Miami Dolphins

April 10, 2014

Miami Dolphins’ Branden Albert ‘poised’ to protect Ryan Tannehill’s blindside

Everybody wants to know what new coordinator Bill Lazor’s offense will look like — including his players.

Everybody wants to know what new coordinator Bill Lazor’s offense will look like — including his players.

Branden Albert, the Dolphins’ No. 1 free-agent target, told season-ticket holders that he’s “excited” about what he’s heard from his new play-caller. But, Albert added, “I don’t know the exact ins and outs.”

Those blanks will begin to fill in on April 21, when the Dolphins gather for the start of organized team activities. They can’t actually do any field work until May 5, per league rules.

But that doesn’t mean Albert isn’t getting acclimated to his new team — and its fan base. He spent a half-hour chatting with season-ticket holders Wednesday via a conference call.

“It feels like home,” said Albert, who agreed to a five-year, $47 million deal on the first day of free agency. “With the situation last year with the offensive line, everyone knows that hindered the progress of the team last year.”

He added: “I’ve been doing the job for seven years. ... I’ve been battled tested. I want to give my best. I consider myself one of the best.”

When it comes to pass protection, it’s hard to argue with him. Albert allowed one sack every 200 snaps for the Chiefs last year, and gave quarterback Alex Smith time to flourish.

Albert sees some of the qualities that has allowed Smith to play winning football in his new quarterback, Ryan Tannehill — most particularly, his mobility.

But Albert acknowledged that few signal-callers can succeed if they’re sacked 58 times, which Tannehill was a year ago. The Dolphins signed Albert for one reason above all others: to significantly reduce that figure.

“I’m pretty poised,” he said. “I don’t get rattled too much. I tell everybody, ‘I’m not perfect.’ I don’t sit here and say I don’t get beat. Everybody gets beat.

“But when things go wrong, I can pull myself together, and help pull my teammates together,” Albert added.

Preseason slate

The Miami Dolphins’ preseason tour of the football southland is back for another year.

The Dolphins will visit familiar exhibition foes Tampa Bay and Atlanta this August, and then host Dallas and St. Louis to round out the preseason.

A full schedule of dates and times will be announced in the coming weeks. None of the games has been selected to appear on national television. They will air live locally on CBS-4 (home games must be sold out 72 hours in advance).

The third preseason game is always the most important, and this year, the Dolphins will play it at home against a national brand. The Cowboys will visit Sun Life Stadium sometime between Aug. 21-24.

The Rams game, which will close out the preseason, will be played Aug. 28.

Teams usually play games against regionally close opponents. In 2013, the Dolphins participated in the year-opening Hall of Fame Game, giving them five preseason contests. They also visited Jacksonville and Houston, while hosting Tampa Bay and New Orleans.

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