Thursday, August 22, 2013

Philbin says Martin 'has been quietly improving'


The Miami Dolphins are heavily depending on left tackle Jonathan Martin's growth going into 2013.

There's been plenty of skepticism surrounding the second-year lineman, who spent most of last season at right tackle but gained the full-time left job following Jake Long's departure and the team's decision to not draft the position early.

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, however, has been gaining more and more confidence in Martin as the regular season approaches.

"I think he’s been quietly improving," Philbin told reporters Wednesday. "That’s probably a good thing for an offensive lineman, you don’t want to be noticed too much as an offensive lineman. I think the timing on his punch is getting better, his footwork is getting better.

"Again his continual work, he’s working hard at it he’s very detailed with his preparation, and I like the strides he’s making, he certainly has more to make.”

Following the 2012 season, the Dolphins toyed with ways to fill Long's vacancy while keeping Martin on the right side. Martin filled in for Long at left tackle for the final stretch of the season but showed he still had plenty of developing to do.

Ultimately, they ended up settling on Martin as the full-timer on the left side and eventually signed a veteran right tackle in Tyson Clabo.

Martin's success or failure this season will help dictate whether or not Ryan Tannehill and the team's revamped offense can take things to the next level. If Martin doesn't hold up, the team could very well draft a left tackle early in 2014 and move him back to right tackle, as Clabo is under a one-year contract.

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