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Offensive line play as a grand, poetic dance

Offensive line play is like a ballet, which is ironic because I don't remember the last time I saw a 320-pound ballerina. I make the analogy because offensive line play has to be synchronized. It is about footwork. It values both strength and skill or technique.

It is beautiful when it is done well. It should be played to a soundtrack.

But it looks bad when someone butchers the technique or the execution.

The Dolphins offensive line last year was both poetry and an incomplete, no-sense-making sentence. (As the author of many incomplete, no-sense-making sentences, I know of what I speak.)

Anyway, coach Tony Sparano doesn't want his ballet to fall flat this year after struggling with inconsistency so often last year. 

Sparano, looking for answers, sometimes made changes along the offensive line. The right guard spot was often a revolving door that dropped one player off and picked another up. And that was probably too much switching week to week.

“The combinations of people sometimes from a mental standpoint can lead to the one or two mental errors per game that can hurt you,” the coach admitted Tuesday.

So whenever training camp begins, Sparano wants to build a line and stick with that group of starters. That's going to take some work because there is precious little the coach knows for sure about his offensive line.

He knows Vernon Carey will stay at right tackle. He said a move to guard is not in the cards "right now." Carey, seemingly slow at times last season to my eyes, can be a very good player. And he can also be very ordinary. Last year he was both.

But he was not fat. At least that's what Sparano said. The coach said Carey missed weight only once.

Sparano knows Jake Long will continue to be his most impressive and productive player. And, the good news is, Long should be healthy in time for camp. I asked the coach about Long's status and he said that while he wouldn't be ready to fully participate in offseason lifting or conditioning were a lockout not in place, the schedule was to have him ready for training camp. (You see what I meant about those crazy sentences?)

Richie Incognito is also a question mark. He can play either center or guard and Sparano said he is not 100 percent certain which one he'll play yet.

John Jerry? He was a right guard last year. The Dolphins want him to win a guard job this year and pay dividends on his draft stock and potential. But to do that he has to strengthen his core, according to the coach.

"He plays too bent," Sparano said. "I want him to play more erect."

Ahem. Moving on.

I wish to say something that will bust a myth wide open: Players with position flexibility is not what the Dolphins should want. Yes, I said it. A very wise and successful football man taught me recently what his definition of is of an offensive lineman who has position flexibility.

It means the guy is not good enough.

If the Dolphins are drafting offensive linemen, they should want a great center or a great guard. They should aspire to find someone who can play guard and tackle or center and guard. Why? Because only backups are position flexible.

If a player is a great center. That's where he'll go. That's where he'll stay. And no one will move him from there. Long? The guy is a left tackle. Period. End of story.

It is the journeymen and have-nots that have to find value as position flexible linemen. The Dolphins should not aspire to have-nots on the roster any more.

NOTE: As you know, the offensive line play and running back production go hand in hand. My column in today's Miami Herald examines why the Miami running game struggled and why you should not be buying Ricky Williams or Ronnie Brown jerseys this offseason.

 

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Or Try Ricky's Hole-istic approach to oscars suggestion.

I'll gladly stand by what I said. Reacting in a "tee hee" manner to a word like "erect" IS pretty juvenile. Sorry.

I need to go back and read hwere that came from Mando, I missed it...

OK, I saw it now, However the mojority of the posts were offering some good discussion I think.

poizen @ 11.47, i maybe wrong but u certainly summed up the "we don't actually love henne but we don't think he's bad enough to hate yet and there's no point in wasting a valuable early pic on a very big risk just coz of henne last year" camp

for me

I think it's fair to see this much:

The Dolphins have made it pretty clear they'd desire an upgrade at QB. Is there really much doubt about that?

No team (i.e. coaching staff) is just going to come out and say "our guy isn't good enough" because you simply don't throw players under the bus in that manner but there's obvious dissatisfaction with Henne's play.

They're in a quandry, though. There simply ISN'T any free agency at the moment and the draft options are somewhat limited. No real ammunition to move up and the players likely left at 15 (or lower if they trade down) come with no guarantee aside from the likelihood they have an equal chance to be busts as to succeed.

Not the greatest year to be seeking "the answer" at the most crucial spot on the field, but I don't have any sense at all the team is satisfied with the status quo.

