When the Dolphins selected Liam Eichenebrg in the 2nd round in 2021, hopes were high that this would be the next great Notre Dame offensive lineman to enter the NFL. Miami made a bold move to trade a 3rd round pick to move up eight spots to nab him, and while early returns on Austin Jackson and even Robert Hunt (at the time) weren’t great, at least the Dolphins were smart enough to recognize they needed more help on the offensive line, and this was as much of a sure thing as a sure thing could be.

In recent years Notre Dame has sent Zach Martin, Ronnie Stanley, Quenton Nelson, and Mike McGlinchey to the league, and everyone expected Eichenberg to follow in their footsteps.

Unfortunately for Miami, that wouldn’t be the case.

It has been a rough go of it for Eichenberg since being on the Dolphins. He moved from left tackle to right tackle to left guard early in his first two seasons. In 2022 though, he was settled in as the starting left guard for Miami and got to play between two veteran players in Terron Armstead and Connor Williams. Many believed that playing next to those players would help Liam adjust to the NFL game and bring out the best in him.

It didn’t.

Liam continued to struggle in 2022 and also had a stint on IR which didn’t ease the concerns of Dolphins fans who were wondering if we would ever see the best out of the former Notre Dame standout.


One constant for the Miami Dolphins over the years has been it has been unable to build an offensive line that you can depend on week in and week out. Early-round picks like Austin Jackson and Liam Eichenberg have not worked out or lived up to their draft status. Robert Hunt, who was drafted as Miami’s right tackle of the future to protect the blind side of the lefty quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, had to be moved inside to right guard. And other draft picks such as Michael Deiter (rd 3), Isaac Asiata (rd 5), Isaiah Prince (rd 6), and Solomon Kindley (rd 4) never worked out as none of them became contributors for Miami.

Trades for players like Greg Little and free agent signings like Evan Brown, Evan Boehm, Ereck Flowers, and Sam Young never worked out as Miami had hope as all underperformed while in aqua and orange for the Dolphins.

So, it isn’t a good recipe for success when you whiff badly in free agency and in trades while addressing the offensive line and also select players who never live up to their draft hype or where they were selected.

It forces Miami to go out and spend big money on Terron Armstead, who is an outstanding player but someone you can’t depend on for 17 games a season. And it forces you to take a risk on Conner Williams (which has paid off), but there was no guarantee that he was going to be able to make the transition from guard to center with such ease.

That’s the issue with Miami’s offensive line. It’s always “risk” and “questions”….never stability!

Will Armstead stay healthy?

Will Connor be able to make the move to center?

Will Austin Jackson play like a Top 20 NFL Draft pick?

Will Liam Eichenberg live up to being someone drafted in the top part of Round 2?

Do the Dolphins have any quality depth along their offensive line?

Lots of questions, very few answers.


Now let’s fast forward to this current training camp the Dolphins are having. The Dolphins front office and coaching staff this entire offseason and training camp pounding the table that there was no reason for concern regarding the offensive line. After the NFL Draft, at a press conference, Chris Grier and Mike McDaniel said as much, telling reporters that you guys worry more about this than we do.

In the offseason, they spent very little capital to bring in new bodies at the position group. Paying very little to Dan Feeney and Isaiah Wynn to bring their talents to South Florida.

But they did say that Austin Jackson and Liam Eichenberg would have to compete for their starting jobs. Many thought it was lip service regarding Austin Jackson, as they didn’t bring in a viable right tackle to compete with him for the starting position. But with Liam, there is actually some guys who, while not great, could supplant him for his job.

Liam was struggling within the first two weeks of training camp, from all reports out of camp.

Then it was reported that Miami had three other players taking first-team reps at left guard, and the competition was wide open for the spot.

Fast forward to Miami’s joint practices with Atlanta for two days, and again Liam continued to struggle.

Then, maybe the biggest telltale sign was in the first preseason game; the Dolphins don’t dress Armstead, Hunt, Feeney, Williams, and Kendall Lamm. This is a sign of which offensive linemen they value the most, as they don’t want to risk losing them to injury in a meaningless game.

Austin Jackson started and was OK. Nothing great, but certainly not awful either, so that is a good sign there.

On the other hand, Liam struggled mightily, and when other players competing for his starting job, like Wynn, Lester Cotton, and Robert Jones, got into the game, they excelled.

This is just a continuation of the training camp reports we have been hearing from on-site people for the past three weeks or so.

Which leads to the next question; What is Next for Liam Eichenberg?

Unless there is a miraculous turnaround, it is safe to say that Cotton, Feeney, Jones, or Wynn will be the Dolphins starting left guard to open the 2023 season. And if both of those players outplay and outperform Eichenberg the rest of this training camp and preseason, you have to wonder if Miami would even carry Eichenberg on the 53-man roster.

And if they do would he be active on game days?


They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So, while I disagree with the approach, Chris Grier and Mike McDaniel have taken in the construction of this offensive line; I do have to give them some credit in that it appears they have seen enough of Liam Eichenberg to fully open up this competition and give multiple players a fair shake at winning the job.

While some fans and people in the media like to spin that Miami’s offensive line wasn’t that bad last season or wasn’t the main reason for the team’s issues, it is ignoring the elephant in the room. Some players in this position group just can’t play at the level required for a team to win games in the playoffs and have a serious run to a Super Bowl.

It’s not that you need a superstar, early-round draft pick, or a high-priced guy at all five offensive line positions; you clearly don’t. But you need better than what Miami has been getting in recent years, and it’s time for some of the staples of the disappointing offensive line to be removed and for the staff to try something new.

Maybe Robert Jones or Isaiah Wynn aren’t substantially better than Eichenberg at the end of the day. Very possible. But if they are outplaying Liam in camp and preseason games, let’s give one of them a chance with the starting unit at left guard when the games count for real. Which appears is the direction Miami is going.

Again, it goes back to that definition of insanity thing. Sometimes ya just gotta shake it up and try something new.

Eichenberg appears to be the first domino to fall.

Austin Jackson, you’re now on the clock.