Has the Offensive Line ever been good for the Miami Dolphins?

It is hard to remember a time when a Dolphins quarterback was actually well-protected by their offensive line. From Tua Tagovailoa to Ryan Tannehill, there has been a consistent glaring issue in the roster that never seems to get better.

According to Teamrankings.com, since 2003, Miami has only been in the top ten twice for sacks allowed per game. They have been the bottom-place team (2019 and 2013) as many times as they have been in the top ten (10th in 2022 and tied for 3rd in 2005).

Year Times sacked per game (average) Ranking in NFL
2022 2.2 10th
2021 2.4 19th
2020 2.1 14th
2019 3.6 T-31st
2018 3.3 T-27th
2017 2.1 13th
2016 2.1 12th
2015 2.8 26th
2014 2.9 23rd
2013 3.6 32nd
2012 2.4 20th
2011 3.3 30th
2010 2.4 21st
2009 2.1 17th
2008 1.7 12th
2007 2.6 23rd
2006 2.6 21st
2005 1.6 T-3rd
2004 3.3 T-28th
2003 2.0 14th

This will be the biggest concern going into 2023.

A Stacked Roster Hindered By A Poor Offensive Line

Miami has been seen as a dark horse by many coming into the 2023 season, but the main narrative surrounding the team’s season is the health of Tua and whether he can last the full season.

In each of his first three seasons as a pro, Tua has missed time through injury at some point. He was the backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick to start his 2020 rookie year, but he also missed games due to injury. It hasn’t improved since and has arguably gotten worse. Whether it has been a fracture to his ribs or concussions, it has not been a smooth ride in the former Alabama QB’s time with the team, and this is not even to mention his fractured relationship with former head coach Brian Flores.

Miami has, at times, attempted to fix its offensive line. In the same round they took Tua in 2020, they also took right tackle, Austin Jackson. However, this has so far not worked out, and Jackson has been a constant turnstile between the trenches. The same can be said for 2021 second-rounder Liam Eichenberg.

The Dolphins front office added Terron Armstead and Connor Williams in the 2022 offseason. Armstead earned Pro Bowl honors last season, but his injury history is as concerning as Tua’s.

Miami has it all set to make a Cinderella-type run to Vegas for Super Bowl 58. From Tyreek Hill to Jaylen Waddle out wide and Raheem Mostert in the backfield to a defense featuring Christian Wilkins, Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb, Jalen Ramsey (once he returns from injury), Xavien Howard, and Jevon Holland, this is a roster with a nice blend of exciting young talent and experienced veterans still at the top of their game. The offensive line features none, with Hunt the only lineman other than Armstead that has shown any promise. That is, if he can sort out his false starts, with only five players in the entire NFL recording more.

Provided no injuries happen to any more key players, there is no denying that the offensive line will be the thing that holds this team back, as it always seems to have done.

Tua’s Long-Term Health

For the offensive line, it is not just about making sure Tagovailoa is healthy for this season; it is for the next five years and more. Miami took him fifth overall in 2020 for a reason and has stacked him up with speedy receivers to make sure he fulfills his potential. Let’s be honest; he is one or two concussions away from being forced to retire.

Drew Brees 2.0 is the ceiling for Tua, and if he wants to replicate even half of what Brees did in his illustrious career, then the offensive line needs to improve. However, no additions were made to the line, which has pros and cons.

Whilst on the one hand, there is something to be said about keeping the same core. At the end of the day, they need to ensure they are all on the same page when the ball is snapped. However, you cannot look at their 2022 performance and think that this was acceptable, even if only nine teams had fewer sacks allowed per game than the Dolphins.

Albeit in training camp, but their matchup against the Falcons in practice left little to be desired. If the clips that we saw were in a game, then Tua would have been crushed. While the benefit of the doubt needs to be considered here for the context of the clips, this cannot carry on going into Week One and beyond.