1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Question about our OL

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by Surfs Up 99, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. Surfs Up 99

    Surfs Up 99 Team Flores

    1,505
    1,436
    113
    May 5, 2016
    Every year when I read reports about our OL struggling, it always leaves me wondering - and frustrated - on why we always seem to struggle to field a decent OL group. What are your thoughts on why we can't seem to get ourselves a decent OL?
    Is it our FO and talent evaluation?
    Do we prioritize the position enough when it comes draft time?
    How about the pool of offensive linemen? Is it as deep as it once was or are guys in college choosing to play another position like DT, therefore, making it much harder to get a decent guy in the later rounds?
    Is it something else?
    If you were the GM, how would you get our OL straightened out?
     
  2. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

    11,088
    6,845
    113
    Apr 22, 2014
    I personally believe that coaching was a big part of the problem, in addition to overall lack-luster drafting (despite spending high picks on the OL).

    Frustratingly, over the last 5 years we've seen so much turn-over in the coaching and front office that the blame just gets moved around - you can't blame the new guys for old mistakes etc.

    We need some consistency in the coaching and front office, and we need to see massive improvement in drafting and contract management.

    Losing James still grates. His contract should have been tied up one or two years ago. Instead it was left until this year and now he's gone.
    Right now we're again in a period of change. New coaches etc need to establish their system - so again it's patience time. I will say that since Flores ditched the OL coach for not implementing the system that would imply the new guy, Guge, is, or will be, implementing it. So what I'm going to be looking for is growing consistency and team play, and then next year, a move to upgrade talent. If we go into next year without improving the OL I won't be a happy camper. I've said it before, but OL play might be the most basic and important building block of any offence. If a coaching regime doesn't seem to get that, then I really don't hold out much hope and would rather see them gone.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  3. djphinfan

    djphinfan Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    94,849
    47,149
    113
    Dec 20, 2007
    Do a better job evaluating players.
     
  4. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

    11,088
    6,845
    113
    Apr 22, 2014
    On this...

     
    Surfs Up 99 likes this.
  5. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,742
    7,521
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    We've drafted well at line- Jake Long, Tunsil, Pouncey, James. etc. but our focus has always been on tackles to anchor...and then we trade those tackles. Your guards are generally quicker/more agile and it hasn't been a focus in a very long time, so we take whoever's available and hope for the best. We've had some good ones in Cogs, etc. but we let them walk as well.

    The other problem at line is that chemistry really matters and you need the right types of players with the right mentality. When you're constantly grabbing free agents, that chemistry won't be there unless you really get lucky. We haven't had a steady coach either for line so that revolving door, combined with the one in the locker room, creates what we see today...a few decent players with a mix of others trying to figure things out.

    For instance, Dallas's starting line has been together for about 6 years now. Indy- 3 years. New England? 4 years. Ours has been together for 6 weeks and two of them are rookies with two different line coaches so far this year. So it's definitely not a shock that they don't play well as a group....they have EVERYTHING working against them and we haven't even talked about talent yet.

    Can they get there? Maybe, but the odds are stacked against them. There were some clean pockets in PS1 at times so we'll just have to wait and see. We're starting two rookies at guard though so Fitz/Rosen will have to be on the move more often than not.
     
    Tin Indian, resnor, Puka-head and 2 others like this.
  6. The_Dark_Knight

    The_Dark_Knight Defender of the Truth

    8,247
    6,326
    113
    Nov 24, 2007
    Melbourne, FL
    The way I see it, and it sort of echoes Key, it’s been our overall lack of vision.
    -Who are the Miami Dolphins?
    -Are we going to be a running or passing team?
    -Are we drafting/signing OL based on their success with other teams/college or the skills they possess for our team?

    These are just a few of the questions that come to mind when it comes to the OL.

    During the Shula era, he built the OL for running during the 70’s and passing during the 80/90’s

    During the JJ/Wanny era, we were built for running again.

    Since then, the OL has been more of an after thought. The focus has been on QB, QB and uh...QB. Culpepper or Brees, Pennington or Henne, Tannehill...tank for Tia or not.

    Decide who and what you’re going to be and build your team around that. Sign FA or draft players who fit your scheme and not just because he was a stud on another team.

    Hopefully this new era in Miami will get back to the basics and return us to the glory days of yesterday
     
    Tin Indian, Surfs Up 99 and KeyFin like this.
  7. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,742
    7,521
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    One of my favorite line drills in college- the coach would line us all in two rows facing each other, about 8 inches apart. Then he'd drop orange cones about a foot behind our feet (and once you get in a 3 or 4-point stance, your foot is just about touching the cone). Then he'd go down the line blowing the whistle and one by one, we'd fire off the LOS and hit the guy in front of us. The goal was to get his foot past the cone on his side...one step backwards and you were done.

    If you won, you took a step to the left. If you lost, you went down the ranking to the right. And every single week, we'd do this drill until we had the five fastest, meanest linemen left. Then we'd make a box of four cones and have a round-robin to decide the hierarchy. Those were our starters...I had to earn my position every single week against every single lineman. This was a division III school but I'd usually be 1st or 2nd overall.

    Now, you'd think brutal drills like this would lead to injury, pouting players, etc but it had the exact opposite effect- you saw who was a man and who was a sissy every single day. Even if I blew a guy out every week, if he got down in that stance and fired forward then I respected him over time...it's hard getting your *** kicked only to do it all over again. And you need stuff like that so you can bond over football first...then over life later on.

    I mention this because from what I've seen, Miami's line bonds over the real world first....but not as much on the NFL stuff. Linemen are cut-throat warriors, the toughest and meanest guys in the room that are ready to throw down at a moment's notice. That's what the position demands. So when we got Philbin seeking high moral character instead of meanness and aggression, it set us down a path that led to where we are today. A QB doesn't want a lineman to be his friend....he wants him to be his Pit Bull. And hopefully that's what we start to return to.

    You asked if we need to blow high picks on linemen- the answer is no. But the deplorable human that everyone hates in Incognito....that's your pit bull folks (a stupid one with mental problems, but a pit bull nonetheless). Jake Long was just as fierce yet a super nice guy, and that's all well and good if you can find it. The focus has to be on that core toughness, strength, quickness, etc though...everything else can be taught. There's simply no way to teach "bad ***" though so those are generally the guys who go in the 1st round. With hundreds of linemen eligible per year though, I guarantee that there are plenty of pit bulls that simply never got a real look because they played at smaller schools or someone else on the team out-shined them.

    An NFL scout once told me after a game that I had NFL-caliber talent, but at 5' 11" and 220 pounds my chances were zero. His advice was to convert to fullback and my coach didn't like that idea (he needed me at guard too much). I think I left school with like 8 carries for 35 yards, and one was a 24 yard run. He'd occasionally put me in on goal line to blast the A-gap but I did get a few hand-offs as well. I scored 2 TD's and that was pretty awesome, but I honestly preferred lighting up linebackers.

    Anyway, I know what I'm talking about when it comes to lineman. For QB, RB, or defenses, it's my amateur opinions. I know the line really well though and can see talent levels within seconds- every snap of the ball is that same weekly drill we went through to determine the starters. Either someone has that inner mean streak and the talent to match or they don't...it's very easy to see if you're looking for it.
     
    Pauly, DolphinGreg, Hooligan and 3 others like this.
  8. Surfs Up 99

    Surfs Up 99 Team Flores

    1,505
    1,436
    113
    May 5, 2016
    Some great insight there, Key! I am guessing Tunsil fits the bill. Are there any others on our team that you think can cut the mustard, or is it a real **** show?
     
  9. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,742
    7,521
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    I haven't seen enough film yet...I barely got to watch the first pre-season game online with all the lag, etc (the first time watching, I follow the ball just like you would). But yeah, Tunsil is a pit bull and so is our rookie left guard (forget the name, but he's going to be a solid run blocker). The rest I'll just have to see over the next few weeks.
     
