It about the offensive line, folks. It's always about the offensive line with the Miami Dolphins. The pendulum of fate has swung in the wrong direction for the Dolphins after all those years enjoying the play of Larry Little and Jim Langer and Richmond Webb and Dwight Stephenson. As 2014 begins, the offensive line once again is Miami's major issue.
In my column in today's newspaper and website, coach Joe Philbin makes no secret of the fact the offensive line is an a major issue for the Dolphins. Simply, this team is facing not just a big issue but a historically significant issue with regards to the offensive line.
And so with training camp starting today, all eyes will be on the offensive line. And the Dolphins know it. And the scrutiny might just be there a while because we might not get answers for a long time, according to Philbin.
“The preseason is going to be important for the Oline," Philbin told me in an exclusive interview prior to the start of training camp. "Let’s face it, we don’t have five locked and loaded guys right now. I’m not panicking over it, but it’s important we find them. We’ve got to get reps and field evaluations and give them opportunities."
And how long will that take?
"It’s great to settle on a line a little sooner rather than later, but I think it might take a while to figure all that out,” Philbin said.
Obviously the loss of Mike Pouncey for perhaps the first half of the season is problematic. The Dolphins placed Pouncey on the physically unable to perform list on Thursday, along with running back Knowshon Moreno. Pouncey's stay on the list will be long. Moreno's probably won't be, according to what Philbin told me this week.
So much work will have to be done on this OL unit. Much work, folks.
“We have to figure out the offensive line," Philbin said. "In the OTAs, I loved the offseason program, but we’ve got to get some pads on. We’ve got to get some blitzes coming live or semi-live. We have to put those guys in some pressure situations and turn the crowd noise up and motion across the formation, make an adjustment call and see if those guys can function in real time.
"The walk-thru is great and film study is great and real important. But you have to step back and let them do a little bit and see what we got."