Offensive line woes are rearing their head, once again
By Sean Moon
The Miami Dolphins 2019 preseason has started with the first game in the books and the offensive line woes are rearing their head, once again.
I do not understand why this problem is continually overlooked. How are you supposed to evaluate any quarterback when their scrambling for their life every play. It seems every year the same thing is said. “The team plans to rotate all the lineman in different spots and come up with the best five to start the season”. Great, so no chemistry up front again.
One thing I know is for certain, a good offensive line needs to be able to finish each other’s sentences, meaning, they need to play together for a period of time so they know and learn what each other’s reaction is going to be to any given situation. Communication is one of the top things for any offensive line. The center reads and calls out adjustments and the guards and tackles all work with that pre-snap communication. If you have five guys wondering what the other is going to do, then you have already failed.
Offensive line depth is a major concern yet again, as the back up left tackle Jordan Mills last Thursday night was continuously beat and looked straight awful. The young starting rookie guards Mike Deiter and Shaq Calhoun showed they were rookies and made their fair share of mistakes as well. A very shaky start for an offensive line that I was hoping would have looked much better.
"There is a lot we don’t know, and there is a lot we have to learn and we are doing a good job of getting there but we are not there yet at all. We have a lot more to do, which is good. If we can get better and this is our starting point, then we’ve got to be happy with that, but we’ve got to get better.” – Offensive guard Michael Deiter"
Following Thursday night pre-season game head coach Brian Flores was asked about the offensive line as a whole,
Were the issues more than just having T Laremy Tunsil not be there?
"“No. At first glance you got to take a look at it, but we had two rookies in there. And their first game action in this league as you could imagine the game moves fast. I think there’s some getting used to the game speed was something that showed up just from the naked eye that I saw. I think it got better as the game went on for those guys. And then the next group came in and they had some of those same issues. I think it’s a little bit of first-game jitters, a little bit of you can’t simulate game speed, you just cannot.” – Head coach Brian Flores"
So with different eyes, you see different things and everyone is reviewing from different perspectives. I understand what head coach Brian Flores is saying and it really was the first real game, so there obviously will be growing pains. But, that does not excuse the gap in talent from starter to back up and that gap appears to be vast.
This offensive line is going to need a lot of work and if or when the starter goes down, you just hope that the backup isn’t a giant leap off a cliff in distance from the starter, which unfortunately I think it is at this point.
I gotta think the view from the quarterbacks’ eyes is a good evaluation stick and the Miami Dolphins quarterback did not disappoint with his evaluation after the game. Ryan Fitzpatrick was asked,
What were those two young guards like in the huddle?
"“We just weren’t out there for very long, so they — I didn’t notice anything, so I guess that’s a good thing, right? Yeah, there was no, nobody with tears in their eyes or shaking or asking weird questions, so so far so good, I guess.” – Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick"
I cannot put too much emphasis on this performance as it was the first preseason game of the season and there were a lot of first-time things going on there. From the head coach, rookies and offensive coordinator to the game itself and a lot of players together for the first time in a game situation. So, of course, things will hopefully improve.
A few days later following the game head coach Brian Flores was asked about the offensive line,
You had mentioned after the game that you needed to take a closer look at it on film to get an idea of how they performed. Now after seeing the film, what did you see?
"“Yeah, I think the two young guys inside – I think the speed of the game – we talked about it after the game is that it’s new to them. As much as you can talk about it, there’s no way to simulate that. You have to feel it, you have to go through it, you have to experience it. I think both guys did, and I think both guys settled down as the game went on, so I think that was positive. In the second half, we had some miscues on the o-line. I think a couple of guys could’ve played better. I think as a unit, they could have played better really in both halves”– Head Coach Brian Flores"
So, here we sit again with the unfortunate possible doom of a patchwork offensive line and a huge question mark at the beginning of the season. Can this Miami Dolphins team get it right up front on offense or do we get to see how good the legs and bones of all the quarterbacks on this team are?