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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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Even if a potential "high impact" player slip badly. We wouldnt be the only team looking to move up to grab him. If we had to compete with another team to move up we'll automatically loose out because that other team has a "2nd rd" pick to offer and we dont.

So you guys thinking it'll be so simple to just move up are kidding yourselves. LOL.......

I just got off the phone with Ireland. Apparently he is looking for a center with a glass nose, or a WR with one eye.

Wow! Had Tim Tebow come along in the 70's, I could completely envision him being a Csonka-type feature fullback! LOL.....................

I REMEMBER LAST YEAR WHEN DB WAS UP IN ARMS FOR US TO TAKE ODRICK ,THE WHEN WE TOOK HIM HE WAS BESIDE HIMSELF AND THEN THE TRUTH REVEALED ABOUT HIS LEG AND SINCE THEN I NEVERD HEARED DB SAY A WORD ABOUT ODRICK ,,,,, WELL I HOP THIS YEAR WILL BE BETTER WITH INGRAM .

DB,


FOR THE LOVE OF OUR GOD ,STOP USING THE WORD......... LOL,LOL..PLEASE .........THANK YOU

DB,

When you put it that way, I guess that was a pretty bold pronouncement-LOL.

Just call me an eternal optimist.

I loved Anderson and Scott of course. But the Blackwood brothers were my favs. I just liked everything about those guys. Tough, gritty and would do anything Arnsparger(?)would ask. Zone, Man, go over and punch out an opposing coach. Whatever you needed done, they'd DO IT!

The whole mAntality thing with those two!

GAINTS AT NO 19 PROJECTED TO TAKE......POUNCY

ALoco,

The Odrick pick completely blindsided me. There were some projecting him as our NT. Hell he didnt even get drafted as an NT, but a DE.

I was never a proponanet for drafting Odrick. But safter Ireland explained it was in anticipation for moving Starks to NT, I was a little more "accepting of" it. Still Odrick has to prove both that he can ward off injury, then prove his play is worthy of his draft status.

Also with the much improved play of Soliai, Starks is still great insurance against an Odrick bust scenario. If he stays injury free, I still hold out hope he's great d-line depth.

ODIN,


DB POST @ 10;00 THAT HE HAS DARK PAST WITH DRAFT PUSTS THAT HE SUPPORTED ................VALLAAAAAAAAAA

ALoco,

If my usage of "LOL" will hasten your speedy need to stick your head into an ever tightening noose. I promise to use LOL much more often.

LOL...........LOL.............LOL.........LOL.......LOL..........LOL............LOL.............LOL.........LOL.......LOL............LOL...........LOL.........LOL.......LOL.........LOL.................LOL...........LOL..........LOL......LOL.........LOL.......LOL..........LOL......LOL.......LOL..................................


LOL.......................................

Mike Mayock loves Robert Quinn. He thinks he should go top 5. I just wanted to throw out there what you guys thought of him if he was still there at 15. I agree he's likely better at DE in a 4-3 but I still think he could be good as an OLB in a 3-4. I'm interested to hear what Rob in OC thinks of him.

BUST

ALoco is so sexy I just want to squeeze his man boobs! LOL.....................

ODIN,


DB POST @ 10;00 PM PROVES THAT HE HAS A DARK PAST OF SUPPORTING DRAFT BUSTS LIKE ODRICK .I HOPE THIS DRAFT WILL BE BETTER WITH INGRAM KNEE .

After all the commotion was settled from the Ross adventure of looking for a new HC, according to press reports TS was wanting more say in what players we acquire. After a predominately defensive draft last year, I'd be very surprised to see them go D with the first pick. The first pick will be the 'appease TS' pick.

Aloco,

Sorry, had to make a liquor run.

Come on now, I didn't bring up Quinn. I was just passing on some info I read.

CraigM,

Knowing now that rolb's take a little longer to become a dominant pass rush force than weakside olb's. I dont expect to see teams taking them top 5 or top 10 anymore.

If olb's are taken within top 10 of the draft, you can pretty much expect they'll be weakside pass rush olb's. It seems many timmes fans draft wish lists are not parallel to what's actually going on in the league.

