When he was interviewing for the Dolphins head coach opening and even afterward, Joe Philbin heard a lot about Miami's needs to get a good quarterback. Ownership told him. Fans told him. I know I told him.
It wasn't news because he'd addressed the issue with owner Stephen Ross and general manager Jeff Ireland previously. But Philbin saw a need as fundamental as the quarterback. He believed he needed men to keep the quarterback from getting killed. And he made that point to Ross and Ireland.
"When I came to interview, one of the things I told Steve and Jeff and I told you guys as well is there's been a ton of focus on the quarterback position as it should be in this league. My feeling as I watched the tape, was our offensive line needs to get better if our quarterback position is going to play better. That's going to be a priority. We need to make sure that happens."
It obviously has not happened yet. “Not at all," Philbin agreed. "Hopefully we can provide a little more competition.”
(Jake Long is set at left tackle. Mike Pouncey is set at center. Richie Incognito is more or less set at left guard although the team would like him to play better. But right guard? Right tackle?
“We like Pouncey’s athleticism, love his competitiveness," Philbin said. "We thought he had a very, very good rookie year. That’s a critical position. He will have a lot of responsibility with blocking schemes. Incognito did some good things. The rest of the interior isn’t quite as settled. Jake has come by the office a number of times. All the things you hear about him are true. He’s ready to take on a more active leadership role on the ballclub.”
The club continues to talk with the agent for guard Jake Scott. Scott visited Arizona but hasn't gotten an offer from that team. In fact, the Dolphins are the only team he was seriously talking to as of earlier today.
At right tackle, Miami has a slew of prospects but doesn't know if it has players. Lydon Murtha, Nate Garner, recently signed Artis Hicks and Ryan Cook are among the cast of potential right tackle starters. The club might also draft someone.
John Jerry started at left tackle last year when Long was injured. He handled the job well enough. But despite this, Philbin wants to see him in the offseason program that begins in a couple of weeks because he admitted the club isn't really sure whether Jerry fits best at guard or tackle.
“We have to find a home for him," Philbin said. "He’s got to earn a spot. The good news is he has played a couple of them. The bad news is he has not anchored down one spot.”
As you may know, the Bills added free agents Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, who the Dolphins were interested enough in to host a visit with him. That makes Buffalo a concern for any team scheduled to play them twice next season.
Philbin, in true competitor fashion, gave the players the appropriate respect. But then he added that at least half the puzzle for stopping the Buffalo duo is already on board in Miami.
“Last I checked," he said. "our left tackle is a pretty good."