Now that we’re done with the Miami Dolphins putting on their own painfully degenerate version of Ballers the last 24 hours, let us get back to football. Sort of.
With the Chris Foerster embarrassment mostly addressed I still have a simple question that no one has been able to answer to any satisfactory degree:
How much was Foerster’s obviously troubled life leaking into his work thus negatively impacting the offensive line?
I mean, I imagine it’s somewhat difficult to keep the focus on coaching the offensive line when you’re snorting what appears to be cocaine in your office. I also think it’s completely fair to ask if someone so stupid as to video himself doing three lines off his desk and then sending it to his Las Vegas “model” woman friend might not be the sharpest tool in the shed doing his everyday job, either.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
And this: I keep hearing everyone saying how gifted and good an offensive line coach Foerster was. I hear how in-demand he was to the point the Los Angeles Rams wanted to hire him away from the Dolphins after last season.
But the work Foerster leaves behind is a Dolphins offensive line that is under-performing.
Not playing with consistency.
Not playing well.
And now that I’ve watched the coach of that unit snorting grenades up his nose while at work, I wonder if that that habit has something to do with his unit’s lack of production?
By the way, I dare anyone within the Dolphins building to tell me that isn’t fair. I dare anyone to say they know with conviction Foerster was doing a great job.
Coaches spend more time with each other than they do with their families. They meet together, eat together, work together, drive to games together. So if you had no clue Foerster was allegedly doing blow in his office and walking around the team facility afterward, you have no authority to tell me you know anything about this guy including whether his work was good or not.
So the question stands because the Dolphins offensive line has not played to expectations in 2017.
This is a unit with three former first round draft picks. This is a unit that boasts four wily veterans among its five starters.
But this is also a unit that has allowed eight sacks the past three games and has not given Jay Cutler enough time to throw, per coach Adam Gase, even when the quarterback wasn’t sacked.
This is a unit leading the charge as the Dolphins rushed for 2.0 yards per carry against the New York Jets, 3.9 yards per carry against the New Orleans Saints and 3.2 yards per carry against the Tennessee Titans.
So not good protecting the passer coupled with paltry run production.
And it goes deeper than that.
Center Mike Pouncey has played well this year, according to Gase. The coach said Pouncey’s game against New Orleans was one of his best. But here’s the thing: Mike Pouncey was a Pro Bowl player before Foerster set foot in Miami as a member of the Gase staff.
So I’m not giving the “line” coach credit for Mike Pouncey playing well.
What I was expecting was Foerster to develop the players who haven’t previously played to their potential. Look, I keep hearing from the team how left tackle Laremy Tunsil is going to be a great, great NFL left tackle. I keep hearing how Ja’Wuan James had the potential to develop into one of the better NFL right tackles.
Well, 20 or so games in for James under Foerster and this year he’s rated 31 out of 69 NFL tackles by ProFootballFocus.com. And, yes, I know the Dolphins don’t like PFF. But I have eyes. I don’t see James dominating play after play. You know who I see dominating as an NFL right tackle? Kansas City’s Mitchell Schwartz.
Tunsil, meanwhile, had a good-not-great rookie year at left guard and I heard how he’s moving to his natural position this year so we would see his gifts begin to shine. And yet Tunsil is ranked 39 out of 69 tackles by PFF. Again, the Dolphins think this grade is bunk. But again, I have eyes.
Tunsil’s given up at least two sacks in four games I’ve watched and a handful of quarterback hurries and hits. He’s not elite at this stage. He has not developed to that height.
(Yes, it is early. Tunsil might become amazing some day. But he’s in Year Two and so far, he’s kind of average. And, again, he was billed as the greatest prospect since Joe Thomas).
I’m not criticizing the players. I’m saying their play has not risen to expectation, or past performances, or their potential. These are things they say about themselves.
And that fact falls to the player development people.
It is a coach’s job to raise a player’s ability to his ceiling if possible, but certainly to somewhere just below that with regularity. What Dolphins’ lineman outside Pouncey is playing consistently at that level?
None. That’s the answer. None.
That falls on Foerster. So I ask again, was this coach with the good reputation doing his job well?
I mean when he wasn’t snorting substances up his nose.
NOTE: Yes, it is Tuesday. So, yes, I will post the ProFootballFocus.com grades later this afternoon.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero