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Whole must be better than parts for Dolphins OL

I'm talking with a Dolphins person earlier this week and this person tells me there's only one area on the team to worry about because it can wreck the season.

Tight end, I guess because Dustin Keller's injury really, really hurt this team.

Nope

The secondary, I guess because I'm not sure about Dimitri Patterson, the rookies (Will Davis and Jamar Taylor are injured) and Nolan Carroll is, well, Nolan Carroll.

Nope.

The running game, I guess because Lamar Miller is mostly an unknown, Daniel Thomas is average on good days, and the offensive line is still coming together.

You're close.

The offensive line.

And then I hear how the line is still an issue and if it remains an issue, there goes the running game, there goes the deep passes to Mike Wallace, and there goes Ryan Tannehill.

One unit affecting everything on offense.

And not in a positive manner.

So that got me thinking -- which is rare and never good. What is it about this offensive line? Is it truly an issue? Is it a team weakness? Is it bound to be the reason the Dolphins offense struggles?

There is evidence that suggests there's reason for concern.

First there's what offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said this week:

"I still think it is a work in progress," he said of the line. "John (Jerry) is coming off of an injury. Getting him back into the fold is going to be huge. He’s been out for a little bit, but I’m excited about having him back. We certainly needed him back. I’m anxious for him to get more comfortable in there with the other guys and get more used to what we are doing."

Think about this. We are three days from the regular-season opener and the offensive line is still a work in progress? Pardon me for being old school, but the preseason and training camp was the alloted time for doing the work and progressing.

The regular season is here. It's time to roll.

Also this: John Jerry is the saviour of this line?

John Jerry is an average NFL guard. He's not Larry Allen. The fact the Dolphins are seriously counting on him to be healthy, well-conditioned, and then play at a high level without many missed assignments tells me there's a lot of wishful thinking going on.

Jerry is not in great shape yet. Yes, Sherman said Jerry inexplicably lost weight during his five weeks of knee rehab, but I don't imagine him being slimmer is the reason coaches identified him as the only starter on the entire team that needed to play in the fifth and final preseason game.

So what is it about this offensive line that worries?

Well, it's simple. This line today seems to have solid parts (assuming Jerry gets up to speed). The individuals are good. But as a line has to play as a unit -- with one heartbeat and soul and purpose -- the Dolphins offensive line seems lacking because the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.

And what you need is for the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts.

Consider that, again, the parts range from excellent to solid.

At left tackle Jonathan Martin has come miles from the first eight days of training camp when he struggled as Miami's new fulltime left tackle. He was beaten like a drum by Olivier Vernon that first week. Since then, he's played very well in preseason and been a non-issue. He may not be the beast Jake Long was when healthy. But he's good. Solid.

At left guard, Richie Incognito is a snarling bulldog that can push bigger men backward with his initial punch. That is great. He's smart. He knows all the tricks. He moves better than he's given credit for. Not an issue.

At center, Mike Pouncey is not quite elite yet. But he's darn close. He's excellent. He's smart. He studies the opposition. He moves very well. He's cleaned up his shotgun snaps. I'd say 90 percent of NFL would take him as their starting center.

At right guard, John Jerry is the saviour. Having him is "huge," Sherman said. I kid, obviously. But the truth is last year was a good season for Jerry. He emerged. So he has the talent to be solid.

At right tackle, Tyson Clabo is a consummate professional. He typically knows his assignments. He knows his opponents. He uses good technique. And with his experience and all the other factors, he can usually overcome what physical deficiencies he might have. It can be argued the Dolphins upgraded at right tackle to start this season over last season when they had Martin starting as a rookie.

So that's the rundown of the individuals. All good.

Yet as a group, there's still something missing. Something is still not quite right. It's still "a work in progress."

Last season, the Dolphins had a new starting right tackle, a new starting right guard and Jake Long was working to get his knee 100 percent during the latter stages of training camp. And the group played very well early in the season, anyway. The Dolphins had the NFL's second-ranked running game after two weeks in the regular season.

But here's the bad news: They got worse as the season wore on.

The running game went to No. 4 in Week 3 ...

No. 5 in Week 4 ...

No. 8 in Week 5 ...

No. 11 by Week 8 ...

No. 13 one week later ...

Then it jumped around in the upper teens until finishing the season at No. 17.

The line was getting worse results even as Long was still in the lineup and Martin and Jerry on the right side worked together longer.

The worse results also affected the passing game because the protection for Tannehill got worse. The Dolphins gave up 16 sacks the first half of the season -- only three the first three games. And 21 sacks the second half of the season, including 10 in the final three games.

