There has been a lot of talk so far as to what the Miami Dolphins plan to do at both guard positions on the offensive line. Many are assuming that second-year player Billy Turner is a lock to start at right guard. Based on the natural progression of things, that seems to be the case. As far as the left guard spot goes, it’s up in the air as the Dolphins have plenty of guys fighting for a chance to win the job.
For those hoping that we will have an answer by the end of OTAs, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said that we will be waiting a bit longer to see who grabs the starting spot.
“It’s going to be hard to make a complete evaluation through the OTAs because we don’t have the pads on. But one of the points we made to the entire team is the play speed, getting in and out of the huddle, getting the call, getting the assignment down, getting the stance down, getting off the ball quick, whatever position it doesn’t matter, guard, wide receiver, defensive line, db (defensive back). Then, functioning within the scheme as best you can in this phase. It’s going to be hard to tell if we can sustain blocks real well, it’s going to be difficult to assess in the OTAs. Those are the things, playing fast, playing decisive, good fundamentals, good initial aiming points, those will be the things that we really focus on.”
Perhaps one of the reasons why Thomas is getting so many chances is that he is relatively new to Lazor. In a press conference last week, Lazor admitted as much and said that based on what he saw in their first year together, he continually improved as the season went on.
“I have no expectations that are different. I wasn’t here with Dallas as a rookie but all indications from what I saw to what happened last year was improvement. I saw improvement as the season went on from the preseason thru the season and I expect nothing less because Dallas has been busting his butt and working hard at it. I think everyone is going to be happy with the direction he’s going. Certainly we’re all rooting for him. At the same time we’re pushing him and I’m expecting the other guys to push him also.”
As far as the other positions on the line go, Lazor said that they hope to have Branden Albert back in time for the first game but if need be, he has no doubt that Ja’Wuan James can move back over to the left side in case of emergency.
“I have no doubt that Ja’Wuan could move back over. I think everyone in the organization is probably hopeful about Branden Albert returning at left tackle. I couldn’t tell you any of the time frames and such but right now, today, we wanted Ja’Wuan to just become an expert at the right tackle spot. And when you stop back at the end of the year and you watch all the video, which sometimes you’re able to take the emotion out of it. I see a guy, when I watch him play that right tackle spot I think the guys going to be a really good player.”
We’ll see how this shakes out but there are a lot of questions that still need to be answered heading into the 2015 season.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs