For two completely different reasons, LT Jake Long and RT Marc Colombo should sit out the remaining three games of this forgetful season. Long has been playing banged up all year with shoulder and knee injuries. He has started all 61 games since he was drafted with that coveted number one pick in 2008 and no one will doubt his toughness on the field. He is currently listed as questionable for this week’s game in Buffalo. Long suffered a back injury in last week’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and finally was able to practice for the first time on a limited basis on Friday. Regardless, now is the time to give our number one franchise investment the must needed rest he deserves so he can properly heal and recover.
Now, I understand Long is a leader and captain on this team, but can someone give me just one good reason as to why he should play under the current circumstances? The Dolphins just fired their coach on Monday and are sitting at four and nine with absolutely nothing to play for. Meanwhile, Interim Head Coach, Todd Bowles, is acting like they are fighting for a final playoff spot calling him a “warrior” who can battle this out. There is no reason for Long to play and it would be in the Dolphins’ best interest to allow him to rest up and sit out for the remainder of this season.
Plus, with three weeks remaining, now is the time to test the waters on the unproven back-ups to see if they can hack it in the NFL. Guys like Nate Garner and John Jerry need this real game experience time to develop their technique and growth while improving their skills. And most importantly, this organization needs to see what these guys can do now, which could affect who the Dolphins draft in 2012. If these second stringers demonstrate they can’t consistently compete at a high level, then it may be time to cut ties. There is no point in carrying around dead-weight players who take up precious roster spots if they can’t perform.
While we are on the topic of dead-weight players who shouldn’t be on the team, why don’t the Dolphins just go ahead and turn Marc Colombo out to pasture and allow Nate Garner to start the remaining three games at right tackle? Sounds like a reasonable idea to me. Anybody who watches these games could see that Colombo couldn’t block Jerry Seinfeld’s nana. He has no business putting on a jersey on Sundays. Trust me, that’s the nicest way I could state that. Meanwhile, Garner has been in and out of the lineup on an ad hoc basis since 2008 (he did miss all of 2010 on I.R. with a foot injury) and it’s time to see if he will sink or swim, and can jump in as a full-time starter if his number is called in the future.
But most importantly, everyone knows Colombo will not be a Miami Dolphin next year. In fact, it’s a pretty safe bet that he will be the very first one voted off the island when the next regime takes over. Anybody who watches the game film will immediately see the huge liability we currently have playing at right tackle. Therefore, what do the Dolphins have to lose by starting Garner for the remaining three games over Colombo? Yeah, that’s right, absolutely nothing.
Shifting our focus back to Long, everyone knows he is a Pro Bowl player and one of the Dolphins’ finest. I mentioned in a previous article that he is arguably the best left tackle in the entire league. When the next head coach comes in and cleans house, he will be one of the few Dolphins who doesn’t have to worry about his job. That said, we already know his capabilities and what he brings to the table each week so there is no need to put him in the lineup at this point. If he tries to play with this back injury, it could further hurt or possibly jeopardize his health for the future. And for what?
Besides, our second year third round pick, John Jerry, desperately needs the playing time to fine tune some of his fundamentals and footwork. He has been taking snaps with the first team all week at left tackle in case Long can’t go. Jerry was a huge question mark at the start of the season and many doubted he would even make the final 53 man roster since he showed up overweight and out of shape. Let’s shine the spotlight on him and see if the big man can dance for sixty minutes.
It just boggles my mind that a reasonable and rational fan as myself can suggest such a simple idea that seems so complex to the Dolphins. It’s time for them to start using some common sense here and start looking down the road to next year. It does the Dolphins no good to continue playing Long and Colombo at this moment in time. For two completely different reasons, they should be sitting out the remaining three games of this nightmare season. As Andy Dufresne said in the great Shawshank Redemption, “either get busy living or get busy dying.” What are the Dolphins going to do?