Written by Matthew Cannata at 10:00 AM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
There is no doubt that this year’s offensive line is much better than the line in 2013 that allowed 58 sacks, a franchise record. However, are concerns growing with their inability to properly protect Ryan Tannehill, especially after allowing seven sacks over the past two games?
“First and foremost, the protection unit, be it the linemen, sometimes the running back, sometimes the tight end, just the guys we assign specific blockers, number one, there have been some shortcomings in that area,” Joe Philbin said. “That has to get better. One or two times, I think we could have gotten the ball out faster. Sometimes that’s a function of the wide receiver getting open being at the right place at the right time. Sometimes it’s the quarterback pulling the trigger and getting the ball out. I think there’s been those three things that really would stand out to me.”
Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor said that he still has a lot of confidence in his guys on the line but admits that communication can be better, especially when the opposing team is blitzing.
“We’ll evaluate it. The decisions you make going into games are what you think your matchups are. I haven’t felt like we were outmatched, I really haven’t. As hard as that team plays, as hard as they rush and for how much respect I have for their front, I have a lot of confidence in our guys. I did not feel like we had matchup problems. I don’t feel like we have effort problems. I feel like we just have to be on top of every blitz that we think is going to come and make sure we are calling the right things at the right time. It’s easier to evaluate that on Monday sometimes than Sunday. But I think we have the right plan, and we’ll get back on track. I’m pretty confident it won’t be an issue.”
In the game on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Dolphins were down to their third string left guard in Dallas Thomas after Daryn Colledge and Nate Garner left the game for migraines and a concussion, respectively. However, Lazor said that he feels that didn’t affect the overall play of the line.
“I really didn’t blink when we changed up front. We had a number of changes. I would say I feel pretty good about the seven guys we have going to the game. I would say we probably have another guy or two on the roster I would have confidence in too, so whether it would be the fact Mike (Pouncey) was out, so other people had to play. We kind of moved the line around early in the preseason. We juggled guys around. To me, that’s given us a little flexibility, so I think we’ve got enough depth to play the game. I had no concern when we changed. I’m really excited about Dallas Thomas going forward. When you watch him all through the preseason, I wasn’t here last year, but I saw how he played last year. I saw him in OTAs, I saw him in camp, I saw him in the preseason and I saw him when he came in the Buffalo game. I think the guy has improved every time he has played. He wasn’t perfect yesterday, but I think he is a bright spot, and I think he has a really good future.”
The Dolphins have kept Mike Pouncey at right guard and Samson Satele at center but Satele has been struggling while picking up blitzes lately. I don’t think the Dolphins will make a switch soon but it’s something worth keeping an eye on as we move forward.