    Surfs Up 99 likes this.
  10. Dol-Fan Dupree

    Dol-Fan Dupree I drink your milkshake! Club Member

    33,552
    23,481
    113
    Dec 11, 2007
    Offensive line play is still down league wide. The lack of practice, the college ranks not teaching blocking techniques like they used to, and the fact that with free agency offensive lines don't get 5 years to play together anymore, unless you hit it big or put a lot of resources into offensive line, the best you can get is decent, and decent in the modern day NFL standards is pretty bad.
     
  11. Tin Indian

    Tin Indian Rockin' The Bottom End

    6,642
    2,342
    113
    Feb 10, 2010
    Palm Bay Florida
    Yup. Mean and Nasty. That's what I like in O linemen. Incognito, Nut job he is, filled that bill to a T. Bring me more mean SOB's like that and build a line.
     
    Surfs Up 99, resnor and KeyFin like this.
  12. Electric Boogaloo

    Electric Boogaloo Inventor of the question mark

    72
    86
    18
    May 11, 2013
    Miami
    We haven’t prioritized the Oline in the draft and when we’ve spent mid round picks, they’ve done poorly. Excluding the new 19 class, we’ve drafted only 6 Olineman in the prior 6 years. Only one Oline selection in the past two years (Asiata in the 5th). Really? You’d think we were sitting on the Cowboys line to do that. We drafted best available instead of need...Durham Smythe, Ballage, Leonte Carroo. Other than Tunsil and James, we whiffed on the other four mid round choices....Asiata, Billy Turner, Dallas “turnstile” Thomas and Jamil Douglas. Then we compensate for our lack of investment and poor player evaluation by reaching for veteran journeyman who are available for a reason. Big gamble in the draft that goes terribly wrong if you don’t come up aces.
     
    Surfs Up 99, resnor and KeyFin like this.
  13. IdrA

    IdrA Rebuilding for Eternity.

    3,300
    1,140
    113
    Oct 15, 2011
    Upstate, SC
    I always blame our scouts GM, so I'll stick with that. When 3/4 of your picks are ****, you don't improve much (anywhere)
     
  14. tirty8

    tirty8 Well-Known Member

    678
    602
    93
    Jan 2, 2016
    This is honestly the worst o-line that I have seen since being a Dolphins' fan. Honestly, I think if some of these guys got cut, they wouldn't even land on other NFL rosters. After already going through two o-line coaches, the writing might be on the wall that these guys aren't very good.

    Steadfastly, I think we are wasting a huge opportunity with Rosen. All things considered, I think he has done an exceptional job. He has navigated a disaster of a pocket, stoop upright, thrown accurate passes. The results have been iffy - but many of the results had nothing to do with Rosen.

    Chad O'Shea is another guy that has really impressed me. I think our offense is already looking better than Gase's. We are moving the ball on drives, they might not all be ending is scores quite yet, but I see guys getting open, the ball getting out fast, and I feel like he is setting Rosen up for success. I honestly think that O'Shea gets Rosen.

    Drops and atrocious o-line play makes it next to impossible to realistically evaluate Rosen. I really think we should look to make trades to better ourselves in the trenches. I just don't envision this group of guys coming together as a solid. I know draft picks are at a premium, but Rosen has given you glimpses. It would be foolish to move on from him without giving him at least an adequate level of support around him.
     
    resnor likes this.
  15. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

    11,088
    6,845
    113
    Apr 22, 2014
     
    Sceeto, Surfs Up 99 and Mafioso like this.
  16. Surfs Up 99

    Surfs Up 99 Team Flores

    1,505
    1,436
    113
    May 5, 2016
    Not sure who he was lining up against, but those grades are nice to see nevertheless.
     
  17. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,742
    7,521
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    He's still coming to terms with NFL pass protection but that kid is amazing in the run game....he was driving folks 7 yards off the LOS in that 1st preseason game. We should have a nice run game to the left side this season!
     
