Earlier this offseason, the Miami Dolphins signed offensive lineman Jeff Linkenbach. The signing has been looked at as someone who can provide depth all across the offensive line but for Linkenbach, his goal is of course to win a starting job. While his name hasn’t been mentioned in the mix for one of the two guard positions, he says that the Dolphins have told him otherwise.
“You know, that’s all you can ask for. Everyone always sells that, so yeah, absolutely. You compete, you compete to try and put the best five out there, the best seven or eight out there on game day that give you the best chance to win, to win every week in order to win a championship and that’s the ultimate goal. So you compete with yourself, you compete with your teammates, you compete with the other 31 teams. It’s a constant competition, whether it’s an official competition or if it’s with yourself. But as far as that, yeah, the coaches talk about competition, and that’s at all positions. That’s what I’m coming to do. That’s what I’m expecting, to get better every day.”
There are 31 other organizations in the NFL besides the Dolphins and Linkenbach had numerous teams vying for his services. However, he chose the Dolphins because of the positive environment they exhibited on his visit and because of the perception of the team around the league.
“It’s an organization that I feel is on the upswing. It’s a great organization. I’m excited to get to work, great coaching, great front office. It gives you an opportunity to compete and earn a job and provide. It seems like a good fit, the versatility I can bring I feel helps me in this quest to earn a job with the Dolphins. I think it’s a good fit personally and I feel like the organization is a tremendous organization.”
Linkenbach has played every position on the line with the exception of center. This includes several games at left tackle with the Indianapolis Colts and over 20 games at right tackle with both the Colts and Kansas City Chiefs. He also played close to ten games at left guard with both teams and another eight at right guard with the Colts. Having so much experience has made him a better player, which is allowing him to enter the situation in Miami with the ability to easily transition into the zone blocking scheme.
“A lot of people have a lot of opinions on what schemes are better and the bottom line is I’m an offensive lineman. Every scheme has the same plays in it, you just tend the favor the call a little more in one place than another. Every team has zones, every team has power schemes. I’ve played in a mixture of both, a more power oriented and a more zone oriented. The bottom line is you’re an offensive linemen, you go after the guy in front of you. So yeah, I’ve played in zone schemes and I’m excited to get to work with one of the best coaching it.”
Linkebach said he doesn’t have any personal relationships with the other guys on the line but said Branden Albert and Mike Pouncey have a great reputation around the league. In addition, he also mentioned Ja’Wuan James as someone players have been talking about since his rookie debut in 2014.
Despite not knowing them, he said that hearing the stories makes you feel like you know them and he’s looking forward to competing next to them on the line. With the guard situation in Miami unsettled, Linkenbach will have plenty of opportunity to do just that.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs
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