The average fan's football IQ borders along "mentally challenged" when it comes to sports. Only thing most are astute in is clapping like proverbial seals.

QUINN IS VERY HIGH RIGHT NOW,MOST MOCK DRAFT PLACING HIN ON TOP 7.

Ingrams knee injury was much less than some here are making it out to be. No torn ligaments, just arthroscopic surgery, he missed only two weeks. The fact that his 10 yard burst time was tops in the draft among all RB's, tells me that injury is no longer a factor. That being said, if he is there at 15, its 50/50 at best they will pick him, and he may even be gone by then. Someone in our division with a lot of picks may even leap over us.

odin,

I think all 4, (Costanzo, Smith, Solder, Carimi) will be good Pro`s but when I watch them and I`ve youtubed not only them but there team`s games and see the following that swings me towards Carimi.

1) Smith is a very agile and quick R.T. will work well in a WC offense against speed rushers but very lazy in the run game getting to the next level to clear out the L.B.`s. He reminds me of another great USC R.T. who`s eaten his way out of a starting jog because of laziness, William Justice, (came in at 290 now plays in the 330`s) ironically it may be who he replaces and Ried might end up seeing dejavu.

2) Costanzo is maybe the best athlete of the bunch, a sure fire hit and comes from a run oriented scheme were if you watch the tape he clears out the 2nd. level and keeps moving downfield with the play like the T.E. he was my pick if he falls there but I don`t think he gets past Wash. (the Jammal Brown trade was a bust) if Dallas lets him slide maybe even Min. B.Mkinney is seriously slowing down and this kid can definetly play L.T., he does it all.

3) Solder, the tape says it all watch him get pushed into the backfield on passing plays not for lack of strength but his feet seem a little slow not the best lateral movement, you watch he will eventually play Gaurd in the NFL. if he has trouble with slower D.E. in the Big 10 then the hybred D.E./O.L.B. in the NFL will absolutley eat him alive, reminds of Baluga, the kid the Pack took and one of C.Wake`s faivorate players, LOL

4)Carimi can play inside or out at a very high level gets of his blocks well and in run schemes pulls quickly something lacking last season out of Incognito (the slowest in the league by far that I`ve seen, can`t imagine he was resigned to play anything but Center to take advatage of his power at the point) Jerry wasn`t much better but with him it could be a matter of thinking to much instead of reacting like you am holding out hope this year, aside from the fact odin that Carimi is without a doubt the meanest S.O.B. of the bunch, he will finnish and look to dominate opp., ala J.Long.

ALoco,

"Liquor run"? I think you just explained the insanity behind all of your past, present, and future blog posts! LOL......................

DB HAS A DARK PAST...HE WAS ODRICK NO 1 FAN LAST YEAR AND WHEN THE TRUTH WAS REVEALED WE DIDN'T HEAR ANY THING FROM DB .WHY ?


DB NEVER ADMIT A MISTAKE ,HE ALWAYS HOLD THE STIK FROM THE MIDDLE .

ODIN,


DB POST @ 10;00 THAT HE HAS DARK PAST WITH DRAFT PUSTS THAT HE SUPPORTED ................VALLAAAAAAAAAA

Posted by: ALoco | March 23, 2011 at 10:05 PM


Whut?

Are you saying there's a 10:00 o'clock happy hour featuring Dark Pabst Blue Ribbon Drafts?

I really don't like Pabst, but OK, I'll have supported worse Happy Hours!

VALLAAAA and an LOL back at cha!!!!

STICK

0x80,

My only scenario with choosing Ingram at #15 is an optionary situation if we cant get a 2nd rd pick in a move down situation.

Im basically stating that if we cant get a 2nd rd pick by moving back, I would be equally as happy getting an extra 3rd rd pick our selecting Ingram with the #15 pick.

Trading back also allows us to justify a Mike Pouncey pick to solidify moving Incognito to center. We can still get good quality rb and #2wr with two picks in the 3rd rd.

DB DO YOU HAVE SOFT HANDS? NOT ROUGH LIKE WOOD CHOPPER?

