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The offensive play of the line

The Dolphins offensive line, particularly the right side, is big and not particularly quick. It is built on size rather than speed.

Tamap Bay's slashing defensive line is not particularly big. It is built for quickness.

Advantage quickness over size when the Dolphins played the Bucs Saturday night. The Miami offensive line looked overmatched in the preseason's most important game. The unit yielded three sacks of starting QB Chad Henne and managed to open (scientific calculation coming next) holes only ants could have scurried through with their crappy unacceptable run-blocking.

"Every time you looked back there, it was a little different," Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris said. "Seeing the [Miami] quarterback getting hit, scrambling, throwing bad throws, getting hit after the ball was being released … it was a nice look for me and it was a nice look for our team."

It was not a nice look for Miami.

The right side of the line was particularly disastrous. Right tackle Marc Colombo, who has refused to speak to the media throughout training camp and the preseason, let his play do the talking and the result must have sounded something like this:

"Dang, just gave up my first sack of the game."

"Shoot, just gave up my second sack of the game."

"Wait, what?, you Tampa defensive linemen are making me look terrible and making Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland look bad for signing me!"

Colombo looked every bit the player the Cowboys jettisoned after yielding nine sacks a season ago. Truth is he's been kind of just average all training camp after practically being handed the right tackle job. But this night was a particurlarly terrible showing.

The amazing thing is Colombo gave up his two sacks on only 16 pass plays. And then he backed that up with ineffective run blocking on all but a couple of runs.

I'm not picking on Marc Colombo here -- the Bucs spanked him enough. I am saying he led the charge for a total unit-wide laying of an egg.

Vernon Carey gave up a tackle for loss. He yielded a pass pressure. He was flagged for one false start. And his run blocking produced about as many holes as you produced. The Dolphins cut Carey's salary to $2.5 million for this season and basically wiped out the final three years of the six-year deal he signed before the 2009 season. He will be a free agent after this year.

He will be unemployed if he doesn't play better than this showing.

All told, on a scale of 1-10, the right side of the Miami offensive line was a number more horrible than one.

I am not a coach. I cannot tell you who missed calls or assignments because the Dolphins haven't been kind enough to give me a copy of their playbook and playcalls. But I can tell center Mike Pouncey and left guard Richie Incognito had one play where they doubled one blocker while a blitzer ran by them.

Pouncey also had a notable moment in allowing another pressure up the gut on which even the TV broadcasters commented.

Incognito was probably the best of the group because he had no apparent and obvious mistakes. But on a night the Dolphins failed to gain even one rushing first down, he is almost guilty of bad play simply by association.

Left tackle? I'm not going to be hard on Lydon Murtha. He yielded a couple of hurries -- one in which the defender deliberately walked him back about four steps into Henne's face but couldn't get there fast enough because Colombo had already gotten destroyed by Dakota Watson. But the truth is, Murtha will not be in the lineup when the regular-season begins.

Miami's left tackle is Jake Long. So Murtha doesn't worry me.

I'd suggest Murtha might be a solid competitor for the right tackle job, but he hasn't looked like a starter this preseason so that probably isn't the answer, either.

I don't know the answer. And after four years of this current Dolphins administration failing to find the way to field a consistent, dependable offensive line, the Dolphins obviously don't have the answer.

The right tackle spot is a nightmare manned by a player who likely won't be here next year and is here this year seemingly because of his ties to the Dallas Cowboys. The right guard spot is manned by a player who the team recognized as over-valued and out of position at RT. So they put him at RG where he is also didn't show anything in his last outing.

I suppose the Dolphins could go out and try to add someone. Shaun O'Hara, or Dallas retreads Leonard Davis or Andre Gurode if he's dumped by the Cowboys. Maybe the waiver wires offer some sort of escape.

But whichever discard is added will be, well, a discard from another team and a guy coming in just two weeks from the start of the regular season.



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Oh, and one thing to my Florida friends who've been through WAY worse hurricanes, and my Cali friends who've been through WAY worse earthquakes, who's been through an earthquake AND hurricane in one week? I think we got you there!! I'm ready to be Mad Max now. When's the end of the world coming?

Did anyone see the hit Pouncey laid on Bucs NT Brian Price? It was a nasty! Probably a little dirty, I liked it. Pouncey is going to be a hell-of-a player once he learns the offense. I think he was a great pick. RBs are a dime a dozen when the OL is good.


You saw a borderline Hurricane, Cat 1 at best, though I believe it was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it arrived in DC. Just sayin. Cat 3 and above and then you are really talking HURRICANE!

