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Bryant McKinnie should be an option for Dolphins

The Dolphins have come a loooong way in addressing the obvious and urgent needs of their offensive line. This post will, in effect, show you how far the personnel department has come in that regard.

That's because we're going to discuss some offensive line depth issues today.

No, I'm not concerned about the starting left tackle. No, I'm not worried about the starting right tackle or center. I'm not even worried about the budding competition at the guard positions ... yet.

I do cringe every time I think of the depth at tackle and center.

And that's what this post is about.

Although the Dolphins are set with Branden Albert as their starting left tackle, the moment the second-team lined up during a recent OTA, it became obvious how tenuous Miami's offensive line situation remains.

The backup left tackle was Nate Garner.

Now, Garner is a solid player. He is a jack-of-all-trades type. He has played well when he's been given chances at either guard position and the right tackle spot. He even spotted in and played well at center earlier in his career and last year.

But he's not a left tackle. Indeed, left tackle is the only offensive line position he has been a disaster playing.

Perhaps general manager Dennis Hickey doesn't know this because he wasn't here. Perhaps coach Joe Philbin doesn't know this because he wasn't here (although he should have seen the tape in 2012).

But the last time Garner played left tackle was for a couple of quarters in 2011 against Philadelphia. He came into the game because Jake Long went out with a knee injury. And then the flood gates opened.

The Dolphins gave up nine sacks that day against the Eagles. Garner gave up three of them. Amazingly, he also yielded seven quarterback hurries that game.


That was the only time in memory that Garner played left tackle in a game. And it was his worst game as a professional.

The Dolphins as a result turned to John Jerry as their left tackle the final two games that year when Long was eventually ruled done for the year.

This is not a knock on Garner. He's a valuable backup. He's got good position flexibility.

But left tackle is not one of the positions he's flexible in. It just isn't.

Yet, he's the backup left tackle now.

Big mistake.

What's worse, this mistake will not show itself 1. unless Hickey or Philbin read this post and go back to that 2011 tape of the Philly game or 2. until the Dolphins actually start hitting either in practice or the preseason, which is two months away.

And by then the best chance to address the issue might have passed.

My suggestion?

You will think me crazy, but I would have a talk with Bryant McKinnie. I'd bring him in and ask him if he's willing at this stage in his career to be a minimum salary insurance policy backup. He would have to take a one-year $955,000 deal with no guarantees. He'd have to get in shape in what remains of the offseason and come to camp and compete.

And he'd have to know he's not beating out Branden Albert.

But if he wants to serve as that insurance policy, he could make that near-million dollars in 2014, which beats unemployment.

I'd think of McKinnie as my closer in case my ace pitcher tires. I'd think of McKinnie because Nate Garner is not a closer at left tackle.


The Dolphins have a curious situation there as well.

Mike Pouncey is the starter and that is not going to change. But the possibility of the NFL sanctioning (read suspending) Pouncey for some portion, however large or small, of 2014 still exists. Moreoever, Pouncey last year missed some games so it's not like the guy is indestructable.

So what is the answer at center if Pouncey has to sit?

Well, it should be Nate Garner. He started in Pouncey's place twice last year and performed well enough.

So Garner should be getting second-team reps at center.

Except he's not because he's getting second-team reps at left tackle!

So let me get this right: The Dolphins need to guard against the unthinkable at left tackle and center, the two most important offensive line positions. So they are giving the guy who showed he cannot play left tackle second-team reps at left tackle and in so doing cannot give him second-team reps at center, a position he's proven he can play.

Call Bryant McKinnie, Dolphins.

Yes, he's 34. No, he's not starter quality anymore. And he needs to get in shape.

But last year he started 10 games at left tackle for Miami. And he didn't have a game in which he allowed three sacks and seven hurries.


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is still hurt

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | May 29, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Hey MIT good luck on your impending daddyhood, all the best!

Posted by: Darkoak | May 29, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Darrkoak, thanks man. I became a father yesterday to the newest member of Phins Nation, Niko.

A picture of him is attached for all to see when you click on my name.