    Surfs Up 99 likes this.
  18. mlb1399

    mlb1399 Well-Known Member

    1,710
    809
    113
    Mar 6, 2010
    I think our biggest issue has been mid round drafting. Most of our first round OL have turned out to be very good. It’s all the misses on 2nd, 3rd and 4th round picks that have kept us in this constant search of a good OL. Now whether that was coaching or player evaluation is beyond me
     
    Surfs Up 99 likes this.
  19. Silverphin

    Silverphin Well-Known Member

    10,240
    3,736
    113
    Nov 25, 2007
    As other people pointed out, we draft tackles high but, with the exception of Samson Satele and Mike Pouncey, we don't go high for interior linemen. Maybe that should change.
     
    Surfs Up 99 likes this.
  20. ExplosionsInDaSky

    ExplosionsInDaSky Well-Known Member

    1,976
    1,067
    113
    Sep 13, 2011
    I knew that kid Dieter was going to turn heads. Lets hope he stays healthy and plays beyond his years.
     
  21. djphinfan

    djphinfan Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    94,849
    47,149
    113
    Dec 20, 2007
    Dieter has had two solid weeks imo..he’s athletically limited, but he gets the job done most of the time by keeping centered relative to his opponent..Has some chemistry developing with Tunsil.
     
  22. The_Dark_Knight

    The_Dark_Knight Defender of the Truth

    8,247
    6,326
    113
    Nov 24, 2007
    Melbourne, FL
    After watching last nights game I had an epiphany as it pertains to our OL...and defense for that matter and for the life of me, I feel stupid for not seeing it sooner. Anyone ever truly wonder WHY the OL can’t block that well...or why defenses can’t TACKLE anymore? Look no further than the CBA.

    The CBA dictates what teams can and can’t do during OTAs and what used to be a brutal summer camp has now become a softer gentler camp with walk through, and no contact drills. By the time the first preseason game has started, teams have had a total of 16 practices. It’s no wonder why teams look like crap.

    I’m all about finding that balance between players health and team results but for the multimillion dollar contracts these players are receiving, it seems that scale is tipped more in their favor and we fans end up the disappointed losers.
     
    Surfs Up 99 likes this.
  23. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

    6,978
    7,753
    113
    Dec 21, 2014
    That doesn't explain why our OL is worse than so many others. Compare to the Patriots or Dallas. They're doing really well even with the CBA. The CBA affects them all (and you're right about the general effect it has) yet ours is consistently one of the worst. By process of elimination the reason our OL is much worse than others can't be the CBA, it has to be the GM, coach and the players themselves.
     
    Surfs Up 99 likes this.
  24. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,742
    7,521
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    I'm curious how much the rules are broken when it comes to the CBA and practices. For instance, you can't practice with your team...but what's to stop a team from hiring a training facility from holding open practices for positional players? The coach tells them what they need to work on, it gives a huge advantage and then maybe their new coach who's not technically a coach gets hired once the season starts. It seems like it would be very easy to dance around those rules.

    I still feel like our specific problem on the line has more to do with talent though- we've had good lines at times and then lost them to free agency or injury. The line was really good last year weeks 1 and 2, for example, but three of those players are now gone. And that's what we've done for a very long time- Long, Pouncey, James, etc...we let good home-grown starters and free agents walk to save money.

    I mean, we're starting two rookie guards....what does anyone really expect? It's going to be really bad early on this season (and possibly all year).
     
    Surfs Up 99 likes this.
  25. Surfs Up 99

    Surfs Up 99 Team Flores

    1,505
    1,436
    113
    May 5, 2016
    I remember some time ago someone saying that drafting OL was a pretty safe bet. These days, it seems like a crapshoot. Most are coming into the league woefully unprepared. I can't speak to Googs and his ability to evaluate talent, but if he can't do it, we need to get someone on staff who can. Take Rizzi for example, now that guy can evaluate kickers and punters, can't he? I understand why he left, but I was sorry to see him go because he had a knack for finding guys who weren't necessarily on anybody's radar. Since I don't have confidence in Grier and his ability to evaluate OL, let's get an OL coach who can evaluate talent like Rizzi and maybe we can get this thing back on track because right now our OL is killing us.
     
