Richie Incognito showed his frustration Wednesday when he was asked about the sack pace the Dolphins are on. Yes, Miami is tied for the league lead in sacks allowed with 18 and there are various reasons for that.
But the offensive line is the primary culprit the Dolphins are currently on pace to give up a team-record 72 sacks this year and that is kinda freaking Incognito out.
"If we give up 72 sacks, everybody should be fired, the whole offensive line," Incognito said.
Yeah, I have news for you Richie: Significant parts of this offensive line are getting fired after this season anyway.
The truth is only two players on the Miami line -- center Mike Pouncey and left tackle Jonathan Martin -- are signed after this season so they're the only ones assured of returning next year. And only Pouncey can really be certain he'll be playing the same position in 2014 that he's playing now.
Possibly playing another position.
Possibly playing for another team.
Possibly out of the league.
Think about it. Tyson Clabo, John Jerry and, yes, Incognito might indeed be fired (semantics) by the Dolphins after this season for differing reasons.
So let's take them individually starting with Incognito: He's playing very, very well. If you look at the replay of games it is clear Incognito is Miami's second best offensive lineman so far this season behind center Mike Pouncey. He has yielded two sacks, three hits on QB Ryan Tannehill and zero hurries. He is coming off his best run-blocking game of the season. And ProFootballFocus.com has him rated the No. 13 guard among 70 rated by the metrics site.
Incognito's issues, however, are that he is unsigned after this season, he is already 30 years old, he wants a raise, and high-priced but not elite guards are often easy to replace with cheaper players in the draft.
That is perhaps the reason the Dolphins have not offered Incognito a contract extension. The team will have other issues paying or adding players at positions of greater need -- right tackle, perhaps cornerback, perhaps safety, perhaps running back. Guards are rarely at the front of the line when they want more money as they get older.
So Incognito's Miami future is uncertain despite his very good play so far.
John Jerry's future is uncertain because he too is unsigned after this season and he's not nearly as good as Incognito. He has allowed two sacks, three hits on Tannehill and five hurries. Not great. And, believe it or not, Jerry's pass blocking is much better than his run blocking.
Consider that ProFootballFocus.com rates Jerry the No. 36 overall guard out of 70. Well, his run blocking rates 58th out of 70. Bad.
All you need to know about Jerry's run blocking was illustrated on Monday night's misbegotten third-and-one play call. It was a sweep. It required Jerry to block the nose tackle with a reach-block as he pulled left. Jerry didn't make the block. The nose tackle made the tackle for a 2-yard loss.
(By the way, on that play, the Dolphins put the momentum of the game in the hands of John Jerry and running back Daniel Thomas. No wonder offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said he'll be haunted by that call).
Anyway, Jerry is unsigned after this season. At a time the New Orleans Saints are getting ready to pay tight end Jimmy Graham anywhere from $11-$13 million per season, the Dolphins will have no issues letting Jerry, who they drafted ahead of Graham in 2010, walk if he doesn't sign for very cheap.
So Jerry's Miami future is uncertain. I'd be shocked if he's a Dolphin in 2014.
Then there's Tyson Clabo. He's a tough guy. He's a savvy veteran. He knows his position very well. And he's not playing very well. Sorry.
Clabo this season has allowed four sacks (an average of one per game), three hits on Tannehill, and 11 hurries. He is individually on pace to give up 16 sacks. By himself.
Consider that in 2011, Marc Colombo was considered a turnstile to the quarterback and he gave up nine sacks for the season and you have perspective on how bad Clabo's pass protection is so far.
And the kicker is that, according to ProFootballFocus.com, Clabo's grade on run-blocking is worse than his pass-blocking. Clabo is rated the No. 63 out of 72 tackles in the NFL by the site. That puts him behind Eric Winston (No. 57) and Bryant McKinnie (61) who the Dolphins considered signing this spring.
Indeed, Clabo is behind Jeremy Trueblood, whom the Falcons signed as something of an afterthought backup in September when they needed depth. Trueblood was thrust into a starting role by injuries and is now rated No. 40 overall among tackles.
Only four right tackles -- Justin Pugh, Lane Johnson, Derek Newton and Jordan Mills -- are rated lower than Clabo.
Clabo is on a one-year contract. Unless he completely turns it around in the next dozen games, he will not be back in 2014.
As for the two men who definitely won't be fired after 2013 -- Pouncey and Martin -- their Miami future is brighter.
Pouncey, a former first round pick, has allowed one sack this year. He's had a plus-grade in three out of four games and three games in a row. ProFootballFocus.com rates him the No. 6 center among 33 players at the position.
Martin has had some issues in that he's given up four sacks, a QB hit and eight hurries. He's not exactly dominant with his run-blocking, either. Yet ProFootballFocus rates him a respectable No. 38 among the 72 tackles. And then there's this:
Martin's young (24), he's locked up on the contract front, and he's cheap ($1.08M against the cap this year and $1.3M on the cap next year). He can play left tackle and if the Dolphins upgrade at left tackle, he can move to right tackle. He is staying around in some manner.
Unlike some of his offensive line mates, Martin is not getting fired after this season.