Last Thursday we highlighted General Manager Dennis Hickey’s progress report after 24 hours of free agency. The feedback was nothing but positive after Hickey impressed with his first day moves in free agency, highlighted by the notable long term deal handed out to Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert.
It’s been a week now since Hickey attacked that first day of free agency. The sentiment around Dolphins Nation seems to have gone from intrigued and impressed to head scratching and confused. After Albert, Hickey has only landed versatile guard Shelley Smith, giving the Dolphins 3 out of 5 spots on the offensive line solidified if you add in Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey.
So what about the other two spots? The lack of urgency in answering this question is what is baffling Dolphins fans, especially after the newly released YouTube video recapping the 58 sacks allowed by the Dolphins anemic offensive line and quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
I hope Mr. Hickey watches this video and sees that his work at renovating that offensive line is far from complete. After reviewing the bone cringing 8 minute video that shows Tannehill getting flattened time and time again, I wanted to sense where the focal point of the sacks were coming from.
It is not pleasant to watch – especially the Ravens and Bills games – but of the 58 sacks allowed, I counted 40 that could be blamed solely on the ineptitude of the offensive line. The basis for each tally could range from one man getting beat, miscommunication on a free rusher or a pure bull rush into the quarterback’s face, forcing him to quickly tuck and duck.
(I encourage you to watch the video and let us know if that number is wrong, but your total will be around 40 – really bad, I know…).
The remaining 18 could be liable with Tannehill,. Whether it was holding the ball too long, scrambling and not throwing the leather away or stepping up into a heap of interior lineman and being thrown down like a rag doll, Ryan needs to do a much better job in his third year of decreasing the number of sacks he takes when given time in the pocket.
It was obvious that the demise of the Dolphins offense started with the offensive line, but the one stat that sticks out is just shocking. Of those 58 sacks allowed, 33 of them came against a standard 3 or 4 man rush. 25 of them came when a 5th defender or more was sent after Tannehill.
It’s baffling that an offensive line could be so porous when facing a standard defensive front. There are many reasons that attain to the poor play: Inability of running backs to help in pass protection, meager play calling, predictable down and distance, injuries and scandals to the unit and re-shuffling of guys in and out of the starting lineup all contributed to the bad play of the offensive line.
From the majority of reports, including Armando Salguero’s of the Miami Herald, Hickey and the Dolphins will look to answer the holes on the right side of the offensive line through the draft. One would hope he’d sign a veteran tackle or even consider bringing back Tyson Clabo for another year as insurance in case the rookie selected in May doesn’t pan out…or is another Dallas Thomas.
If he hasn’t already done so, Hickey needs to watch the 8 minute production of the Miami Dolphins turnstile offensive line from 2013. If that doesn’t raise his sense of urgency to improve this unit, I don’t know what will.