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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Some stuff about the offensive line

Let me share with you a scene from Wednesday afternoon's practice that really impressed me:

In 9-on-9 passing drills, left tackle Vernon Carey and left guard Drew Mormino were matched up against Vonnie Holliday inside and Jason Taylor outside. At the snap of the ball, Taylor and Holliday worked a stunt, Taylor coming over Holliday.

Well, Carey punched at Taylor then handed him off to Mormino who picked him up without pause or problem. Carey then walled off Holliday.

My jaw dropped because the two offensive linemen, working together for the first time side-by-side, looked as if they'd been together for years against two quality defensive players. I am encouraged while still understanding that the combo is a work in progress.

I wrote about Mormino in today's Herald and you can read the story here: http://www.miamiherald.com/1190/story/196848.html

Right tackle L.J. Shelton, on the other hand, is not such a wonderful story. The veteran is overweight and doesn't really seem to have the kind of character coach Cam Cameron is looking for. Shelton is an amicable, laid-back type and he let himself balloon to nearly 347 pounds at the start of this camp.

Cameron wants someone with fire and desire and HEART. He wants a professional and Shelton hasn't shown the professionalism. Unless he gets his act together -- losing weight and showing some drive -- Shelton's time on the bench could be extended.

The story with Rex Hadnot is somewhat different. He is back with the starting group now but his temporary benching was something of a mystery -- even to Hadnot. You see, Cameron and Hadnot don't seem to mix so well and according to people who know, the coach had not really explained to Hadnot why exactly he was benched.

It wasn't weight because Hadnot is at about 320-325. It wasn't a lack of fire. Hadnot hadn't been practicing great, I will grant that, but he is still better than Chris Liwienski. This is a situation that bears watching because, unless I miss my guess, the relationship between the two men could lead to some interesting moments down the line.

15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very insightful, mando. I also thought the Mormino story was excellent. I'm hoping he's everything they say he is.

9:56 AM  
Blogger lacesoutdan said...

Drafted late in the 6th round - What a great pick up! If we could get Kendall in here, this could suddenly be a very good line.

10:36 AM  
Blogger John R. said...

I don't see why Hadnot would complain about being demoted. His whole career he has played like a fringe NFL player. Hadnot needs to put his ego aside and improve his run blocking. I can't remember ever hearing of Hadnot opening a whole in the center gap. And Shelton, he should have never have been signed. Another Saban mistake. Always good to see professional athletes eating their way out of the league.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Armando, didn't Shelton sign a fairly lucrative contract to play LT last year and now he is relegated to 3rd team? I don't think this bodes well for him... If there is not a lot of guaranteed money tied up; he could find himself in search of a team soon.

It would be a coup if Mormino and Satele turn into the real deal and solidify the OL. I believe the OL is the key to the Dolphins. If the OL can take shape and turn into a force this team could actually be pretty good. But I hate to get all excited during training camp. We've watched our high expectations wilt for the last 5 years and I won't get caught in that trap again.

I'm beginning to like Cameron... Just because we gave big money to Shelton doesn't mean the guy has to play if he is not one of the best 5. It was like Saban felt he had to play the guy to justify having brought him in even if he sucked. That does not sit well with the other players when they know the better guy is on the bench.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous NYScott said...

Good blog and nice article Armando. I love Morminos attitude. Can't wait to see Satelle and Mormino getting down and dirty and pissing off D-linemen all over the league. I'm interested in hearing more about what is going on with Hadnot. I'm hoping this is Cam and Houcks way of getting more out of him and not an ego thing. Also I read another article where Shelton and his agent were "confused" about Shelton being demoted. He is something like 17 lbs over weight and a perrenial under acheiver. I laughed out loud at their stupidity. 'Duhhh, I make a lot of money therefore I should start right'? Not this time pal,Sabans gone and Cams not going to hold your hand. I love what Cam has done so far with the offense!

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

armando this is great. love hearing the work of cary and mormino. that wasnt the second team they executed that on it was against top 5 defense linemen.. was the drill full speed? either way its great to hear that gelling goin on. i think that the young guns are goin to take over the line this years. if it works the guy is a genious.. (to work is shown in yr. 2 but im optimistic) the o-line is key and i think cam is doing great

--CJ

12:53 PM  
Blogger Helbourne said...

I think Cameron has the right idea. If Shelton doesn't have the drive necessary to win, I'd bench or rid ourselves of him. And Hadnot, if he is unwilling to follow Cameron's decisions or play schemes, benching him as well is the right thing to do. You cannot win games when players choose to play they way they want. It is a team sport, and if one does not do as expected it can disrupt how your OL or DL functions. We need team players, not show offs. If Hadnot is as good as he thinks, his ability will shine through while playing as he is delegated.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice Mormino story and blog entry.

I like your reporting when you keep close to the facts. Now that there are actually facts to report on I guess your job is easier.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carey and Mormino on Holliday and JT sounded good, but was that the only play against those two? How did they do for the rest of the practice? One play is not much of a "report".

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's exactly what we need on offense, nasty dirty like linemen. I can already see the winds changing at the line. Good for them!

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Phil in Philly said...

I agree that Armando rocks with his reporting. He's the best on the beat. I don't always agree with his opinion, but when he paints the picture with facts, he is dead on.

Too bad nobody else at The herald can do that.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I played ball against Mormino and the guy was crazy in high school. he punched me in the nuts once and that was after the play was over.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Armando, as a resident of Hawaii,I saw Samson Satele, who played for June Jones and the University of Hawaii. He's a beast, who is strong, with an attitude and has a field for the game. Also, last year, I saw some of the Central Michigan football games. And there was one player on that great offense line, that kept standing out; and his name was Drew Mormino. Both players were steals in the draft. Cam, keep on building that offensive line, in the mode of that 1972 Miami Dolpins offensive line. Finally, Hadnot and Shelton needs to get with the program. They need put aside their egos, and push aside that plates, respectively. If they were playing for Don Shula, he would bench 'em or trade 'em.
Go Dolphins, shock the world.

1:46 AM  
Blogger H.C.D. said...

Good stuff Arrrrmando...

This is the type of thing we like to hear about...insider stuff that only you're privy to.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing that hasn't seemed to get much comment from what I can tell is the roll the defense seems to taking with the offensive line. I have noticed mutliple comments from defensive players directed at offensive linemen designed to motivate them and toughen them up. I really like seeing this happen. I get a tremendous sense of this team coming together for the first time in a long while.

Another thing that I really like is the "Samoan Block." These guys are studs! I say keep them all. One final thought, great pick Beck of Brady, very smart.

10:31 AM  

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