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Workouts will show Dolphins if Martin wants to be the LT

Monday was the start of the 2013 season for the Miami Dolphins.

It was the first day since last season's Super Bowl champion was crowned that Miami players returned to the club's Davie, FL. facility and started doing things to make themselves better in 2013.

There was weight lifting. There was running. I suppose there was some bonding in the locker room.

It was a start.

And it was very important for Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin.

Martin will be in his second season with the Dolphins in 2013. And he might also be in the spotlight. You see, if Jake Long does what many expect and goes to a new team the next couple of weeks, Martin immediately becomes Miami's new starting left tackle.

He will be charged with protecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill's blind side.

The job isn't new to Martin who played that very position the final month of 2012 while Long was finishing up on injured reserve for the second consecutive season. And Martin was something of a pleasant surprise in that he played as well or better on the left side than he did on the right side because the left seems to be his more natural position.

Indeed, Martin's play the final few weeks at left tackle might be the reason people in the Dolphins personnel department aren't actually giving birth to a cow over the idea of Long departing -- because, again, Martin held the position down without major incident.

(A major incident is defined as Tannehill's head being decapitated).

But if Long is indeed going to leave, the Dolphins need more out of Martin than him simply not stinking. They need him to win at that spot. He didn't do that nearly enough in his short tenure at LT. (He didn't really do it much at RT but that's not the point here).

In other words, the Dolphins need Jonathan Martin to go from a C-plus NFL left tackle to a solid B or B-plus player at that elite spot.

And to do that Martin needs to be a horse this offseason. His somewhat pear-shaped body needs some shredding and remolding. He's carrying 312 pounds on his 6-5 frame. So he's a big man. But he needs to get stronger in both the upper body and the lower body. His core is also weak or at least he sometimes plays like that.

So Martin needs to eat some nails for breakfast every morning and get in the weight room and morph. He'll have no better opportunity to do it than this offseason while he's still young, while he's still green, while he still has the giant leap of rookie to second-year player ahead of him -- the leap that often sees the greatest amount of improvement in NFL players.

If Martin can do that, some within the Dolphins organization believe Martin has the makings of a fine left tackle.

The question is will he do it?

Does Martin have the desire to do it? Is he willing to sacrifice the hours and effort it will take to remake his body? Will he work at it even though the stadium lights are not turned on? In short, is he willing to do something that he obviously has not yet done in his development as a football player?

That's the key question.

I don't know the answer. I don't know Martin very well, so I cannot tell you if he's willing to put in the work.

But I do know this kid is very smart. I do know he has a little bit of a nasty streak in him on the field. I do know he's been told he needs to get stronger to get better. And I do know he has said he understands.

But again, the distance between understanding what must be done and actually doing it is often the distance between being average and very good.

The Dolphins, by the way, have a grand advantage on this point. They see Martin every day. They will know if he's attending the workouts religiously. They will be able to measure his progress or lack thereof. They will know if Martin is walking the path to improvement or taking detours through the Burger King drivethru.

And that knowledge, I suppose, will be used to help determine their course in replacing Long if he goes. If Martin becomes a workhorse this offseason, then I'd expect the Dolphins will breathe a sigh of relief in knowing they have a viable replacement for Long already on the roster.

If, however, Martin stumbles, if he misses workouts or doesn't really LIFT when he's supposed to be lifting, then the team needs to consider other options. And Miami will need to do that in the coming weeks.

It's on the Dolphins. It's on Jonathan Martin.

The season has begun in earnest. 

Comments

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Martin is a turnstile at LT. Tannehill will get his head knocked off without Jake Long.

Posted by: bobbyd12 | March 05, 2013 at 12:35 PM

I'll just go on the record as saying this. Hartline did performed up to the pay standards of his 4th rd contract.

Before I'll officially go on the record as saying he doesnt deserved his new contract, I'll wait and see what his 1st year under this new contract brings in terms of his performance.

If he has at least 5 recieving tds, I'll begrudgingly say yeas. 6 or more tds, as resounding yes. 4 tds or less, hell fking no!

1/3 of free cap space gone in a flash on 2 mediocre players, Starks and Hartline. Great job Ireland!

LOL,

You can also add 10 million to the cap number. Because if push came to shove we still can create 10 more million if we absolutely had to.

Ideally, what we have to spend on Players this Year should be at the end on 0$. Job well done.

YG, I agree with you for the most part on Hartline. If he gets the TD's to go along with his 2012 receptions and yards it will be worth it.

If he has another 1 TD year, I don't think Ireland will be around to correct the mistake.

Oscar,

You cant spend down to $0 in fa. Gottta have money available in case you need to sign players during the season when players get injured. If not, youre quickly over the cap. LOL...

