As Dolphins fans we have been shell shocked into thinking if we do not have elite guards then we have no chance to win or have a capable offense. Speaking to Dolphins fans, reading message boards, twitter, and listening to South Florida sports talk radio I hear you fans and I am here to tell you that the “guard problem” isn’t as big a problem as you seem to think it is. In fact I’m not sure its a problem at all honestly.
Let’s take a step back and look at our recent history shall we. Yes, Miami’s offensive line struggled in recent years because the general manager(s) and head coach refused to give up on two players at our guard position; Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas when they showed time after time they just couldn’t play well. Those two were not NFL caliber players let alone starting guards in this league. Proof of this is that when Adam Gase cut them last year neither really caught on with another team or played for another team.
After Miami cut Dallas Thomas last October no team picked him up and it wasn’t until this past January Philadelphia signed him to a futures contract. Meaning his odds of making the roster this season are slim and none. Billy Turner after being cut last October was picked up by the Ravens only to be cut three, yes THREE days later! He was then picked up by the Denver Broncos but never saw the field in significant games.
I get it folks, many of us have been scarred for life by these two lackluster players but I am here to tell you in the NFL you can win without having to break the bank for elite guards on the offensive line. Miami has an elite left tackle in Laremy Tunsil and yes I said elite because he is elite. Juwaun James is a very good to above average right tackle. Yes James got off to a slow start last year but once he became accustomed to the Fins new offense he shined from the middle of October on. Mike Pouncey while has been injury prone when he does play is an Pro Bowl caliber linemen. Miami has three anchors on this line and it is about just filling in the two guard spots next to them with capable players.
Ted Larsen was the starting guard in Arizona in 2014 when they had an amazing season and went 11-5 and had a very high powered offense. In 2015 he was their starting guard when the Cardinals went all the way to the NFC Championship game. So this notion that Larsen is some how a liability if Miami has to start him is laughable. Larsen didn’t derail those two teams with his play and those two teams also ran the ball very very well in those seasons. You plug Larsen next to Tunsil and Pouncey and I don’t think there is an issue in fact that that is a solid left side of your offensive line. Could Miami do better than Larsen? Of course, but if Larsen ends up being a starter at guard step off the ledge people it isn’t that bad.
I’m not here telling you that Ted Larsen is the second coming of Larry Little but he is a solid pick-up and players along the line of Larsen who are solid NFL veterans who have seen it all, played in big games, and weren’t a liability to their former teams when they played are exactly the type of players Miami should be bringing in.
Also, I am hearing and reading a lot of Jermon Bushrod hate. Why? What did he do last year that was so bad? I know Bushrod is a little older and he wasn’t perfect last year but he wasn’t so bad that if Miami went to him again for a second year at right guard the whole offensive line would collapse. I would have no problem if Miami gave Bushrod another contract and brought him back. At worse he is a capable back-up who if he had to be thrown into the line-up you know won’t hurt your team. At best he starts at right guard again and just like last year does a capable job. He wasn’t a superstar, he wasn’t great, but he was good enough and didn’t cause the entire offense to fall apart.
As the 2017 NFL season is all of 4 days old Dolphins fans need to relax regarding the offensive line and specifically the guard position. Ted Larsen was a solid (not flashy) signing and I am sure Miami will have another signing at guard in the coming days or weeks along the lines of a player who is similar to Ted Larsen. Maybe they bring back Jermond Bushrod as well and when you throw in Anthony Steen who is already on the roster and showed some promise last year and can play guard, the Dolphins go into the draft having a capable offensive line already under contract. If they use one of their early picks on a guard then all the better.
Just remember people, not every non-big name offensive linemen is the next Billy Turner or Dallas Thomas. Miami doesn’t need to break the bank to bring in big-named guards, they just need capable NFL guards and they will be fine in 2017.