Well, I am glad someone read it. :)

@The Wolf: That about sums it up. Some of us in the Henne camp are not saying "Henne is no doubt gonna be a really good QB." We just want one more year. Especially without Henning.

I was frustrated with Henne at times last year, but there was plenty of blame to go around. Coaches, O-line, Def not getting off the field on 3rd downs too often. Special teams were brutal.

Plus the fact a large % of good NFL QB's had the light go on for them in their 3rd year of PT. Somewhere in the 30-40 games started range. Kind of the same way alot of good MLB hitters hit their stride at X amount of plate appearances.

Most of us Henne supporters are in agreement, if he doesnt improve a great deal next year, we'll all be on the "get rid of Henne bandwagon."

Pete, yesterday you were defending Chad Henne putting huge fake breasts under his shirt and dancing at a bar but today you're ripping me because I threw an "ahem" and a snicker in my writing.

Stop drinking the haterade, dude.

By the way, folks, the NFL is expected to announce its compensatory draft picks on Friday.

The Dolphins lost JT and Nate Jones so I wouldn't expect anything more than perhaps a seventh-rounder coming back to them.

Oscar, I'm at work...

But Mandy, we can't take our eyes off you you sexy bish ;)

none of this matters anyway. there is no season. so miami has 2 drafts before they will ever play another game.

And if Henne doesnt improve, the batch of potential free agents and draft picks has to be better than this year. Do you really want Vince Young amd all his baggage? Or guys on the back end of their careers like McNabb or Hasselbeck?

Dont even get me started on Carson Palmer. Did we not learn anything from Daunte Culpepper? I think a lot of people have this image of Palmer in their head from 2005. That guy is long gone. Two of his last 3 full seasons, he's thrown 20+ picks. He's had pretty good talent around him also. That USC, #1 pick Carson Palmer is a thing of the past.

Mando, were there more pictures than the one you posted? Just wondering. It seems it was a bigger deal than i could see from the picture, so i figured there were far more than what we saw...

You miss the point entirely, Armando.

I took issue with that "story" yesterday (as did virtually every other blogger) because I found it to be an untterly pointless and inane item that had zero actual news value.

Had it been a story about YOU on vacation wearing a funny hat and drinking margaritas (not saying you engage in this) I wouldn't have found it any more noteworthy or deserving of space.

You are truly comparing apples and oranges here.

And there's no malice or personal animosity at all. I respect the hell out of MUCH of your body of work. But in a format like this, your own words are fair game and I feel no compulsion to not be critical when I differ with content or delivery. You are of course free to do the same in reaction to the responses you get.

Hey Mando, question about trades during the Draft. Can players be traded for picks, or is that affected by the lockout? Can teams ONLY trade picks for other picks (future picks, later picks, etc.)?

By the way, I'm glad Sparano has seen the folly of his ways with moving the offensive line around every game a million times. I prefer to stick with one group and let them gel.

it's all down to - who's gonna be better than henne next season anyway that doesn't screw the future in cost?

i think if mcnabb actually got cut he'd be the best to challenge henne in camp if theres a camp ( and if henne lets him see a copy of the [oops i told everyone i've got it] playbook coz he'd only cost money , something apparantly we're high in the rankings on having.

then either henne or mcnabb could hold fort for a couple of years till a better prospect that we don't have to spend our future on comes along and gets picked and groomed for franchise stardom (sorry dreamin)

we still need better footwear though

armando - could u mention that to ts, he might like that kind of micromanagement - u know the rights studs etc

Armando, no offense but, if you are only NOW realizing or posting that flexible position players are not the answer, please do your part & post something current to advance the conversation. This has already been a widely held belief for many disgruntled fans since these guys took over this team.

The likes of Mcquistan, Procter, Berger etc...if they can play 2 or 3 positions it essentially means they aren't good enough at any 1 position. Which m,eans they aren't good enough to be in the NFL. Why they have a roster spot on the Miami Dolphins, even as a back up, is mind boggling.

DC, from what I understand, players are off limits, only draft picks can be traded.

amazed that there is this many uneducated fans out there. there isnt a season! quit wasting your time on who to get now. we have 2 drafts to better our team for the 2013 season. it will help us not playing this year cause the jets and pats will get older at key pos. in which they were already considered old.

i still cant believe the coach who they wanted to fire got an extension,a raise and his son hired.