None of this means the Miami line will get worse this year. I believe these individuals should be good enough to provide the offense with a good running game. I believe these individuals should be good enough to protect Ryan Tannehill and give the passing game a chance to succeed.

But these individuals must come together quickly. They must play better as a group.

The whole must be better than the sum of the parts.  

 

 

Comments

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First ho's!!!

Second beyotches!

So many reasons why the line got worse as the Season wore on last year. Injuries, Dolphins being 1-dimensional (without dominant receivers), playing better defenses, etc.

If anyone saw the Redskins play last year, they'd see how you can gameplan around those deficiencies. No, Tannehill won't be running the option, but rolling him out can help, quick passes, 4 WR sets. All that can help the oline and the QB. And then they need to execute. Burn the defense being too aggressive and they remember that next time.

Mando, you have a lot of worries. But how about a blog with some possible answers?

Mando,
You needed someone on the Phins to tell you this?

Mando will there be a live blog to kick off the season tonight?

Jery is no all pro but he does keep Tannehill clean. Pretty important in my book. IN the run game? Meh...

John Jerry is a phat phuc.

2 well put-together, well-staffed, well-coached teams will be playing tonight.

The problem with the line is the lack of depth. If any starter gets injured, the dolphins have major problem.

You think the Ol is a problem?

Our #2 CB is going to get lit up.

ETF, so are a lot of other guards in the NFL. having a phat arse goes with the territory. You don't want to dress these guys in slim fit suits, you want them squatting and standing their ground or pushing guys backwards. Jerry does have goot feet for such a big man though.

Dr Ireland has been tinkering with the o-line for years along with his esteemed coleagues Dr Parcells and Dr Sporano.To us common folk it seems they havent made any progress in their extensive research and with all the money and time spent on the o-line do you think its a coincedence that this is still in the developmental stages.

Live blog tonight?

If a majority of you guys want me to come here for the NFL kickoff game, I'll be delighted to spend time with you and talk football and watch the game.

If a majority don't want it, I won't.

Let me know. Vote yes or no.

can't really complain about a guy 6'5 330 he is definitely important but I wouldn't over think Sherman and his comment.

I honestly believe this line will come together at the right time which will be game time on Sunday.

This team might have it's question marks but for the time being there isn't a position that doesn't at least have improving youth.

There's no veterans on the team that anyone is screaming to finally get rid of.

We have good, young talent. For the most part we're bound to improve just based on experience for young players.

Yup, people who work for the Dolphins always run and tell the media they suck. Ring ring, your alarm is going off, wake up !

YG will be here, counts for at least 35 log in names.

I have to give Armando props on this. I mean being completely honest, the questions surrounding the O-Line have been the "Elephant" in the room.

In all seriousness, we don't know how Martin will hold up. He was beaten like a drum early. Then he seemed to improve. OK, but take a look at who he played against and how it was just a snapshot compared to a full season. The **INDICATIONS** are good, but he really has no extended time against anyone of note.

Cogs and Pouncey are fine in my book. No worries here, on the contrary, I love the idea of going to war with these two.

I will throw Clabo into that group as well. He's **DEFINITELY** an upgrade to the Jonathon Martin we had as an inexperienced rookie.

That leaves John Jerry. What can you say about him? To date he's been an underacheiveing Slacker and didn't pick up his game until we spent 4 million on his replacement(Lance Louis). I just don't like the fact that, that's what it finally took to get this behemoth motivated.

So he reported in the best shape of his career(and probably his life). That's Great, but I still have to question his dedication simply because of what it took to get him "Buck Up".

Hopefully Martin's **ALLEDGED** improvement isn't an abberation. Because this spot **ALONE** can Torpedo our season. Same goes for Jerry, just not quite as much.

Having said all that, we aren't even touching the subject of Depth(Gulp...). Besides the questions with Martin and Jerry, if **ANY** of the starting 5 gets injured, we'll be in trouble. Save for the fact of how good our defense is(I believe), we can mail it in if this happens.

OK. having said all that, I believe in Cogs, Pouncey and Clabo all the way. Warriors-PERIOD! Personally, I believe in Martin and Jerry(to a Lesser Degree). I believe Martin will continue to improve now that he's back at his natural position. His 4 years at Standford weren't an abberation. He was brought in as a rookie and got a Baptism under fire(Which I Love and Believe in). He handles it and rose to every challenge - EVENTUALLY. I think this is exactly whats going to happen at Left Tackle.

Even though I find fault with Jerry's dedication and motivation, the means justifies the end. I believe he'll finally live up to his potential and finally become a stalwart NFL Guard.