My suggestions for Jason, Zach, or Dan were all shot down :)

totally agree about McKinnie, for depth at least....not sure why his name hasnt come up more....he's average/mediocre at worst, and that's more than we can say about a couple of the OL guys in the mix

u should
have asked 4 bob larry or paul
and she would have said yeah
she doesn't want 2
name him after a trio of losers
butt even tho u'r a dikk

I agree with this Mando post 100%. At some point next year someone other than branden Albert will most likely have to play some left tackle.

One main reason why I would've been all in for a trade up for Taylor Lewan.

McKinnie is a decent fall back option. People may run around him but he's a man and if he latches on to you, it's over. Not going to truck that man.

Mando also brings up Jerry who played left tackle in that 2012 season. he was dam good in that position to close the year and unless he ate himself out of being able to play tackle... I wonder why he never got a shot to play RT again... might have saved us a top draft pick if he was ... anyway... water under the bridge.

thanks 2 watt... i don't hate you even though ur a dikk either...

and 2 watt, Niko is Greek for Nick so i guess i did get a winner in Nick Buoniconti!

They won't add another OL type until training camp when the pads go on. I expect they will once it becomes clear their back up options at OT suck.

have said it before, re: Tannehill/QB talk--finding a franchise/good QB is more about luck than anything else:
Marino taken late 1st, passed over by most teams
Montana 3rd rd--even SF passed on him twice
Favre--2nd rd, then traded
Rodgers--late 1st, see Marino
Brees--2nd rd, NO passed on him once
R Wilson--3rd rd, SH passed twice
Kaep--2nd rd, SF passed once
> could name many more, passed on by most teams, including the team that drafted them, not realizing how good they were--also could name dozens of busts that were taken high---Elway, Manning, Luck and a few others were taken high and deserved to be....not alot of others were--tremendous amount of luck involved in finding a good/great QB

there u go
wasn't garo greek?

obvioyus biggest omission....Brady....the entire league and the Patriots passed on him 5 times

yeah, sure the Pats knew he was good....

pats made him good

while I agree that McKinnie would be a good addition, Billy Turner did play tackle in college and was good/effective--big leap to the pros and only a rookie, I get it, but he's more than familiar with that position--D Thomas also has played some tackle (not well, granted) but he is in year 2 and apparently healthy....so it include some finger crossing and I'd still look into McKinnie, but we do have 2 young dudes with a good bit of experience at Tackle

I like your thinking Mando. Bryant didn't play that poorly last year. Great backup or even guard if required. He would be cheap as well.

Good advice Mando. Only question is, will hardhead Philbin take it?

2 watt, Garo was Cypriot. Those are murky waters. Kind of Greek but not really part of the country.

James Laurenaitis of the Rams is Greek tho...

Why does Mando and every other beat writer overreact? IT WAS THE FIRST DAY OF OTA's!!! It's experimentation time! It's playing around time! Good Lord, stop reacting to nothing. Last time I checked, Billy Turner played LT in college which is his natural position.

And before you start with this "..don't trust a rookie at left tackle" nonsense, Both Webb and Sims were rookies and started on the left side and last time I checked had pretty good careers. Turner not Garner will serve as backup to Albert if necessary.

benz, agreed that in time Turner would be a good flex player capable of playing 4 positions on the line. But the jump from The University of Staten Island to the NFL is large and you must factor ina learning curve. Nobody is talking about building around free agents here but once in a while a nice vet to bridge the gap is a great idea.

cocoa, hard head Philbin indeed. catch the latest from barry Jackson on Dion jordan (who to me is the poster boy on Philbin's incompetence). I will cut and paste for convenience....

### The pressure is heightened on the Dolphins’ 2012 and 2013 first-round draft picks, and coaching issues surround each.

For Dion Jordan, the question is whether coordinator Kevin Coyle and his staff can be creative enough to carve out more playing time amid their decision to keep him at defensive end behind Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon and not move him to linebacker.

As for Jordan, the third overall pick in 2013 played the fewest snaps of any defensive player drafted among the top 20 last April. Jordan said he was 260 last season and is now just over 265.

“I needed it,” he said. “I was too light to go against some of those offensive tackles. It wasn’t weight. It was mainly getting stronger. I’m trying to better myself in a lot of areas.”

Though Jordan’s defensive coordinator at Oregon believes he would be better suited to linebacker, Philbin said the staff has decided against that because “to develop him and those [pass-rushing] skills requires a time commitment. And if you’re always worried about pass drops and who you have in zone --- not that we haven’t used him in there” then there’s less time to focus on being a pass rusher.

