The clamoring for the Dolphins to sign Pro Bowl free agent guard Evan Mathis gets louder and louder with each passing day. Fans are tired of watching their quarterback hit the ground and are tired of watching them lose games due to the fact their quarterback has no time to throw the football, and this fatigue is justified.
But at what point do we try to take a step back and not be blinded by the overwhelming desire of instant gratification that seems to be taking over the majority of the Dolphins fanbase? When do we analyze beyond 2015 and try to look at just what signing Mathis would mean for future years, not just this one?
Obviously the interior offensive linemen that the Dolphins have at this moment are huge question marks, and needless to say, fans are sick and tired of having question marks. They want someone who can handle the job and they want him now. Not next year, not two years from now. Now.
This is where rookie guard Jamil Douglas comes in. He's currently the favorite to win the starting job at left guard, and despite reports of his relative success, fans are continuing to grow more rabid over the fact that Mathis remains unsigned with each day, as currently, Douglas is a rookie and as such, can't be trusted.
Douglas has made it a point that he wants to earn that trust.
"It's definitely a big goal," Douglas said. "But at the same time, that goal has to come when the coaches feel that it's time for me to do that. I want them to feel comfortable putting me in the game and trusting me to be able to play throughout the game. So it's just something that I have to keep working and getting better at each and every day."
And going up against the arguably elite defensive line is only going to continue to help Douglas reach that goal, as most other lines in the NFL will be no big deal after getting beat down by the likes of Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake every practice.
But the Dolphins don't seem entirely convinced that Douglas should be anchored at left guard, as they're giving him some snaps at right guard while Dallas Thomas was out with an injury, letting veteran Jeff Linkenbach go back to his natural position at left guard.
“I think we still mixed some guys around a little bit, but he got a lot of them. We’ve moved him around I think the other day to right guard, we played him a little bit." head coach Joe Philbin said after a practice. "Now that Dallas didn’t practice, we moved him back to left (guard). Nobody has earned anything yet, so we want to kind of send that message.”
The message has come across loud and clear, and Jamil Douglas knows that he still has a long way to go before he proves himself. Nevertheless, he's confident he'll be able to prove himself to the coaching staff and the fanbase.
"Definitely, I wouldn't count myself out," Douglas said. "So I definitely want to prove to them that we're here to get the job done. But that's out of my control."
Obviously, the Dolphins are doing their due diligence and exploring all possibilities, and there are reports that the Dolphins are in talks with Evan Mathis' agent Drew Rosenhaus in case the Dolphins decide to make the move. The issue is the money, as reports are the Dolphins and Mathis are over $3 million apart in their negotiations.
Until then, the team will make due with what they have, and Douglas is just going to have keep sharpening his strengths and working on his weaknesses, particularly his pass protection.
"Definitely keeping the depth in the pocket," Douglas said. "I feel like I've been giving up too much depth going against guys like Earl [Mitchell]. I gotta sink on the bull rush. That and tightening up footwork, making sure I don't get too far out of my base to keep me in a powerful position."
Douglas has been doing pretty well given the competition he's been up against, and he hasn't looked nearly as bad as fans want to believe. If he can continue to improve, then there's no doubt in my mind that he'll be able to handle the left guard position.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater
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