ALoco,

Seems the only word you need spell corectly tonight is "AA" (Alcoholic's Anonymous). LOL.............

DB,

Tell me, what late round back do you think can be an every down back in the NFL? That is what I am not seeing. I'd be willing to take the gamble that Ingram will be better than any of the FA options, and I think he could very well be the best RB in our division. Wouldn't you agree we need at least one solid every down back to anchor the RB position for years to come? (please don't mention Lex Hilliard in your response)

DB,

I KNOW I HAVE FEW WORDS WRONG BUT I DON'T REALLY LIKE TO GO BACK AT EVERY WORD AND SPEND TIME CORRECTING SINCE I BELIEVE YOU WILL FIGURE WHAT I MEAN .

HOW CAN DB POINTS AT IRELAND WHEN DB HIMSELF WAS NO 1 FAN OF DRAFTING ODRICK ?

DB,

You're confusing me a little.

I saw two posts in which you refer to ROLB as the Strong Side Backer.

I do realize the Weakside Backer usually lines up on the opposite end of the line from the TE and that it switches up depending on offensive formations.

But generally speaking isn't the Strong Side backer usually on the left and the weakside Backer on the right?

Was R in ROLB a typo maybe? Just curious?

Fin4life,

Thanks for the rundown. For me, this time of year, that's what bloogings all about. Post that stuff-Homie-LOL!!!!

Anyway, I haven't watched what I would call alot of Solder. I did see him at the workout.

It's funny you say his feet look a little slow. According to the Combines watches he clocked faster and quicker than all the tackles other than maybe Smith.

It just goes to show, it's ultimately a crap shoot. Add in the fact that some guys fit certain programs better than others and really just never know until you get them out there in some live action.

Thanks!!!!

odin "10:31

your right on all fronts and the SAM L.B. calls out the Def. alignments with ability to audible out of them as well on the line of scrimmage

Odinseye-

Just look at it as Cameron Wake sort of deal. Wake is a weakside pass rusher. The weakside rusher is usually where you place your best pass rusher.

0x80-

Kendall Hunter is probably the best and most complete every down rb available late. He is projected to go 3rd rd. The dudes really strong for his size and probably a little more explosive than Ingram as far as taking it all the way to the house ability.

KENDALL HUNTER IS RANKED NO I RB IN TH DRAFT AND INGRAM AT NO 2 ....... DB IS RIGHT .

DB,

The one late round back I do like is Hunter....but...he is pretty small, not sure he could be a good enough blocker ...and..there is no assurance we would land him, the other 31 teams see the same thing we do. It's a risk, its not like we can just 'order him in advance'.

ALoco,

Show some proof I adbvocated Odrick or shut your drunken mouth. You can be such a super idiot at times.

As long as you continue to be a "dunken a*ss" this is my last response to you.

odin,

If you watch the tape you`ll notice that the outside rushers seem to get the better of him and push him into the pocket, remember last season Bulaga graded out very high was seen as about as safe a pick as there was for R.T. and in tape seemed more solid than what I saw from Solder then was crucified by the speed rush, it`s not how well they move in terms of speed at the Combine it`s the agility drills that they get put thru at the Sr. Bowl that tells ther story more often than not. By the way if you saw the Sr. Bowl were he played in and out you noticed he worked better in with Carimi out.Forget his personal video youtube the team and watch.

DB,


DON'T GET MAD AT YOUR BEST FAN ON THIS BLOG ,WE R TALKING FOOTBALL,NO NEED FOR INSULTS ...YOU ADMIT IT YOURSELF EARLY .

0x80,

You should do your homework a little better my friend. Outside of Ingram, Hunter is the best pass rush blocking rb in the draft.

Its only the issue of size that has him rated as far back as 3rd rd. But as Im sure he's done all of his life, he'll again overcome that misconcepted issue. He's already proven at the collegiate level he'e a top rated pass rush blocker.

I guarantee we'll hear lots about Kendall Hunter on the pro level whether he's a Dolphin or not. LOL.........

