Written by Steven Wilson at 8:30 AM EST | Twitter: @stevenjwilson11
Miami’s defense line has racked up the fifth−most sacks in the NFL this season with 25. Maybe that’s why the Dolphins offensive line has been so dominant on the other side of the ball allowing just 17 to opponents.Going up against one of the best D−Lines in the game has helped cultivate chemistry amongst the five big guys up front.
When asked about guard Mike Pouncey’s performance, Joe Philbin said, “I like what he is doing. I thought he had a solid performance [on Sunday]. I thought Samson Satele had a solid performance as well. It’s good to have him out there on the field as a competitor, and he goes hard every single play. I think he’s added to the cohesion of the offensive line.”
After tearing the labrum in his hip during Organized Team Activities this offseason, Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey has returned with renewed vigor, and it’s helped his fellow line−mates.
“I feel great about Mike,” said Bill Lazor when asked about Mike’s contributions. “That’s an interesting question. I wonder if having Mike next to Ja’Wuan (James) is helping Ja’Wuan because I think Ja’Wuan is getting better and better as he goes, too. I think it’s a group. I think you have an added leadership, added poise and added toughness. There’s a real presence added to the group when Mike is in there. I don’t think you can say enough about how positive that is for us.”
As a unit, the Dolphins did not allow a single sack in the game against the San Diego Chargers defense. Miami’s quarterback Ryan Tannehill went 24-for-34 and threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers while racking up 288 yards threw the air thanks to the outstanding protection.
“I think you get a team in San Diego that blitzes a lot − that stunts a lot,” said Philbin. “They try to create a lot of different things maybe to stop you. We knew going in that they disguise that well, that they would make a couple of plays. They made a couple of plays based off it, but I think we handled all that blitzing more than we did, so we made more plays when they blitzed.”
Second−year guard Dallas Thomas, who has had his fair share of ups and downs this year, was the only player who struggled against the San Diego attack. But Philbin believes the 64th−ranked guard (according to Pro Football Focus) is making strides.
“I think Dallas is on the same line of improvement,” Phiblin stated. “He’s not perfect yet. We are working at it. Before the game, I thought he looked like he was ready to go mentally, emotionally. I think you would probably just put him in with the group as a line. The things that were really important to me were on the sideline I could tell that Ryan (Tannehill) felt comfortable in the pocket. Usually when that happens, that means your line is doing a good job. The other thing, there were a couple of short yardage goal-line plays we weren’t happy, but there were a couple we felt, just even standing on the sideline, you could see the line move them off the ball a couple of times, not all of them. I would put Dallas in with the group where it was a battle.”
Overall, the line shows signs of progression and after giving up a franchise−record 58 sacks to Tannehill last season, progression is exactly what the Dolphins need.