Summation: Barring injury, This Line is going to be very close to GREAT! Book It!!!!

Idk... perhaps that every coach of the dolphins tinkers and tinkers with the O line while the clock keeps ticking thru training camp and preseason, just doesn't give the line enough time to gel.

I agree with B33 a couple of posts ago. Don't over think Sherman's comments. Media types love to parse words and mak a story where there is none (especially on a slow news week). Sherman never intended to say that Jerry was the entire key to the O-line success.

If they run block well, almost by default the pass blocking will improve because defenses will be on their heels. So what's the next NON-story Armando will write about and exaggerate in order to meet his deadline?

Armando, Yes, might as well join the rest of the losers on the blog. BTW interesting take on how indvidually each OL is decent but as a collective group they suck, makes no sense to me. Anyway you gonna miss your boy Sedano?

Hireland,

Great point, I couldn't agree more.

At least we're not going into a brand new season with any Pat McQuistan's or Marc Colombo's.

Thank God-LOL! I also believe this O-Line will get their feet under them at just the right time. Beating the snot out of Cleveland will be their Baptism under fire. By week 2 they should be running like a well oiled **MACHINE**!!!!

Mando this is an excellent summation of everything that is right and wrong with our OL except for one thing ...

It all leads me to coaching.

If you have the right talent more or less and they are individually pretty solid, it's up to the coaching staff to get them to play as a group.

Isn't Philbin a former OL coach? Shouldn't he be able to resolve this issues instead of having the line get worse as they did last year?

They screwed around moving Pouncey to guard, Incognito from LG to RG, and using Samuda when everyone saw he sucked during training camp. That time could've been used getting guys to gel.

It's coaching, brother.

Coaching!!!!

Armando,
Maybe it's simplistic but I suspect one of the reasons for the O line regressing as the season went on might be as simple as wear and tear. Jake Long struggled much of the season. I suspect he struggled more and more as his body broke down. Jonothan Martin might have hit the rookie wall and ran out of gas. No telling what bump and bruises the other men had. What it might indicate more so is the lack of depth where Philbin played guy's that should of rested because as beat up as they were they are still better than the second string guys.

you trying to bring us down Armando ?

Dolphins people wondering about their own OL is no bueno.

One person has actually answered dudes question so far. Lol. Let me counter their answer with my own.

No.

Also, in regards to depth, I think signing Watkins was a good move(I do question cutting Samuda, but he did blow chunks this pre season). Watkins never panned out as a 1st round pick. Great, fine, but look at it objectively now and forget the pedigree. I believe it's a given that he upgrades Samuda's spot.

I also thought Garner was going to bust out and become a Monster Starter this year. Oh well, being objective again, he can play all the line positions and we know what we have.

So our Depth situation is bad, Granted. But I don't believe it's quite as bad as most think. At least not in Garner and Watkin's situation.

Will Yeatman..........?

IDK.........WTF........LOL.........Take your pick. I just don't get it. I don't see all the things the Coaches see. But from what I have witnessed of Yeatman, FOR THE LIFE OF ME, I do NOT understand why he's still on this team and guys like Louis and Samuda aren't.

That's just MY OWN personal opinion.

Yes on the blog idea tonight.

I think alot of folks hang on every word these coaches say, and take them very literally--"a work in progress" could mean several things and maybe Sherman didnt mean it literally at all--OR, he simply didnt give that alot of thought, or felt it was the best way to be "neutral" about that issue--even if he meant it literally, is it such a surprising (or concerning?) statement? Arent most teams lines likely a "work in progress" at this point?--do we really expect any unit to be completely settled heading into Week 1?--Week 6 or 7 maybe, yes....but is that phrase such a ridiculous one for a team going into their 1st game?

couldnt Tannehills communication with his new receivers be called a "work in progress"?--same for our 2 new LBers, no?--Sims will play, so isnt his development a work in progress, by definition?--just not sure we (and most teams) couldnt say that about most of their team units/players....its a fairly bland/general statement, no?

They screwed around moving Pouncey to guard, Incognito from LG to RG, and using Samuda when everyone saw he sucked during training camp. That time could've been used getting guys to gel.
It's coaching, brother.

Coaching!!!!

Posted by: scourt | September 05, 2013 at 03:27 PM
==================================================

Scort,

I don't think this was coaching or screwing around. This was a contingency plan because Lance Louis wasn't recovering fast enough and Jerry and Garner suffered injury.

Injuries suck and whether anyone wants to acknowledge it or not, THEY HAVE BEEN KILLING US ALREADY!