The Combine is for workout warriors, can tell you alot about the skill players in terms of athletic ablilty but can also be misleading for judging players in the trenches, go ask the Wets there still scratching there heads about workout phenom V.Gholston

ALoco,

My #1 fan? I dont come here to have a fan club. You have zero credibilty here because of your own foolishness. Only thing you're good for here is a laugh.

No one here with at least half a brain places any credibility in even the slightest bit you post here. If you told me it was dark out, even though it's nearly 11 pm, I'll have to look for myself before I believed you. LOL............

Its nearly impossible to get the right answers until we know the right questions to ask. Unfortunately more often than not those right questions are the one we fail to aks ourselves.

DB,


LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE ABOUT MY CREDIBILTY VS YOURS WITH YOUR DARK PAST AND YOUE CHEERING FOR THE ODRICK PICK .

DB,

I agree, but you look at it like this kind of deal(LOL-DB's words).

ROLB=Weakside Backer.

LOLB=Strong Side.

This is because generally speaking, the TE usually lines up on the right side of the offensive formation. The LOLB or Strong Side Backer lines up over him.

If the offense lines up with a doble TE(one to each side)the linebackers stay on their respective sides.

If the offense goes Double TE(unbalanced line), the Strong Side Linebacker goes to the unbalanced side.

If the offense goes single TE on the left of THEIR formation(unusual-but it happens)the SOLB goes to the right side of HIS formation to stick with the TE.

In other words, the LOLB, or the Strong Side Linebacker basically sticks with the TE. The exceptions being a single TE on the left of his formation or an unbalanced line to the left of the his formation.

PS: I hope this is right, because I'm about one more shot away of just confusing myself!

odinseye,

Simplify it for yourself. The team's best pass rush lb is more often than not lined up over the opposing offense's LT or thier best pass protect tackle. As in Cam Wake not Koa Misi(strongside lb)

Hope that helped.

Uh Oh!

Lookout Ya'll DB's getting all philosophical on us!

Seriously though, one of the most consistent things I've read about Hunter is that he has exceptional blocking skills. Especially, they all said, when you consider his size.

I've read this same thing over and over again at multiple websites and blogs.

By the way DB, what's up with this stuff Aloco keeps saying. I didn't know you were advocating us drafting Odrick pre draft? Matter of fact, I don't remember ALL of us here on the blog being surprised by the pick.

odinseye,

Also when a team brings in the extra "TE" it means pulling a wr. So it most means they have only 1 wr in the game signaling most likely a run play. The defense will usually counter with more run defenders in the box and the back line of the defense creeps up too.

2 TE's is no advantage to the offense except in "short yardage" situations. Or in the passing game one of those two TE's had better be a seam threat or they only screw themselves with this alignment.

Since we didnt have a seam threat TE we basically wnet with a 1 TE(Fasano) the entire season. We really couldnt afford to pull a wr in pass or pass/run situations. Thats why we critically need a seam threeat TE.

odin,

Here is a profile on Solder, youtube video against Okla. and watch against the pass, sloppy feet, bad tech. Read negatives carefully

Nate Solder
OT, Colorado
6-foot-9, 315 pounds

Scouting Reports
From Draft Countdown:

Strengths:

-- Great size w/ huge frame, long arms and large hands
-- Extremely quick and agile with outstanding balance
-- Lots of experience but still has considerable upside

Weaknesses:

-- Is not very strong or powerful and has a narrow base
-- Not stout at point of attack and struggles to anchor
-- Not really a finisher and could be more aggressive
-- Still raw and will have to refine / polish technique
-- Must continue to add weight and develop physically

Overall:

Rare physical specimen at the position who reportedly has less than 10 percent body fat --- A finesse blocker who looks like an early first round pick on paper --- Has all the potential in the world and the tools to develop into a stud left tackle at the next level but is not yet a finished product.

From Sideline Scouting:

Positives: Extremely athletic... Intelligent, heady... Good agility... Good length and long arms... Excellent speed, quick feet... Good pass blocker... Good run blocker... Very solid drive blocker... Carries his pads well... Solid strength... Can coil up and generate reasonably good power... Does a good job staying on his blocks.

