Are The Miami Dolphins Done With The Oline?


The 2015 season doesn’t start until the end of July when the Miami Dolphins take the field for training camp. Those hot sticky and often rainy practices that make pro-bowl men wither in the South Florida heat. Yeah…good times…for fans.

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Training camp is still months away, that’s month with an “s”, as in more than one. What I’m trying to say is that there is plenty of time between now and the end of July to fix the offensive line. The question is will they?

The Dolphins seemed content to let top draft prospects go elsewhere in round two of the draft but they selected a player who could be better than any lineman they would have drafted. That however doesn’t solve the problem at guard and the drafting of Jamil Douglas in round four doesn’t solve it either. The reality is the Dolphins have a problem at guard and they don’t seem to interested in getting it solved.

There are two trains of thought here. One they actually believe that there is no problem along the offensive line. They are very high on Billy Turner and are at least publicly still high on Dallas Thomas. They still watch the same game film as we do so we have to imagine the trust in Thomas is exactly that…public.

Center is not a big problem for the team now. Mike Pouncey is healthy and has a new deal and back-up Sam Brenner has improved in the last two years.

Tackle isn’t a huge problem outside of Branden Alberts health status. If Albert can’t go opening day, the job will likely fall on the shoulders of Jason Fox or another switch for Ja’wuan James. The team also has back-up options in Jeff Linkenbach, J.D. Walton, and Jacques McClendon. None of which, for now, make you want to hang a few games on their shoulders.

Let’s forget about Albert for a moment and say that one of the three other offensive lineman can do the job for a few weeks if need be. The real problem for the Dolphins is at guard.

Dallas Thomas is horrible. There is no other way to put it. He has so much work to do that the Dolphins can’t enter the season with him starting. Billy Turner spent much of 2014 hurt but he has a lot of potential but let’s remember this is a 3rd round pick and played for a smaller college. North Dakota State University. The school may not be a big factor in his growth to the NFL but he didn’t play last season and when he was healthy, it was Thomas who got the nod. They can say all they want but the reality is Turner wasn’t ready last year. So why do they think this year will be his year?

I wish that were it but Turner and Thomas are the front-running competition for the right side guard position. How about the left? The above mentioned trio of 2015 additions through free agency will surely fight it out but Walton has played guard and he was just o.k. and inconsistent. The other two? Meh.

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Who remains? Mark Asper and rookie Jamil Douglas. Douglas very well may develop into the teams future left guard but is he ready now? No. Sorry he isn’t. If he does well it will be a surprise.

Miami must fix the two guard positions or at the very least the left guard spot. If they can’t protect Tannehill the team isn’t going to score points. If they can’t run block the team isn’t going to move the ball down the field. The Dolphins offense for all of it’s talent will be no better than it was last year. Pretty good but not good enough.

This is not to say that the draft was the end-all options, it wasn’t. It may not have fell the way they thought it would but there are still options including the aforementioned Evan Mathis earlier today and some other options via free agency, especially when camps roll around and veterans get released. Last year the Dolphins plucked Samson Satele off the streets and he did well for most of the season.

The biggest point is that the team can’t be done yet. Not yet. Not with this group. They need someone who can make a difference. Maybe Douglas is that guy but it’s an awful lot to risk your entire season on. Especially a season that will see a brutal nine game stretch to end the season.

They are getting closer but they are still not close enough.

UPDATE: The Dolphins reportedly added four additional offensive lineman as undrafted free agents. OL Aundrey Walker, USC,  OT Mickey Baucus, Arizona,OL Michael Liedtke, Illinois State, and G Dionte Savage, Oklahoma.