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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.

Bad.

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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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: DyingBreed | August 29, 2011 at 01:05 PM


Be careful how you word that. People are still coming after you from the other night.

I think I know what you meant though. If Henne becomes the guy, with next years draft and free agency, we can put the FINISHING touches on our 4 year rebuilding program?

I'm feeling diplomatic today!!!!

I watched the game last night and the O-Line was terrible! You can't even evaluate DThomas and Bush with such poor blocking. The Fins already did that last year with Ronnie and Ricky, thinking they were the problem.... It is the O-Line, no running back will gain yards without blocking, doesn't matter who you pick.

Columbo and Carey are awful, can the Fins put Carey on a diet? Isn't it in his contract that he has to be in shape? He can't move and doesn't even look strong, Columbo should be cut asap. Outside of the penalties the rest of the team looked pretty good, should be a decent season, I am hoping for the playoffs if they can do something with the line...

If I were Sparano, I would first look into the prospect of bringing Carey back to RT and Clombo to RG. At least Carey didnt prove to be quite the turnstile Columbo's proving to be there.

Unlass C Clemons or R Jones emerge.
The Dolphins should have traded for Greg Olson a 3rd and a 6th, TE problem solved.

Miami should CUT Columbo, and put Murtha at RT!

The FS play isnt horrible, just not getting enough big plays. Who knows, maybe the winner of the Clemons/Jones starting duel has a breakout season this year.

The safety position isnt horrible, just needs to produce more big plays.

LouD.. Just to let you know I live in southern cal. and the people I know were and are concerned for what the people on the east coast line have been going through and do know a little about earthquakes, so would never be insensitive to that kind of a disaster, there really are some caring folks out here that care!

Miami should bring Richmond Webb out of retirement, He could probally do a better job than Columbo.

We've just signed Gurode. In honor of the great Dallas organization that has been selfless time and again in helping us staff our team, we are going to add a tiny blue star to our helmets.

Charles Clay has had to learn 3 different position without benifit of ota's, rookie camp, and overall cba shortened offseason. Plus learning a brand new offense in itself. Thats a tough assignment even for a vet.

I have full confidence Clay will give the TE spot the much need missing spark. Be Patient, look ahead, and stop being so "narrow minded" guys.


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.

Posted by: no13dolfan | August 29, 2011 at 01:15 PM


MJZ and 13,

I saw a lot of Jerry at Ole Miss and thought he was a steal when we drafted him.

I was so baffled by his rookie season, I started posting my suspicions that he may have been juicing in college and was suffering from not being able to get away with it at this level.

I have no basis for this as an accusation, that's why I called it suspicion. But essentially it speaks to how baffled I am by his play so far.

WTF????


Bears give up on Gholston
Posted by Mike Florio on August 29, 2011, 1:21 PM EDT


Defensive end Vernon Gholston, the sixth overall pick in the 2008 draft, got three years to prove himself in New York. He failed.

Gholston got roughly three weeks to prove himself in Chicago.

He failed.

The Bears have announced that Gholston has been waived. If/when he clears waivers, he’ll become a free agent.

The Bears also have waived center J.C. Brignone, defensive tackle Tank Tyler, and quarterback Trevor Vittatoe.

It remains to be seen whether anyone else gives Gholston a chance. Either way, he’ll go down as one of the all-time great draft busts, a workout warrior who parlayed a chiseled physique and a dominating performance against Michigan’s Jake Long into the kind of oversized contract that top-10 draft picks no longer will get.

Michael Dee,

Where in God's name have you seen we've definitely signed Gurode? Either you're far ahead of the ball or just outright lying!

Being from Connecticut, its clear as can be from here that the Offensive play of the Miami Dolphins Offense Line, that this will be Tony Sparano's downfall, He had (4) Four years to Solidify this Offense Line, Can anyone say he's down a good job??? Hey Tony, Listen to your freind from CT, Sign O'Hara.