People, this Henne issue is POINTLESS! He knows the playbook (now). He knows last years terminology (now). He's going to work out with the offense (now). He knows the coaches, the team, what he needs to improve on. Weigh that against a FA QB who likely won't join the team into mid-summer (at the earliest given circumstances, possibly much later). A player who WON'T know the playbook, the terminology, the personnel, the team philosophy, etc.

Who do y'all think will be starting beginning of season? Sure, they'll say there's competition (with a wink and a nod like last year), but the powers that be will see that Henne unfortunately is the only real answer to start beginning of season. There's really no other choice.

The only thing to change that is if CBA is done now (or right after the Draft) and we acquire the FA QB ASAP after that, so they have time to learn what they need to know.

Otherwise people, look to drafting a QB in the Draft (and upcoming years), look to next year, look to later in the season (for another QB manning the offense). But only a Tsunami-like surprise will alter the assumption that Chad Henne will likely be the starter come beginning of season. That's just the way things are adding up.

Joe, that's my understanding as well.

Until the labor situation is settled, no free-agency or trading of veteran players is permitted at all.

Thanks Joe and Pete, I thought I heard that, but wanted to make sure.

bill conners said the same thing in 1987... just saying.

;p

DC---agreed. The labor situation (unless it is settled in the near future, which seems increasingly unlikely) has made it a virtual fait accompli that Henne will be the starter.

In that regard, you can't really blame the team. A free-agent upgrade isn't possible when there ISN'T any free-agency and the odds of a rookie playing at that position are slim at best and pretty much nonexistant without OTA's and possible even a regular camp.

Sometimes events transpire that leave you with no real options available, and this is shaping up to be one of them.

bill connors

u need to get yourself down to nfl.com and tell all those boys to go on holiday coz u got it sussed

u never know they might get substitute players

not a real season, but the fact that we're all wasting our time reading this means we're stupid enough to be interested in anything that goes on with dolphins jerseys on and if we beat the jets we'll still be bragging about it to them all next year

i like wasting my time with this ridiculous obsession

i'm very hungry

Poizen, bill is a contrarian (and a pessimist). If he won a million dollars in the lottery, he'd be pissed he got thrown into a higher tax bracket. If everyone on here took a position, he'd be the guy to think otherwise.

Not saying there's anything wrong with that, but that's bill (as far as I can ascertain from his posts).

But, like the rest of us, bill is only right part of the time. The honest answer is no one knows if there will be football in 2011. Maybe, maybe not. Doesn't hurt to discuss things though (in case there is).

But, then bill would say we'd just be adding to the carbon emissions in the atmosphere with all our hot air (if it ends up there's no football). So, watchugonnado?

From what I can see there is much more hype about this Draft's Qb's than last year, and there's a bunch of them(big, fast, with cannon arms). I don't know more about this than anybody else, but, couldn't there be a gem or two hidden in this bunch? If they are there and Miami can identify them, wouldn't it be worth to move up at the expense of this year's or next year's draft picks? What do you think, pete?

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/thehuddle/post/2011/03/ufl-hires-marty-schottenheimer-as-coach-of-virginia-franchise/1

Marty-Ball in the UFL...Guess we can watch that

exactly pete, I don't blame Miami (if Henne starts). They're between a rock and hard place. I DO blame them for not drafting a #1 rd QB in over a decade. And missing on ALL those (horrible) FA QBs they've acquired over the years.

Best thing to do IMO is improve your offense as much as possible this year (including a QB if the right one is available), when CBA gets signed, check out FA options, acquire one to coach up and be ready to play if Henne screws up royally beginning of season, and then seriously look at your options next year (for both FAs and a 1st-rd QB if they don't take one this year).

No way in hell the NFL would ever go down the "substitute players" route again.

When they did it in 1987, it made for a ridiculous spectacle that every coach hated (but few were willing to openly criticize because of the threat of league fines).

It was ludicrous to have those games count in the final standings and virtually criminal to charge fans (and not offer refunds) at the same rate as REAL games.

I'd rather see the games just erased than ever see that nonsense again.

Something that's always bugged me about those "replacement" games in '87 specific to the Dolphins:

That was the year Joe Robbie Stadium opened. Unless there's been a change the past couple of years, the team lists all the "firsts" there as having come in a replacement game versus the Chiefs.