Very excited for Sunday, going downtown in NYC on sunday with dolfans of NYC !! Beautiful setting the entire 2.nd floor only for Dolphinsfans !!

Dr Ireland has been tinkering with the o-line for years along with his esteemed coleagues Dr Parcells and Dr Sporano.To us common folk it seems they havent made any progress in their extensive research and with all the money and time spent on the o-line do you think its a coincedence that this is still in the developmental stages.
Posted by: Wild Boar In Overtown


Well that's the root of the frustration, right?
While I don't agree with the childish way many here seem to deal with that disappointment, I can see why they are upset.

You can honestly take any blog, article, message board rant, whatever from the past 5 or so years and it would apply to virtually any point during that time...
Offensive line questions, Need to force more turnovers, Offensive Red-Zone issues, Offense lacks play-makers, Need better QB play, Question marks in secondary, etc. etc.

And while I am more optimistic than I have been in years, it is still crazy to think about. Or maybe I should say sad to think about.

ProGolf - Didn't you say FF4E was around these parts? I was looking forward to hearing from him....I guess I haven't seen him, or he just doesn't want to talk to me again. Oh well...


Something to keep in mind with Martin - He's not replacing All-Pro Jake Long, he's replacing League-Average Long.

I don't have a whole lot of faith in Martin, but I do think it's possible he can reach that goal..."Average" isn't unreasonable.
That's the performance they received from the LT spot last year and Tannehill survived.

Ryan, where did you log in before?

Or maybe I should ask, where is your favorite place and did something happen there?

Or maybe I should ask, why are you here suddenly? Not being rude, just curious.

Either way, Welcome to Dolphin's In Depth.

Easier said than done. That Whole O interior line has exactly the same Parts it had last year and they are still fukkking up their blocking assignments. Trade them! Not that easy either. Their backups are non-existing. What to do? Make them repeat the same play over and over again, for 2 hours after practice.

Again, you have so little faith in this coaching staff. I think they have what they want. Five good starters, Yeatman and Garner who know the system and can play all positions, Thomas who will be good by mid-season and a former 1st rounder to try and develop.

McKinney, whom we did not want, is the starting left tackle for the "world champion Ravens". How much would you guys be bitching if we had gotten him?

O-line should be one of the easiest units to evaluate players and coach. Should be.

RF,

I have to agree, even average Left Tackle play from Martin would be Fantastic.......for Starters.

I do believe he still has a lot of upside. He stepped up and dedicated him to strength and conditioning in the off season. I love that kind of dedication. It's a great personal characteristic on his part **AND** it can become infectious with his cohorts ;)

The **IDEA** of Martin playing Left Tackles scares me, but I do have to admit, I'm cautiously optimistic.

Armando can't survive unless he has a whipping boy! Get off of Martin and Jerry. You guys always held onto Jake Long's jockstrap as if he was the Dolphins greatest ever, when in reality Fasano sacraficed apart of his game to help JAKE LONG block the left side when he struggled. Go back and look at the film. Jake's first NFL game against the Falcons he got beat like a dirty rug and almost got Henne killed. Look at the tape. But because your number one whipping boy Ginn missed one pass no one remembered anything else about that game. Including Fasono's key turnover etc... You guys are such hypocrites when it comes to certain players.

Ryan, where did you log in before?
odinseye

I used to post on the CBS Message Boards.
Rymflaherty

It wasn't a large community, but it was nice. One stop shopping for my Dolphins news, and there were some posters I really enjoyed talking football with. It was also nice because they respected my opinion...After years of my posting that may have seemed crazy at first, more often than not my thread would be an Omar Kelly article 3 weeks later.

Anyways, that site went to hell. One day I went to get on and they just deleted the message board. Everyone sort of disappeared. Some defectors started a new site, and while it got me through the draft, it never caught on and became a small insulated community.

Since then I've tried to refrain from obsessing on the team. It got to the point I was watching so much, reading so much, and what not that I was feeling more like a "pseudo-expert" than a fan...It was like I knew too much and lost my innocence.

A few days ago I heard from ProGolf who mentioned he found some old-posters from CBS over here, and that's why I stopped by.

And now as I'm done typing I realize the correct answer was probably : CBS.COM
: )

I also think Klutz was signed to take up some blocking slack. Run blocking and pass blocking.

You can have the five best O-linemen in the league and the blitz can kick their butt. The scheme of putting your strength in the right place at the proper moment is the key to good line play. This year should be better than last in that regard.

Wait, I though you dopes said Mano doesn't come in here? LOL

WRONG AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Play like a team. Novel idea.

