The Miami Dolphins offensive line has looked anything but the line that played in the first eight games of the season. Are they great? No. But they are not actually bad either. Sure Ryan Tannehill still leads the league in sacks but the improvement over the last few weeks, since Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito’s absence has been much better.
The play of Nate Garner has been very solid, both at guard and for two weeks at center in relief of Mike Pouncey. The question marks lie on the tackle positions where Tyson Clabo and Bryant McKinnie are holding the edge. Clabo has actually stepped up his game and looks nothing like his early season self. While the Dolphins offensive line is improved no one expects many of these players to be here when the clock rolls over to 2014 NFL time.
Of all the players that are lining up however, rookie Sam Brenner should be one of them.
I really like this kid and to be honest it’s the first time that I have really watched a specific lineman play. Oh I’ve paid attention but never really watched. Brenner’s foot work is very good for a young rookie who came off the practice squad only a few short weeks ago. He has had a couple of mental errors but for the most part he is giving the running backs lanes and holding his own against opposing pass rushers. Not just any pass rushers either. Brenner has played against the New York Jets vaunted front and one of the best in the league in Carolina.
Brenner’s ability to play this early in his career is something that should give the coaching staff and Jeff Ireland some hope. If Brenner can continue this level of play, the Dolphins will have one less spot to fill on the Oline come the league new year. Brenner thus far has played both guard positions and is actually listed as a center. This past weekend against the Jets, Brenner went back to the bench as Mike Pouncey went down with injury but returned when John Jerry left the game.
Brenner leapfrogged Thomas to the starting gig for two weeks and on Sunday when John Jerry wen’t down, Brenner was called into the game despite Thomas being active. He just seems to get it. He is learning the line assignments and frankly the speed that he is picking them up is impressive.
I still can’t believe this was a guy who three games ago was on the practice squad and a late call up to start two days before his first game.