My Hurricane's bigger than your Hurricane...
My Hurricane's bigger than yours...
My Hurricane's bigger cause Cat 1's a little baby...
My Hurricane's bigger than yours!


hello,un-informed dolfans you really take the cake!
1.Armando says tampas line is speed and quickness and they do have a few of those,however they also have size ..Okam weighs they say 375 i would say more like 405.

2.tampa does have a very good dl.. because they are well coached by the cocky want to be dungy coach of theirs.

3.I watch the replay myself and it aint near as bad as you guys and armando say it is .IT is ALL fix able but if you dont know anything about football.... which most posting here dont.Then yes i would panaic?

4.Just like everyone dumped on henne now they have the ol. and thats o.k because they did have a really bad game!but next week when thomas and johnson are having success what will you say then?

My point is Simon, the people on the East Coast from South Carolina to Maine are Survivors. WAY MORE than people from Florida, Louisiana or even California. We get hit every which way, while those people just get one or the other. We're better at survival. Should be very easy to see.

By the way, I'm joking about all this, like Patrick @ 10:23am. Just wanted to put out there that I survived a hurricane and earthquake in 1 week. That's going on my resume.

Jerry, all due respect, it's hard to take seriously someone calling others un-informed (and insinuating they ARE informed) when they can't even spell words like "panic" and write a post that hard to understand it's so poorly written (are you ALoco?).

Fix your writing first, then let's talk about how un-informed we are. K? Thanks.


Thats nothing. I've been in a Hurricane, Earthquake, Typhoon and Blizzard all within 24 hours! You won't find it on record because the records don't know my ex girlfriend.

Four years in & Parcells & now his heirs & acolytes still have not cretaed even a capable o-line. Shameful. Shoulda gotten Jason Brown at center FA instead of going cheap for injury prone Grove. Downhill fast ever since. Jake Long & The Four Dwarves.

TS & JI must go and they must go now.
Pay whatever price you must NOW for whoever remains available....worry about the cap-future impact later, GET AN O-LINE NOW!

"Oh, and one thing to my Florida friends who've been through WAY worse hurricanes, and my Cali friends who've been through WAY worse earthquakes, who's been through an earthquake AND hurricane in one week? I think we got you there!! I'm ready to be Mad Max now. When's the end of the world coming?"

DC Dolfan

I just find it funny that people from the south and west are making fun of US in the northeast because we're "crying" about a little earthquake and tropical storm. It's funny because we're not the ones who are crying, it's the media as usual making a big deal out of nothing.

And to anyone who may have heard someone from the northeast whining and called us all babies over it remember one thing,,,,,,SNOW. We get storms that we have 16 inches of snow yet we still go to work while people out west and down south get an inch and act like it's Armageddon. It's because we're prepared for it and you're not. Same as earthquakes and tropical storms, most people up here aren't prepared for that stuff because it never happens.

Simon Says, thanks for the laugh, that was a good one.

Simon, that was funny.

LouD, agreed. People around here took it in stride. Media pumped up the fear (that's what they do best).

Have to admit though, I'm kind of a b***h when it comes to snow too. Don't do well when it's more than 3-4 inches.


People are just joking around. Your analogies are also bs because that is all the media as well.

I used to live by the beach where after a one heavy rainy day, one corner would get totally flooded, one street corner, and the stores had to load up the sand bags at their entrances...Well every time that happened the local news helicopters would swoop down to show it and make it look like the whole city was underwater.

This is what I never understood about the Columbo signing. He was let go last year because he kept getting Romo killed and we sign him here just because Sporano always liked him? What, did he give him a good deal on car insurance? STOP the favrotism and get the best guys ut there!

I'm heartened by the fact that the offensive line has become the focus of analysis instead of continually beating the dead QB-horse over and over again. But, as usual, overreaction rules the day.
First, Tampa Bay runs a lot of line stunts. A lot, almost every play. Miami did not game plan for Tampa Bay. Thus the line did not watch film to break down the stunts and/or prepare/practice handling them. That's why Sparano said the problems were "fixable".
Second, as Mando mentioned, TB has a small, quick line and Miami has a large, powerful line. Not mentioned is that this match-up typically favors the small, quick line in the first quarter and the large, powerful line in the fourth quarter. One reason it is hard to gauge pre-season games.

Mando did nail two of the biggest disappointments being that Colombo looks way over the hill and especially can't pass block; and Jerry is looking like a wasted second round pick that may not be bright enough and/or hard working enough to play at this level.
Hopefully Murtha can play better at right tackle and Jake comes back healthy. Carey should be able to play guard since he did it in college.

