseason in the Dolphins program may help, I feel that $6 million per year for someone that can't stay healthy is a BIG risk.

Wouldn't it have been wiser to pick up a proven and HEALTHY CB for a little bit more (Greer, McFadden, or Bodden) and use a 1st day pick on one of the best Center classes in years?

Is a Grove and rookie CB(Darius Butler/DJ Moore/Sean Smith/Alphonso Smith) combo better than (Greer/Bodden/McFadden) and (Alex Mack/ Max Unger/Eric Woods)? I am not so sure.

CB will be a weakness if we can't get a proven veteran to team up with Will Allen. Allen struggled a bit last year and teamed with a rookie, we may be in for a long season, even with Bell and Wilson patrolling the middle.


Alienman , for 5years and 30mil your damn straight he's your starting center. The debate is how much of an upgrade he is over satele. By the way i saw you on "ax men" and "Loggers "on the discovery Channel . LOL.

ILB with the 1st pick is a lock. 2nd pick will be duke robinson if he is still there. then satele will be traded for a 2nd or 3rd.

I am not sold on this signing and don't see this as a big upgrade. I don't think the signing hurts but I still think we could and should address the C position in the draft. If Grove is so good how come there was almost no other interest in him out there? I think there is more upside to Satele than Grove. I think we have improvement in our line it will be because Smiley and Thomas are healthy as opposed to any of the off season moves.

The overall picture for the o-line does look good. Depth-wise and starting-wise, the big picture looks like it's in focus. Now onto other areas. Any idea on who the Dolphins are targeting now, Armando?

Awesome Read Armando. I think Miami will try to get better at FB. While Polite played good last season and was clutch. I think a guy like Leonard Weaver could really help this team. Do you think Miami address the FB. It also seems Mike Karney could be on his way out of New Orleans.

Salguero what do you think of the FB position.

I agree with Adam H. and disagree. A young center needs time to develop and gain muscle while a seasoned Center can greatly help a struggling interior O-line. I actually see alot of skill and talent with this years' cbs I think it will pay off in the end to have a young and agile CB over a seasoned vet next to Allen who is already our seasoned vet. that being said I'm not sold either on going after a Raider that has underachieved, hopefully he will become the Center we thought he'd be when he was the star drafted from VATech...

With this signing, one I am not completely sold on yet defer to those that know, it looks like we'll be drafting D. I expect with the depth of the DE/LB class we will go that way(English, Cushing, Mathews, ect) and best available at cb/wr positions in the second round though I wouldn't count out a T or C pick in round 3 or 4

Blaze

mmm...tuna flavored Kool-aid tastes good...

Have you seen this guys stock photo? It looks like a mugshot...I think he is a tough guy that will bowl over NT's...Weren't the raiders at the top of the league and rushing even though they were so bad?

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