« Next chapter for Thomas: Fatherhood, coaching? | Main | Source: Justin Smiley traded to Jags »

A pre-minicamp look at Dolphins' offensive line

The Miami Dolphins offensive line is an interesting subject these days because what seemingly was an established unit now has a number of moving parts and issues that speak of possible improvement and, yes, the possibility of regression.

Here's the situation at each position (Coach Sparano, please correct me next time you see me if I get any of this wrong):


The positive: There is a great chance to improve the spot because the Dolphins are separating from Justin Smiley, which means the next player up could be someone more dependable, that will be there every game of every season and not suffer the shoulder problems that plagued Smiley. The Dolphins have plenty of suitable candidates for the job as 2009 part-time starter Nate Garner (pictured) is expected to recover completely from the foot/toe injury that is keeping him out of OTA work. The Dolphins have also moved Donald Thomas to left guard because Richie Incognito is almost exclusively a right guard and a pretty good one at that when he keeps his emotions in check and stays free of dumb penalties. So Thomas adds competition to the spot as does promising rookie John Jerry, for whom the position seems eventually destined if he is the player the Dolphins hope and believe he was when they picked him in the third round of the recent draft. There are good options galore here.

Nategarner The negative: Smiley was a wiley, experienced veteran and a great help to young Jake Long. Long will miss him. The Dolphins may also miss Smiley's ability to pull, which was one of his strengths. Garner's injury is a setback for him. He cannot compete for the job now as he and the Dolphins would like. He is falling behind. Yes, he can catch up once he gets going in training camp, as scheduled. But right now he's missing time. Thomas is a novice on the left side. He didn't play the spot last year as the team was trying to get him fully acclimated at right guard. He seemingly slumped late last season, which is the reason Garner was able to move over from the left side when Smiley's injuries improved and take over the starting job from Thomas.


The positive: Joe Berger (pictured) and Jake Grove are splitting first-team snaps here. This is probably because Berger played and graded out well while Grove nursed an injured ankle/leg last season. It speaks well of Berger that he started the final six games of the season, including the final two when Grove was well enough to start and otherwise regain his job. So regardless of who wins this competition, the Dolphins will have solid depth at the position.

Joeberger The negative: Um, the Dolphins paid a bunch of money to Jake Grove to be their starting center. When any team spends $29.5 million over five years on one player to be the starter and $2.5 million over three years for another player to be a swing C-G backup, the two guys should not be equals. And if the two guys are pretty much equals on the field, something is awry. Either Grove underperformed or Berger over-achieved or some of both. I think some of both is the right answer.


The positive: Incognito is an upgrade here and it's his job to lose. He is the first-team player there now. He will play there almost exclusively because that's what he is: A right guard. Coach Tony Sparano has lately been coy about the possibility of moving Incognito around, but if that somehow ends up happening, something went wrong. That's because Incognito is the strongest, ablest, most experienced right guard on the team right now. He is an upgrade over 2009, in case you missed it when I wrote it the first time. But he has to prove it. Also, the Dolphins have depth at the spot because Thomas or Garner offer starting possibilities, also.

The negative: There is a negative only if Incognito freaks out like he did with the St. Louis Rams and in college -- at both Nebraska and Oregon, where he got pretty much kicked off both squads. This would require the Dolphins to go back to last year's answer to start which would be either Thomas or Garner. And then the upgrade would suddenly disappear unless Thomas or Garner are markedly improved.


The postive: Jake Long (pictured) plays there. 'Nuff said. Man's a beast.Jake long

The negative: Jake Longis very, very good. But has he fully arrived? Probably not. Dolphins are still working some technical things with him to make him better. Scary thought, by the way. Here's another scary thought: If Long gets hurt, the depth is an issue because it is unproven. The Dolphins drafted Andrew Gardner last year and have worked hard in the past year to make him stronger and a better technician. I have no idea if that project has worked or not because I've not seen him in a live practice or game since the 2009 preseason. Lydon Murtha is also a possibility, but again, I have no clue if the guy can play or not.


