Miami Dolphins Training Camp Day 6: OL


The sixth day of Miami Dolphins training camp had its share of ups and downs. The offensive line was no different in this regard as they enjoyed some success early, but have to deal with injury and consistency issues.

Both Branden Albert and Dallas Thomas did not participate in workouts today. For Albert, this can be seen as a regression or simply just a precaution. It very well could be the coaching staff doesn’t want to overwork the left tackle and gave him a day to not test anything.

For Thomas, who suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder before being drafted, the reported shoulder injury is very concerning. If the injury is to his right shoulder, it could speak to a possible chronic issue. If it’s his left shoulder, while less concerning, it very well could impair his abilities even when he’s recovered.

Without Thomas, the coaching staff changed up the guard battles. Jamil Douglas and Jeff Linkenbach split duties at left guard while Billy Turner and Sam Brenner handled the right side.

That’s right, Linkenbach wasn’t on offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s top three guards list yesterday, but now is splitting first team reps with Douglas. Confidence is shaken all around.

Meanwhile, Turner did not have a good day. Some players, like Mike Pouncey and Jason Fox, did. Some had their ups and downs like Ja’Wuan James and J.D. Walton. But Turner was just not on point.

Turner’s struggles resemble the struggles of the entire offensive line. The pass protection has been noted as awful and that continued today. However, the offensive line did work on run blocking to a greater extent, and therein lies the good news.

Run blocking wasn’t an issue last season. Lamar Miller got over 1,000 yards rushing and that doesn’t happen without good offensive line play. So noting that the line is decent at it should really taken as something the fans should expect. Being terrible at run blocking and pass protection would send up flares right away.

The beat writers keep mentioning just how bad the line is because, well, it’s been a problem for a long time. And when the team has a quarterback that they define as franchise caliber, they should do whatever they can to protect that player.

Ryan Tannehill has problems getting the ball out of his hands sometimes, but all too often the ball gets snapped and Tannehill has to run for his life immediately. The line has yet to show any sign that won’t be the case thus far.

I doubt the coaching staff is seeing the progress they’d like to. True, it’s only day six and the first preseason game is just over a week away. But with an injury to the one guard they had confidence in, as well as Turner and Douglas getting victimized and likely losing confidence quickly doesn’t help build any assurance.

One has to wonder how long does this pass protection issue can linger before the braintrust of the Miami Dolphins looks elsewhere for help. They have the cap space to give the people’s choice of Evan Mathis what he wants.

However, if the coaching staff wants to save money then the question arises, what can be done with the current players to make the pass protection better? Confidence won’t be rising when Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake, Earl Mitchell, and Olivier Vernon are your competition.

Head coach Joe Philbin and his staff must figure out the pass protection problems. Time is still on his side, but the longer these issues persist the more fans and experts alike will realize these troubles cannot be fixed from within.