To me, this is a fireable offense on it's own.

Any coach not smart enough to find a way to utilize the talent given to him - especially when it's the 3rd pick in the entire draft - simply isn't NFL material.


Posted by: Mark in Toronto | May 29, 2014 at 10:26 AM

And we know he's YG, last blog shed some light there.

Dude congrats to you and your wife, exciting stuff.

Is Zonk dead yet?


Fox + Smith + James + Turner = This OL is worse than the one we started 2013 with.

Gee - I've been saying that for a couple months now.

Tannehill is our franchise QB


I would congratulate you on the new baby, but I have bad news for you. They grow up and become kids and kids are dikks. Just kidding, not really. But isnt new baby poo-tar fun to wipe? Isnt getting up every 3 hours awesome? Being a new dad is exciting, but messing with new dads is more fun ha ha ha

Thought the Dolphins front office make you mad? Wait till your little bugger turns 6. I am not an angry person and pretty much turn the other cheek, but my 9 year old can instantly pizz me off without even trying too hard.

Kids are like little mirrors of ourselves and thats why they drive us crazy. They have all the traits we hate about ourselves!!!

My advice:

1. Get him on a nap schedule as early as you can. 12:30 is a good time, that way by the time football season starts, he will sleep through most of the games

2.When he gets about 2-3 years old. Get him on a going to bed routine. Dont be one of those dumb parents who let their damn kids stay up late.

I suk
Marks sweaty
in the morning



I'm not against bringing McKinnie back but it's way to early to be talking about depth at positions until the starters are set. Also I'll bet Mando a nickel Garner doesn't even make the final roster even though he has some position flexibility. The 2 reasons I say that is because 1. he's not a great fit for a zone blocking scheme and 2. he's simply not very good at any position.

No Mark....checking now.

Isn't Fox our veteran tackle backup? Not against adding depth at any position but we'll only keep what 8 olineman probably when the season starts. Garner, Turner and Fox seem like they'd be the guys unless Turner ends up in the practice squad.

I lik
butt krack


McKinnie???? Seriously should not be an option. PERIOD EXCLAMATION Unless you're all for overpaying a washed up veteran and guaranteeing the failure of the Miami Dolphins offense in 2014.

Posted by: 2 watt | May 29, 2014 at 10:58 AM


agree that McKinnie is a good/best option, no question--I'd sign him if the money was reasonable (it will be)....was just commenting on Mando's concerns over Garner/Tackle depth, etc.....we have 2 young guys on our roster, both 3rd rd picks so fairly highly regarded....who have some/alot of experience at Tackle, thats all--yes, its a big leap to think they'll play Tackle well in here especially since both are viewed as Guards....plus D Thomas showed little last year--but they both could be Tackle options for depth at the very least--didnt say "good" options, but might be as good as Garner at Tackle, and both Turner and Thomas are young with upside

McKinnie is wshed up. They should've got him 12 years ago.


congrats bro. Btw, Jason would be a cool way to represent finz nation as of course that is my name as well! Good luck with the lil one!!

Way too late for McKinnie. What are these guys thinking? lol

I eat
dingle berries
fo real


A 34 yr old is no part of the rebuild.

Yeah Mark "Philbin said the staff has decided against that because...."

His staff really means him. Lot of people forget what Philbin said after 2012 season. Words to the effect of needing more pass rush. That's why I think he played a big part of getting Jordan.

no way...too many big macs for big mac.

turner is the future LT (or better yet, LG of today).
in a pinch, he will fill in @ LT.

a 34 yr old with a 1 yr contract is ideal for depth

MIA has 15 OL on camp, roughly half of whom are OTs.

MIA generally keeps 9 OL and there is no reason to waste one of those spots on a 34 year old backup who can't play the MIA zone blocking scheme.

Fox and Garner can sub in at LT. Garner was not getting reps at LT when he subbed in last season.

Let's see if any of the younger players can also develop.

So....the Dolphins are rebuilding and need to give the young guys the snaps. PLAY THE YOUNG GUYS THAT MAY BE HERE WHEN/IF WE GET BETTER. Its the only way to improve and build depth. Geez they dont ever get it.