Vernoncarey The positive: Vernon Carey (pictured) is established and usually solid. He is also proven to be dependable as he's started 75 consecutive games. Gardner has played right tackle before and the game experience he picked up last year is invaluable for a young player.

The negative: Carey seemed to be a little heavy and slower of foot late last year. He was by no means a dominant right tackle so improvement is hoped for, if not required. The Dolphins don't seem to have a lot of competition for this job and that's not necessarily a good thing because the coaches love competition and Carey could probably stand some pushing.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A pre-minicamp look at Dolphins' offensive line:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

i wonder if the dolphins put in a weight clause on vernon careys large contract. seems like we may have over paid again. i just don't see the motor. i'd like to know more about andrew gardner at tackle.

I agree with most everything you said Mando. Jake Long can get better, but of all the things the team is concerned with, he may be the last. You are right, an injury there would be devastating. I believe ultimately Nate Garner will be the LG, Thomas the backup, with Incognito at RG, And Jerry the backup. Speaking of Jerry, he has played some T and could be a bandaid if needed.

Here is where I make my bold prediction: If we sign Cory Procter, Jake Grove is a goner. Berger would be the starter, with Procter the primary backup. Grove is an almost $30 million investment, but if it's neck and neck with Berger, the smart thing to do would be to cut Grove while you can with no future salary cap ramifications. I believe if Procter is signed, this is the reason why.

Shouldn't this line be better this year, just because B. Marhsall will keep everyone from stacking the box on every play???

Thats hy the Menace always say"You can never have enough Lineman", Being a long season, injurys are bound to happen...........

third, plus I think Carey played really bad early on in the year in pass protection to the point they had to get him help.

The offensive line which was a strength is another regressing unit.
Expecting anyone to step in and play like smiley is ridiculous, The center position is very important and they can't seem to nail that position. Thomas? i thought he was the guy,but they're not sure about him//about all they're sure about is Vernon (fat contract)carey and Long, who has to adjust to some newcomer.
What this means is turmoil. Along with the regressing and leaderless defense.
This is about the same gaa-bage as last year with different parts and Spagano's ford has had to replace to many parts to compete against the Masserati Jets who have tinkered but not changed but a couple of parts and quality parts, not those found in a junkpile in a junkyard.
Sparano added a shiney new exaust system (marshall) and found it had a dent in it when he took it out of the box, And he managed to get a nice carb off of ebay (dansby)but he's got too many questionable parts he's testing out..there maybe an explosion or two in the garage and he and parcells may come out with singed hair.. but it's possible they'll have a grin on thier face if they get it on the track and competing. Burp!


How are ya?

JETFAN, masserati Jets LMFAO, just plain stupid

Very good My Amigo from The "HOTTEST" spot in the universe..........

This is line is incognito!! Henne's going to be a dog biscuit for hungry hounds!!

Jets fan, Your more like a Ford "Pinto" Sooner or later the gas tank is gonna explode..............

I want everyone to unite in a ban of all gillete and kraft products! Seriously! Let us not help pay Tom Brady's salary!

We came in one checkerd flag from the finish line while spaganos ford blew a gasket half way through the race and sputtered off the track.
aaaaaaaght! He's tryin to soup up an old ford with used resold parts and some after market garbage~~~~DOINK!!!!

This is line is incognito!! Henne's going to be a dog biscuit for hungry hounds!!

Posted by: Green | May 21, 2010 at 03:46 PM

Read the the first sentence. WTF you imbecile gte the fck out of here.

JETFAN please you gotta have better things to do than this. I cant wait to see Sanchito go down...in pain, hurting, suffering and still in pain, Joe Theisman style pain bwhahahahah

Brady's girlfriend michelle Bundchen is the top moneymaking model, he's picks em right.

The only car company to produce jets, and the jets came first, is SAAB. You idiot, and of right now I belive its the Gryphin jet they produce, which is junk. LOL I love Jet's but apparantly Jet fans are ignorant of what they love. I'm glad I love my dolphins, and Ford may not be the best car company, but god damnit there american, so go drive your BS jap crap, or your German vermon! OR BETTER YET ILL LAUGH AT YOUR ENGISH JUNK SWEDISH JUNK, LOL AND OR YOUR KOREAN JUNK.

