Offensive line still a worry for Dolphins
The Dolphins expended a second round pick on Samson Satele this year and that is a good sign because, for the longest time, this team hasn't put enough resources into the improvement of the O-line.
Jimmy Johnson addressed the line on the cheap and Dave Wannstedt and Nick Saban weren't much better. Consequently, the Dolphins have struggled to mount a consistent running game and haven't exactly been the Great Wall of China on pass protection, either.
But there could be help on the way -- at least in the interior of the line -- if Satele is the player the Dolphins think he is. If he's that player, he could be a starter at guard before the season is out.
And why not? A second round pick at a position of dire need should certainly be good enough to challenge for a starting job right away if not win it outright.
Another reason to feel good about the line's interior is that Joe Toledo is apparently healthy following his lost rookie season. Remember he was a pretty fair investment also as a fourth round pick. Given the fact that by the start of the regular season he will have had 1.5 training camps, a full season of attending meetings, and this offseason's conditioning program under his belt, I don't think it a reach to expect him to challenge for a starting job.
Combined with Rex Hadnot, who can start at either center or guard, and vetern Chris Liwienski as a backup, the Dolphins seem set in the interior of the line. Of course, this on the expectation the team did a good job of drafting the two players I just mentioned and everyone stays healthy.
The tackle spots are another matter.
The team is moving Vernon Carey from right tackle to left tackle. Cam Cameron is confident this move will work. "I looked, I watched him, I watched what [Hudson Houck] was doing with him and I talked to our scouting staff," Cameron said.
"I talked to Randy Mueller before we got in this draft. I said, in my view, we've got a guy who can develop into the kind of left tackle we're looking for. Is that going to happen? We're going to find out."
Methinks they're going to find out Carey is a fine right tackle, but for reasons of agility, mobility and quicks on his feet, Carey could struggle against premier edge rushers as a left tackle. I just don't see him making the change successfully.
Remember the Dolphins tried him at LT his rookie year? It didn't go very well as the experiment lasted about two weeks. Or was that two minutes? Sure, Carey has improved since then. But this is asking him to make a leap.
As for right tackle, the team has penciled L.J. Shelton into the spot. Let me see ... Shelton was the team's worst graded fulltime starter when he was the left tackle early last year. He's never really been solid with either Arizona or Cleveland before he came to Miami. So the Dolphins expect an epiphany?
It's clear the Dolphins need to upgrade their tackle spot. I know this. You know this. And even the Dolphins (I hope) know this.
Otherwise why would Cameron have corrected a reporter over the weekend when the reporter (not me) mistakenly said the coach said he was comfortable with that position.
"Did I say comfortable," Cameron said. "I don't think when you're trying to grow offensively you're going to sit here at the end of April and say we're comfortable."