Anthony Steen has never played a snap in a regular season game. Not at guard. He has never taken a single snap at center either. Not in high-school. Not in college. And not in the NFL. He can’t say that now.
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Following the injury to Miami Dolphins pro-bowl center Mike Pouncey, Steen was approached by coaches and asked to switch to center. He thought they were joking. Literally. They were not.
Steen made his NFL debut on Thursday night in Orlando against the Atlanta Falcons and he did well. Much better than anyone should have expected from a player who has as little NFL experience as Sheen does.
Yes, there was a botched snap that almost gave Atlanta the ball but overall, Steens performance and his ability to call out the line blocking assignments was a success. At the very least, it was enough to allow the team hope that Miami won’t completely fall apart in week one should Pouncey not be back.
To be realistic, this was a pre-season game. Nothing that happened Thursday night transcends into the standings of the regular season but valuable experience was had by a member of the Dolphins offensive line that desperately needed it.
Overall the Dolphins lineman protected well. There is still a lot of work to do in the Dolphins running game. Last nights total were not impressive but pass protection was head and shoulders above the last two games and for the first time this exhibition season, the Dolphins looked like they had taken a step forward.
For Steen there is still a lot of work to do and it appears that he will give the team more than just a back-up center. Steen has playing well at guard as well where Jermon Bushrod started on Thursday and did well also.
The Dolphins still have a lot of work to do before the start of the season but at least Steen has his feet wet at a new position. Steen’s first game was good. Not great. But another solid outing in the 4th pre-season game and a solid outing against the Seahawks could give the Dolphins another option they didn’t think they had.
Mike Pouncey could move back to guard.
It doesn’t sound ideal on the surface but Pouncey is a natural guard and the last time he missed significant time the Dolphins brought in Samson Satele who stuck at center the entire season while Pouncey manned the right guard position when he returned. And he still made the Pro-Bowl.
So think of what Steen’s success could give the team? Ja’Wuan James, Mike Pouncey on his right and Laremy Tunsil and Branden Albert on his left. Sounds a lot better than Dallas Thomas or Billy Turner in the guard spot.
Of course it doesn’t really matter if Steen doesn’t continue to progress upwards. Was Thursday simply luck or did he show enough to think this might be a solution? Time will most assuredly tell, and unfortunately, the Dolphins have very little of it before the start of the season.
Regardless, Steen’s efforts on Thursday were noticeable. And in a good way.