A news conference a month in the making did not disappoint.
Thirty-six days after he replaced Pat Flaherty as Dolphins offensive line coach a week into training camp, Dave DeGuglielmo on Tuesday finally met with reporters.
It didn’t disappoint.
There were obscure pop references to ‘60s Western TV series “The Big Valley” and a 2008 Greg Kinnear movie about intermittent windshield wipers that grossed less than $5 million.
There was his take on returning to Miami for a third go-round as the Dolphins’ line coach:
“I’m like a stray dog. They keep feeding me and I keep coming back.”
But all the laughs couldn’t mask the stress DeGuglielmo, 51, is under this week as he tries to assemble a Dolphins offensive line that just lost by far its best player and added three potential starters in four days.
His plan? He kept that to himself.
But one thing was evident: DeGuglielmo and his fellow Dolphins coaches are not going to make excuses or ask for pity, even if doing both would be more than understandable considering the bizarre start to the season. The Dolphins on Saturday dealt Tunsil and Kenny Stills to the Texans for three high draft picks.
That leaves just two starters from last year’s team on the roster: Jesse Davis and Daniel Kilgore.
“In most NFL teams, there’s going to be some change every week,” DeGuglielmo said. “Sometimes there’s a little bit more change, sometimes a little less change. That’s week to week in every team. Gone are the days where five guys play the same five spots for an entire 16 games. I haven’t seen it in a long time.
“That’s part of the process,” he continued. “And we teach conceptually. We cross-train guys.”
But what about Danny Isidora, Evan Boehm and Julien Davenport, all added in trades since Thursday? How can you cross-train players who first saw the team’s playbook this weekend?
And the bigger question: How can the Dolphins possibly replace Tunsil this season? Perhaps Davis will line up at left tackle, his third position of the summer. Maybe Davenport will be up to speed in time to play against Baltimore.
But whoever protects Ryan Fitzpatrick’s blindside will be a downgrade.
“Listen, he’s a tremendous football player,” DeGuglielmo said of Tunsil. “There are changes all the time. If he sprained an ankle, it would be the same situation. Just keep on working, and we have a lot of good guys that are working hard right now that will get in wherever they need to fit in.”
When asked if Tunsil was one of the best left tackles in football, DeGuglielmo responded:
“He’s a very good football player. I’m not going to rank guys. I haven’t worked with all the guys. He’s a tremendous athlete and a special player. Worked with him before, and I’ll work with him again.”
When and where? Those questions went unanswered.
But it would be fair to wonder how long DeGuglielmo will stick in Miami this time around, considering he hasn’t lasted longer than two years with any team since he spent three seasons with Miami from 2009 to 2011.
This is the second time DeGuglielmo has helped the Dolphins out in a pinch.
He took over for Chris Foerster in 2017 when the then-Dolphins offensive line coach was fired midseason for videoing himself doing drugs in his office and sending it to an adult entertainer.
But Adam Gase decided not to retain him after the season, hiring Jeremiah Washburn, who lasted just one season before getting swept out with the coaching change.
“Guge,” as he’s known, signed on with the Colts shortly thereafter but lasted just one season. He was back home in Carmel, Indiana, watching Westerns on TV when Brian Flores asked him to join the team as an analyst, studying pass rush tendencies. He didn’t work with Dolphins players until Flaherty was fired four days into camp.
When asked by a reporter about the strange circumstances that brought him back to coaching, he responded:
“Well, you’re a writer. If you write here today and over there tomorrow, you’re still a writer. It’s just the location of things. This is what I do for a living. It was different but it wasn’t that different.”