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McKinnie: The timing, 'Big Mac,' Philbin reaction

As I shared with you in the last post, the Dolphins' plan for Bryant McKinnie is to play him at left tackle. Only left tackle. Period.

And today, McKinnie confirmed he worked only at left tackle during practice. Jonathan Martin said he worked at both left and right tackle during practice.

"I'm a left tackle," McKinnie said. "All I've ever played. I've never taken a snap at right tackle."

So, again, when McKinnie is up to speed and ready to play, he is the left tackle and Martin will move to right tackle.

I believe this is a deal general manager Jeff Ireland had to make. It was a must-do move because to sit by and watch Ryan Tannehill get hit week after week was a recipe for ruining the young quarterback, if not getting him hurt.

So I approve. Bryant McKinnie is not a great player at this late stage in his career. But this is a rental to survive the season. It had to be done.

But the timing of this move boggles.

Why didn't the Dolphins do this trade two weeks ago during the bye? McKinnie was available then. The Ravens were shopping him then. The idea of trading for McKinnie was no secret to anyone -- least of all readers of this blog.

Everyone knew Tyson Clabo was struggling for weeks. It should not have come as an epiphany to the Dolphins on Monday -- the day after Clabo once again gave up game-defining sacks against Buffalo -- that their offensive line needs help. Clabo gave up game-defining sacks against Baltimore the last time the Dolphins played.

So why the timing of this move now instead of the last several weeks when it made more sense?

"We considered a lot of factors and made the decision and we thought this was the right time," coach Joe Philbin said today.

I hope he's fibbing. I hope he doesn't really believe the timing here was right. If he does, the Dolphins are in bigger trouble than anyone might think.

As you know the McKinnie addition fits like Chad Johnson fit. In other words, he doesn't fit the culture. Everyone knows it. And everyone accepts that desperate times call for desperate measures, thus this trade.

But Philbin said he's expecting McKinnie, a well-known party animal with a history for visiting all sorts of clubs on late night jaunts, to fit in with the Dolphins.

"We expect anyone who works for the Dolphins, coaches for the Dolphins, plays for the Dolphins to represent the organization in the right way on and off the field ... All of us have a responsibility to act accordingly," Philbin said.

McKinnie said his party reputation won't be a problem because when he's working, he's working. He said his party persona only applies to when he's off. McKinnie said "Big Mac" is his offseason persona. Bryant is his in-season persona.

(First of all, it's never good when a player claims to have an alter ego. Secondly, the infamous Love Boat incident in Minnesota in 2005 and Party Bus incident in Baltimore this year happened during the football season).

"I'm concerned about what he does in this building," Philbin said. "I don't mandate what people do outside the building. I enjoy my free time when I have free time. I expect him to be a professional just like the other guys."

Dolphins should keep their fingers crossed.

 

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