With the signing of left tackle Branden Albert, the Miami Dolphin’s offensive line has immediately improved. They have gained a superior pass blocking tackle to protect Ryan Tannehill’s blind side, which is something that he is very happy about, considering he was the most sacked quarterback in the NFL last season. With this signing though, the Dolphins will need to continue to build around him and Mike Pouncey in order to build an offensive line that will be much improved from last year, who had a overall -61.5 rating, including a -75.4 run blocking rating, which ranked 29th in the NFL. Branden Albert will definitely help with the pass blocking, and with a good left guard next to him, will be beneficial in the run blocking game as well.
Not only is Ryan Tannehill excited for Albert to be in Miami, the organization period is as well. “The addition of a Pro Bowl player of Branden’s caliber to our offensive line was definitely a focus of our organization heading into the free agency period,” said Dolphins General Manager Dennis Hickey during Wednesday’s press conference. “The type of talent, skill and ability that Branden brings will not only strengthen the offense but will be felt throughout the 53-man roster.” , Apparently Hickey, Tannehill, and some other members of the Dolphins organization took Albert out to dinner on Tuesday night. Hickey, in his press conference on Tuesday, said, “Probably the happiest person at the dinner table was Ryan Tannehill.”
According to profootballfocus.com, Albert has only allowed five sacks and twenty-five quarterback hurries in the past two seasons. Albert was sixth in hurries allowed last year and tied for second in sacks allowed in 2012. It is obvious that he is a more than capable pass blocker, but at twenty-nine years old, he has had plenty of NFL experience that he can pass on to others in the locker room. He also will provide much needed leadership that was lacking last year.
Albert will wear the number of now former Dolphins Jonathan Martin, which is 71. Seventy-one is the number Albert wore in college but there is a deeper meaning behind it. “It just shows it’s a new age of football here. Forget about the past,” Albert said. Hopefully Albert is right because the Dolphins need to move on, and Albert needs to help everyone forget about how the whole Martin situation. If Albert is going to succeed in his home town, he will need to stay healthy, and perform like a top five left tackle in the league.
Albert staying healthy is something that has been difficult for him. Albert has only played all sixteen games once in his career. But if he can stay healthy, he has proved that he has top five talent. As a pro-bowler last year, he helped the tenth ranked Kansas City Chiefs rushing offense that averaged 128.5 yards per game and helped pro-bowler Jamaal Charles, who gained 1287 yards with a 5.0 yard per carry average. Even though he had a -2.4 rush blocking rating from PFF, he was obviously effective enough to help Charles be the third ranked rusher in the NFL.
Overall, Albert will bring superior pass blocking for the blind side of Tannehill, great experience from playing six season in the league, good leadership in the locker room, and adequate run blocking that should help take the pressure off of Tannehill and the passing game. His overall impact, as Hickey said in the press conference, should be great to the entire team, and if he can truly be that leader the Dolphins are looking for, both on and off the field, then his $47 million dollar contract will be very worthwhile in the long run.