Written by Matthew Cannata at 12:20 PM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
Much like the game against the Detroit Lions, the Miami Dolphins offensive line will have their hands full against the Buffalo Bills.
It takes on more significance tonight though because the Dolphins will have two guys playing out of position in Ja’Wuan James and Dallas Thomas and one guy – Shelley Smith – making an appearance again at left guard. One of the most important battles though will be Thomas lining up at right tackle to take on Mario Williams.
“I think when you play offensive tackle in the National Football League, it seems like every team you play has outstanding players on the edge,” Joe Philbin said. “It’s no different with the Buffalo Bills. They certainly do have that. Mario Williams is one of those guys. He’ll be ready, but it’s going to be a challenge. He’s an excellent player.”
Even though Thomas hasn’t played much at right tackle, Philbin is confident that Thomas will be able to hold his own against the ferocious Bills defensive line.
“One of the things we liked about him, I remember watching the tape when he came out was that he had some versatility. I remember watching his junior year film, I believe he was the left tackle his junior year of college. I watched a good bit of that. I liked the way he moved. I liked his skillset out there. Last year, he got some work at both positions. Obviously, he’s very limited in game activity. He had some in the preseason. Here this year he’s played most of his snaps at guard. I think he’s coming along and doing well. I thought he hung there and competed well the other day. You figure, hey, you are playing left guard, then the next play you are playing right tackle and you’re on the road against a pretty good defense and some pretty good players. I thought he held his own.”
Another challenge will be defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who is one of the best in the game. Dareus currently has ten sacks, which is something that impresses Philbin.
"For a defensive tackle, that’s awfully high. That’s a lot of production. He plays the run well. He’s a good football player overall. He’s hard to move because he has size and strength. He’s a good player. We are going to have to keep our eyes open, protect our gaps and not letting him penetrate into the backfield. It’ll be a full-time job blocking him.”
Mike Pouncey said that he thought the line played really well on Sunday against Detroit and they’re looking to play the same way tonight. Samson Satele said that Dareus brings a lot of intensity to the game and he’s looking forward to the challenge and more specifically, his technique.
“He brings a lot of intensity to the game. He’s a big man, strong man. I’m not big, I’m not strong. I’m the opposite of that. So I’ve just got to work on my technique. He’s leading their D-Line (defensive line) in sacks. I think he’s got seven or close to that. You know it’s going to be a challenge and every week is a challenge for us. That’s why we play, we love it.”
In the end, it comes down to execution. Philbin gave us some insight as to how the Dolphins offensive line will battle the Bills defensive line throughout the game.
“Their defensive line is outstanding. They have a very good defense overall. Certainly their D-line (defensive line) is impressive. They had an excellent showing last week against Kansas City. I think they had half-dozen sacks. It’s a group that is well-coached. They play hard. They are talented. At the end of the day, our guys will be prepared. In the NFL, you are going to have to go out and block. Whether it is a run play or pass play, the offenses don’t really work unless you have protection in the passing game, unless you can open up some holes in the running game. Our line is going to be ready. It’s a formidable challenge. These guys have a good defensive line, without a doubt.”