Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
Throughout the 2013 season, the Miami Dolphins offensive line was filled with controversy, drama and of course, the inability to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill, giving up a franchise record 58 sacks. That’s why it was no surprise to see general manager Dennis Hickey let just about everyone walk, with the exception of Mike Pouncey. Now, in 2014, with the line anchored on either side by Branden Albert and rookie Ja’Wuan James, their offensive line is quickly becoming one of the more dominant lines in the NFL. However, Joe Philbin wants to see more from them as we move forward through the rest of the season.
“I think they are smart guys. I think they are tough. I think they are passionate about football. That’s what I really like the most about them. But you always want to see more. You ways want to see improvement,” Philbin said. “You want to see development. This group that we have out there that we’ve had out there the last two weeks has been together two weeks. There’s certainly some positive things. It’s funny, I think I said this to you guys and I believe it, if you look at the stat sheet we did have four sacks. That’s not acceptable. That’s too many. Yet at the same point in time a lot of the pass attempts are as clean of a pocket as we’ve had all year. There’s certainly a lot of room for development and that’s why we practice. That’s why we want it to translate to the game.”
Two surprises that almost happened by accident was the signing of guard Daryn Colledge and center Samson Satele. Colledge was signed after the news about Pouncey came down that he would miss several games. He competed throughout camp and locked down the starting spot. Satele was signed after the Dolphins couldn’t find an adequate center on the roster and has improved every day he’s been on the team to the point where the Dolphins have kept him at center even with Pouncey back in the lineup.
“I don’t know if it was part of the plan, but I don’t know that it wasn’t part of the plan. I think you just deal with things day-to-day and you learn more about a player,” Philbin said of Satele. “We certainly didn’t know a lot about him. He’s come here. We like the way he goes about his business in the building. We like the way he’s performed on the field. He’s a good guy in the locker room. We’ve just kind of taken it one day at a time and he’s done a nice job so far.”
Colledge expressed that the continuity of the offensive line the past several weeks has really helped things up front and will only continue to do so as the season goes on.
“Well, I think it helps. We feel like we’re in a situation where we’ve probably got five, six, seven guys that could probably come in and play at any one time and be starters for us, which is a great thing to have. But again, we like having five guys. We want five guys that are going to stay healthy and be in there for every single play. I think that gives you the best opportunity to have a successful season, especially on the offensive line when you rely so much on the guys around you.”
The lack of continuity hurt the offensive line last year and many wondered out loud whether or not it was Lamar Miller struggling to find holes and break it open or if it was the offensive line simply not being able to do their job. After watching Miller for six games, it’s evident that the issue with the run game in 2013 had much more to do with the offensive line than it did with Miller as so far, he has rushed for 391 yards and scored 4 touchdowns behind this offensive line.
“They’ve been doing a great job throughout this whole season,” Miller said. “I give a lot of credit to them. They’ve been doing their assignments with what the coaches have been telling them throughout the whole season. I put a lot of trust in those guys. I’m just going off them for the most part.”
These five guys, who only get their name called when they do something wrong, will look to dominate the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line on Sunday and continue to rise up in the ranks of the NFL.