TOPIC: WHO SHOULD BE THE DOLPHINS TWO STARTING GUARDS?
Opening Shot (Tom)- As we approach training camp a pretty big tradition amongst fans and media alike is
to figure out the offensive line. Mike, this seems to be a common problem. So let’s get into it! We know who the center and starting tackles are going to be, but let’s talk about the guards. The list of Ted Larsen, Anthony Steen, Jermon Bushrod, Issac Asiata and Kraig Urbik. It makes my hair stand on the back of the neck looking at this unit but here it goes. The starting guards are going to be Ted Larsen on the left and Issac Asiata on the right. If you think otherwise you’re crazy! Bushrod was the lowest rated G according to PFF and the Dolphins ran behind the left side more than the right last year. I think Larsen is a great stop gap who has great experience. He can provide a veteran experience next to Tunsil. Asiata has a ton to learn, I know, but I like his ferociousness in the trenches. I’ve said before, he reminds me of a young Richie Incognito. He needs to be at RG week 1.
Counter Argument (Mike)-Can Issac Asiata have one practice in pads and with contact before we hand him a starting guard position. Ted Larsen is a good player, in fact I will go as far to say an above average player and he will be a starter on this team. But this Bushrod hate has gone too far. Let’s first get into PFF rankings. I take all PFF rankings with a grain of salt. In that some of them make sense and are logical while others are way out there and in left field. The Bushrod ranking falls into the left field category. FUN FACT: Jay Ajayi had three 200+ yard rushing games last year and Bushrod was the starting guard for all of them. The offensive line played well last year as a unit (even when Pouncey went down) and Bushrod played well all season. I know it’s not “fun” or “sexy” to want Bushrod as your starting right guard. There is no “wow factor” there with him. But the guy gets the job done and doesn’t hurt the team. Is he going to play at a pro bowl level; hell no. But I will take him over Asiata to open the year. And maybe if Asiata can prove he is nothing more than a 5th round pick he will get a shot late in the year or if someone goes down to injury. Until then hit the pine rookie!
The guy was a 5th round pick for a reason and yet you want to just hand him a starting job? Give me a break!
Rebuttal (Tom)- Let’s re-examine your fun fact. Ajayi absolutely had three 200 Yard games in 2016. If you want to dive into, who did he run behind in those first 2 games? Albert and Tunsil or James and Bushrod? Not to mention Pouncey, when he was healthy last year was the catalyst. Also, Tunsil didn’t allow a sack as a guard last year and not many QB pressures. Bushrod gave up 5 sacks and 34(!) QB pressures. He’s going to be 34 and if I am Gase. I’m giving Asiata a TON of preseason snaps. Who cares if he was a 5th round pick. Wasn’t Zach Thomas a 5th round pick also? That point is moot. Sometimes it doesn’t matter where your drafted. It’s about your drive to succeed. Asiata shiwscthe oart. And don’t go with (you’re really comparing Zach Thomas to Asiata), in simply proving that your theory of where you’re drafted doesn’t matter anymore. If you can play, you can play.
Cross Examination (Mike)- In those 200 yard games he ran behind ALL of those guys, including
Bushrod. What the blocks of only Tunsil and Albert count? In case you forgot you can clearly see with this run I have the video of here went to the right and was created by Bushrod. You say who cares that he was a 5th round pick….I care. That means 32 NFL teams and god knows how many hundred NFL scouts viewed him poorly (or not highly enough) that they all passed on him 163 times. If Asiata is so good why wasn’t he picked in one of the first 4 rounds? Or earlier in Round 5? It’s because he has a flawed game and newsflash he isn’t playing the Oregon St’s of the world anymore. He will be playing elite competition week in and week out. Asiata is a big guy and looks like in a year or two might be a decent pro. But you can’t re-write history and say he had some great college career because he didn’t. He can’t pass block very well at all and he was pushed around by guys who aren’t even in the NFL or were drafted at all. It sounds like I am crapping on Asiata which is not what I am doing, I am just saying can we see the guy practice once in pads with contact before we gift wrap him a starting guard position. Even if you disagree with me on Bushrod then I would still have Urbik ahead of Asiata on the depth chart for a starting guard position. Urbik when he stepped in for Pouncey was pretty good. Not great but good enough and I would “trust” him more than some 5th round rookie who the book on him is he can’t pass block very well. Ryan Tannehill is coming off a major knee injury and you cannot….let me repeat….you cannot risk his health and this team’s entire season by putting some late round pick who is unproven in front of him. I will give you the last word on this one.
The Last Word (Tom)- Asiata stepped away from football for a few years, which is why he wasn’t selected higher. Give him more tape in those missed years and he’s in the top 3 rounds. Bushrod has experience but he was a liability when it came to Tannehill if you want to go there. 34 QB pressures and 5 sacks? I think there needs to be a competition on that right side of the line and Asiata will need to prove himself to get the job from the veteran Bushrod. Just be ready to look at a ton of Asiata in pre-season games with the new NFL rules regarding rosters throughout the summer. Bushrod’s job to lose, and I believe Asiata will show his worth this summer. A rookie can take a veteran’s job, whether its now, or in the future. Just be ready for that experiment all summer!
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