I heard this from a Miami Dolphins source over the weekend: "You were right about Dallas Thomas. And we were wrong."
And I thought to myself, Hallelujah, there is hope!
What was meant by that is that the Dolphins, with new head coach Adam Gase on board, are going to take up the assignment of making quarterback Ryan Tannehill (not Derek Carr) a better player. And one way they are going to do that is to improve the protection for Tannehill, who has been sacked 184 times in four seasons.
If you watched the NFL Wild Card games over the weekend you saw the difference between Aaron Rodgers when he's getting little protection -- throwing off the back foot and falling away from throws -- and Aaron Rodgers when he is getting protection and playing up to the star he is. You saw that without protection Ben Roethlisberger was driven into the turf and injured his shoulder. You saw that without protection neither Teddy Bridgewater nor Russell Wilson could generate much offense in a 10-9 game.
So Gase, who makes protecting the quarterback a top priority, is going to do what he can to protect Tannehill.
And I cannot tell you that will make Tannehill a great quarterback.
But I can tell that may make guards Dallas Thomas and/or Billy Turner gone from the starting lineup in 2016.
The Dolphins, you see, projected both those two players to step up this season and blossom. And both had their good moments, that is true. But neither was good with any sort of consistency. Indeed, both were rated at the bottom of the grades for guards by ProFootballFocus.
And so the Dolphins will address the guard spot this offseason. Previously, I wrote the Dolphins likely wouldn't be doing much with their guards, at least not with big-time free agents or high draft picks. But we we were still in-season, the team had a different general manager, and the new coach hadn't been hired.
All that has changed now and so has the team's intentions as it pertains to the offensive line.
By the way, there will be other ways the Dolphins intend to protect Tannehill. It will have to do with the tempo of the offense -- they want to speed it up a bit. It'll have to do with routes run and the timing of the quarterback and receivers.
Gase simply does not want to get his QB hit. The new coach is credited with the improvement of Jay Cutler in Chicago in 2015, in that he got Cutler to cut down on his interceptions. What people sometimes miss is that Cutler was sacked 10 times less in 2015 under Gase's system than the previous year.
One more thing: When the Dolphins told me I was right on Thomas, I got no great satisfaction from it. The truth is mostly everyone had doubts about the Miami guard situation before the season began. So no biggie. My response to that comment was deadpan. I was right on Joe Philbin, too, I responded. He should have been gone after 2013.