Miami Dolphins Offensive Line One of 2012's Worst, and Other AFC East News

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IJanuary 29, 2013

Sept. 30, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey (51) prepares to hike the ball as the Arizona Cardinals defensive line looks on during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The front line of the offense is at the forefront of the Miami Dolphins' offseason questions. released their grades for every offensive line in the 2012 season, and the Dolphins came out an unflattering 23rd, a step back from the 22nd ranking they earned in 2011.

With Jake Long not the player he was this line was always going to struggle to replicate the performances of years gone by. A slow start didn’t help things either, and right now they appear a unit in transition. Really interesting to watch just what happens with Long this offseason.

Indeed, Long will be the most prominent talking point for the Dolphins this offseason as the most important pending free agent on the roster. That being said, there are other glaring issues on the offensive line.

In fact, one of the Dolphins' top draft picks from 2012, tackle Jonathan Martin, struggled about as much as any right tackle in the NFL last year:

You spend a high pick on a rookie, then it’s likely at some point you’re going to want to see what you’ve got. Well, the Dolphins got a good long look at Jonathan Martin (-22.0) and they’ll know he’s got a long way to go before he becomes the player they drafted him to be.

If they want him to take the left tackle mantle from Long, he clearly has a long way to go.

It wasn't all bad for the Dolphins offensive line; center Mike Pouncey finished the year as the league's eighth-best center, but even he didn't play well throughout the season.

He finished the season poorly by the standards he set, but for a stretch of the season there wasn’t a better center in the league than Mike Pouncey (+17.6).

Beyond Pouncey, though, not much to write home about. The Dolphins averaged 4.1 YPA (19th in the NFL). They allowed sacks on 6.8 percent of quarterback drop-backs (19th), and allowed pressure on 30.6 percent of Ryan Tannehill's drop-backs (second-most for any starting QB with over 50 percent of the snaps).

To be fair, it's not just the guys at PFF who think the Dolphins' offensive line struggled in 2012. According to Football Outsiders, the Dolphins ranked 21st in adjusted line yards and 17th in total pass protection—not among the worst, but certainly below average.

For an offensive line consisting of two first-round picks, a second-round pick, a third-round pick and a free-agent signing, the Dolphins sure looked like a ragtag group. What does that mean for the future of Jake Long and the rest of the crew? Only time will tell.

Here's some more news from around the AFC East.


New York Jets

Conor Orr of the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger says the Jets are still pushing Mark Sanchez to earn the starting job at quarterback again.

Jeff Capellini of WFAN/CBS New York explains why the Jets have virtually no choice but to trade cornerback Darrelle Revis.


Buffalo Bills

Bleacher Report Bills correspondent Robert Quinn lists the five glaring questions the Bills must answer this offseason.

Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News reports that the Bills have renewed the Toronto series for five more years at one game per season.


Miami Dolphins

B/R Dolphins featured columnist Thomas Galicia explains why the Dolphins would be fools to not retain running back Reggie Bush

Ben Volin of The Palm Beach Post explains why Bush is not a fit for the Dolphins' offense, and also why he thinks right tackle Jonathan Martin isn't ready to replace left tackle Jake Long yet.


New England Patriots

Matthew Jones of takes a look at the expiring contracts on the Patriots' roster.

Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston ponders a return of wide receiver Randy Moss to the Patriots.


Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless otherwise specified, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.