  26. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

    6,978
    7,753
    113
    Dec 21, 2014
    We already know some QB's gather receivers in the offseason to work on things. Peyton made a habit of this. But positions that demand more physical contact like OL, DL and LB? I doubt they're doing something that compensates for the CBA practice restrictions because I think many of those guys are happy with the restrictions!
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  27. AGuyNamedAlex

    AGuyNamedAlex Well-Known Member

    811
    774
    93
    Sep 12, 2015
    I dont think we can judge our line yet.

    We have a lot of guys who have never played together all starting up front as well as some coaching drama that undoubtedly has set their progress within the system back.

    It's possible we end the year feeling good about 2-3 spots on the line, I'm hoping by week 5 or 6 they can get some chemistry going.
     
    Surfs Up 99 and KeyFin like this.
  28. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

    6,978
    7,753
    113
    Dec 21, 2014
    Statistically it still is the safest bet. The fact we can't "hit" on so many is an indictment of our GM. Or that we can't coach lesser players up into a cohesive unit is an indictment of our coaches.

    [​IMG]
     
    Surfs Up 99 likes this.
  29. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,742
    7,521
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    So grabbing any lineman in the 3rd round is just under a 50/50 shot at having a 3+ year starter? That's honestly a shocking stat....that means we really, really suck at drafting linemen.

    On the other hand, there's just a 13% chance a 3rd round running back will start 50 games....so we've been way ahead of the curve there (since all of ours have come in the 3rd-6th). We hit on Miller (4th round), Drake (3rd), Ajayi (5th), probably Ballage (4th), etc.

    Side note- I just saw Ajayi is a free agent without a team right now! LOLOL, so I guess we need to scratch him off that 50 game list (he's been in 42 games, not sure how many were starts)!
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019 at 4:20 PM
    Surfs Up 99 likes this.
  30. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

    6,978
    7,753
    113
    Dec 21, 2014
    Apparently since 2004 we've only picked 4 OL's in the 3rd round: John Jerry (in 2010), Dallas Thomas (in 2013), Billy Turner (in 2014) and Michael Deiter (in 2019). Deiter is too early to evaluate, "turnstile" Thomas started only 26 games, Turner has started 25 games so far but is still in the league, and Jerry started 101 games.
    https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/mia/draft.htm

    So 1 hit, 1 miss, 1 hard to tell but is halfway to that 50 game mark, and 1 rookie. So maybe for 3rd rounders we're more or less average with this "games started" metric though it is worth mentioning that Billy Turner had to go to another team to start playing decently.

    Maybe the more important takeaway is that "games started" isn't that great a metric for "quality of OL" even if it might be a decent metric for how "safe" a draft pick is at a given position.
     
    Surfs Up 99 and KeyFin like this.
  31. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,742
    7,521
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    I thought the same thing- maybe you're starting because the 1st and 2nd stringers are on IR (a common theme in Miami). That wouldn't get them to 50 games but still...
     
  32. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

    6,978
    7,753
    113
    Dec 21, 2014
    I think it's just that teams prioritize replacing less capable players at more important position (e.g., QB) than less capable players at less important positions (e.g., G).

    In other words, there's greater urgency to find an above average QB or even LT, DE, CB than an above average G. So you'd naturally expect that "games started" becomes less correlated with ability (above league average) as the position becomes less important for winning. I mean.. injuries happen at all positions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019 at 9:01 PM
    KeyFin likes this.
  33. texanphinatic

    texanphinatic Senior Member

    9,463
    3,011
    113
    Nov 26, 2007
    Austin TX
    What is the timeframe? I'd be interested in seeing something similar for just like the last 10 years.
     
