Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dolphins see flashbacks of last year's O-line problems


After two preseason games, the Miami Dolphins have many of the same questions that they entered the offseason needing to resolve.

Miami meaninglessly triumphed 20-14 over the Tampa Buccaneers on Saturday, but their continued issues on the offensive line will force them to regroup and reevaluate their plan to improve before the regular season.

More specifically, Miami's starters failed to get any push in the running game for the second straight week. The Dolphins tallied negative-5 yards on nine carries in the first half. Starter Lamar Miller gained just three yards on his three carries.

"I thought we would have more production in our run game," head coach Joe Philbin said after the game, via the Miami Herald. "I know it's a very good front and well coached defense. But I thought we'd be better."

Most obvious were the struggles of right guard Dallas Thomas, who had recently ascended up the depth chart and even looked to be a frontrunner for the starter's job. All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy repeatedly dominated the second year lineman.

In addition to allowing multiple tackles-for-loss, Thomas conceded a second quarter sack on quarterback Ryan Tannehill that resulted in a lost fumble. When asked, Philbin resisted the extreme reactions taking place in the media.

"There are a couple plays he has to block better on," he said.

Miami has a plethora of options at guard on the roster, but it's yet to be determined if any are serviceable starters. Rookie Billy Turner has played well against opponents' backups thus far and free agent acquisition Shelley Smith has starting experience.

The Dolphins need to hope one of those players emerges, or potentially face the same problems that helped derail their 2013 season.

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