Miami Dolphins

Gase scoffs at those who say Bushrod was anything but an asset in 2016

Dolphins right guard Jermon Bushrod, wearing No. 74, started every game in 2016.
Dolphins right guard Jermon Bushrod, wearing No. 74, started every game in 2016. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

It’s fair to say that Adam Gase isn’t a huge fan of Pro Football Focus — or at least how the website evaluates offensive linemen.

While Gase didn’t mention the film breakdown service by name at the NFL owners meetings Tuesday, he was quick to dismiss anyone who suggested right guard Jermon Bushrod was anything but an asset last year.

“He graded out second-highest on our line,” Gase said, with a decided edge. “He played 17 games last year, graded out second-highest on our offensive line. He played pretty good for us. For a guy that it's his first time he ever played right guard -- he played left tackle his whole career -- I thought he did a pretty good job.”

The only Dolphins lineman who graded out higher than Bushrod: Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey, who played just five games last year due to a hip injury.

So yes, Dolphins coaches viewed Bushrod’s play far more favorably than Pro Football Focus, who ranked him 69th out of 72 qualifying guards in 2012.

The site — or whoever runs its Twitter account — doubled down on that assessment after Gase’s comments Tuesday, sending out a chart that showed how, in the service’s view, Bushrod performed far worse than any other lineman expected to start for the Dolphins in 2017.

Not even PFF can question Bushrod’s durability, however. In his 10th NFL season, Bushrod started all 17 games (regular season and playoff) and logged more snaps than any other Dolphins player.

Bushrod considered retirement after the season, but Gase said Tuesday that the lineman didn’t need long to decide he wanted to go at least one more year.

“He waited about a week after the season to come talk to me, and I could tell that he wasn't going to retire,” Gase said. “I told him that I'd like him to think about it for a month before he made a decision because I knew he had just watched the Pittsburgh-Kansas City playoff game and I said, 'He still wants to do it, I could tell.’

“The way he was talking about everything,” Gase continued. “He waited, and then I saw him and I said, 'You want to go another round, don't you?' And he said 'absolutely.' After that, it was see where everything fell into place. When you go into free agency, you kind of stack free agents with everyone else and you see where your guy stack up. He fit into what we wanted to do.”

And even though Bushrod is a year older, the Dolphins are not expecting any slippage in his play. Just the opposite, actually.

“We're looking actually to get better from last year, because he's coming in and knows exactly what to do,” Gase said. “We can actually treat him like a veteran player. He had to take a lot of [practice] reps last year. For a guy that was 32 years old, he was averaging about three or four less reps per day that Tunsil who's 10 years younger. He was taking a lot of reps. This year, hopefully, the fact that he's played that position is going to help us, because now we'll be able to get him to the game and he can take less reps during the week and be able to know what to do mentally. That's the hardest thing. When you move from the left side to the right side, it really does kind of mess with your head a little bit because it's a completely different vantage point. This is going to be a chance to actually get better that that position.”

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

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