Negatives: Footwork needs a little work... Rises too early in pass protection... Will occasionally lean and overextend... Gets beat by good inside moves... Will allow his technique and footwork to get sloppy... Gets too upright when run blocking... Not especially strong at POA... Needs to add some bulk to rangy and over-tall frame.

Other Profiles

-- Mikel LeShoure
-- Anthony Castonzo

odinseye,

That makes bothb of us. I didnt know I was an Odrick avocate last season either. Thats why I know ALoco's drunk again! LOL..........

DB,

I'm not buying that Hunter is the second best run blocker after Ingram of running backs in the draft. Where are you getting this information. Please state your source. He's too small IMO for the NFL and the bigger, quicker defence players will eat him up. I also don't don't see him as being an every down back but that's just my opinion.

You also said that teams today are reluctant to take OLBers in the top tem but there's a very good chance that Von Miller goes top 5 this year.

odin,

compared to Bulaga from last seasons draft a more fair assesment now that I think about it is Leonard Davis in Dallas, who has become one of the better R.G. in the game no shame there

DB,

Not sure how many 5'7 backs can block effectively in the NFL, but aside from that.... its a mistake to just assume we can grab Hunter in the 3rd. He could quite easily be gone before we pick, its no sure thing, and then what? Thats all. Its a risk. Sometimes best to take a sure thing while you can.

Simplify it for yourself. The team's best pass rush lb is more often than not lined up over the opposing offense's LT

-DB, That would be the ROLB then. That's what I've been saying all along. The ROLB lines up over the LT. The ROLB is the weakside Linebacker.

Earlier you were saying: "Knowing now that rolb's take a little longer to become a dominant pass rush force than weakside olb's".

This is why I asked if it was typo and you meant: Knowing now that Lolb's take a little longer to become a dominant pass rush force than weakside olb's

CraigM,

Why do you guys read bits and pieces of post then reply? Von Miller isnt going to be a strongside pass rusher. If drafted by a team he'll play the exact same position as Cam Wake.

No matter your opinion on Kendall Hunter, we dont need him to be a 25 carry a game back. That's not our rb system. In our system, if a "hothanded" rb gets the ball 22 times in one game that's maxed out.

The days of a single nfl rb getting the ball 25-30 carries a game are pretty much ancient history. This perfectly accomodates smaller well rounded rb's like Hunter.

The guy had 3-4 200yd running games last season alone. If we cant use a guy with that kind of production potential then we all must be nearly "brain dead".

odinseye,

When I say rolb just consider it as anyone playing the exact same position as Koa Misi. No rookie olb is dominant playing the same exact position as Koa Misi. Geesh already, ok! LOL..................

0x80,

I tell you if we draft Ingram which after reading Sparano`s statements seems very possible then he`s your hammer. Go get A.Bradshaw in FA to be the change of pace speed back who also is a legit threat catching swing passes out of the back field.

If we go OL then I gotta tell you I don`t get why your not very high on M.Bush a solid power back who if you`ve watched sports center has the speed to run away in the open field, thinking Ronnie before 07 injury then someone like D.locke in later rounds doesn`t look bad, there are to many viable scenario`s to fixing that position for it to be the biggest concern we have.

DB,

How do you know where the Cardinals would play Miller? Doesn't it depend on their personnel and what's going to be effective for them? Anyways, we can debate this until the end of time. Miller's going top 5. Whether a guy is ROLB or LOLB is irrelevant at this point. What's important is whether the guy is going to play inside or out.

I don't think Kendall Hunter will be our pick. As mentioned already we need to make certain we upgrade our running backs and waiting to take Hunter in the third round is still too risky. And again, I don't buy that's he's the second best run blocker for running backs in the draft.

CraigM,

If a team rushes the ball 40 times in one game that's pretty dominant. That pretty much means in a two back system 1 back gets it about 25 times and the other around 15 times.

Chris Johnson is even on the smallish side for a rb. If he continues to run the ball 25-30 times a game. You can pretty much believe he'll began to "flame out" within the next 2-3 seasons.

If CJ's carries are reduced to 20-25 times per game he'll be highly effective much longer.

DB @11:28

Agree 100%

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