Miami Dolphins Offensive Line Will Be Fine Despite Slow Preseason Start
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Everyone needs to relax about the Miami Dolphins offensive line. It hasn't looked great so far in the preseason, but I would not hold much stock in the first two preseason games.
Articles like this have been popping up all over the place, but I really do not see why people are in such panic mode already. Others are already saying that not re-signing Jake Long is the Dolphins' biggest offseason regret, which I could not disagree with more.
Anyone who thinks that the Dolphins needed to re-sign Jake Long clearly did not watch any of their games over the past two seasons.
He was clearly declining and was particularly bad last season. Combine that with his major risk of injuries, and why exactly would they want to sign him to a big contract?
For all the hate Jonathan Martin seems to get, look at the circumstances of last year: rookie tackle playing with a rookie quarterback under a first-year head coach and first-year offensive coordinator.
On top of that, he started the year on the right side, which is not his natural position, before being switched over to the left side toward the end of the year.
It's not exactly surprising that he didn't look great last year. Let's give the second-round pick an offseason to mature and develop and then see what he can do this season.
And people seem to forget that Miami has an elite lineman in center Mike Pouncey, who is incredibly valuable in Miami's up-tempo, no huddle offense. He'll be a great field general while leading the entire offense.
Next to Pouncey will likely be some combination of rookie Dallas Thomas, Lance Louis, John Jerry and Richie Incognito. Jerry and Incognito are the incumbents, and Incognito was a Pro Bowler, but Louis was an underrated free-agent pickup.
He is coming off a torn ACL but is talented and fits perfectly in Miami's zone-blocking scheme. With Jerry injuring his knee a couple weeks ago, the spots at guard really seem to be up in the air, especially on the right side.
The Dolphins also signed one of the better right tackles in the league, Tyson Clabo. He's a mauler who will really help open up the run game on the right side.
Martin is obviously the biggest question mark, but I think there's a lot of reason to believe that he'll be serviceable in 2013. And if he isn't, it certainly won't cost Miami the Super Bowl, and it'll be able to make left tackle its top priority in the 2014 draft.
For others who say that Miami didn't do enough to address offensive line in the offseason, it signed one of the best tackles on the market, signed a guard who could be a starter, and drafted a versatile lineman in the third round.
Miami also drafted a great blocking tight end in Dion Sims and signed a great receiving tight end in Dustin Keller. The combination of these two will also be a big aid to the offensive line, especially with run blocking.
I think Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin hedged their bets in all the right places and are not on the hook for a long-term contract with Long that would be getting criticized in Week 10 when he gets hurt.
Miami's offensive line will be just fine without him.
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