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Eric Steinback retires: The good and bad

For weeks we've discussed how the much-anticipated competition for the starting right guard spot between Artis Hicks and Eric Steinbach never materialized. Steinbach couldn't muster a performance worthy of giving him first-team repetitions and he certainly couldn't be asked to do that at a position the longtime left guard simply has never played.

Well, Steinbach was so unhappy with his body's ability to come back from last year's injury-riddled season that he up and retired today. He told coach Joe Philbin who passed along the message to the media.

Steinbach, as we saw on Hard Knocks, had been mulling retirement for about a week now.

So much for adding him as an acorn.

What does it mean?

It's great news for John Jerry. Out of shape and overweight as he is, he's practically assured a spot on the roster now. Simply, Jerry is the team's third-best guard at the moment and has a chance to crack the starting lineup for the regular-season opener. It makes Nate Garner more valuable, too. And if rookie Chandler Burden shows something in practice and perhaps late in Friday night's game against Atlanta, coaches might continue to consider him for a roster spot.

"We're still evaluating that position," coach Joe Philbin said. "We'll see ... I'm sure we'll be fine."

Part of the evaluation is starting Jerry Friday against the Falcons. Mike Pouncey said today that was the plan. I can confirm to you that's currently the plan.

The Dolphins will keep anywhere between eight and 10 offensive linemen.

Meanwhile, this is not great news for the Miami personnel department. They plucked Steinbach off the scrap heap as a gamble. Everyone gets that. But the perception -- true or not, thanks to Hard Knocks -- is that they signed Steinbach over Braylon Edwards.

In the first Hard Knocks episode we see both Edwards and Steinbach coming in for a workout and the club let Edwards leave town while signing Steinbach. We see the Dolphins basically evaluate two players and pick one who's skills had basically evaporated.

That's not a good look regardless of whether the perception is in fact a reflection of what actually happened.

Look, I get on the personnel department just like anyone else. If you don't believe me, check my column in today's newspaper that complains about Miami's lack of playmakers to help Ryan Tannehill.

But I have to raise the possibility that maybe, just maybe, this decision might not have been made in the context of being able to sign only one of two players and the Dolphins picking Steinbach. If that was the case, it was indeed a swing-and-miss.

But leave open the possibilty that it wasn't. Let's be fair.  

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