The Miami Dolphins’ assembly of an offensive line is slowly taking form. The Dolphins have a handful of roles that are likely safe; including Austin Jackson at left tackle and Robert Hunt at right guard. But the sliding of other players in and out amid the first two weeks of training camp has left some question about what the rest of the group is going to look like and, more specifically, what methodology Brian Flores and the Dolphins are putting into play to find that combination of the proper five.
Flores was asked about this during his Friday press availability and offered a lengthy explanation about how the team is evaluating their options and why the team isn’t necessarily locking in to five players in five spots at this point in time.
“I think there’s a lot of competition in that room. I think you’ve seen guys work with the ones, with the twos, with the threes. Solomon (Kindley) is a guy whose worked with the ones, with the twos, with the threes. But again, like I’ve said numerous times, it doesn’t really matter what group you’re with. From alignment, assignment, responsibility, technique and fundamentals, are you doing the right things? That’s for each player. That’s really what we’re looking for and that’s what is being evaluated, so it doesn’t matter what group you’re in. Are you taking care of business with the reps that you have?” explained Flores on Friday.
“As far as the team chemistry or chemistry along the offensive line, I think it’s very important and a very valid question. It’s something that we don’t take for granted at all. At some point we’ll kind of narrow this thing down to let’s call it five, six, seven guys because you’ve got to have at least seven to eight guys at the game. Whatever five of that group, that group has to have the chemistry you need to be an effective offensive line. So there will always be some moving parts. I think we’d all like to say it’s just five guys so let them play and let them work. But again – and I think (you guys) asked this the other day – we’ve got to get some other guys in there too so that chemistry with the sixth lineman and the seventh lineman, there’s not a big drop-off because inevitably that’s going to happen.”
This perspective is an interesting one and gives fair context into why the Dolphins have handled the group up front the way they have in the past week. We’ve seen Kindley pushed to the third-string group but, more importantly, we’ve seen some musical chairs at right tackle while Liam Eichenberg holds down Kindley’s projected spot at left guard.
The Dolphins could be asking a lot of Eichenberg this season, even as a rookie — he may be the chess piece that moves around when injuries occur based on his early swap and transition. The other obvious candidate for such a role is Jesse Davis, who has taken snaps at everything other than center for the Dolphins. But as Miami continues to press towards the regular season, it seems as though Miami’s formula will call for continue flexibility up front as the Dolphins brace for not just opening day but the inevitability of attrition throughout the season.
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