How does Ireland still have a job? How many players did he sign this off season because at some point in their past they wore a Dallas uniform? Don't they have scouts to evaluate the players or is he relying on Dallas? Honestly how many of these players would still be unsigned if Ireland didn't bring them into camp? Except for Bush, Burnett and Moore how many of the free agents will actually make the team? Moore will and that's only because we don't have anyone behind him....
The RB position is a joke, once one of our strongest positions.... Bush looks great but he wasn't signed to carry the ball 20+ carries a game, Thomas doesn't look like he was worth trading up for in the draft, and the rest are holdovers from last year... T.E. is also going to be a problem for us and Ireland did absolutely nothing to try and upgrade that position.....
I could go on forever, I am completely baffled that this guy still has a job and I actually feel bad for Sparano... I hope I'm completely wrong but I've been a Phin an awful long time and I have never seen anything like this......

DyingBreed

I happen to be the CEO of the Miami Dolphins.

Sorry, I ment Done a good job.

Grove and Smiley werent Sparano's fault. He's not in player personel, he coaches what's given to him.

Only Parcells and Ireland are responsible for Grove and Smiley. It was those two who rolled the dice and lost. Not Tony.

True statement, DyingBreed, but it will be Sparano who will be Fired, and probably Ireland too.

Guys no matter what regime runs your franchise chances are taken. Some turn into bust some turn into boom.

Overall this regime hasnt been mind boggling terrible. But we have had a few mind boggling attention getting booms. These things will happen no matter what regime is in place taking over a 1-15 franchise.

When your franchise is in that sad state of affairs you dont get to the promise land by skills alone. Chances have also gotta be taken. Unfortunately chance taking involves a roll of the dice. A roll of the dice means sometimes you lose.

I'll chime in my two cents on the offensive line, for what it's worth. I would go out and sign Gurode, just released from Dallas. (Yeah I know......another Dallas castoff). Not sure if he's best at centre or best at RG but he would play one of those positions and I'd move Carey back to RT with Murtha giving him competition. Gurode has been to the Pro Bowl the last four years, so he must still have SOMETHING left in the tank. I'd chop Colombo immediately, cause I'm not liking what I'm seeing from that guy.

The only other alternative is to trade a DL for a RT but I have no idea what the prospects are for that.

I used to have a mentor when I was younger who many times told me. "If you're not making some mistakes, you're not trying hard enough".

Sometimes mistakes only mean that youre getting closer to the answer. I much rather have a guy making mistakes trying to find the answer than to have one who's stand pat in feeling comfortable in mediocrity.

Maybe Miami can put, Vernon Goulston at Offensive Right Tackle.

That's a great observation, odin. Who knows how many of these guys that looked great in College and failed miserably here were juiced up?

Just sign O'Hara....

The difference is Colombo can get Henne hurt, if he makes to many mistakes, don't know if you saw the game, looked like Colombo was really strugling out there.

Colombo is certainly not the answer. I hate line churning but the guy has not been good. Yes, Jake's return will help but Colombo just can't pass block, he got Romo knocked out for the year and now he is letting guys in on Chad. I dont want them moving Pouncey and everyone else around 2 weeks prior to season. I would rather have them look for an upgrade through trade or waiver wire.

I feel we dont only need a RT or RG, we need a top 10 performer at those positions. So I highly doubt anyone's looking to trade a top 10 RT or RG for one of our rotating D-linemen. Thier good but not dominating calibre.

If we have a dominating calibre d-lineman its in our best interests to keep him. I know as fans we have these grad ideas. But you have to also remember we're also dealing with smart ngl gm's too.

Trading a top 10 quality RG or RT for a backup d-lineman is gross stupidity unequaled only by gross desperation.

It also dont make sense to trade very good d-linemen for average RG or RT neither. Not unless youre hard up for a 2012 7th rd compensatory pick.

