Fixing The Offensive Line

After giving up at least four sacks for the fourth straight game last Monday night, the Miami Dolphins offensive line had a massive chip on their shoulders headed into yesterday’s game against the defending Super Bowl champions; the Baltimore Ravens. For the Dolphins, keeping Tannehill upright against the Ravens was one of the keys to victory. With the offensive line on pace for a record amount of sacks allowed, a good performance yesterday would have been huge as it would’ve boosted their confidence right before the bye week. Unfortunately, the line continued its tragic season allowing the Ravens to get to Ryan Tannehill six times.

In an attempt to either tie the game or take the lead in the final drive of the game, the offensive line gave up a huge sack with just 59 seconds remaining. Elvis Dumervil’s sack on second down really put Tannehill and the offense in a huge hole. It was a hole that they were unable to get out of, forcing rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis to kick a 57 yard field goal to tie the game. Although Sturgis definitely has the leg to make it, the kick was blocked and the Dolphins lost the game.

With another poor performance, it is becoming more obvious that the Dolphins must do something to fix their offensive line problems. But how can they change it and who can they move? Unfortunately for Miami, they don’t have too many options at this point of the season.

One move they can possible make is cutting Tyson Clabo. Throughout the season Clabo has arguably been the worst offensive lineman on this team. Earlier in September, Clabo said that “the worst feeling in the world is giving up a sack.” Well, Clabo must be feeling pretty sick right now, because he is just giving the defenders sacks. Clabo’s contract guarantees him $1.5 million. I think it is time to just cut their losses, because he is clearly not what the Dolphins thought he was.

So who would replace Clabo? Well, they can move Jonathan Martin back to where he started in the NFL, the right side of the line. But that means there will be a hole at the left side. Although there aren’t a ton of impact free agents they can bring in, Jared Gaither really stands out to me. Gaither is still young (27 years old) and has a tremendous amount of talent. In his five and a half seasons starting in the NFL, Gaither has only given up 13.5 sacks. Not only does he rarely give up sacks, but he is also rarely penalized. In his last two full seasons as a starter, Gaither was only penalized a total of 5 times for 40 yards.

So why is it that a player with so much potential is currently a free agent? Well, after suffering a mysterious back injury a few years ago, Gaither was very slow to return, earning himself the nickname “The Big Lazy”. Even though Gaither’s work ethic wasn’t the best, giving him a shot could be a good idea. Since he is labeled as “lazy” no team is going to give him a big contract. Gaither also played just five games last season so chances are he is pretty fresh. Bringing in Gaither on a non-guaranteed contract could end up being a pretty good move. After being out of the league you would have to think that Gaither is willing to make sacrifices in order to play again.

No matter what happens with the Dolphins offensive line, something has to change and it has to happen soon. If nothing is done to this line, it could be a long season for Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins.

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