When it comes to the Miami Dolphins offensive line woes of the past few years, it would be an understatement to say that the team lacked a starting front five with any sort of cohesiveness. And head coach Adam Gase is well aware of that. When asked how the starting lineup was coming along, he was typically succinct with his answer.
“It's probably written more in pencil than pen right now.”
But other than one guard spot, the line is coming together, with Laremy Tunsil, Josh Sitton, Daniel Kilgore, and Ja’Wuan James expected to be manning four of the five offensive line positions throughout the season. The team liked what they saw from second-year pro Jesse Davis last year, and he’s the front runner to fill that fifth spot.
Add in a lot of good depth, and the offensive line may finally not be the worry it’s been in seasons past. Jake Brendel, Ted Larsen, and Sam Young all have starting experience and versatility to fill in where and when needed. Gase seems pretty happy with the players he has, and can already see some cohesiveness among the group.
“We'll keep taking it one day at a time and see how everything goes,” says Gase. “I don't want to jump the gun and say, 'Here's what it is locked in stone.' … We did make an emphasis (to) make sure we firm up inside and help the center, and get those guards and the center working together well and letting those two guys work on the edges. We'll just kind of see how everything plays out."
Gase is especially happy with the addition of Sitton, who has extensive experience and a Super Bowl ring from his time with the Green Bay Packers.
“In the amount of time that he's been here, you can see that he's a veteran player that has the type of swagger you'd want from an offensive lineman,” Gase said about Sitton. “He's got something about him that's probably different than a lot of guys I've been around. He's very confident, very knowledgeable. He helps those other guys. It's really a great thing to see how he works, him and Laremy (Tunsil), and how they talk through things and the amount of time they spend with each other. Then when we get on the field, you see the way he moves. He's a big man that moves really well. He knows exactly what the defense is trying to do and he knows how to react to it.”
It speaks volumes to hear the two new additions to the group, Kilgore and Sitton, talk about their new team.
"It's a special group,” says Kilgore, who was acquired via trade this spring. “Coming in, I knew right away just by the makeup of the room that you got a bunch of really good guys led by two really good coaches that care about their players ... I knew right away that this could be a really good group. Getting to know them on and off the field, we've got some players who've played a lot of ball, and we've got some young guys who are able to step up and play. There's obviously a lot to learn early in OTAs, but we're in a good situation right now."
Sitton concurs, adding, "It is early but I know that we've got a talented group of guys. (We have) two first round tackles, and some pretty good players on the inside. It's only our second practice, so it's kind of hard to tell everybody's strengths and weaknesses but I think that we've got a group of guys that can compete. I think we're going to be pretty good. We've got a couple of guys that have played that are backing up right now and you can't put a price on that experience.”
It should also be heartening to Dolphins fans to hear Sitton talk about why he decided to come to Miami, when he had interest from several other NFL teams.
"A lot of the decision had to do with 'Coach Wash' (Offensive Line Coach Jeremiah Washburn) and (Offensive Coordinator) Dowell (Loggains), and being familiar with those guys and being familiar with the system. I loved how they coached in Chicago and when I came here and met Coach Gase, I kind of had a feeling that I was going to end up signing pretty quickly. I knew I liked him right away.
“Honestly, I look back at the season they had two years ago. I forgot how many games they won in a row, but I think they won nine out of 10 or something like that. You can see the foundation of a good football team here.
“I want to win. I wanted to be in a place that I could win and I think we can."
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball
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