Freetruth is gay and knows jack, in the biblical sense.

Hypnotoad, just shows how little Sparano knows about how to improve the line. Instead of getting a good player, he's relying on one he knows. Also, Ireland HAD to have the same info as us, showing that Colombo was 75 out of 77 tackles last year. How do you bring that guy in AS AN UPGRADE? Complete incompetence when it comes to Colombo by Ireland/Sparano.

The only thing Miami can do to even save face is to dump Columbo now, sign O'Hara, make him the center, move Pouncey to RG, carey back to RT and leve the rest where they are. I will b the first to admit I was saying all off season how great th eO-line was goingt to be but I was so wrong it hurts. Let's get someone in here to compete!

Dear Coach Sparano,

If the offensive lines problems are "fixable", why should we believe you can fix it this season when you haven't been able to fix it in three seasons?

I think Parcells picked Tony because for one he needed a yes man, and two, he like Tony's style and work ethic. But just how good of a coach is he? How good of an oline coach is he? Maybe given talent he would do well, but choosing talent is not his strength. He had a chance to work personally with Jerry at the Senior Bowl and still called it wrong.

This FO has brought in around 9 olinemen now and maybe only 2 are sure things, but when they arrive Tony talks them up like he just got a steal nobody else knew about. He sure seemed high on Columbo and claimed for sure he would be the starting RT. Maybe he is bluffing to motivate some others, who knows.

good call Pete, plus this is his lane. He was a o-line coach!

..Bong Pipe is going to be on the Herd in a few minutes.. Wonder what he may say if asked about the Phins?

I'm watching the game and Columbo is terrible, he needs help on every play, can't pass block anyone by himself

He has to go, he is really bad, slow..

Right Swag. I was trying to say that but it didn't come across the right way. Meaning the 1 inch of snow also gets blown out of proportion by the media. They always show one street on tv out of thousands and you will see cars sliding into each other and people standing outside with their hands on their heads wondering "whatever shall we do". The media is good at making mountains out of mole hills, it's what keeps them payed. And they wouldn't do it if stupid people every where didn't lap it up like love sick puppy dogs.

Jerry is probably one of the worst casualties of the lock-out. He needed to be worked out hard in a controlled environment. I think the intention was to remake his body during the off-season and they never got the chance. It proves the guy could not do it on his own when lots of cheese burgers were calling.

If sticks it will be because they still believe if they get him lifting weights they can mold him into a good lineman.

Sorry guys I just can't get into talking about the o-line. We've been talking about this problem for weeks now. I said it before and I'll say it again. It seems that sometimes our posts provide ideas for reporters to write stories about, :) but this story should have been written two weeks ago.

I've noticed 'fixable' has been a frequent word in Sparano's post game speeches. When do we start hearing 'fixed'?

And this from Peter Kings column today:

Miami RB Reggie Bush vs. Tampa Bay
Att. Yards Avg. TD
5 minus-1 -0.2 0

Thought: Tampa's hardly the best run defense in football. Not a good sign for a guy who wants to be an every-down back.

I post yesterday: Lake Long at RT at season openner, he is familiar because he played RT at Michigan, Carey is familiar with Long at RT due the wildcat, Murtha is a decent LT so far, all the defensive New England's game plan will be pressure the right side of the dolphins, is an unscouted formation, etc.
I will inisist on this.

I still don't understand how we revamp the whole offensive coaching staff EXCEPT for the o-line coach. Our o-line and specifically our run blocking last year was terrible. That coach should have been the first to be let go.

I will inisist on this.

Posted by: adrian solorza | August 29, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Ok chief, I'll get right on it. Thanks for the brilliant idea of moving the best LT in the league to a different position and replace him with a 7th round practice squad player from Detroit. Got it.

Peter king is the biggest deuche that thinks he know about football. I usually never read his stuff. He doesn't let anyone comment on his MMQB column because if he did every single person on that site would rip him a new one in the comment section.

I'm thoroughly confused. The one area we've spent the most money and effort on making great (the O-Line) we're bad, and the one area that we've spent the least effort on (QB) is looking better. It's pre-season, that's the only excuse I can see. Nothing is real yet. Holding my opinionated opinioning until a game or two that count.
On paper, and by history/experience, we SHOULD be pretty decent on most areas of the ball except for QB, and RB. And RB, the pieces are there, just a matter of time and playing them correctly. So.... how wrong am I going to be once the season starts? I'll stick to my analysis, but am prepared to adjust my thinking.

