The Miami Dolphins open their 2019 regular season in four days and they have decided on a starting offensive line!
“For the most part, yes. For the most part,” Dolphins coach Brian Flores said Thursday morning. “I mean, yesterday gave us a good look. Practice in pads gave us a good look at the entire group. We have a starting lineup in mind. We feel good about it.
“We’ll work that group again today. That could change but, yeah, we have a group in mind.”
The Miami offensive line was thrown into a state of flux when starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil was traded Saturday. That left the group with no real starting left tackle.
But the last few days have brought likely candidates and possible combinations.
The team moved Jesse Davis from the starting right tackle spot to left tackle a couple of days ago and has continued to give him snaps at that spot. The club also has been working to incorporate Julien Davenport, acquired from the Texans in the Tunsil trade, in their offense so he can become an option at either left or right tackle.
Davenport started 15 games at left tackle for Houston last season.
There is a scenario where the Dolphins would start Davis, a right tackle, at left tackle. And start Davenport, a left tackle, at right tackle.
Yeah, crazy times.
The club also added Zach Sterup to the practice squad and it is possible he can be promoted to the active roster by Saturday and be available to play on Sunday, most likely as a backup. Sterup played 24 snaps at both left and right tackle against the New York Jets last November. And he started at left tackle for an injured Tunsil against Green Bay.
The fact is the Miami line is so uncertain that Flores might decide to play more than five linemen against the Ravens.
“We’ll play the five best guys,” Flores said. “And we may play more.”
The Dolphins have three offensive lineman on the roster now that weren’t on the team last weekend. So this week’s practices, in pads and said to be physical, has helped coaches understand what everyone is capable of doing.
“We had a good practice yesterday. We saw a lot,” Flores said. “We learned a lot about the new guys. Again, today’s practice is important as well.”
The best hope for the Dolphins to have a functional offensive line is that Davenport, a developmental player, eventually becomes a solid contributor. He started for the Texans last season but wasn’t exactly solid at left tackle. He allowed 12 sacks and over 65 quarterback hurries.
He played against the New England Patriots, whose defense was coached by Flores last season, and allowed two sacks and multiple hurries.
“The first thing I’d say is what’s happened in the past is in the past,” Flores said. “Our thing is, like everything, we have to move on to the next play. That’s my message to the team on a daily basis.
“I think he came in these last few days, he’s worked hard. It’s important to him. He’s got ability. He’s working really hard to get it right and improve and get better on a daily basis.”
Yeah, but that game was not good.
“That’s a conversation we had when he got here and I think that’s a good ... sometimes failure is a good thing,” Flores said. “Hey, look, I know this happened. And this is how you can correct it. And that’s part of coaching, too.”