Dwight Stevenson, Tim Ruddy, Richmond Webb, and Keith Sims. Do these names ring a bell? These are some of the guys from the Miami Dolphins past offensive lines that protected Dan Marino, which also happened to be the best, most productive quarterback in the history of the Miami Dolphins franchise. And many would say that the Dolphins haven’t seen a viable offensive line like that in at least 15 years.
The biggest hype in this NFL offseason so far for the Miami Dolphins is what will the team be doing with the quarterback position. Will it be another “show me” year for Ryan Tannehill, a one or two season rental in Nick Foles, or will it be any one of the many young quarterbacks available in the upcoming NFL draft? Well, without an offensive line to protect whoever the Dolphins signal caller will be, you can almost guarantee another failing quarterback season without the necessary protection.
Just ask old faithful, Ryan Tannehill. He definitely has not been the best quarterback in the league, but, he has been the victim of awful offensive line play during most of his tenure with the Dolphins. Sure, some of the sacks were Tannehill’s fault for not releasing the ball in time or not scrambling appropriately in the pocket, but much of the reason for his high sack totals was due to the poor play at offensive line. Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner, Brandon Albert, Jermon Bushrod, and Sam Young were (and are still) just a few of the guys he has had to deal with during his tenure. Most of these guys aren’t even in the NFL any more. It would have been real interesting to see what Ryan Tannehill could have accomplished with a ‘decent’ offensive line.
And then there’s the whole “establish a running game to take pressure off the passing game” concept. It seems so basic. Not only does running the ball help in providing more options in the passing game, but it also assists the defense in giving the unit time to breathe on the sidelines before they have to come back out onto the field. It takes a well-trained group of offensive linemen to not only protect the quarterback in passing downs but to also create running lanes for the running backs.
All of these points lead to the most boring, yet brilliant, idea that an NFL writer can think of. Use the upcoming NFL draft to strengthen the Miami Dolphins offensive line. Don’t pick up 45-year-old offensive linemen through free agency that were really good a long time ago. Look for fresh, young, smart players who can be the staple of the front line for years to come. By building the offensive trenches, you improve the chances of all the offensive players.
In today’s NFL, you either need to find a quarterback that can zip the ball out of their hands within two seconds of getting the ball, or you need an offensive line that can protect the quarterback's pocket while creating running lanes for the running back. We will find out over the next few months what direction the 2019 Miami Dolphins will be headed. Chris Grier and Bryan Flores, it’s up to you to start building a foundation in Miami. And that foundation starts up front!
This story was written by Ian Berger. Follow him on Twitter: @ian693
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