Dying, I believe teams have to be down to 53 on Tuesday, maybe, just maybe we will get lucky

I want to nominate Parcells, Ireland, HenningS and SpOrano to the All Time Hall Of Fame's "Gang Of Pigeon Holers".

In the FIRST draft they picked Long and Henne 1 and 2. This should have been the direction of their future. I mean we are talking your very first high draf picks.

They bring in Pennington to hold down the fort while the 2nd rounder develops, fine and dandy.

Except they didn't take any consideration of Henne's skillset. You know, they guy they drafted to be the future. Shula would have at least tried to tailor the offense around his future QB.

Not Parcells and HenningS, instead they try to pigeon hole Henne into some kind of robotic Henning/Pennington LOVE CHILD! They take a dynamic college QB in the 2nd round and try to FORCE him into a part time(thanks to the wildcat)game manager.

The Wildcrap itself is another great example. With a Weak armed quarterback, no receivers and nothing working on offense, do they directly address the issue? NOPE! They try and Pigeon Holer a 1940's offense into the 21st century passing league.

Wake was a sack master in back to back to seasons in the NFL. Yet he didn't get to see the field for over a year. WHY? Because he supposedly wasn't good against the run? Huh? Like Porter was that year, but that's another story. They take a guy with obvious tremendous pass rushing skills and try an pigeon hole into an OLB on the STRONG SIDE! If these guys wern't so hell bent on Pigeon Holing, Wake would have two seasons with double digit sacks.

Now their doing it with Reggie Bush and soon probably Daniel Thomas. Bush is known for being a dynamic slot receiver, a return specialists and third down back. Despite his durability issues, lets Pigeon Hole him into an every down back, BRILLIANT!

Pouncey isn't as strong of an example, but it's still the same mindset. The guys plays guard at an outstanding level for three years in college, before playing one year of center. So what do we do? We use a 1st round pick on him as center.

Look at our line. Cognito aways played on the right side. We move him to the left. Carey was a guard, we stick him out at tackle.

It goes on and on and on....................

PS: I don't know where that came from, but I had to get it off my chest. STOP THE MADNESS TONY!!!!

Very good take odinseye & oscar. I wonder how many of these NFL busts were all juiced up in college, makes you wonder uh??

Dd

DB,

That's fine to say but the season is two weeks away and we have big problems at RT. It needs to be corrected or it's not going to matter what Henne or the running backs do. Colombo is not the answer. We've seen that....we have two weeks to figure out a solution. Love Jake Long but he alone is not going to solve the RT problem.

DB, you're getting WAY ahead of yourself. First off, Henne looked far from "great" in his showings. Yes, he's showing signs of "getting it." But you don't win with a QB that "gets it," you win with a franchise QB. Regardless of what Henne does this season, Miami WILL get a QB in round 1 next year if they have ANY ability to draft wisely. Truth is, QB is the most important position in football. Truth is, this team has had a 20 year deficit at that position. Truth is, last time we drafted a 1st-rd QB was over a decade ago. Truth is, if Henne goes down (due to our horrible oline play), THEN where does that put the team (you trust Moore to do what's needed?).

So, just stop it right there with all that "if Henne..." talk. It's too little, too late. Also, sure, if this FO has a chance to draft a 1st-rd olineman every year for the next 5 years, we can have a helluva oline. What about the rest of the team? Other teams have been able to shore up their olines without all being 1st-rounders, so is the problem the GM or the Coach, one or the other.

Frankly, I don't trust Ireland to pick a ham sandwich. His ability to foresee problems, fix problems adequately, patch holes, is close to non-existent.

That means Ireland/Sparano first to get shown the door after our .500 season. You think the next HC is gonna let it ride with Henne and no one else? Just because this FO has shyt for brains doesn't mean all the others will.

Henne better play well for his own survival. Regardless, though, he should expect competition next season, because this team WILL draft a 1st-rd QB.

