The NFL 2012 Season is right around the corner and I’m starting to get that feeling you got the week before Christmas when you were little kid. There are so many things to look forward to in the new season with the Miami Dolphins making so many off season changes. Hew Head Coach Joe Philbin’s first year, new Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman’s new West Coast Offense, and Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle’s new scheme. There’s also the new rookies and the first round pick Ryan Tannehill that everyone has there eye on, who is apparently not even in the race for starting. Don’t forget Chad Johnson’s garuntee of a comeback season and a monster year.
There’s a lot of players that the media has there eye on as well as the fans. Reggie Bush MUST have another great season going into his contract year, to lead this team and prove that he is capable of being an every down back and lat year wasn’t a fluke. Daniel Thomas has to prove he can really play in the NFL after a lack luster rookie season. Cameron Wake has to prove he’s the Sack Monster they are paying him to be and that Karlos Dansby is the “Best” linebacker in the NFL like he bolstered last season. But there’s one very important key to the success of this team, actually any team, the Offensive Line.
Last year the O-line was horrible and that’s being nice about it because I can’t say what I really think and keep writing for this site. Former starting Right Tackle Mark Colombo thankfully retired after a season of being nothing more then a speed bump and the Right Guard position wasn’t any better with John Jerry. Mike Pouncey did a great job for a rookie but needs to step up his game in his sophomore season. Richie Incognito did a better job of controlling his temper and had a pretty good season. Unfortunately the anchor of the O-line Jake Long had possibly his worse season ever, giving up more sacks then ever before, missing games to injury and even missing some blocking assignments, which is extremely uncharacteristic for him. Even with all this Bush managed to rush for over a 1000 yards and and QB Matt Moore still managed to have a pretty good season. So imagine what they can accomplish with a strong, healthy and blocking line in front of them.
The addition of 2nd round pick Jonathan Martin at Right Tacke should be a great help in getting the O-line back on track. His work last year protecting Andrew Luck’s Blind Side in a Pro-style offense proved that he’s ready to play at this level. He has to move from left to right but shouldn’t have to much trouble with the transition and will keep Long on his toes knowing that there’s another natural Left Tackle on the roster. His presence can only benefit the team even is he’s not as good as we think he is, he creates and actual competition at the Tackle position which can only be a good thing.
The biggest change for the line is the new West Coast offense that changes the blocking to zone blocking which is something Miami’s linemen are not used to. Even though most of the line is athletic enough to figure it out and get it done, the guard positions are probably going to have the hardest time. Incognito is built for power and not so much for speed, and the same can be said for .John Jerry. The good thing is that they will be double teaming alot more and focusing on the point of attack which can put a lot of power into one area. Along with CFL Standout Jerome Messam running at Fullback at 6’4 250lbs leading the way for Bush, Thomas and rookie Lamar Miller.
Miami has some high expectations for themselves this season and the fans have even higher expectations for their team that has only been to the playoffs once in the last ten years. The fans are ready for a winning season to compete with the NBA Champions The Miami Heat. The key to their success lies in the O-line no matter how you look at it. Opening the holes for running back and giving the QB time to get the ball out and keeping the Offense on the field and the Defense off the field as much as possible, which has not been happening in the last few years. The O-line must excel for a successful season and lead the way to the playoffs.