Danny Watkins Signing Shows Miami Dolphins Lack of Confidence in OL Depth
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However you feel about John Jerry and Richie Incognito as the Miami Dolphins starting guards, the depth behind those two is scary.
We're talking Freddy Krueger levels of scary. A single injury could threaten to tear Miami's offensive dreams to shreds.
At least they're doing something about it, though. Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports the Dolphins recently added a former first-round pick to their offensive line:
Danny Watkins to the Dolphins a done-deal. A one-year contract, I'm told.— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) September 3, 2013
Danny Watkins was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round in 2011. Two years later, he's expendable enough that the Eagles were willing to eat $2,164,350 of his contract (according to Spotrac).
He suffered an injury that kept him out of the final nine games of the 2012 season, but he wasn't much more help to the Eagles when he was in the lineup. He allowed 16 combined pressures (nine hurries, six hits, one sack) in the first six games of the season, according to ProFootballFocus.com (subscription required).
There were questions about his talent in his time with the Eagles, but more importantly, Reuben Frank of CSN Philly recently questioned Watkins' love for the game of football:
I don't think Danny Watkins will play again. I don't think his heart was ever in football. I don't think he likes playing the game.— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) August 31, 2013
Good luck squeezing any blood out of that rock.
At this point, however, the Dolphins are scrounging for interior offensive linemen to fill out their depth chart.
|Player||Pass block snaps||Hurries||Hits||Sacks||Pressure total|
|Danny Watkins (PHI)||70||1||0||0||1|
Watkins, interestingly enough, has played better this preseason than any other option the Dolphins have on their roster.
The Dolphins released Josh Samuda when they signed Watkins, which makes sense given his relatively poor play in the preseason, but second-round pick Dallas Thomas had perhaps the worst preseason of any Dolphins offensive lineman. The signing of Watkins could indicate the Dolphins are less than confident in Thomas' ability to step in, should an injury wipe out one of their starters on the inside.
Even the starting unit is a question mark. Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman sounded less than confident in his group up front when asked about it on Monday.
"I still think it is a work in progress," Sherman said. "John (Jerry) is coming off of an injury. Getting him back into the fold is going to be huge. He's been out for a little bit, but I'm excited about having him back. We certainly needed him back. I'm anxious for him to get more comfortable in there with the other guys and get more used to what we are doing."
Adding Watkins won't address those concerns for Sherman, but it makes their backup plan a little better if Jerry is less than 100 percent.
For all the signings the Dolphins made at the skill positions, it's important that they don't allow the offensive line to be the factor that makes it all come unraveled.
Erik Frenz is also a Patriots/AFC East writer for Boston.com. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand or via team news releases.
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