Thank you for the reply TS.
The point in my suggestion is change the deffensive gameplan for the patriots, that is why I suggest to put Jake Long at RT at that time because is clear that the patriots will send all the blitzes at that side, because is weak; and then put an ELITE tackle at that side, then suddenly the got to change their deffensive plan, and that will be an adventage for us till the 2nd half. I know that Murtha doesn´t have a good carrer but also not so bad, at last is decent so far. And my excuses for the phrase "I will insist on this" it wasn't in bad sense.

I'll even go to say that I'm not that impressed with Carey at RG. Can he play it? Maybe. But maybe, despite declining skills his best position is still RT. I just can't believe Jerry has fallen off the map just as quickly as he has. Something else must be up with that.

At the very least Carey can be moved back to RT. He doesnt suck nearly as much as Columbo there. Sign Gurode and plug him in at LG.

4 pro bowls in a row at center, he could definitely help Pouncey to quickly grow at center. Gurode is the only Dallas reject I actually agree should be signed. Just hope he gives us the "old by network" discount.

The reason he was let go by Dallas is because they couldnt agree on a new contract and he wouldnt play until a new deal was done. That's all.

I agree with DC Dolfan, even if Henne has a great year we draft a QB first round next year to groom him for the future. I hope Henne has a great career from this point forward, but with a deep QB draft next year, you continue to plan for the future.

WOW odinseye!! Nice takes couldn't have said any of any better myself!

DC Dolphin,

Some guys see the glass half full, some see it as half empty. You made your position clear.

And, before anyone else says it, let me say my 2:02 post has NOTHING to do with Henne. He's progressing. He's improving. He's doing what he can.

This is bigger than Henne. The QB draft class in 2012 is being touted as stocked and better than years past (reason 1 to draft a QB 2012).

The owner, fans and responsible coaches will NOT allow another offseason to pass without competition at the QB position (reason 2 to draft a QB in 2012).

With everything that we've seen, INCLUDING Henne's progression, is anyone seriously predicting Miami wins more than 9,10 games. Again, that's improvement, but it certainly doesn't make this team a perennial contender (reason 3 to draft a QB in 2012).

If Henne improves this season, which all signs point that he will, the competition will need to be GREATER than the talent we currently have. Henne was a 2nd rd draft pick, it would be BEYOND STUPID for the FO to draft a later rd QB who's LESS likely to be the franchise QB the team needs or even any better than the QB they currently have (final reason this team will draft a 1st rd QB in 2012).

Bobbyd12,

I really dont like the prospects of finding a starting RT or RG off final cuts. Usually these guys are cut becuase they barely qualify as backups at thier respected positions.

Remember, John Jerry may be on that same final cut list if not sooner.

I believe we should go after Gurode and pay what he wants. The guy is no stranger to playing inside so plug him in at RG. Pouncey stays at center and Carey goes back to RT.

adrian,

Your point on Long is well made and it's an interesting idea. Only thing is from everything I've heard LT is a harder position to play than RT. There are good tackles in the league who can only play RT and aren't good enough to play LT. I guess the big thing is because LT protects the QBs blind side. I suppose the QB has a better chance to see the blitz coming from the right side, rather than the blind side. It's why most of the elite tackles in the league play the LT spot. So I guess what I'm saying is, a less than 100 per cent Jake Long should be a better bet to play LT than a 100 per cent Murtha. I don't feel you'd be untilizing Long to his fullest playing the easier of the two positions. I would also expect if Murtha can handle the LT spot he should be fine at RT. Maybe this has been the plan all along and perhaps many of our problems will go away with Murtha, rather than Colombo at RT.

Dying, here's a tweet from Armando which worries me on that though though
Andre Gurode, by the way, was not a very good guard for the Cowboys. Took off when Bill Parcells moved him to center.
Armando Salguero

DC,

I know youre entitled to your own opinion. However, Im praying Henne's the answer, we sign Gurode and he's the answer at RG, Then spend at least a 1st or 2nd rd pick on a RT.

