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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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While I hated Mando's recent QB listing I have to say this was a productive and highly accurate read. The OLINE will make or break this season.

THILL will be better or worse based upon the OLINE

Wallace will get open deep if the OLINE can give THILL time.

The Reggie Bush replacement of Miller/Thomas will rely on the OLINE.

The Defense will also rely on the OLINE. They have a shot at being a top 5-10 Defnese this year but they won't accomplish that if they are never given rest due to the Offense always going Three and Out.

This unit better deliver. They are all solid professionals so there is little excuse (actually none) for poor performances.

Can't blame last season's decline in rushing on the Line.

The Blame falls on Reggie.

After he got hit against the Jets, Reggie ran scared the Rest of the Season.

And D.Thomas was still learning.

D.Thomas should have an OK season and The Running Game will be Fine.

Even Though if someone wants to trade L.Miller, Dashi is willing to trade for him.

l miller is da mna. we have 2 weaknesses, oline and te. losing keller really killed us.

That hit on Bush last Season was exactly the same one with Keller this year, the Helmet on the Knee. We don't forget.

Broncos are going to whoop the Ravens.

I will take Great Pleasure in watching the Ravens Flop without their Fearless Leader.

QBs are the Most Important Player on the Team.

But..

A Great MLB comes in a close 2nd to me. They are the QB of the Defense, And more times than not the Emotional Leaders of a Football Team. And The Ravens just lost one of the Greatest of All Time, and they even lost his backup to Free Agency.

You all will realize the difference. Watch the Ravens Defense. Watch The Ravens Fold in the 4th like if Dansby was leading them.

Doesn't seem to be much interest in live blogging tonight. No problem.

Have fun watching the game, folks.

Sorry Armando,

Busy day today and just getting to the blog now. I'll be out with a busy watching then game tonight. I ilke the Broncos but I believe the game will be closer than the spread suggests.

Good job on the blog content today, Armando. I believe the thing 'missing' that you talk about is TIME together as a unit. Pouncey and Cogs are where they were last year and Jerry if healthy will be back where he was last year. Martin at LT and Clabo represent the changes. All things being considered, if the line an stay healthy they have the makings of being decent.

Not really our business, Armando. Only reason I will watch the Game tonight is to see how close LV comes to their line favoring the Broncos by almost 9. Everybody knows about the Ravens losses but I still believe a great HC, which the Harbaughs both are, are greater than the sum of their Team's parts. Like Belichick, btw.

I think Samuda has been claimed by NE.

Guys, the game won't be close tonight.

If Ray was still playing, Maybe.

But who should Peyton Fear on the Ravens Defense?

The Ravens Offense isn't that Good.

Yes, Harbaugh is a Great Coach. But with No MLB and a Fluke as a QB. Expect the Broncos to make an example out of the Ravens.

Dashi,

I'll take that bet. No Miller, no Champ Bailey and they're missing another key guy on the DL. Where's the pass rush coming from against the Ravens?

I'd written the Ravens off this year but Ozzie did a nice job patching them back together with guys like Domervill and Canty. I betcha the Ravens keep it within 4 points,

Live Blog Tonight?

Question should be are you going to stick to the same format for the Regular Season? Or are you going back to the Old Format on Sunday?

Either or, Doubt I will be participating much this season. No point in hearing the same people complain in real time.

Craig,

You don't need a Pass Rush when the Ravens WR only run 1 Route.

Tonight Will be a Shootout. And The Ravens don't have nothing on Defense from even stopping Manning for a couple Drives.

Don't expect any late game heroics by the Ravens Defense.

Flacco isn't that good. The Truth starts coming out tonight.

And it is a gentleman's bet.

I'm expecting the Broncos to win by at least 10.

No need for a love blog that isn't Miami!!!

I'll take my boy Flacco....over the dionsaur you call p. manning....

Ravens defense looks good....and win by 10....

They didn't pay Flacco 100M PLUS for nothing....