We came in one checkerd flag from the finish line while spaganos ford blew a gasket half way through the race and sputtered off the track.
aaaaaaaght! He's tryin to soup up an old ford with used resold parts and some after market garbage~~~~DOINK!!!!

Posted by: JET FAN | May 21, 2010 at 03:50 PM

Dude, get real, if it wasnt for indy resting there starters and the bengals that only had 50 % of there starters playing you would have had the same record as miami.... LMAOROTF, BAAHAAAAHAAAHAAA, Suddenly I see a New "PLUNGIE" being awarded before 5 pm..... LMAO........

40 more yards a game rushing with me in it...


Do you work at Jiffy Lube?

LOL At Pistol.............

The yets should be worrying about the hole thier FO is digging them into instead of this mental masturbation SB talk.

Jet fan, name one thing Sanchez did besides not get killed for holding the ball too long. The Jets wanted him to just mange games and he coiuldnt even do that, hence all the interceptions. His arm is weaker than Henne and doesn't have as much experience, college or pro. I just can't see that he will be an elite QB. You better hope that running game and OLine is as good if not better this year or else that D will need to shut out lots of teams to win. BTW, cupcake schedule down stretch and in playoffs last year. Cincy was most overrated palyoff team I'm years.

I have a pretty good idea of what YET FAN probably looks like....

5'5" 190 lbs., dark greasy hair, uni-brow, tribal tattoo on right arm and barb wire tattoo on the left, uses most of his jiffy lube paycheck to buy some new chrome accessory for his 89' Trans Am.....

Jet fan, keep collecting your old fart, has-been players. Your whole paper team, came from players other teams didnt want anymore.

You guys are like the Mets of two years ago. recuiting all these old has-beens talent, and today in 2010 you are sitting in last place.

One more thing...

Thomas Jone for LT, is just stupid.

The JETS will win the SB while the dolphins can watch the game on tv....with another 7-9 record,

The Dolphins offensive line is a JOKE again. You guys think you would have figured it out after 3 years. Isn't this Supringos specialty? Wasn't he an offensive lineman and offensive line coach? The bumb basterd still can't tie his shoe laces.

Oh, and thank you for Jason Taylor. He will rip Henne a new A-Hole this year.

We will send Marshal a "get well" card to the hospital. Where is he recovering from his 5th operation?

Love and no Respect

Jetty Man

Ps. one last thing :

JETS JETS JETS!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't believe after 3 drafts/FAs and millions spent, we're still trying to fix the O-line. Oh well, maybe this year.

But I just have to say, whether it's left side or right side (tackles and guards) the guard or tackle always plays better on one side or the other.....call it his natural position. Meaning, by the time he leaves college, the player is a RG or LG, not either/or. Same thing with tackles.

Mando, Any word on what happened to Proctor? Is he visiting or not?

I think the minor issues we are having are good problems to have at the Oline, with the exception of Smiley of course.
Other than him, we seem to be getting deeper with each season. Losing his big salary will free up money to be spent elsewhere.

I like the fact that the pieces being brought in are very good at pushing for starting spots.
I read where Grove said he really likes the competiton, makes you a better player.

Our Oline is going to surprise a lot of people, as one poster mentioned earlier, having Marshall in the game will ease the stacking of the line.

I see this squad being one of the top units in the league by seasons end, going into 2011 & beyond.

You yet fans are such pieces of sht. Every year it's the same crap with you guys. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk all year and then nothing. Your team is like a bunch of pre-mature ejaculators. You talk all this crap and you just end up embarrassing yourself.

Mr. Grove Ronnie Brown was out of the lineup for some of those games Grove missed. Smiley was out too. Those 40 more yards rushing a game were not all about Grove.


I thought the moderator job is to keep these arse clown jet trolls off our forums/ blog.

Time to remove the trash and ban the IP addresses!

jets suck

Jet Fan, you wouldfigure after 41 years of losing YOU would get it, but you don't..Pay those PSLs to play in the NEW GIANTS Stadium and make it 42!!! LMFAO you guys suckthebigone and swallow!!!

