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Another one that got away...

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by DolphinGreg, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. DolphinGreg

    DolphinGreg Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    There’s not much to do so I figured I’d take a look back to see how much useful talent this team has cast off over the last several seasons. Here’s one name that stood out – Joe Berger.

    Berger’s career began in 2005 when he was selected by the Panthers in the 6[SUP]th[/SUP] round. Berger is first and foremost an intelligent guy. He graduated from the mechanical engineering program at Michigan Tech with honors. A sprained foot and a missed season saw him cut by the Panthers after his rookie year. He subsequently wound up in Miami and then Dallas where he played spot duty and remained a perennial back-up, often inactive on game days. He came back to Miami during Sparano’s stint as HC where his career really began. By that time Berger was getting a grasp on things. He could play all 3 interior positions and ended up beating out Jake Grove as the Dolphins starting Center. In 2011, Miami drafted Mike Pouncey and Berger was moved to the Vikings after training camp ended.

    What do you think happened?

    Well, you probably guessed it! He’s been an asset for the Vikings over the last 5+ years playing several positions, sometimes as a starter, sometimes as a back-up. In short, Berger looks like a journeyman who’s finally found some footing. While he’s not a dominant force, he’s capable of rotating between LG, C and RG in order to solidify his team’s line. Last year, Berger was asked to start all season at Center and it turns out he’s pretty solid. He did a very good job protecting Teddy Bridgewater. He also ended up being touted by PFF as the NFL’s best run blocker as he and his teammates helped Peterson lead the league with about 1,500 yards rushing.

    How nice would it be to have a smart veteran on the line that wasn’t at the end of his career? How nice would it be to have a position-flexible, interior lineman who could run block? How nice would it be to have something more than just Pouncey on the interior? How great would it be to have a real option in place if you decided to move Pouncey’s big contract? How nice would it be to have a guy who could shift into Pouncey’s shoes when he inevitably gets hurt? It kind of sounds like a tease doesn’t it? Miami could’ve held onto Berger and it breaks your heart. He’s typically worked for short term deals, too. It’s not like he’s had some big 5-year contract. He’s largely been year-to-year player with the Vikings.

    Let’s take a second to imagine what Miami’s line could be.

    LT: Albert / Bushrod
    LG: Incognito / Steen
    C: Pouncey / Berger
    RG: Berger / Steen
    RT: Tunsil / Bushrod

    That’s the most legitimate form of the O-line IMO. I’m not even including Ja’Wuan James. Heck, maybe it’s more realistic to think the team would’ve traded Albert for a draft pick, gotten his big contract off the books, accommodated Tunsil by keeping him at LT and just bitten the bullet with James as the RT.

    Point is, they’d have had options and none would be nearly as bad as the present line.

    And if you went that route and wanted to replace James at RT it’d be manageable because you’re talking 1 position instead of 3 or 4. In fact, it could be done with free agents like Andre Smith, Sebastian Vollmer or Ryan Schraeder this offseason. Or the team could just wait for the right player in the draft. Point is, between Albert, Tunsil, Pouncey, Incognito and Berger you’d have several starting caliber players and between Steen, Berger, and Bushrod you’d have some depth and position flexibility.




    Unfortunately, that story leads to a broader conversation about the coaching and how much we trust what’s been in place. Between a team’s Head Coach and its O-line coach, they’re supposed to help sift through what’s available on the roster and to make it as good as it can be. When the talent isn’t sufficient, they’re supposed to press the front office to bring in more.

    Yet the hall-mark of linemen in Miami is that most get consistently worse year to year and it essentially takes a first round pick to get any sort of consistency. We’ve also seen the team hold onto bad players while letting the solid ones go. To me, the problems seem to go a lot deeper than just lack of talent on the roster.

    Injuries have derailed Pouncey and he looks less conditioned today than in his first couple years, which incidentally were his only 16-game seasons. What I hope is that his injuries have simply gotten in the way of his preparation and conditioning. It’d be easier to stomach if I knew the decline in strength and conditioning was caused by the constant injury issues but I can’t be sure of that.

    Ja’Wuan James has obviously regressed and is another player (like Pouncey) who simply looks weaker than he should. He doesn’t look like he’s gotten stronger since coming into the league and his technique is certainly no better. Both Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner are extreme examples of guys who are both terrible in their technique and who get pushed around as a result. Is bad coaching making these guys even worse than they are? Neither were exactly polished coming into the league but they seem to have gotten even sloppier over time. It’s as if they’re not being coached at all.

