When the Miami Dolphins drafted Jonathan Martin in 2012, there was speculation as to whether he could man the right tackle spot. He had played left tackle for years at Stanford and there wasn't enough room for both he and Jake Long on the left side, so they flipped Martin to right tackle and hoped for the best.
But when Long went down with an injury in Week 13 against the Patriots, Martin was placed at his original position of left tackle for the final five games of the season.
Martin struggled at both spots, allowing slightly more pressure on a per-snap basis than he did at right tackle.
He can still turn things around. He is built like a left tackle at 6'5", 312 pounds and 34" arms to help him keep defenders at bay. His quick feet should help him be a fit in the zone-blocking scheme the Dolphins run on the offensive line.
He didn't hold his own at left tackle, but he did look more comfortable there.
Was there improvement, though?
He faced a higher caliber group of defensive ends at left tackle than he did at right tackle; Aldon Smith and Chandler Jones accounted for 10 hurries and a sack in two games against Martin. His best performances at left tackle came against Jason Babin and Kyle Moore in which he allowed three hurries and two hits.
What does that tell us? He did poorly against top competition and well against inferior competition.
The problem is, he has to be ready for an opponent's best pass-rusher week-in and week-out if he's manning the left side. Based on the numbers and tape, there's enough reason to be concerned about that.
Some believe his issues pertain to strength.
In a game against the Buffalo Bills, he allowed four pressures and one sack to Mario Williams on the right side.
This was nothing flashy by Super Mario, just a straight bull rush directly at the rookie.
Williams extended his arms, throttling Martin off-balance.
He then pushed Martin into Tannehill's lap for the sack.
This was one of the games that helped Williams get his season back on track after having surgery on his thumb.
He was also beaten with speed.
Martin is known for his quick feet, but he fails to get to the edge in time here against Indianopolis Colts defensive end Robert Mathis. Martin looked like he might have a chance (second frame), but the veteran beat him a cool four steps off the line of scrimmage (third frame) with a dip move to get away from Martin's jam.
On this play, Martin was at left tackle against Chandler Jones. Martin got his hands on Jones, but once again failed to get in front of the defender.
Jones easily got pressure by doing exactly what Mathis had done to him several weeks prior—simply dipping his shoulder and continuing on his merry way.
It's not necessarily an instant failure for Martin to be the team's starting left tackle as there is a chance he could improve, but he didn't show much progress from the beginning of the season to the end.
The potential is there, but potential won't do much good if Ryan Tannehill is on his back in 2013.
Erik Frenz is also a Patriots/AFC East writer for Boston.com. Follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless otherwise noted, all stats obtained from ProFootballFocus.com, and all quotes obtained firsthand or via team press releases.
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