Miami Dolphins need to build the offensive line until it is stable

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 24: Quarterback Jay Cutler
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 24: Quarterback Jay Cutler /

Keep doing it until it gets righted, like a finely tuned ship for smooth sailing.

A faction has the same methodology toward hunting for and keeping an elite quarterback. However they should face the fact that there are only about a handful of these types in the league that can perform on that level for more than a season or two.

Not that the Miami Dolphins should give up on hitting the QB jackpot. We have seen teams hit on a few this season but the real test comes if and when those QB’s are still playing at the same level in the coming seasons.

Some of those jackpot QB’s can be had later in the draft as we saw with Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes II taken ahead of Deshaun Watson. Although the jury is still out on the first two Watson certainly took off flying.

And it doesn’t have to be first round. Russell Wilson was taken 3rd round, Drew Brees 2nd round, Tom Brady in round six. Interestingly enough Joe Theismann was taken by the Miami Dolphins in the fourth round but contract negotiations stalled placing him in the CFL. Here is a list of 15 Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks who weren’t first-round draft picks.

Building a stable offensive line has added bonuses. It allows for QB’s who are not elite (most of the league) a chance to better acclimate themselves into the NFL while playing less hindered and with it a better chance to get to the next level. An added benefit is better play from running backs which in turn also helps the QB in the same circumstance already stated.

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Dak Prescott could be an example of this. When he took over for Tony Romo he had a good line in place which helps the running game and allowed him to settle in. He looks to be sliding the second season with nine more interceptions and his ratings dropping (handful QB elite) but we will see.

Now I’m not suggesting that the Miami Dolphins should be drafting linemen in the first rounds of every draft or use vast amounts of picks on them or target the highest paid FA. But some leeway here would go a long ways. Like when linemen rated to go first round falls into the second (Forrest Lamp) or the price of a top rated FA becomes more reasonable.

One more example: the team that did draft Forrest Lamp was the Los Angeles Chargers. Although Lamp was out the whole season with a torn ACL they had also doubled down and selected Dan Feeney the next round who played in fifteen games starting nine of those. They finished the season 9 – 7 the same as the Titans but missed the playoffs. Sure cause is not correlation. But hey it happened right?

This O-line for the Miami Dolphins has many moving parts including a new coach after the last one was jettisoned for being a cokehead. So it would appear that more attention should be paid to it right? Wrong! That’s why I’m writing this somewhat ranting piece. If history is any indication the same scenario will continue. Which is drafting linemen too low for any benefit or not paying up for proficiency in free agency.

Some of those players of interest are Luke Joeckel, Shawn Lauvao and Andre Smith in free agency whose price will be too tall, so it’s a waiting game to see who might get cut and come at a more reasonable price. On the draft side there is Quenton Nelson at the top of the heap. Could he slide out of the first round like Lamp did? The Miami Dolphins position in this draft wouldn’t be as far of a reach to move up. Other linemen of note are Connor Williams, Mike McGlinchey, and Orlando Brown all of whom might also slide because the draft is always a crap shoot.

Could the Miami Dolphins make do with what they have? That is a possibility although a long shot at having a concise unit. But I wouldn’t put it past them in a cost cutting measure as they have shown in the past when it come to building the line.

There are some good pieces to work with. Ted Larsen was brought in by Gase as was Jermon Bushrod whom he might be replacing on the right side with a swap and Jesse Davis going over to the left side. Davis has shown some promise and has the versatility to possibly replace Ja’Wuan James if negotiations don’t pan out in favor of the Miami Dolphins. Laremy Tunsil’s promise has waned but is looked at as a first year player from switching positions.

Center Mike Pouncey played his highest percentage of offensive snaps going back to 2012. And made a nice comeback from his hip injury with a revised training and practice routine. Coach Gase speaks highly of his play last season. I looked at Kenyan Drake’s highlights for runs and did see holes opened for him and Pouncey blocking downfield for him on some occasions.

Can he hold up moving ahead? Will the many moving parts get fitted right? These are the questions that will have to pan out this off-season.