Dashi,

We'll see. I fully expect your 95 per cent accuracy to take a hit tonight.

Manning better run, cause they'll be coming for him. They also miss their centre. It all starts up front for the Broncos. I'm expecting a good game.

Kris,

Me and You have been waiting for this moment for a couple seasons now. This is the Season we see what Flacco is made of.

Was it really Ray or Flacco doing the Pulling.

And on the $100Mil. Plenty of Teams have spent that much on players who later turned out to be Bust.

Flacco earning that Contract was the Perfect storm for him. Everything that had to go right did.

If the Ravens would've got kicked out in the First Round, Flacco might've even been a Free Agent. He wasn't that safe til the Playoff run.

Dashi,
I see that you are back.
Earlier today I posted that I had seen you recently and I wondered if you were in an accident and if were in an accident then hopefully you were wearing clean underwear.

Oh!, I forgot we play the Ravens this Season. I'll be extra-watchful.

JAWS HAS PROCLAIMED PHINS AFC EAST CHAMPIONS

That is all I need to know, I can rest easy now and enjoy the blog without having to wonder how the season will end.

I WONDER IF EITHER TEAM WILL EMBARASS THEMSELVES, THIER EMPLOYEES AND THIER FANS TONIGHT
By coming out sluggish, lethargic and poorly coached.

Fraud,

I shall go back and read it then.

Was it Funny?

When have you seem a Team coached by a great HC come out lethargic and with poor effort? You must be a young'un.

True enough Dashi....Craig M is another person who I expect to be eating a 2nd helping of crow after the ravens maintain control of that division....

But tonight should be fun....

I am heading to the sports bar for opening night....

Later...

Dashi,
It was a little funny but nothing to write home about.

Whaat nonsense,

Ray Lewis hasn't been a great player for the last two seasons. Age caught up with him. He was nothing but corny speaches.

oscar,
I was thinking about our opener against Houston last season and our HOF game this season.

Well, ETF, that doesn't hold any water as Philbin is still a great unknown as a HC and Harbaugh, John and Jim, are proven great HCs. See SB last year.

btw, whoth is Denver's HC? Ok, I know, Peyton Manning.

Fraud,

You know I can Appreciate a good joke.

I know

Ray Lewis was the Inspiration to play hard for the Ravens. He Motivated the Team. He willed that Team to a SB win. They played for Ray.

Flacco is going to be wishing for those Corny speeches when he is boring his team into oblivion. Flacco is a Mediocre QB with Zero Charisma.

Incognito may not be the most talented, but he's the most passionate. Some of that needs to rub off on the rest of our guys, especially Jerry and Martin.
We have not had an aggressive, nasty O-Line for at least 5 years. Ricky didn't get all those yards in the mid 2000's by himself.

Alabama showed what an can do. Run game sets 'em up, then the passing game becomes easier.
Some teams, like the Patsies use the pass to set up the run. Not us, nor Green Bay (not a coincidence) and a few others.

We HAVE to get our O-Line to commit to moving the pile. We have really stunk on those 3rd and 1 situations, same 2-3 yards out from 6 points.

If we see our guys getting shoved back by the Brownies D, it will be a LONG afternoon.


LOVE- your analysis of all things concerning the Dolphins is Garbage.

Before anyone criticizes the offensive line, remember it was put together by Jeff Ireland, widely regarded as the premier personnel evaluator in the NFL, and that any weaknesses on the line are the fault of Bill Parcells. Strengthening the offensive lines is always a priority for Jeff Ireland. The other day he was studying offensive line players so thoroughly that he completely lost track of time and almost the beginning of his daughter's girl scout meeting. That type of selfless dedication is rare in NFL personnel circles.

Dashi,
I used to resent Flacco and Matty-Ice also but now I'm just happy for them.

IRA,
I'm convinced that Jeff Ireland not only reads this blog but posts here also under several different handles.

He will be happy to read your compliments of him.

Lewis was useless hot air, an average LB at best the last two seasons. Speeches? That is media hype bs. You think those players give a hoot? They were probably laughing at him inside he was so ridiculous.