What I mean, YG, don't be cheap(I knew somebody was going to come up with some kind of this rebuttal).

Posted by: NeMo | March 05, 2013 at 12:49 PM

If Hartline had 7-8 tds to go with his 2012 recieving numbers, then he's a pro bowler, and there isnt much offseason talk about adding Wallace or Jennings.

Just upgrading the #2 wr position. Everyone knows Bess isnt a #2, he's a slot and slot wr only. He was forced to play the #2 wr spot last season.

..Yg..I was a guy that wanted to resign Hartline(looks I got what I wanted) I am just suprised it is for this much. You were much closer tot he actual number last week when you said 7 million. Kudos. I didn't think there was a team on the planet that would pay Hartline that much(enter your Miami Dolhins..thank you very much)

Perhaps my area of expertise is not Pro Football contracts...

Posted by: oscar canosa | March 05, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Oscar,

This fo has never been cheap. Theyve always spent too much on the wrong players.

Its never been an issue of cheap, its always been an issue of over valuing the wrong guys.

New blog up

1/3 of free cap space gone in a flash on 2 mediocre players, Starks and Hartline. Great job Ireland!

Seth,

If you don't re-sign Hartline then your starting WR's are Bess & Rishard Matthews. Is that better??? Then Tannehill has even worse WR's then he had in 2012. Just b/c we may want Wallace or Jennings doesn't mean we're going to get either player. There are 31 other teams out there & we're not the only team that wants these guys.

And if we didn't keep Starks then you've just waekened the best part of your team & we'd have to spend a high draft pick on a DT like Sheldon Ricahrdson. By keeping Starks it gives us more options @ 12.

The problem is the QB, not so much the receivers.

WNP, the Fins can still get 10 million more in cap relief in low hanging fruit according to Adam Beasley.

Mile, the problem is trolls, like you

Oscar,

I Look at The Film. But I Didn't Watch Cowboy Play. I Saw About 4 UF Games. So My Eyes Have Seen More Of Elam.

You Know, If Dashi Hasn't seen The Player ... I Will Not Vouch For Them. That Is How You Put your foot In Your Mouth.

I'm Not Saying Vaccero Sucks. Just That I Would Take Elam Over Him Because I've Seen Elam Play.

hey it will work out this time. these are the 2 guys i would have kept (Starks and Hartline). i would give Jake another chance at 7MIL a year but not more. if he walks we get another tackle in round 2. we need to address the secondary in round 1.

Ppl keep calling stark a run stuffer.... That wrong he didn't make the pro-bowl and DT and DE for tackle he had sacks. Never going to have 10+ but 4-8 is great and he get that in the DT position too. I watched the games only him and wake won 1-on-1's and some double teams on passing downs. I like dansby but he has not lived up to his cap hit and would like to trade or find a replacement. However to say he is what is dashi call him would be a emotionally response (stop being a woman...no a little girl Dashi). With the money we have you have to leave Wallace alone Jenning (healthy and for how long?) or even Bowe (Bowe is the best overall player but I think he's crazy). Sign a corner or Draft one high, have to get a WR in the first 2 rounds. Depending Long get a lineman with upside maybe round 3-5 Would like another LB/ Power RB (D.Thomas SMH) in the middle-late rounds. Fit a Smallish DE with a motor (love those guys)......I like smallish players cause most of them are fighters and hungry never really got anything easy so they know how to fight (Zach/JT/etc).

Wow--all I can say, after reading through all of this trolldip, is that it is nice to not have any discussion diarrhea about QB needs!!!!!!!

Could see a possible QB pick later on, but we go with Tanney.

Have had enough over past few years about Ireland's abilities....He really has not had a lot of time to fix the crap Tuna and all left us. This year is his legacy and I will give him and Philbin the space to see what they can do with one of the best financial and pick positions of any team going into FA and the Draft (pretty good to be in this position--and the draft still is the way to the future). If a bust--will beat him to dearth next year, but will give them the space this time around. FA is not just about writing a check--where a player, who is gonna get paid no matter where he is, wants to be is out of our control (sic. Manning, you piece of ...). Starks is reasonable money, don't overpay for injury, er, Long...man, it's gonna be a long month to draft day....

Mark,
I normally agree with your comments, but saying that Ertz is a crap athlete has to be one of the stupidest comments I've read in a while. Did you watch the TD catch vs Oregon? Did you watch any of his games?

There's GOT to be a place on the team for Tim Tebow. Maybe some good publicity would help? http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1107649

Gotta be honest here I've been unimpressed by Martin at LT OR RT!!

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