After spending most of training camp lining up with the second string offensive line, Miami Dolphins rookie Laremy Tunsil finally got some extended action as the starting left guard against Dallas, and according to many reports, including our own Luis Sung, he held his own.
But if you were to ask him, Tunsil still isn’t taking anything for granted.
“It was nice playing with those guys,” he said. “Playing with the ones was nice. But like I said, we never know with the positions. I don't know if I'll be starting or not. We are still rotating. I'll continue to work every day.”
Head coach Adam Gase chimed in this week and gave some insight into how the team is evaluating the offensive line, and Tunsil in particular.
“I think he did a pretty good job. We have a few things that we have to clean up with him.”
Not exactly a glowing review. But as is always the case with Gase, he showed that he has a good handle on the rookie’s development.
“When you look at him, pass pro is not going to be something that I think he's really going to have an issue with,” said Gase. “Sometimes in the run game, when you're in different parts of the field, there's different angles you have to take. Sometimes you have to come off quicker on some of the double teams. (When you're in the red zone, and a linebacker is two yards from you, and he hits it because it's a run, you've got to understand you can't be as thick on a defender on the defensive line. It's got to be hand and then move up to the second level, because it's coming quick. Just little things like that.”
“There are going to be errors, he continued. “It just has to be a quick process - if you make the mistake, you have to move on, and you can't let it happen again.”
Tunsil himself sees areas where he needs to improve as he transitions to guard from the left tackle spot that he’s played his entire collegiate career.
“Transferring from tackle to guard is going to be a process,” he says. “That's why I stay in the meeting room and listen to my coaches every day and try to get better.”
Tunsil has already found that practicing against a defensive line that includes All Pros Ndamukong Suh and Mario Williams is giving him an edge in games, saying, “Practice and a game is basically the same thing. In practice, you have a little more competition with the best - Suh over there, and you have Mario over there – so you're going against the best every day … Going against them, makes the games easier.
“It was nice, but we still got to get better and attack every day.”
As the Dolphins prepare to face the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night in the third preseason game, a game where the starters typically see extended time on the field, Tunsil is excited to build chemistry with his fellow lineman, not just in this game, but in every game as the preseason and regular season progresses.
“Building the chemistry with the ones is important. I'm looking forward to every game, and I'm looking forward to getting better.”
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball
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