    And then we have guys like Joe Berger and John Jerry who were JAGs in Miami but yet have gone on to be starters for other teams. In Berger’s case he appears to actually be pretty solid. I dare say that even Incognito looks more dominant with the Bills than he ever was with Miami where most thought of him as a solid-at-best Guard.

    It's as if every year as a fan we say "at least it can't be worse" and then somehow it always is.

    Let's hope this season marks the end of this and that finally, at some point, the O-line is coached up properly in Miami.
     
    gunn34, pumpdogs, Aqua4Ever04 and 6 others like this.
  2. dolphin25

    dolphin25 Well-Known Member

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    good post. I am not sold on Pouncey, it seemed Steen did just as good a job as Pouncey did.
     
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  3. Tin Indian

    Tin Indian Rockin' The Bottom End Club Member

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    I like my offensive lineman big and nasty with a mean streak a mile wide when they are on the field. Just like Richie Incognito. That dude got screwed here. As far as Pouncey goes, trade him and his overpaid, always injured butt somewhere and start Steen. I agree Steen did a heck of a job for never playing center before. We dont need these 1st round picks on the offensive line. We need to find the guys in the later rounds who will listen and do what they are told with animosity. That is how most teams get it done on the line.
     
  4. Pandarilla

    Pandarilla Purist Emeritus

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    Steen and Urbik were fine.

    Tunsil, Urbik, Pouncey, Steen, Bushrod seem fine. If somebody gets hurt, slide one of the tackles in.

    Our injury prone players are messing with our consistency.

    James has regressed considerably.

    Fail by the strength coach.
     
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  5. Tin Indian

    Tin Indian Rockin' The Bottom End Club Member

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    Yep. James has regressed big time. Looks awful out there. Did they change blocking schemes this year? Thought they were still doing Zone Blocking. Whatever it is, he's been terrible.
     
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  6. NorFlaFin

    NorFlaFin Active Member

    Here the problem nobody is mentioning, all NFL teams allocate money via position group. If one guy consumes all budget for a position group then you end up being cheap somewhere else. The Dolphins gave Albert and Pouncey giant contracts and as such had to be cheap at the LG and RG position. This is the end result.

    Good middle tier FA aren't going to come to a perennial bottom feeding team. Those guys sign with teams and coaches they believe give them a chance to win a title.

    A good veteran HC with solid reputation could solved this problem.
     
  7. dolphin25

    dolphin25 Well-Known Member

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    sadly you have a point :(
     
  8. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Táin Bó Cúailnge Club Member

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    Gase mentioned that Foerster had changed the schemes and had James doing things he hasn't done in the past.


    Whatever they changed with James - it's not working. He's often not blocking anyone and standing around watching when he's not getting blown back into the QB.

    The only OLmen we have who haven't given up a sack has been Steen in his 2.5 games and Pouncey in his 1 game. All other's have given up multiple sacks, including Tunsil.

    Foerster was the biggest concern with Gase's coaching staff. He's never put together great units previously while with the 9ers or Redskins.

    [FONT=&quot]"It’s just something (that) when you’re at tackle, those five bad plays really stick out. That’s the thing. I know we’ve changed some technique things that we were trying to do with the tackles and some guys, it takes to quicker than others. Some of the things that we’re trying to do with him are different than what he’s done in the past.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]"It’s about sometimes trusting your coaching, trusting the scheme that we’re trying to do and selling out and being all in. Sometimes what happens is when you’re in the middle of the game and bullets are flying, you’re trying to just figure out a way to get the guy blocked. And then you go away from a certain technique, and it’s a group working together, that can put you in a bad spot. That’s what’s happening a couple of times. I know he’s trying to do it right. It’s just we need him to kind of pick up the pace of doing it right all the time."[/FONT]
     
  9. dolphin25

    dolphin25 Well-Known Member

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    wouldn't in theory you have to have intelligent players to work with the schemes?
     
  10. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Táin Bó Cúailnge Club Member

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    We're not dealing with guys any smarter than most fans and in many cases not that smart, but they aren't just in rooms talking theory. They're going over this stuff constantly, watching film, enacting what they're supposed to do and reviewing it before they ever hit the practice field, much less a live game where they still get coached up for 4 qtrs. That's what blows my mind when I see stuff like James completely leaving a DE free to attack the QB and not even attempting to touch him, or instantly dropping back and awaiting a defender to come to him with a head of steam and being driven back into the QB.

    Whatever Foerster is teaching them, it's not working - and that's on the coaches.
     
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  11. FinSane

    FinSane Cynical Dolphins Fan

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    And Foerster was terrible the last time he coached here too.

    Sent from my SM-G900T using Tapatalk
     
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