The Miami Dolphins will have five new offensive line starters come opening day of the 2014 season. Mike Pouncey is out after undergoing hip surgery and the rest of the line is no longer on the team. Tyson Clabo? Gone. Jonathan Martin? Quit. John Jerry? Gone. Richie Incognito? Dismissed. Bryant McKinnie? Gone.
The reality is that the Dolphins are facing issues along the offensive line. The line was supposed to be fixed during free agency and the draft. The team added Branden Albert, Shelley Smith, Jason Fox, David Arkin all through free agency and drafted Ja’Wuan James in round one and Billy Turner in round four.
The Dolphins are well into camp finishing their sixth practice today and while both guard positions seem to be clear and both tackle positions are clear, the center position is killing the Dolphins right now. Shelley Smith was the early starter but his continued inability to get the ball into Ryan Tannehill’s hand has forced the coaching staff to move Nate Garner to the number one spot.
Sam Brenner has been dinged up the last few days so David Arkin has been taking the 2nd team snaps. All the while the coaches have begun to tinker with the players at other positions. The line changes will do nothing for the Dolphins Super Bowl chances.
While there are options currently available on the free agent market, the team is, for now, looking internally at their own roster. They have depth at four of the five positions but the center spot is in flux. With Pouncey out until what is now being thought to be mid-season, the Dolphins must figure out who can step in and up and handle the line calling duties and snaps.
New offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is concentrating on the installation of a new offensive system while John Benton the teams offensive line coach is working to improve the play of a scattered 2013 unit. Earlier today Benton expressed mild concern over the center position but also said he is confident that they can get it worked out.
The Dolphins will play their first squad vs. squad scrimmage on Saturday night and a week later will open their preseason schedule.