JETFAN is a bozo on here to get a rise out of everybody. It is the only way he can get a rise....

God I cant wait til we play those bums!

Bobby, Will you be joining us in Jersey for the YETS VS FINS game in dec??????I've got a great Bail Bondsman, and like Vegas, "What goes on in Jersey, Stays in Jersey", Unless you drive a bomb laden SUV in times Square.....lol

The NFL knew what they were doing when they made the schedule.... And that is why we play the Pats. A game that may determine who wins the AFC East. The Jets, they play the Bills......Ummm... It may be interesting as it will determine the biggest looser!!

cuidado chico, este "tipo" no lo gusta a los latinos...

chico = cuban menace

All I can say to Jets fan is that the old junky Ford you call the Dolphins put the tire tracks on your face twice last year. I bet you Jet fans were happy that the Dolphins did not make the playoffs last year because if they did we would have ran you over again.

whats it like going to a Fins/Jets game up there. (that is in the Giants staduim that the jets get to borrrow every once in a while). I bet you see Rex Ryan come out and lick his chops. Thinking.... If I ate all these people. I might, mabye, know what its like to be full.

Getter Done Fins....


Thanks Roman bro.

So, Mando, any word on Cory Proctor yet???
All I hear is crickets............

It's always funny to read cracked out Jets fans' opinions b4 the season. Rex Ryan is a fanboy too. Thanks for all the laughs

You know what...I cant wait to see the Jets games next year. Just look at how we ran all over them in the 1st game when we were Healthy. Even Ginn caught a TD Pass!!! Cant wait to see them with Marhsall out there. Not to Mention.... Dansby and Nolan....

CANT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In 2010 Jake Long will be cracking this famous football movie line about JT: "I think I broke his freakin' neck!"

JT... is one of them now. But ZACK is one of US for FOREVER!!!!

LOL @ Dying breed


What is the movie of the night??

Too bad the Mazerati jets have a Kia Sorrento at quarterback. 63 passer rating. 26 interceptions including five in one game against the "vaunted" Buffalo secondary.

If Jake long gets injured why would u say that...

If the Jets would not have got two free wins to get into the playoffs...

Whats are the chances Ryan is back this year??

What are you thoughts...


Everyone grab your brooms. It's almost time to sweep the Jets again.....

And don't wish an injury on JaMarkus Sanchez. That's one of the best things goin for us.

Nice article Armandito. I've been wondering about our o-line. I really hope Icognito plays up to his potential. What a dynamic offense Miami would have!!! I also wish we had a fast TE like Randy McMichael was. If Fasano decides to catch the ball this year then that's ok too. Can you write an article about how Dan Henning needs to stop using Tecmo Bowl plays open up the offense more? If not, bring in a offensive guru to keep the opposing defenses guessing.

ZACH FOR LB COACH NOW!!! It would pay dividends!!!

I think the Jets will have an off year now that there's plenty of game film on them and they can't catch anyone by surprise like last year. Enough about Snatchez and the Jets... How 'bout them Dolphins!

Jetty man, the dolphins oline is a joke ? If you actually think the Jets line is better, then you mustve took the short bus to school lil buddy.

We will send Marshal a "get well" card to the hospital. Where is he recovering from his 5th operation?


Hey, at least he'll be there for the first 4 games unlike your huge offseason aquisition San Antonio Homos

Oh, and thank you for Jason Taylor. He will rip Henne a new A-Hole this year.


We had him for all his good years, you can take him now that hes not even a shell of what he once was. Get excited about those 4 sacks hell bring to your team this year.

Who's Jason Taylor?

To all Jet fans: Im sorry. Yeah you heard me, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that we beat you twice last year. I'm sorry that even though the last two teams that you played in the regular season laid down for you an let you crawl into the playoffs you still managed to suck a big fat egg and end the season with delusions of grandeur Which still cloud ur heads and propel ur false sense of greatness. How sad it is indeed! I'm sorry that ur buuble is gonna get popped like the cherry of a sweet young virgin on prom night this coming season as the blindfold will finally be lifted and you will fester in your own mediocracy.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 »

The comments to this entry are closed.