This is from the bleacher report;

"So you're running game is responsible for 17 yards (and none of them came while you were playing), zero first downs and a failure in goal line situations, your best wide receiver fumbled the ball after a 30 yard catch and run, and people still have the perception that there's a quarterback controversy."

"What do you do? Go 10-for-13 for 175 yards, a touchdown, zero interceptions, and a QB rating of 143.9.

This game should prove that if the Dolphins fail this year, odds are it won't be Henne. The running game is a lot worse than previously thought (self-inflicted of course, they should've kept Ricky Williams) and the offensive line is terrible with the exception of Jake Long (who still has had yet to play) and Mike Pouncey (who's a rookie.)"

And it just strikes me funny that for all of the talk we've done about Henne possibly costing Sparano/Ireland their jobs it will actually be Sparanos inability to run a decent offensive line and Irleands mistake in letting Ricky Williams leave and banking on an unproven rookie and a third down back and punt returner to carry the load. Every day I belive more and more that Hennes actual problems had more to do with his coaches and coordinators than his own inability to progress.

I'm thinking that Ireland should consider trading a D-lineman straight up for a good O-lineman to shore up the right side.

Yeah can you imagine the line if they didn't take Pouncey? Yikes.

Sept 12th We will see

Love Bill

cocoa joe I agree with your post. I just want to add that there has to be a happy medium. I'm a fan of two giant tackles and a big strong center. And having smaller quicker guards.

The reason I say this is because Cam Camerons idea was to have a smaller quicker team including offensive line and we got bullied every where on the field especially in the trenches.


King does respond to email. He's an investigative sports journalist, and pretty good and uncovering stories, but not an analyst for sure. Just the point being Bush is a high star name running like a bust so far. He is a weapon catching passes, but we have to see him perform well taking hand offs and he is supposed to be our lead back. Well, maybe once Long is in things will come together.

Cowboys cut Andre Gurode.

I expect Jeff just sent him a plane ticket for a visit of the Davie facility.

Lou, kinda sounds like the FO can't walk and chew at the same time, right? I mean, it's the QB, the OC, the defense, the oline, the RBs, the safeties, the CBs...

When is this FO gonna put it all together in one package? Can't keep blaming the players. Not like any of this is a big surprise. What's Ireland been DOING all offseason?

By the way, as an aside, I think you forgot to mention Incognito as a good lineman. I've been very happy with him since he was picked up.

Hey TS (Tony Sparano) maybe if you had actually fixed the thing you said was going to be the most important part of this offense coming in we wouldn't have to make these suggestions. You suck at being an o-line evaluator and coach as well as your buddy Ireland. We're waiting for a better idea. Adrian might be on to something here. Murtha is the only linemen with the exception of Richie that has held his own at his position.

The best bet is to move him to RT of course and let Long remain at LT. But if he is better suited for LT what is the harm in moving Jake to the right side until you get things figured out? If he's the best LT then he will be the best RT no doubt. And our line will play much better as a unit. Otherwise you risk your whole right side being manhandled all year and your QB being under too much pressure to win games.

At the most it's something to think about and if you're not thinking about it as a coach then people are probably right and you're going to be gone before the season is over. (I obviously realize I'm not talking to the real Tony this was just a joke!)

Yeah Richie is good. Just wish he could pull better, too slow. He would be a GREAT RG in my opinion. If they could find a good pulling LG via trade (Merling anyone?) they could move Richie to the RG position and Carey back to left tackle. Murtha would be a decent backup for both tackle spots and our o-line would be much improved. I've always thought they were asking too much out of Richie on the left side. Guy could be a BEAST on the right.

Sorry, Carey back to RIGHT TACKLE

DC I agree but will give Ireland a pass on the off season considering there was a lockout. But that doesn't excuse him from not upgrading the TE position when there was an upgrade available and from the horrible o-line draft picks.

Did they sign the center from Dallas yet?

So if this OLine unit can't get its act together, we can expect another OLineman as the first pick in next year's draft. Brilliant!

Did anyone see the hit Pouncey laid on Bucs NT Brian Price? It was a nasty! Probably a little dirty, I liked it. Pouncey is going to be a hell-of-a player once he learns the offense. I think he was a great pick. RBs are a dime a dozen when the OL is good.

Posted by: Patrick | August 29, 2011 at 10:16 AM


While I'm NOT a Gay Viking, I do have to admit, that HIT left me fantasizing about a certain former Dolphin player!

