Barry Jackson

Tunsil pleased to be back at natural position, feels great responsibility

Miami Dolphins Laremy Tunsil blocks Pittsburgh Steelers Tyler Matakevich, Oct. 16, 2016.
Miami Dolphins Laremy Tunsil blocks Pittsburgh Steelers Tyler Matakevich, Oct. 16, 2016. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

When Laremy Tunsil heard in February that the Dolphins were about to part ways with left tackle Branden Albert, he didn’t need to wait long for clarity.

Offensive line coach Chris Foerster sent him a simple text:

Foerster informed him: “I’m the new left tackle.”

Tunsil’s reaction? “That’s good…. It feels good to be at my natural spot.”

Tunsil had a strong relationship with Albert; they have spoken since Albert was traded to Jacksonville, but haven’t specifically talked about Tunsil moving to tackle.

So while Tunsil was pleased to move back to his natural position of left tackle after a year at left guard, he said of Albert:

“To see somebody go like that is kind of sad…. He took me in as a big brother… But it’s part of the business.”

According to Pro Football Focus, Tunsil - who played 14 games as a rookie - did not allow a sack in any of his snaps at guard and finished ranked 41st among 72 guards. He did allow one sack when filling in for Albert at tackle.

Albert, incidentally, hasn’t reported to the Jaguars’ offseason program reportedly because he would like a new contract.

Tunsil said the year at guard was helpful.

“Playing left guard, I learned a lot,” he said. “I am glad I had the opportunity.”

He said he feels an even greater responsibility playing tackle.

“I am playing the blind side, so it does mean a lot,” he said. “I am always hard on myself to perfect every craft I have.”

Tunsil said “to go to the playoffs my rookie season was tremendous. That’s something I want to keep up.”

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill talks to the media about practicing this week with a leg brace after a season-ending injury last year.

It’s uncertain who will play alongside Tunsil on the left side, but Ted Larsen is the early front-runner.

“We work pretty well together,” Larsen said. “He’s athletic, really strong, knows scheme inside and outside. He’s been super impressive.”

Defensive end Andre Branch said of Tunsil: “Athletically, I would put him up against any left tackle in this league. He’s a student of the game.... He knows exactly the ins and outs of everything. I don’t look at him as a second year player. He’s a vet in my eyes.”

As I have reported previously, an NFL official in touch with the Dolphins front office said a Dolphins executive has said the team believes Tunsil has Hall of Fame potential as a tackle.

With right tackle Ja’Wuan James and right guard Jermon Bushrod nursing injuries and center Mike Pouncey working his way back from a hip injury, the Dolphins’ line during their third offseason practice on Thursday featured Kraig Urbik, among others, at center, with Anthony Steen and Larsen – among others – at guard – and Tunsil and Sam Young among those at tackle.

Larsen said he has been getting work at both guard spots and at center.

• Cleveland Brown defensive end Myles Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in last month’s draft, has said he would like to match up against Tunsil again after they squared off in some Texas A&M-Mississippi battles in college.

“That would be nice,” Tunsil said. “That would be a good battle.”

Here’s some straight talk from Andre Branch today about why the Dolphins were awful against the run last season.

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