Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thomas hopes to stay put next to old teammate James


Despite the Miami Dolphins' near-historic incompetence at offensive line last season, 2013 third round draft pick Dallas Thomas failed to crack the lineup once.

Well, technically he did step on the field for two plays, according to Pro Football Focus' player participation data. But for all intents and purposes, Thomas' first year provided as little impact as you could imagine from a top-80 draft choice.

Thomas is looking to change that in his second season, as he becomes more familiar with his team and the NFL level. This year, he'll be reunited with offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James, his former college teammate and Dolphins 2014 first round draft pick.

Now that he's had time and developed into a legitimate candidate to start at guard this season, Thomas relishes the opportunity to play and learn alongside his fellow former Tennessee Volunteer James.

"It's like we're coming in at the same time," Thomas told reporters this week, via the team's website. "I wasn't playing last year and he was in college, and we're just working to get better together.

"We help each other out. I mess up on stuff, he messes up on stuff. We're both learning."

Thomas started in Miami's preseason opener at guard next to James, and the duo turned in a solid pass blocking performance from the right side of the line. James is probably locked into the starting right tackle spot, but Thomas and a mix of veterans and young players will be competing for the spots in the interior of the offensive line.

In many ways, the Dolphins offensive line is just as unsettled as it was last season, but James feels that he's more ready to contribute than he was his first time around.

"I'm just more confident," he said. "When you know what you're doing, you can play that much faster. I was able to play way faster [last game]."

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