Fraud still posting diarrhea and foolish bloggers still responding to him.

Most of you are too stupid to realize he is making fun of you all and laughing.

Buzz @ 7:39

Go phuc yourself hard.
Dashi, oscar canosa, Mark in Toronto and others are my friends and we don't need your approval.

Is this news, or even a surprise or an unexpected development.

All the $$$ spent on One-Trick-Pony wallace, or the move up to Jordan or getting Ellerbe & etc meant nothing, as MANY of us said way back then.

The OL stinks, and that = poor running, Tannehill under constant pressure, no time for deep passes, defense on field too much, etc.

Entirely foreseeable problem left unaddressed yet again. Joke Franchise.

And then next year's new coach & new rebuilding plan.

ugh.

Phuc Yu is one of Fruad's many names. Just for you dummies and short attention span folks that haven't figured it out.

He is also the BACKDOOR man, and most famously the guy that will grab your ears and force you to swallow.


Yes, that is Fraud, that is who you are feeding to come back.

The only problem I see with the line is no quality depth and question marks with John Jerry. I still think they add Lance Louis back to the squad after week one. I think they may have wanted to avoid paying the guaranteed money because he didn't progress fast enough. But he's had time at home to heal and get stronger.

John Jerry and the depth are our weak links there, the rest of the line is above solid.

Fraud,

I won't stop. I will continue to bust you in front of everyone no matter how many times you change your name.

You dug this ditch for yourself so deal with it. That is the price you pay for being a disgusting, disrespectful scuzbag.

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

Posted by: Shula 73

LMAO! What an ignorant statement. Yeah, tell that to Brady, every time his line struggles he looks like Brady Quinn.

Oh boy the queen mother writes a story about the o-line and now this.

"The OL stinks, and that = poor running, Tannehill under constant pressure, no time for deep passes, defense on field too much, etc."

Posted by: SuperSmart | September 05, 2013 at 07:47 PM

Martin is solid, Incognito is a beast, Pouncey is one step away from elite, Clabo is top tier.

But John Jerry is a question mark so that means the o-line stinks? lmao

Phins you mean you still haven't figured out Shula just posts to provoke brain dead idiots like you?

What, are you in a coma?

I know splintered and usually I ignore but that one was OVER THE TOP STUPID. I couldn't help myself. Brain dead heh? Nice talking to ya.

Phins you are the one always WHINING here for others to ignore the trolls, but you feed them like it was Thanksgiving.

You are a seriously dumb fkwad.

The Oline just needs to some time to jell. I'm sure those guys haven't forgotten how to block. It's not like those guys are rookies and I'm sure they have their hands full against our defense. There is definitely enough talent there to be a very good line.

We have to re-evaulate the posters here. It could be blog idiot Kris has a peer in Phins78. Of course we knew he was dumb, but he just may be dumber than we realized.

Dads,

Armando is not to bright. 4 out of our 5 olineman are great. Our issue is depth, are starting oline is easily in the top ten, our left side to center has to be top 5.

I've been surfing the net and have seen 3 'probability' ratings on the game this Sunday. All 3 fall into the 57-59% in favor of the Browns. Having a hard time buying into them. Won't bore you with my rating but it's almost totally flipped in our direction. I must be missing something with the Browns? But I can't figure it out! What am I missing?

Fraud,

I didn't like them going into the Draft, can't stand either of them Now.

M.Ryan and Flacco are over hyped. I am actually glad we didn't pick either of them.

Prog

The Browns are up and coming like we are. Great dline, stud RB, Weeden looking better with better coaches now. What the heck have we done to assume anyone will see us as a favorite?

Dashi must have BIG ears.

Why does everyone think Incognito is a goner next year? It seems like I am the only one who would like him resigned

Rdubs, Everyone is stupid. Best to think for yourself.

Buzz,

You must like Swallowing. You are the one talking to me. Not the other way around you Lesbian.

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