There have been a few things being reported to keep abreast of for this line and what to expect moving forward.
These reports cover the anchor of the line, past concerns for his health. And also some questionable grading over the line as a whole.
Mike Pouncey is looking to be on schedule to start the first game of the season. And has been rehabbing with the team while also sitting in on team meetings. Anthony Steen has been training at center and both guard spots evenly in order to be ready to fill in. Steen had filled in at center early last season admirably before the injury bug had gotten to him as well. All this was covered by ESPN’s James Walker.
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Staying on the health concerns of Pouncy, he appears to also have an inner thigh infection.
It was about a month ago the Miami Dolphins had looked into the availability of former Jets stalwart center Nick Mangold who is coming off ankle surgery himself. But the Dolphins are now leaning toward having Kraig Urbik, Ted Larsen, and Anthony Steen as the backups with Urbik likely to get the nod because Steen had taken too long to make calls at times last season. This was all covered by the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.
As for Mangold he might be heading to the Ravens who could be able to eek out a little more money and the starting position both of which he reportedly wants to have according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.
So evidently the Miami Dolphins plan B for center Mike Pouncey should he not be ready to play during the regular season will be handled in-house. And everyone will just have to learn to accept it, keep calm and carry on.
I have no doubt that Pouncy can still play at high levels when healthy. Will he stay healthy? Who knows. But sports science is advancing and he has had high-tech treatments abroad.
That same doubt drops a little for the tackles to play at high levels. And it further plunges filling in the gaps at guard but we just have to trust the process. There are capable backups in Isaac Asiata, Anthony Steen, Kraig Urbik and Sam Young who himself can cover the tackle spot.
Jermon Bushrod is seen as a guard now but let’s not forget he has always played tackle so some mix and match could arise if needed due to injuries during the season.
The questionable grading comes from Pro Football Focus. Yeah I know, but they have had positive gradings also. So they shouldn’t just be overlooked entirely. And I will try not to lash out at this report too much.
They ranked all offensive lines in the NFL and the Miami Dolphins come in at 26th. The report was compiled by PFF’s Michael Renner.
But what about them? The whole AFC east is ranked higher than the Miami Dolphins. And the other teams are as follows in order.
They come in first in the division at tenth with the following write-up.
"“After the right tackle position in Buffalo had been a wasteland the past few seasons, they addressed it in a big way in Temple tackle Dion Dawkins in the second round of the draft this past April. Every other position along the line was solid a season ago, so the rookie right tackle will likely make or break this line’s ranking.”"
This is somewhat surprising them being so high and just after the Cowboys at ninth. But they have had good running and Tyrod Taylor has done well so there might be something to this.
New England Patriots
Next up is the Pats at nineteenth and the following
"“This ranking is purely a quirk of the system we used to compile it. Since they were compiled off two-year sample, players like right guard Shaq Mason and right tackle Marcus Cannon — who both drastically improved a season ago — get underrated. Realistically, this is the same line that finished last year ranked 10th and should only keep improving.”"
Once again special provisions are made for them as they have used street players on the line for the most part. And it must be hard to grade the line with Brady getting passes off so quickly due to the scheme they tend to use.
New York Jets
The Jets are at the next spot with twentieth and PFF states.
"“The Jets rank this highly solely due to the fact that each player along the line has proven as least competent. This is the ranking for not having any “holes” along the line. That being said, there’s little reason to get too excited that this line will improve drastically as all starters will be 26 or older by the time Week 1 rolls around.”"
What could be said about the Jets could also be used on the Miami Dolphins. Yet they are graded out six spots higher. Also while still early Laremy Tunsil is projected into the stratosphere at LT.
How the Bills graded so highly and the Jets with better separation to the Dolphins is somewhat puzzling. Also odd is the mention of Anthony Steen being projected to be the starting left guard when all other beat writers have him as backup center mainly or guard as noted above with James Walker’s report.
A lot of pundits point to the last super bowl to make a point on how to rank the offensive line. I can also do the same playing the devils advocate by stating over half of all the ten players from both teams were 3rd rounders or higher. And I must reiterate about drawing comparisons to the Patriots it’s just something that should not be done.
Speaking on the Patriots PFF gave them a pass on their own standards of grading by using the last two seasons. While the Pats have used undrafted free agents on their line and gave them the nineteenth spot grade. Miami Dolphins would have to start winning some playoff games to get the same kind of treatment.
The parity of the NFL may not be evident at the championship level as of late. But there is still turn over of teams that contend for the playoffs with some thanks due to the wildcard. But then those same teams can turn around the very next season only to fall flat on their faces. How much the following seasons strength of schedule plays a part is up for debate.