Whichever pick we dont spend at RT(1st, 2nd) spend that pick on a pass rush rolb unless Misi shows great improvement at pass rushing 6this season. I only see JT doing a one year stint.

The constant shifting of players on Miami's offense line Will be the undoing of Coach Tony Sparano's regime. Mark It! This will be the reason. He should have Solidified that line 2009.

This is one of the better conversatins I have seen on this blog in sometime!!

DB,

I'm with you on adding Gurode. The question becomes does he play LG, C or RG. I imagine C will be Pouncey's until she shows he can't play the position. But I'm also interested to see what Murtha can do at RT. To me Carey's lost a step or two and at this point may be nothing more than depth or a spot starter. I hope we get to see some of Murtha at RT next game, so we can evaluate him further.

Bobbyd12,

You have to remember at that young point in Gurode's career he probably wasnt a very good center either. He has 4 straight pro bowl appearance to show what he can do when given time to properly develop.

Im pretty sure at this point in his career he's learned how to properly play on the inside against the big boys no matter what position.

Armando's always stuck in the past on everything. Havent we learned this about him by now?

Right on Craig M, Thats my reasoning, Put Murtha at RT, and cut Colombo.

Is there a problem at LG with Incognito? Of course not, so why try and fix something not broken. Plug Gurode in on the right side.

Why even sign a guy when youre not clear where to put him? That in itself borders along recipe for disaster.

TO the guys that have been calling for O'Hara constantly, don't you think there must something wrong with this guy? He obviously missed a lot of time last year but you have to think he hasn't recovered yet because nobody has come a calling. What's the update on this guy, guys?

Carey hasn't been good since 2009.

DB,

I'll admit I'm no expert when it comes to the line but doesn't it depend on whether Incognito is a better LG or RG and where Gurode would be more comfortable? Some have said that Incognito is a better RG than LG. If so, then play him at RG. To me if Long and Incognito are on the left side then that is the strength of the line. I think you'd have to try them at both spots to see what might work better.

O'Hara will have to pass a physical, don't know Craig, maybe O'Hara can't pass a phsical. ???

Andy,

Totaly agree. He's the next vet out the door. Last season for sure.

I play chess, seems the spectators always know the right move to be made when playing some else's game from the sidelines. But when forced to personally play thier own game they royally and astounding suck!

That's how I equate guys saying Murthat should be moved to RT. Im sticking with whatever the coaches decide is the right answer on this one. Not my automatic assumption based on what I think should be the natural progression order of things.

DB, I'm praying Henne's the answer too. But, regardless, like bobby said, we need depth at the most important position in football.

Also, we drafted a first rd LT in '08, what's it gotten us? I understand our oline needs to be better than swiss cheese, but you people need to start understanding that other teams do BOTH, improve their oline WHILE strengthening their offense to actually, you know, SCORE POINTS.

Look at the Falcons, had lots of oline trouble in '07. Drafted a QB 1st-round in '08, and now are a perennial competitor in the NFL. This year, did they shore up their line, their defense, nope, they got ANOTHER stud receiver and will probably have one of the most potent offenses in the league.

OUR PHILOSOPHY SUCKS!!! Get that through your heads. We've had multiple owners, multiple coaches, and we've been able to put together pretty good defenses. That tells me it's easier to put together a good defense than offense. But in 20 YEARS, we've had sh*tty offenses. TWENTY YEARS!!! Anyone else think it's time to forget everything else, put together an elite offense, and THEN worry about everything else after that? Seeing as how we've had TWENTY YEARS and haven't been able to produce ONE good offense. ANYONE ELSE IN DOLPHINLAND see that but me? ANYONE?

Craig M-There's nothing wrong with O'Hara that I can find or have heard of, however he is an 11 year vet, which is probably why teams are shying away from him, I beleive he would have been a much better option to bring in than Colombo. That's all I'm saying. I too think out of all the Cowboy rejects we have signed, Gurode would make the most sense for the right price.

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