Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Smith thinks Dolphins' blocking scheme fits him well


As expected, the Miami Dolphins are taking a two-pronged approach, using free agency and the draft, to rebuild an offensive line that needed four open starting spots filled.

The big prize of the free agency period was left tackle Branden Albert, but the team also added career reserve guard Shelley Smith, who most recently played with the St. Louis Rams.

Because of his limited playing time during his three-year career, Smith isn't exactly a known quality. But he had an opportunity to tell the South Florida media on Tuesday exactly what he'll bring to the Miami offense.

"For me, a big thing is I try to play hard for a whole sixty minutes," Smith said, via the team's website. "I try to be consistent with what I do."

Smith was signed in hopes of improving the line overall, but he already knows what his best skill and leading contribution will be.

"...I'm sure most offensive linemen you'd talk to would say they love run-blocking, and I love run-blocking."

Smith's acumen in that area can hopefully help Miami improve its 26th ranking in rushing from a year ago. The former Colorado State Ram earned Pro Football Focus' fourth-highest run blocking grade in 2013 despite playing just 371 snaps, or about a third of the playing time of his full-time starting peers.

He also carries over a familiarity with offensive line coach John Benton, who Smith worked with in Houston during his rookie season, and with the zone-blocking scheme that Miami will use.

"In the zone-blocking scheme... they look for offensive linemen that are maybe a little bit more athletic," Smith added. "[They look for linemen] that can move and open up the hole on a lot of outside zone, stretching out wide. So I think maybe that’s where I can fit in a little bit."

Smith isn't guaranteed a starting spot, but his two-year, $5 million contract and experience makes him a solid favorite to be featured at either right or left guard once the season starts.

The Dolphins' starting guards in 2013 were the all-but-exiled Richie Incognito and the glacial John Jerry, neither of whom will return this season.

Follow Sean @seanldonovan
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily