“I’m Polynesian. We Don’t Stay Hurt,” –Paul Soliai, prior to the Saints Game
The evidence is astounding. Listed by the team at 6’4″ and 340 pounds, his impact is immeasurably bigger than his massive frame. Consider that the man was on crutches less than two weeks ago. Without even watching Monday nights debacle against the Saints, looking at the stat sheet you can see the impact that Soliai’s return had on the run defense. With Soliai out, Atlanta rushed 30 times for 145 yards, averaging nearly 5 yards per carry. Against the Saints? The Fins held the Saints to 24 carries for 68 yards, averaging 2.8 yards per carry and forcing the Saints to abandon the running game when attempting to run out the clock.
You may not see Soliai’s impact on the stat sheet under his name, as he showed up with only one tackle, but that impact was enormous. The one tackle that Soliai had? He blew through the right guard and delivered a massive “SoliSlam” to RB Khiry Robinson, lifting him up for a massive body to body suplex. Teaming with Odrick and Starks, as well as being spelled by a few younger players, the middle of the line was rendered impassable, and was a huge part of why the Saints were forced to throw the ball even with a substantial lead.
Soliai and Starks are both set to become free agents this offseason, and with Brent Grimes and Richie Incognito MUST be the primary focus of the Dolphins offseason. Preferably, Miami will attempt to extend most or all of these players before they are even reach free agency, allowing Ireland to focus cap space and the draft on enhancing or improving other existing positions such as the right tackle position. Personally, this writer would love to see all four of these players finish out their careers in Aqua and Orange.