Oh, BTW Turner also played LT rather well in college.

Posted by: cocoajoe | May 29, 2014 at 11:10 AM

I think more and more that Philbin may have final say on things but the recommendations come from his subordinates. I don't feel like he is putting his stamp on anything, Christ the guy can't even give a victory speech without help.

The rumors last season was Sherman was running the team behind the scenes and Philbin is over his head, based in the decisions that get made I have to agree.

Dion Jordan = Another Irescum bust

ha, rdubs, thanks for the tips man. I will try my best to not make this kid a terror on society. there are already too many people out there who pizz me off even before I get to work in the morning.

But yeah, World Cup starts in a few weeks and that will be our first bonding experience. I will watch the games and yell and he will shite himself ... good times ahead.

Posted by: Darkoak | May 29, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Point taken....could the D-back coach err I mean the D-Coordinator be behind it?

loso, thanks for the well wishes. I would've been cool with the name Jason ... but my wife was insistent on a family name so we had a handful of options. Niko represents family and one of the best defensive players in Dolphins history although he was before my time.

cocoa, i would have no problem Dion being only a pass rusher if you got him nough snaps. he showed as much or more than anyone on our defense last year as a rookie and we had him on the bench 80% of the time. And considerign our OLB play was horrific... I know evetually Dion should be a DE but while he is this young and dynamic... he's faster than the TEs, as tall as them, has the feet of a CB and has lots of experience playing cover in college.

THis is one of the biggest travesties in Dolphins history... we are getting robbed here.

Posted by: cocoajoe | May 29, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Makes sense that the DC doesn't know how to use a pass rusher. Look at our 3rd and longs last year, we played dollar defense prevent and got burned constantly. Why have Wheeler cover short when you can bring the heat with Jordan off the same edge as Wake???? It's like 3rd and 20 for Christ's sake and you play zone???? Get after the QB, you have the talent to do that!!

DJ, good chance I'd say of Turner getting beat out for LG by Dallas Thomas.

Turner will eventually be a good player I would have to wager but he will need at least half a year to catch up. And there is nothing wrong with that. Probably be a travesty if this staff throws him out there too fast and ruins his confidence.

Darkoak @ 11:24 I spent many Sundays yelling for that exact same reason. Irealnd for all his faults left us with a defense fully capable of applying pressure in 1001 different ways. It was a pure downhill defense that could apply pressure inside, outside, from the three LB positions and most often we got everyone in coverage when their strengths in pass rush... no secret I'm no Coyle fan.

If were talking about a BACKUP LT...then why not wait until after camp is completed?

31 other teams need to cut down to 53 players so the probability of a decent BACKUP LT being available is pretty high.

Again, were talking about getting a warm body to ride the bench in case Albert goes down...that screams bargain bin to me, after the 53 man cut down.

I disagree with signing McKinnie. If/when Albert goes down if no one steps up then maybe or look at other options.

Maybe Fox can sub at LT when healthy? There are a lot of young OL guys, rather have them get the practice.

If all goes as planned, McKinney is way too slow to play on this o-line. Our fat guys have to be young and fast. That is why we went to small colleges trying to find athletes we can train. The fat spoiled guys from major colleges were all gone.

Do you believe the time they spend trying to look good in the drills at the combine. Is leaning properly at the tape going to make them a better football player? It certainly makes them a higher draft pick.

Mark....."travesty", used twice no less, is a little heavy/dramatic in these conversations, no?


Congrats on a healthy baby boy!!!

With all the warnings Rdubs had be very, very, very glad you didn't have a daughter. I have 3 boys and 2 girls (2 of the boys are oldest and out of the house already). The 2 girls are in their teens and I have a weekly heart attack with the girls. Boys are a breeze compared to daughters.

Mark, I can't find it now but I think it was PFF that graded Jordans snaps last year. His best grades were in coverage. The same site (PFF?) did show him at different positions incl. surprisingly OLB

I don't know ... I trust McKinnie more than I do Fox or Garner or Turner at this stage.

The only team McKinnie can't pay against in our division is Buffalo. he can't ahndle jerry hughes' athleticism. But he is ok against Chandler Jones and Jane Coples (look like Tarzan, play like jane) who rely more on power..

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