© GridIronalytics.com 2018     -     Terms & Conditions     -     Twitter     -     Contact us: Gridironalytics@gmail.com

Terms & Conditions Terms & Conditions

Popular  Articles

Read  More…

The Return of the Fullback

by Terry Matthews  |  @Gridironalytics |   Published Nov 11, 2018

Read  More…

5 Under-the-radar signings

of 2018

by Terry Matthews  |  @Gridironalytics |   Published Sep 1, 2018

The Return of the Fullback  |  Gridironalytics 5 under-the-radar signings of the 2018 off-season  |  Gridironalytics

[Draft Guide] 2019 NFL Draft Big Board

Coaching Football’s Zone Offense, by Stan Zweifel

Top 10 NFL Draft Experts

The Future of the Two-Gapping Defensive Lineman

Offensive Football Systems, by Keegan Dresow

Top 5 2019 NFL Draft Prospects

+ Unit Profile

[2018 Week 11] Offensive Line Profile: Miami Dolphins

by Terry Matthews  |  @Gridironalytics   |  Published November 21, 2018

Image Credit: Keith Allison

It seems the Miami Dolphins have been suffering a “culture” of poor line-play going back 3-4 coaching regimes, with something going majorly wrong at this poisition or that — more than one position for most of the Joe Philbin era to be honest.

So the plethora of seismic moves they made to upgrade the offensive line this past offseason, had to be viewed positively by the Dolphin fanbase. Chief of these moves was cutting former first-round pick Mike Pouncey (and the big contract he was signed to), and replacing him with Daniel Kilgore, a former-49er the Dolphins gave up a a seventh-round draft pick to acquire. Kilgore couldn't compete with Pouncey in his prime, but the Dolphins coaching staff were banking on him being an upgrade over the beaten-up version of Pouncey who often looked labored in 2017 and a shadow of the dominant center he once was.

Elsewhere they added one of the best pass-protecting guards in the NFL, Josh Sitton, signed to add some grit to the interior of the offensive line, and who perhaps might form a strong partnership with former first-round pick, Laremy Tunsil, on the left-side of the line.

The other big play Miami made on the offensive line was picking up the fifth-year option on another former first-round pick, Ju'Wuan James. We've seen the cost of guards jump hugely the past couple of off-seasons—with the best now fetching contracts comparable to that of the best-paid left tackles. So locking up accomplished right tackle James to a semi-expensive extension certainly appears like good business. The question is whether he could stave off injuries, and be one of the forces in Miami's stretch-zone running scheme in 2018—something that's a necessity if they want their run game operating like it did in 2016.

Similar  Content

The Case for Miami taking an RB early in the 2019 NFL Draft

Top 5 2019 NFL Draft Prospects

5 Under-the-radar Signings of 2018

Top 10 NFL Draft Experts

Elsewhere on the offensive line, 6-6, 321lb Jesse Davis looked the likely starter at right guard, displacing  2017's starter, Jermon Bushrod (now back with the Saints). 2017 draft pick Isaac Asiata failed to make the impact they obviously hoped when they selected him, proving he was nowhere near the plug-and-play, NFL-ready talent it was conjectured he might be. A year learning the game under the tutelage of NFL coaches, where it was hoped the technical issues with his game might have improved, doesn’t look like its done much good either, as as of writing (week 11 of the 2018 season) the most notable contribution he’s made to the season is his late call-up from the practice squad after injuries elsewhere on the O-line. Capping a rather disappointing start to Asiata’s pro career.

The versatile veteran Ted Larsen also returned in 2018. Larsen, who's become a bit of a journeyman in the latter years of his career, was touted as a great fit in Miami’s outside zone run-game, having previously played in it to a high standard in Chicago. However Larsen, originally meant to be only cover in 2018, has not fared well since replacing Sitton in the starting line-up after the latter went down with a season-ending injury.


All in all its being  torrid few years for the Dolphins offensive line — and even worse for beleagured quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, who’s suffered several tonnes of defensive player land atop him or crash into him at pace since he won out the starter’s berth under center. With Tannehill’s recent spate of injuries, there is a question whether the damage he sustained due to being sack so much is finally catching up with him.

However there was a glimmer of hope in the beginning of 2018, when a still-fit Josh Sitton and Daniel Kilgore and the Dolphins two young tackles, Tunsil and James, really seemed to click and give Tannehill heretofore unheard of time in the pocket. This is a situation Miami really have to be aiming for again, as the uptake in Tannehill’s game was noticeable.

However whether their present O-line is going to get that done — even with Sitton and Kilgore returning for the start of the 2019 season —  remains to be seen. The smart money says Sitton should continue to be his dominant self, but at this stage of his career Sitton seems hugely injury-prone, and not someone who should be relied upon unfortunately.

A more likely scenario — or, at least, a scenario that might see success  — is the Dolphins retaining their bookend tackles but adding a guard via free agency, whilst prioritizing taking a difference-maker either at guard or center with an early draft pick. Whether head coach Adam Gase, with his pass-first philsophy, would ever consent to using up such valuable draft capital on a non-skill position so early remains to be seen.

What we do know however: one off-season soon Miami really are going to have to stop, take a breath, and then move finally but determinedly to fix what appeared broken even before they lost their two starters, Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, mid-season due to the “Bullygate” fiasco.