A football team is usually a tightly knit group of individuals who depend on each other for community success. And when one member of the group fails, there are repercussions on other members.
Jonathan Martin, meet the repercussions.
Martin's fate with the Dolphins has not been entirely in his hands but instead has been determined by the actions of others.
Having played left tackle his final year at Stanford, he was drafted by the Dolphins and immediately placed at right tackle because the Dolphins had Jake Long. When Long got hurt, Martin, through no function of what he was doing, was moved to left tackle.
And when Long decided he rather play for the St. Louis Rams, Martin was left in limbo while the Dolphins searched for another left tackle. Again, Martin did nothing to either solidify himself as the left tackle nor lose the left tackle job.
He simply was caught by fate's whims.
The Dolphins found no suitable left tackle replacement for Long this offseason although they hosted Bryant McKinnie in free agency, studied a handful of left tackle possibilities in the draft, and even explored trading for veteran Brandon Albert.
But because other people either weren't signed or drafted or acquired in trade, Martin was elected Miami's new left tackle.
Great, a place to settle the second-year player, right?
Immediately, the Miami offensive line was a trouble spot and right tackle was the most beseiged position on the team. That shouldn't affect the left tackle, right?
Well, wrong again because as McKinnie became available in trade and he has never taken a practice snap at right tackle let alone played a game there, the Dolphins acquired him and expect him to play left tackle.
(Dolphins coach Joe Philbin would not say McKinnie is exclusively a left tackle but the entire NFL knows it and not admitting it insults everyone's intelligence.)
Anyway, McKinnie's arrival means Martin, through no fault of his own, gets switched again. He's played 11 1/2 games at right tackle and 10 1/2 games at left tackle and he's soon about to increase that number on the right side.
And Tuesday it was clear Martin isn't thrilled about the move.
“You can approach this two different ways," Martin said. “You can go in the tank and be one of those guys who bitches and moans and is a cancer in the locker room, or you can be a guy who goes out there and can be a professional and plays as hard as I can."
Martin says he'll be the latter. He'll be a good teammate -- even as he's scratching his head about why he's been affected by Clabo's inability to do his job and McKinnie's inability to play on the right side.
Philbin did admit there is concern that shuffling Martin around so much (which he doesn't even confirm is happening, by the way) might be bad for the player.
“You are always concerned," the coach said. "Any time you move a player, there’s always some concern about it. You have to take that in consideration if you do in fact decide to move somebody."
But all concerns aside the Dolphins are going to do it. Indeed, they even did during practice Tuesday. Martin said he worked at both right tackle and left tackle within the same practice.
You don't think that messes with his technique a little?
Martin has said before he prefers to play at left tackle. He feels more comfortable there. It comes more naturally to him. He tried to get stronger in the offseason to prepare for playing the position. He has a future there.
No, he's not likely going to be a Pro Bowl left tackle, but he surely can develop into a solid left tackle and that has value.
Yet that development has been detoured now. Did Martin have anything to do with that detour?