I think this unit will be ok barring injuries. The unit that has to quit freaking out is the guys on this blog. I am going to wait and see. Then when and if the poop hits the spinning blades I will pee and moan like the rest of you guys.

Yeh, fin4life is around. He has been posting in the evenings. I'm sure you two will get back to your old conversations, as before. They were certainly good and very readable.

I commented on what Oscar had posted and said that, at present, the sum of the parts on the OL exceed the whole. So either it's a coincidence or someone is actually reading this blog.

odin, u know I spent hours ranting on how weak martin looked last year. From what I saw in preseason, much better. Funny what some dedication plus being educated at the feet of Vernon and Wake can do ...

Fantasy has Dolphins defense ranked 16TH. Can you believe that, against "offensive juggernaut" Cleveland?

What happened to the "visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads" about this being a top 5 defense?

Well, if this defense cant hold the Cleveland offense to 13pts or less. Visions of this being a top 5 defense are simply mirage.

Yeh, fin4life is around. He has been posting in the evenings. I'm sure you two will get back to your old conversations, as before. They were certainly good and very readable.
Progolf667

Oh than yeah I have seen him posting. Maybe he actually didn't want me to know who he was than, because I don't think my name change should have tricked him lol.

Hopefully, Tannehill doesn't make an inaccurate throw to Mike Wallace and Joe Haden returns it for a pic 6.

He cant have bad ball location to Wallace or Haden will serve Tannehill up very royally. If so, the "We want Matt Moore" circus will be coming to town. At least in the live blog anyway....

Good QB's don't need great OL's. They can hide weaknesses.

Baltimore Ravens vs Denver Broncos. Personally, I could really care less. Ravens have a sb ring pretty much in care of the Broncos. The game will mean far more to the Broncs than Blackbirds.....

Last year everything was great till Bush got hurt. I am shocked that the Fins did not sign a veteren back. Not to handle the bulk of the work but for composure, leadership and stability on the sidelines and in the huddle at times. Esspecally on the road. They are going to have to keep people in the backfield to help block & give whoever is QBing time. I've been a NFL fan since 1960. Im 62 yrs old. I do not see a RB on this team that can carry them through a 16 game schedule this year. Perhaps down the road but not now. I just hope I am wrong I've been a finns fan since '66 and I'll be watching again on D.T.V


I hope that deep comeback Tannehill completed to Wallace in the 3rd game was a sign of things to come.
I was more impressed with that route and throw than anything else I had seen in the pre-season.

Defenses will have to respect Wallace's speed, so if he and Tannehill can get on the same page with those intermediate throws we actually will have a combo worth a damn.

Shula 73,

Tannehill needs a great pass blocking oline because his passrush awareness borders along atrocious.

Too many times I observed Tannehill tries to make his escape to late. Therefore going down for the unneeded sack. Still has a tendancy to hold the ball to long too.

Until he fixes this and eying down his receivers, he hasn't a prayer of ever being amongst the qb elites.

Somebody mentioned the wear and tear of our O linemen last year for the decrease in efficiency in the run game as the year progressed. It will probably happen again this year. Last year we didn't have any serviceable backups for that line. This year idem. We better win early with the run game.

go finssssssssss hilarious seeing warren saap say thill will break marinos yardage record

TRF,

Tannehill had better be well aware of Mr. Joe Haden Sunday. If his accuracy and ball location wanes while attempting to complete to Wallace.

Wave bye-bye while Mr. Haden returns a pic 6........

when pouncey or Cog go down then I'll panic. Martin is coming around, plug a couple guys in, should be ok.

Problem with the oline last year was not being able to consistently convert 3rd downs. They were mostly passing downs.

Then we had the fading Long becoming a turnstile and Martin allowing close to the most hurries in the league(as LT/RT). Then throw in John Jerry didnt start getting into playing shape until after midseason.

Jerry and Martin playing the same side last season was disastrous in the run game too. Martin still lacked the physical strength and Jerry lacked the stamina until well after midseason.

Then when Jake Long went down, Garner was atrocious playing RT.

Im not so concern if one of the og's go down now. 1st batter up will probably be Danny Watkins. 2nd batter up will be Thomas.

My greatest concern is if we lose a OT or C Pouncey. We have zero depth at LT. Please don't say Garner. Garner gave up 3 sacks in the 201 finale to the Pats playing RT.

For what Garner shows, I rather have the rookie Thomas backing up RT, after the Pats game. No way do you want Garner playing LT. Just pray Pouncey nor Martin goes down.

Pouncey/Martin are 2 positions we have zero answer with our depth to adequately replace.

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