First touchdown pass? Nope, not Dan Marino. Try Kyle Mackey. First home shutout? Accomplished by a bunch of guys who were "Dolphins" for three weeks, never to be heard from again (save Liffort Hobley).

I know it's not a huge deal, but it just seems crazy to have that game listed as the "first" ANYTHING in the stadium. Aside from perhaps the first abortion.

reading between ts lines from yest is he saying that he might just keep the same o-line but not move them around? i hope not we need at least a 1st - 3rd rounder in there (whoever is replaced is flexible enough to back up the rest!!)

but imagine you approach the draft with the idea that there's no training camp and no pre-season

which positions need the most time traning up for rookies or the least time , is o-line a long lead in or do they just learn on the job - i don't know (coz i don't know much)(no kidding i hear u say) but maybe pass rushers and rb speedster the least lead in time so get a couple of them , we need somebody opossite wake

no this is a trick blog

ireland has to stick to the longterm plan and d board coz there's gonna be football sometime and we want to be a great team for years to come (don't we mr ross)

no quick fixes anymore

draft like the packers, steelers and pats

UFL, UFL! Culpepper and Garcia! Heck Yeah!

Bound to be better than the XFL...Hehateme

"Hehateme" lol.

That guy actually wound up playing (briefly) in the NFL under his real name.

Which of course I can't remember at all!

Armando, I must disagree with you on your stance concerning versitality of our O-linemen. A player that can play center and guard with equal success can be moved when a situation arises that keeps the O-line stable. Injuries will happen and you want your best available players on the field. Also, spending a 1st round pick on a position, they should take into account the longevity of the position and the earliest success of that player. Unless one of the so called special players drops to us at #15, we should solidify our O-line and give Henne a chance to prove his worth or we know that we need a new QB for sure. Atleast we will have that O-line to protect whoever will be our starting QB. Sporano stated that we will still be a run team and we need those O-linemen that can help our team succeed in that endeavor. The braintrust needs to do their homework and choose those players that will fill our needs. A good football player proves himself in his play and productivity, and we should pick good ball players regardless of what anyone else says. Tony Sporano and company have the resources to do a good job of drafting. They need to put in the man hours to be successful. Us fans are sick and tired of bad drafts and inept players, coaches, owners, etc. Prove to us that you know what the hell you are doing and we can stop the criticism! GO DOLPHINS!!!

Here's all you need to know about the UFL

Brooks Bollinger was the league MVP...

Nuff said

OK, I gotta run and be semi-productive.

Nice chatting with you fellas.

And no hard feelings, Armando. Enjoy N'Awlins.

(but I still think that "story" yesterday was dumb as hell) :)

By the way bill, we both should be PRAYING for a season this year. I think both of us don't want to go ANOTHER year with Chad Henne at the helm (if he's not the long-term answer). Neither do we want to wait another season to determine if we need a new Coach or not (and GM too).

So, at the very least, football this year will answer some questions we need answers to so we can move forward as a team.

Please, football Gods, make it happen. You can putz around until Sept., but as soon as Labor Day's here, things need to be ready to roll!!!!

hilarious. first off wolf they already said they would never do scabs again. second if they did would it matter, who would want to watch that. we all learned our lesson in 1987 on how bad that was. poizen is the genius here, he always hammers everyone but never has anything to say himself about what may or may not happen.

I want a season just to make fun of Jets fans for all the talk they will do & fall short of a Championship again.

Joe,
The other day you got offended by me saying you defended Henne over 90% of the time, you said you did'nt. Today you stated you, " defended Henne allot". Then you became condescending and told me to live in the present and called me "kiddo".
Now for the "present" , allot in the dictiionary means to , "give or assign ", as in allotment. The a lot you are referring to are two seperate words meaning many. I would like to make a few suggestions: first we are all on here to have fun and voice opinions, we like to read yours but don't have to agree with you.Secondly rudeness is unnecessary, Third, go back to grammar school. Fourth, go to etiquette school and learn some manners. And finally IHOP is hiring and if anyone knows about waffling it's certainly you!

dictionary

Damn, Armmegeddon

armegeddon, I'm going to typing school!!

Bill, ouch, you must have missed the little smiley face thing after my post.

Not just that, I don't hammer anyone, so i think you got me confused with someone else.

