An awful Sunday was followed by an even worse Tuesday for Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner.
The Dolphins cut them both after a nightmare game for their offensive line.
And in doing so, the Dolphins acknowledged that they made mistakes in the third round of the NFL Draft in both 2013 and ’14.
So who will replace them?
Sam Young, for one. The veteran tackle re-signed with the team after being cut during training camp.
Those weren’t the only moves Tuesday. The Dolphins also cut little-used running back Isaiah Pead, one of five backs on their roster. And they brought back corner Chimdi Chekwa, who was with the team in training camp.
Plus they waived guard Jamil Douglas from their practice squad; Douglas was a fourth-round pick in 2015 who started six games last season.
Here’s why coach Adam Gase felt the need to blow up his offensive line:
It gave up six sacks and, according to Gase, three more quarterback hits against the Titans in Sunday’s loss.
One play was particularly bad:
Ryan Tannehill was barely into the third step of his drop-back when a Titans defender blasted him.
“When you hit your back foot and you get sacked, there’s not much you can do about it,” Gase said.
Said one of Tannehill’s teammates on Monday: “Can he play better? Sure. But come on. How can you evaluate him?”
That has been Gase’s argument all along.
“Everybody is [saying], ‘Is he going to have mistakes?’ Yes, that last interception,” Gase said. “I told him before he went out there, I was like, ‘When I call this play, you’re going to have to fit it in.’ He tries to fit it in and he gets jacked to the point where I thought he was going to get his rotator cuff blown out and his knee blown out. And then everybody gets [mad] at him.”
That’s why analytic websites such as Football Outsiders, which lists him as one of the league’s three worst quarterbacks, don’t tell the whole story.
It’s not excuse-making to point out that Tannehill has faced pressure on a league-high 43.4 percent of his drop-backs, according to Pro Football Focus.
And it’s not excuse-making to mention that Tannehill was without his starting left tackle because he lost 12 pounds while dealing with an illness and his starting left guard because he slipped in the shower before the game and injured his ankle.
Fortunately for Tannehill, Branden Albert is feeling much better. Albert expects to practice Wednesday and although he probably won’t be able to gain the lost weight back during the season, he sees no reason why he won’t play this Sunday against the Steelers.
“Last Tuesday, I just woke up in the morning and just wasn’t right,” Albert said. “I could barely get out of bed. I had a fever. I didn’t know what was going on. I just had a bad stomach virus.
“I usually don’t get sick. When I get sick, I get sick. I got sick.”
Albert did say that his illness was a “blessing,” because it allowed him to shed some excess weight that was slowing him down.
His take on the offensive line’s struggles Sunday?
“If your starting left tackle and your starting left guard are playing the game, I don’t think he’d get hit as much,” he said. “I commend Billy [Turner] and Dallas [Thomas] for getting put in that situation [Sunday] and they did the best they could. Billy is not a left tackle and still was in the game for most of the part of the game. But I don’t think when you’ve got your front-runners blocking for your quarterback, I don’t think he takes a beating like that.”
Although Albert appears good to go this week, Laremy Tunsil is an unknown.
The rookie left guard is not on crutches after his shower accident, Gase said Monday, but his availability is a “day-to-day,” if not “week-to-week” situation.
Tunsil did feel better Monday than he did the day before, and the Dolphins will continue to monitor him throughout the week.
“I’m sure it’s a cross between embarrassment and, ‘Really, I’m missing a game because of this?’ He knows him being out there makes us better,” Gase said. “He’s a competitor and he knows we count on him being healthy and being a part of our offense.”
The task gets no easier with the 4-1 Steelers coming to town. The Dolphins are already off to their worst start since 2011, and are nine-point home underdogs on Sunday.
“I've been in terrible situations like this before,” right guard Jermon Bushrod said. “The only way you can go is up. You can deal with it like a man or crumble under the pressure. We all have to be better.”