Written by Steven Wilson | Twitter: @stevenjwilson11
This two-week stretch the Dolphins are emerged in hasn’t been easy for second-year tackle Dallas Thomas and it doesn’t get an easier. After facing the fierce Buffalo Bills pass rush last Thursday and holding his own against Mario Williams, Thomas will now need his best against Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and the Denver Broncos.
“The first thing I would tell Dallas is to have some confidence because there are a whole bunch of great clips on video,” said Miami’s Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor. “He was not perfect and we know that Mario came out with some production, but I think Dallas should have some confidence. When I watch the tape, I see him, especially in the run game, blocking more confidently all of the time.”
According to Pro Football Focus, Thomas had a negative 7.8 rating last week versus the Bills, but he did do better in the run game than some expected. The 2013 third-round Draft selection finished -5.4 in pass protection and -2.7 in run blocking.
“I know we’ve talked about Dallas a lot in here and I’ve stuck with my story, he’s an improving young player and I take the Buffalo game as an example of that,” said Lazor. “I’m proud of him and I know he’ll get better. Some of the times I think when maybe he wasn’t at his best, maybe confidence would help him, because I think he has the ability to do it.”
Thomas will need all of the ability he can muster come Sunday as the team heads to Denver.
“I think we’re in for, as a unit, a heck of a challenge with these pass rushers [this week],” Lazor continued. “I’ve had the chance to coach against them all before and there is no easy answer.”
Following an impressive second half in Buffalo, Lazor will once again call the offense in a way to confuse and frustrate the opposing defense. Against the Bills, quarterback roll-outs, play-action fakes, screens, draws and misdirection were all employed to keep the defense off balance. And to Lazor, Thomas did enough to slow down the rush in order to keep his starting spot for at least a week longer.
“To me, he took a step forward,” Lazor admitted. “I think that’s a fair way to assess it – that he proved he could be there. He proved that he’s got to do it the right way or else he’ll be taking advantage of by excellent players, and we’re about to face more. I think he’s on track, I do.”
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