Well seldomly I should say.

I are a very mad person i think...

Can anyone help me with this???

poizen is the genius here, he always hammers everyone but never has anything to say himself about what may or may not happen.

Am I being criticized for not predicting? Not bein Notredomis? I am confused...

Also for a second time... I really don't hammer anyone... (other than my wife).

I am confused here...

Fins, you are a waste. Get over it son, the point was proven yesterday. You're not good with your tenses. Last year is not CURRENT. You follow me around hanging on to yesterday like it matters to you. Stop stalking my posts clown. Here is my ACTUAL quote:

"Poizen, I defended Henne last year because I thought allot of things went wrong around him. However, with that said, you have to judge him on what he's done. Fair or unfair, that's reality. It's not always fair."

You didn't even post my quote. you're so desperate to put me down but you resort to cutting & pasting portions of my comments? L-O-S-E-R. Keep it real, son.

Luckily, everyone can see previous posts & can see you altered what I said to fit whatever twisted vendetta you have against what I said last year. Again, I ask you, live in the now.

What is it about that full quote to Poizen, that you actually don't grasp? Get a grip Sally, you're acting like an infant.

Man Joe, I thought you were Bill connering me there, I never thought I would get blasted by 2 people in the same post.

I try to be a pretty down to earth considerate poster.

Then I realized you werent throwing darts at me. :)

Joe, you're a rambling idiot that does'nt know anything about football. You have no sense of humor and just like to hurl insults. I was just suggesting a new job for you so you don't have to cleaan toilets and bag groceries at PUBLIX - idiot.
P.S. you're boring and repetitive.
P.S.S. It wasn't what you said last year, you said it today A%^wipe!

Poizen, I have an idiot stalking my posts because he was beaten down by reason in a previous thread. He can't let go or is bitter about it so he misquoted something I typed to you earlier. In the process exposing himself as dishonest. If you wanna pick on things I said, do it. But don't misrepresent what I said to someone else to make yourself look like some higher being.

I have no desire to talk to morons who want to debate me on things I didn't say. Safe to say, fins has proven himself to be a clown.

You however, are A OK in my book :)

Joe's the man!

P.S.S. It wasn't what you said last year, you said it today A%^wipe!

Posted by: FINS ARMEGEDDON | March 23, 2011 at 02:55 PM

Are you trying to convince yourself that you can read? Because you're really grasping at straws. What you quoted didn't come from my keyboard. No where close.

You claim that today I said, I defended Henne allot.

I actually said "Poizen, I defended Henne last year because I thought allot of things went wrong around him.

You aren't even in the same galaxy. Now, if you would PLEASE, get over it. I'd gladly consider speaking to you when you learn how to read & not misquote posts to suit your infintile arguments. You're petty & desperate over being beat down in a blog.

There are much more serious things to worry about Lucy. Don't be such a bitter, jaded yenta.

all the losers are present today ,i pass .

You guys saying that defenses stack the box because of Henne are preaching to the choir.

While it's certainly not the only reason, especially in regards to the Dolphins, it's the biggest reason.

I say preaching to the choir because every DC worth his salt drools at the prospect of facing young inexperienced 1st and 2nd year QB's. Stack the box and blitz them every chance you get.

They tried it on Marino, Farve, Manning, etc, etc. It's one of my favorite "rites of passage" to witness.

Just like the WR's coming out of college, they have to learn to beat that NFL level Jam at the line.

This is where Henne is at. Incidentally, MOST QB learning the ropes in the NFL accomplish this feat in their 3rd season.

Henne has had his time to adjust to the NFL game. Speed, complexities, the schemes, all that.

The last hurdle for him will be what I call evolution between the ears. He has to learn how important it is to be on the same page as his receivers. He has to learn to make quick decisions and find the Hot Routes. He has to learn to identify the blitz and how to exploit the stacked box.

If you go back and look at the greats and the not so greats, this has been the difference maker. Beating the stacked box is really what all the talking heads are referring to when they say, the lights have finally come on.

This is why I say no more excuses. I know he's been put in God Awful situations, but most of the time, I believe the worst situations are the best situations to learn in.

It's Do or Die Time, Let the lights come on and shine!!!!

No Marc, you are :)

dc i agree. but there isnt a chance in hell they play this year.

another prediction poizen, henne will never start another game for us

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