Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dolphins name offensive line coach replacement(s)


The Miami Dolphins need to get to work on their offensive line, and they took the first step Saturday in naming the positional coach.

The team announced it promoted John Benton, who was hired earlier this year from the Houston Texans as an assistant, to replace recently fired offensive line coach Jim Turner. The Dolphins also hired Jack Bicknell Jr., most recently of the Pittsburgh Steelers, to assist Benton.

"They are both excellent teachers and are highly respected within the coaching community," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said in a statement. "Both coaches will be great assets to the Miami Dolphins organization."

Benton spent the last eight seasons coaching the Texans' offensive line. It took just over a week for Miami to make it official, but Benton was probably considered the immediate answer given his experience and could have eventually replaced Turner, anyway, if Turner's unit struggled in 2014.

Bicknell Jr. was fired after one season as the Steelers' offensive line coach and held his previous post as the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line coach for just a single year (2012).

The pair will be tasked with rebuilding at least 60 percent, if not 100 percent, of the team's starting offensive front. Jonathan Martin is under contract but isn't expected back, and Richie Incognito and John Jerry are pending free agents and won't return. Veteran stopgap tackles Tyson Clabo and Bryant McKinnie are also slated for the free market.

Center Mike Pouncey is the only player among the unit expected to return to the team this year, but he may be facing a suspension for his role in the bully-harrass-whatever-gate scandal.

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