  34. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

    6,978
    7,753
    113
    Dec 21, 2014
    Got that graph from one of those "Cleveland NFL analytics" articles. The statistics are from 1999, the year the Browns re-entered the NFL:
    https://www.cleveland.com/datacentral/2017/04/nfl_draft_which_positions_are.html

    Here's a study for the 10 year time frame from 2005 to 2014, finding mostly the same trend:
    https://www.arrowheadpride.com/2015...e-statistics-tell-us-about-the-draft-by-round

    And here's another study using Approximate Value, which isn't a "metric" but tries to estimate the value of the pick using a formula that is at its core subjective, that runs from 1980-2014 and shows mostly the same trend:
    https://fivethirtyeight.com/feature...riskier-to-pick-than-others-in-the-nfl-draft/

    [​IMG]

    So I think the general trend is relatively clear. OL is statistically the safest or one of the safest picks.
     
    Surfs Up 99 and texanphinatic like this.
  35. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

    3,061
    2,880
    113
    Nov 29, 2007
    Just to digress a little about tackling on the Defense. I played Rugby when I was young, not football, but I firmly believe what I am about to say applies equally to both games.
    Being a good tackler is more about desire, the willingness to put your body in harm’s way to stop the other guy. I’m not talking about lighting up an unprepared WR on a crossing route like Minkah’s big hit yesterday. I’m talking about the heavy work against RB in the hole.

    Next is technique. Proper technique is not an especially difficult technique to learn, but it easily falls apart when fear of getting hurt starts playing with your head.

    What live contact drills really do is prepare your body for the shock of impact. But in rugby all tackling practice is done with padded tackling dummies or coaches with padding. Live tackling in practice is only rarely done, and then only for specific technique improvements.

    So I do not buy the lack of live practice as a reason for poor tackling technique. As a rugby player I have never been overly impressed with the tackling techniques of football players. Far too many players go for the shoulder charge or arm grab, not the tried and true wrap and roll.

    I remember watching the Giants in 1991 after the SB win in 1990. Their tackling fell off a cliff. It was painfully clear to me that the defense had lost it’s desire and hunger. I have a memory that Parcells suddenly retired in the off season between 1990 and 1991 and suspecting that he had seen that his team had lost it’s desire.
     
    Surfs Up 99 likes this.
  36. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

    6,978
    7,753
    113
    Dec 21, 2014
    One major difference between the NFL and rugby is the playbook. All the schemes etc.. you have in the NFL you don't have in rugby.

    The time you spend with other players in your unit as well as with the coach to not only learn the various plays but also to learn the tendencies of other players in your unit (theoretically this is a bigger issue with "scripted" sports like in the NFL than with more free flowing sports like rugby or soccer) makes a big difference. And that time and experience are directly impacted by the CBA.

    It's also something you can't just will to happen. So I do think there are some important differences here though the willingness to put yourself in harm's way is obviously important in both sports.
     
    Surfs Up 99 likes this.
  37. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

    3,061
    2,880
    113
    Nov 29, 2007
    I feel what you’re talking about is more to do with being in the right position to make the tackle. And it is much easier to tackle someone when you are in the right position for it. So if we are talking about getting into the right position to make tackles then you are correct and CBA restrictions will apply to that.

    I read The Dark Knight’s post as referring to individual willingness to tackle and tackling technique, regardless of a player’s positioning. My experience in a different but similar sport is that poor tackling technique is not something that CBA restrictions will affect in a significant way.

    Also even though it may not seem so Rugby is actually scripted, but more in a Jazz music kind of way. Jazz players have a lot of pre-prepared music from which they select what is appropriate to play responding to the situation. It isn’t following a strict script the way classical music and football do, more a case of having a series of pre-programmed responses.
     
  38. djphinfan

    djphinfan Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    94,849
    47,149
    113
    Dec 20, 2007
    Take Shaq Calhoun and put Reed in
     

Share This Page