New year, new offensive line but the same (on-field) problems.
The Dolphins will have five new starters on the offensive line thanks in part to a purging of four of their linemen from last year and an injury to center Mike Pouncey that, as Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald reports, could cost him the first half of the season.
Because of that, the experimentation has begun on the Dolphins' offensive line. Former Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl tackle Branden Albert and rookie Ja'Wuan James serve as the bookends of the Dolphins offensive line and represent the most stable members of the unit.
It's inside where everything is fluid, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reported that the Dolphins started out training camp with Daryn Colledge at left guard, Dallas Thomas at right guard and Shelley Smith at center.
It's worth noting that Smith has never played center until now, and the start of the experiment was a disaster, as Smith and quarterback Ryan Tannehill bobbled a snap to open training camp on Friday morning.
It appeared that things only went downhill from there, as the line allowed six sacks during practice. Two of those sacks did come from Cameron Wake, who was supposed to have been blocked by James. That shouldn't be overly concerning, as having to block Wake in practice will only serve James going forward. Back in June at a Dolphins' meet-and-greet I had attended, Jason Taylor talked about how facing off against Richmond Webb as a rookie wound up being the best thing for him.
While it might look gloomy, one must keep in mind that this offensive line is practicing against what should be one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, so as a whole, they should improve. More changes will likely be made, so there is no real reason to overreact now.
Take it from Branden Albert, who said this to Jackson after the first day of training camp that Tannehill is “going to get hit. It’s part of the game. But not 58 times.”
I believe him when he says that, every part of that sentence.