Kendall Lamm is making a case for the Miami Dolphins 53

Kendall Lamm
Kendall Lamm / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Coming into the start of the 2023 Miami Dolphins training camp, one of the most common talking points was the weakness of the team’s offensive line. Fans were particularly concerned with the Left Guard and Right Tackle positions where Liam Eichenberg and Austin Jackson were the favorites to start.

The perception was clear that the Dolphins had three solid or better starters on the offensive line and that the other two starters and the reserves were all bums who had no business being on an NFL roster. Certainly not all fans felt this way, but the message boards were full of doom and gloom regarding the offensive line.

When reserves were mentioned, the focus was on Isiah Wynn, Cedric Ogbuehi, Robert Hunt and Dan Feeney as the players most likely to be contributors. Kendall Lamm was barely an afterthought. Based on what Lamm had done previously in his career, who could blame people for ignoring him. After all, in his eight-year NFL career, the 31-year-old Lamm had started only 29 games. To make matters worse, 13 of those 29 starts came in 2018 when he was a member of the Houston Texans. Lamm has only started 1 game in each of the last three seasons. Last year he played in only 1 game but did start in that game for the Dolphins.

Another Dolphins offensive lineman who was largely forgotten was Geron Christian. Christian has also been little more than a career backup. Although he did start 8 games for the Houston Texans in 2021.

Now that the 2023 training camp has started Lamm, Christian and the rest of their Dolphins teammates are getting the chance to show what they can do. The Dolphins offensive line gets the benefit or curse, depending on how you view it, of going against the loaded Dolphins defensive line every day.

As one who listens to every podcast that I can find and reads everything written about the Dolphins, I have been pleasantly surprised by the multiple reports stating that the offensive line is largely holding its own against the defense. This with Terron Armstead not taking live snaps and Isiah Wynn just starting to get live snaps.

From the information I’ve gathered, left guard Eichenberg is still struggling but is starting to do better. Training camp attendees seem to say almost nothing about starting right tackle Austin Jackson. Generally speaking, when people don’t mention an offensive lineman by name that is usually a good thing.

Geron Christian has also been seldomly mentioned. So again, I am hoping that is a good sign. A few of the other linemen have been singled out by podcasters as having a struggle or two, but pretty much nothing on either Jackson or Christian.

So far this year, after everything I’ve read or heard, I have yet to hear anything negative about Kendall Lamm. That is why I was absolutely stunned when I heard Kyle Crabbs of Locked on Dolphins talking about Kendall Lamm. Kyle Crabbs reported that Lamm was looking very good in practice. While this is hardly earth-shattering news, it got me wondering about other offensive linemen making dramatic improvements after the age of 30.

Interestingly enough, Omar Kelly of Sports Illustrated’s Fan Nation All Dolphins Newsletter wrote that in his estimation, Kendall Lamm has “been the top performer” among Dolphins reserve offensive linemen and that he assesses Lamm as the sixth best lineman on the Dolphins squad. This is putting Lamm in position to be the swing tackle for the Dolphins. As the swing tackle Lamm would be the first man up if either Terron Armstead or Austin Jackson miss any time. Based on the injury history of both players, Lamm is likely to have an important role for this year’s Dolphins.

The best example of a player I could find who dramatically improved as an NFL offensive lineman after the age of 30, was Evan Mathis. Mathis began his career in 2005 with the Carolina Panthers. During his first 6 seasons (including 7 games with the 2008 Miamai Dolphins) in the NFL Mathis started 22 games. Fifteen in 2006 for the Panthers and seven in 2009 for the Cincinnati Bengals. However, after Mathis turned 30, he would go on to start 72 games from 2011 to 2016. Mathis was named a First Team All-Pro in 2013 and was a Pro Bowl participant in 2013 and 2014. Pro Football Focus rated Mathis as the best Guard in the NFL for 2011, 2012 and 2013 and its second-best guard for 2014.

Mathis was a 3rd round pick, number 79 overall, in the 2005 draft. He played collegiately at the University of Alabama. While 3rd round picks are not guaranteed to be star players, it does appear as if Mathis had a somewhat disappointing career before he turned 30. Kendall Lamm on the other hand was an undrafted rookie free agent out of Appalachian State when he was signed by the Houston Texans.

So, as you can see, it is very possible for a journeyman offensive lineman to turn his career around. I’m not saying that Kendall Lamm will be the next Evan Mathis, but so far in this training camp, he seems to be doing his best to not only secure a roster spot but to be a significant contributor as well.  Only time will tell but based on games played, it does seem like Kendall Lamm might have quite a bit left in the tank.