Ryan Tannehill is an optimistic guy. He thinks everything is going to work out with his running backs, his wide receivers, his tight ends, and his offensive line.
That's a good attitude to have because a football season is a roller coaster ride and players rise and fall, so keeping a bright outlook is good. But right now the offensive line is at a low point rather than a high point so the starting quarterback seems to be stretching credibility when he says the guys charged with protecting him are doing fine.
"I think they’re doing a great job, like I said there’s a couple guys banged up," Tannehill said. "There shifting around, a couple new faces bumping in while John’s (Jerry) out, moving Mike (Pouncey) over to guard a little bit, put (Josh) Samuda in at guard as well. They’ve done a good job at handling adversity, handling the change and just preparing for whatever is going to happen, you never know what’s going to happen."
Well, unless the line gets its act together what's going to happen is that Tannehill is going to get hit this year. A lot.
On Wednesday, the offensive line added a new twist to the guard search with Nate Garner getting first-team snaps at right guard.
Suddenly, the experiment with Josh Samuda at guard (he's also worked at center) was pushed to a back burner. And the experiment of moving Mike Pouncey from center to guard (which I dislike) was delayed. And the experiment of moving Richie Incognito from left guard to right guard was similarly delayed.
The interesting thing in all this?
The Dolphins signed Lance Louis this offseason to compete with John Jerry for the starting job. The man is in his fifth season. He has satarted 28 career games including 24 the past two years.
So why hasn't he been at least an option to replace the injured Jerry?
The problem isn't that he wasn't the first option. The problem is the Dolphins have gone through four other options -- Incognito, Pouncey, Samuda and now Garner -- and Louis still hasn't budged from the second unit.
I know the thought might be he's still getting back from his 2012 knee surgery. Well, then how is it he's on second team? How is it he's taking all his reps and hasn't seemed limited physically in any way?
The Dolphins have moved four guys from different positions, including center and tackle to right guard but the right guard signed to be the backup to John Jerry hasn't been able to step in and fill that role.
And, by the way, it's not good for Louis if he's not one of the options because that shows limited value to the team. The Dolphins only spent $100,000 in guaranteed money on Louis this offseason so he has to show strong and become a starting option when injuries arise because he'll be very easy to cut at the end of this month otherwise.
So there's that.
And then this:
The questioin throughout training camp has been whether Olivier Vernon has suddenly blossomed to the point he was often beating left tackle Jonathan Martin for sacks. Or ... was Martin simply struggling?
Well, during Wednesday's practice, rookie Dion Jordan got a shot at matching up against Martin. And he had two sacks.
That's great news for Jordan as it was previously for Vernon. But that's a poor reflection on Martin, the team's starting LT.
If a second-year player and a rookie are looking exceedingly good against him in training camp, how's he going to survive the regular season?
Tannehill seems optimistic about all this. We'll see if he can remain that way.