PS: It wasn't dirty AT ALL, he was wearing a Phins uniform! Go Pouncey!

Cowboy's just cut OL Andre Gurode, we better hurry up and sign this bum too to go along with Colombo...

It's really too bad John Jerry has not worked out, otherwise we would not be having this conversation.

And no I can't blame Sparano for that pick, EVERY draft pick is a roll of the dice, even 1st round let alone 3rd round. Just cuase a guy is dominant College does not mean he'll pan out in the NFL.

But I will blame Sparano and Ireland for wasting time with Smiley and Grove since they both came with a history of injuries.

Jake Long, #1 over all pick, 3 time pro bowler, consensus top LT in the NFL.

Lydon Murtha, 7th round pick, couldn't make it as a starter on the worst Detroit team in history, we picked him off their practice squad.

Now some of you are saying let Murtha replace Long? Helllloooooo. Now that would get me fired really fast.

I have been a Dolphin fan since the glory days of the 70's. It has never ceased to amaze me how the level of mediocrity permeates the entire organization - from the front office to the players. Winning organizations in ANY sport have great owners, front offices and coaches. The dolphins consistently lag behind the rest of the NFL in all of these categories. I watch with utter amazement year after year how Dolphin draft picks predictably underperform. Does this make a statement about the organizations ability to evaluate talent?

Oline Answer:

Obviously chances of the longterm answer oline answer wont be found this season. However, if Chad Henne proves he's finally gotten his act together at qb in 2012 the answer's very simple:

1. Draft a RG 1st rd
2. Sign the best available fa RT

Listen, chances remain slim we win a SB anyway. Rebuilding's still one more year away. Draft a RG 1st rd and sign a fa RT. Then 2nd rd 2012 even draft a quality TE.

Rebuilding Done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guys, I absolutely love where this team sits right now. We're virtually only a RG, RT, and a TE away to be a perrenial playoff team with decent chance to being in a SB.

Chad Henne seems to be now getting comfortable in Daboll's new offense. QB is the most difficult position on any roster to get settle. If Henne's now settled in, Adding the final 2-3 pieces will be a piece of cake.

Especially if there's no need to spend 2012's 1st rd pick on a qb.

Dr. J you're an idiot. While the Smiley and Grove picks are still haunting the Dolphins. They washed out due to injuries. There's no doubt that they could play. It appears as though the Dolphins had another good draft this year. When you factor in the way J. Odrick and A.J Edds look, the 2010 draft is looking better as well. There's nothing wrong with Ireland's ability to evaluate talent. He's hitting on more than half of his guys. That's better than league average and the best its been around here since J.J.. Your post is utterly amazing for its sheer ignorance. Get a clue and then shut up.

dang, is jerry not even in the conversation anymore. what happened to this guy??

Sure glad we got Incognito the way we did last year.

Thought TS being an OL specialist this wasn't going to be a difficult overhaul.

anyway, getting Jake back should make the whole corp better immediately.


Getting a quality RG and RT next season is a lot easier fix than still searching for that qb. Believe that. As dolfans we all to well already know.

Just woke up from a wicked bender.

I got up and stepped in cat poo. Upon realizing this, the sight and smell made me puke up last nights Govt. Cheese. Yeah, my day started with regurgitated cheese and cat poo all over the place.

Anywhoo, I cleaned up, brushed the gums with some Budweiser and Gargled thouroughly with Jim Beam! I'm READY!

I guess what I'm really trying to say is, I don't care if it's Pre season or what kind of Defense were facing. The guys were considering starting have not just played bad. They were embarrassing. They simply did not look like starting material at this level.

I read a post from a guy earlier and his scenario seemed better than my first one. So I'm taking his points into consideration an updating mine(though he mentioned bringing in a trade/free agent, and I hope we do, I'm looking at what we have here on the roster now):

This might be the best O-line we can field at the moment:

LT - Long

LG - Cognito

C - Pouncey

RG - Berger

RT - Carey

I agree MJZ, living in SEC country and having a chance to se Jerry play quite a bit at ole Miss he was a very dominent player and I too thought he was a no brainer that he was going to be our left or right guard for the next 10 plus years, not sure why his game has not transferred to the NFL level, quite dissapointing.

Dolfans, we've already waited well over 10 seasons for a consistent winner in Miami. So what's one more season of waiting to finally get it right.

Draft a RG, sign a fa RT, even draft a quality TE 2nd rd. That's how we finally get it right in 2012.

Dying Breed,
The Phins still need a play making FS.

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