The Miami Dolphins have a hole on the right side of the line. It extends from center Mike Pouncey to the TE position. Eric Winston is getting long in the tooth but still has a year or two left before he is relegated to the bench. Some might say he has half a cheek there already.
The Miami Dolphins have another hole. This one is the face of public opinion. The locker room is viewed as a total misguided joke, at least along the offensive line. No amount of change this early one will erase the memory of Richie Incognito, John Jerry, and Jonathan Martin. No public firing of Kevin O’Neill or Jim Turner will erase the embarrassment the team suffered through in 2013.
While none of the main participants will be back sans Mike Pouncey the Dolphins will still endure ridicule and/or questions about their locker room. It’s not right but it’s a reality. Sad but very true. Do you honestly think that a telecast this year will not mention last years turmoil? Do you think the folks over at ESPN will not address the line issues or locker room during their draft coverage? Do you think the opening season weekend won’t come with a breakdown debate on how Joe Philbin let it happen and then wonder out loud if it continues?
Stephen Ross wanted a “council” to oversee the implementing changes being put in place. That never materialized. Eric Winston however could put a positive spin on a team looking to dust off. Winston has been voted the new NFLPA President and will serve the entire league. His involvement will stretch to locker room conduct where the NFL is said to be working with the players union to change the locker room atmosphere.
Kill two birds with one stone.
Winston can still play and having him in Miami would fill a need on the right side allowing Dennis Hickey to draft BPA in round one and then get a solid prospect in rounds two or three without having the “need” he does now. Winston isn’t the same player he was in the past. His best years were in Houston where then Oline coach Jon Benton was his coach. Benton is now the Oline coach in Miami.
The Dolphins need to win and Winston can help them do that. He can also displace some of the outside opinion of a locker room that is nowhere near as dysfunctional as the outside wants you to believe.