Armando Salguero

Laremy Tunsil’s play not saying kind things about Miami Dolphins left tackle

Miami Dolphins left tackle Laremy Tunsil has had happy moments during his time with the Dolphins -- but not last Thursday against the Baltimore Ravens.
Miami Dolphins left tackle Laremy Tunsil has had happy moments during his time with the Dolphins -- but not last Thursday against the Baltimore Ravens. adiaz@miamiherald.com

If you follow me on Twitter, which you should, you may recall I told you Thursday night that Miami Dolphins left tackle Laremy Tunsil didn’t wish to stop and talk to reporters after the loss to the Ravens.

Now I understand why.

Tunsil had a horrible game.

And we kind of knew that was the way it was headed after the very first play of the game. I mean, the very first play -- the one on which Tunsil was penalized for a false start.

He was penalized for a false start again in the third quarter.

And as the Dolphins fell further behind, Tunsil was asked to protect quarterback Matt Moore’s blind side against a defense that knew the Dolphins had to pass. And Tunsil was overmatched.

Don’t take my word for it. The tape speaks for itself.

The play above shows that Tunsil had no clue who to block while working in conjunction with running back Damien Williams. Even when the defender basically ran into him, Tunsil let him go and still was chasing the player that was not his man -- the man Williams rightly picked up.

So Tunsil ended up blocking no one. And his man got to Moore.

That wasn’t Tunsil’s lone lowlight of the evening. Here’s another:

On this one, Tunsil should be able to clearly identify that he must block Judon Matthew.

It’s a one-on-one situation. NFL left tackle versus NFL 3-4 edge rusher.

Except Tunsil inexplicably gives Matthew an inside lane to the quarterback and cannot recover in time as Matthew flies by him to the quarterback.

This is not premier NFL left tackle play, folks. This is not first-round draft pick play.

And I get it, Tunsil had a bit of a knee issue last week. But a sore knee shouldn’t keep him from recognizing who to block. It shouldn’t cause him to step out inside of back and out. And this is happening in Tunsil’s second season, which was supposed to be his breakout year because he was moved to left tackle, the position Tunsil loves to play and has played all his life.

So he should be better than this. No excuses.

And here’s the problem: While this game was perhaps Tunsil’s worst, the others have not exactly been spectacular. He’s been solid at times. And poor at other times. But not spectacular overall. It has all evened out to making him a very average left tackle.

Miami Dolphins players, Michael Thomas, Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills comment on their protest before the Jets vs Dolphins game at MetLife Stadium.

ProFootballFocus.com grades him 38th out of 74 tackles so far. By comparison, right tackle Ja’Wuan James is ranked 10th out of 74 tackles.

Tunsil has also been the most penalized offensive lineman on the Dolphins, with five false starts and a face mask penalty so far this season.

So what gives?

I’m not giving him the young player thing. Sorry. I covered Richmond Webb who started at left tackle for the Dolphins from the day he was drafted to the day he retired. And he was very good as a rookie.

I covered Jake Long who broke down after about three years and that caused his play to decline. But his first two years were outstanding and his third year was pretty good, too.

The point is NFL teams love drafting tackles high because the metrics say they often can contribute immediately. And yet, Tunsil is struggling.

Given the fact Tunsil was once expected to be the first pick in the 2016 draft -- until the “video” release on draft day -- I would expect better. And I know the Dolphins want better.

Because, right now, if Tunsil is letting his play do all his talking, it’s not saying anything great about him.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Related stories from Miami Herald

  Comments