Miami Dolphins Training Camp Day 5: OL


After having a day off yesterday, the Miami Dolphins resumed training camp and for the offensive line that meant a chance to redeem themselves.

Since the pads have come on the defensive line has dominated the offensive line whether it’s the starters or backups. No one has been safe from the defensive front four’s wrath.

Some headway was made by the offensive line today, but not the kind the fans or coaches will appreciate.

The backups are improving, but the starters aren’t. With that said,  defensive end Terrence Fede has been making the backups look foolish at times. So take the improvement comments with a grain of salt.

Perhaps the biggest story of the day comes from comments Vice President Mike Tannenbaum made on the Joe Rose Show about the offensive line.

At first, one would think Tannenbaum meant that in a bad way and Thomas was willing to show that earlier today.

But then Thomas galvanized Tannenbaum’s comments.

Well, that’s more like it. Earl Mitchell is one of the starting defensive tackles and if Thomas can hold his own against him than there’s only one other guy to attempt to block.

It must be very trying and humbling to learn this way. By learning the how to be a starting guard in the NFL against Ndamukong Suh, Thomas and Douglas have to learn by failing. And not just failing once or twice, failing repeatedly.

It appears that Thomas and Billy Turner are ahead of their position battles as they began today’s drills and practices as the first teamers. They were on the first team for the better part of the first four days as well. But offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said three players were in the lead for the guard positions.

The coaching staff tried some different things today too. Sam Brenner worked as the second center, to some confusion as J.D. Walton was doing fine there last week, and Jeff Linkenbach got some left guard work as observed by Omar Kelly.

Giving Brenner some work at center isn’t all that confusing, he’s been put in a lot of different positions so far in camp. Adding Linkenbach to the left guard race may mean something else could be happening.

Here’s your first option. Jason Fox hasn’t been bad in this still young camp. If Branden Albert is healthy in a few weeks, what’s to be done with Fox? If he’s clearly a better option than Thomas or Turner, one of the guard positions will suit him just fine.

And speaking of Albert, his status remains the same. Gradual progress, but still mired with a limp.

The other option at guard is one practically everyone around the Miami Dolphins has been demanding for some time. Evan Mathis is now being openly discussed.

This is to be expected. The Dolphins want to see the young guys in action and evaluate them before making an expensive decision in Mathis. However, this is the first time the Miami front office has really given credence to signing the former Philadelphia Eagle.

Now the discussion can really begin. How long of a leash do the young guards have? How much are the Dolphins willing to spend on Mathis? When should the Miami front office strike to get the veteran guard? Now? Or wait until the young guards have proven they can’t hack it? Should they be concerned with other teams interested?

Remember, Mathis will be costly. He’s so expensive he scared away the Jets.