Written by: Steven Wilson | Twitter: @stevenjwilson11
When left tackle Branden Albert tore his ACL against the Detroit Lions, many onlookers thought the Dolphins offensive line would suffer. Instead, second-year pro Dallas Thomas stepped up admirably against one of the top defensive lines in the NFL − the Buffalo Bills.
“I liked him in the run game,” Head Coach Joe Philbin stated after defeating their AFC-East rivals 22-9 on Thursday night. “I thought he did some really good things in the run game. I’m impressed with what he did there. There were some good things in pass protection. There were a couple of plays that need improvement in pass protection, sure.”
Thomas moved to his natural position of right tackle, while Ju’Wuan James slid over to left tackle to replace Albert. The rookie has been impressive this season and now he will be responsible for covering Tannehill’s blindside.
“I think one of the things that’s interesting last week, we really weren’t able to, because of the physical demands, practice full speed a lot,” admitted Philbin. “So I’m anticipating a full week of normal, quote normal week of preparation, might help [James] get ready for the game, because again, it is a little bit different just from a sheer repetition standpoint, how many times he’s pass set out of that stance, cut off to the right and all that. There were some good things, but I expect him to play better next week.”
Miami Quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for two scores against the Bills defense in the second half despite five sacks. His late touchdown passes to Brandon Gibson and to Jarvis Landry led a 19-0 comeback en route to victory. Tannehill finished 26-for-34 for 240 yards, while Lamar Miller rushed for 86 yards.
“I thought our run game − I liked how they blocked in the running game and I thought our backs ran hard,” Philbin continued. “I thought we had decent production there. It’s hard to say we had great protection when you get sacked five times. There’s definitely room for development there. I didn’t think it was terrible, even though the numbers suggest it wasn’t good, but certainly it has to get better.”
The third-year head coach sees the improvement despite devastating injuries, such as the one Albert suffered. Yet, he still knows there is room for improvement.
“Again, I thought overall they were competitive,” concluded Philbin. “I thought they did a relatively good job. There were some positives, but we’re certainly not at the stage to say, again, if we make any changes, we’ll let you know. I thought overall they did a good job.”