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.