One of the biggest questions going into training camp for the Miami Dolphins roster is whether they did enough to address the offensive line. 

I feel like it’s the same question as last year, but it’s different because the team lost guard Robert Hunt in free agency, and center Connor Williams isn’t under contract as he recovers from an ACL won’t be back in all likelihood.

Those are two of our best offensive linemen from last year.

Last year, the Dolphins had many questions, specifically about our young drafted players, Austin Jackson and Liam Eichenberg, because players were drafted highly and had been inconsistent since they entered the league. 

In fact, some felt they were busts and couldn’t be counted on. Jackson started 16 of 17 games at right tackle and proved very competent at the right tackle position. He seems to have found a home there and got a contract extension before the end of the season.  

On the other hand, Eichenberg competed at the left guard spot with Isaiah Wynn and lost. The Dolphins also experimented with him as a backup center despite signing free agent Dan Feeny for the backup center and the fact that Eichenberg had never played center before.

The Dolphins traded Fenny before the season started, and Eichenberg became the backup center. Liam played at center because of injuries to Williams, and he played pretty well. He played some games at right guard, his more natural position when Hunt got hurt, and played respectably there for the most part.

Eichenberg is still a player developing and playing well, whether at center or right guard, and with Hunt no longer with the team, he will get every opportunity to win the right guard spot. 

Wynn was having a good season until a quadricep injury midway through the season ended that. Lester Cotton and Robert Jones filled in at both guard spots and performed admirably. All three players are returning, so there is some valuable depth. 

As we all know, left tackle Terron Armstead is a good player, but he is guaranteed to miss at least a handful of games a season.

Kendal Lamm filled in for Armstead and did a solid job. He also played a pivotal role in the game against the Dallas Cowboys, starting at right tackle for Jackson.

Lamm is primarily a left tackle, but he played well against the Cowboys, and his help got the Dolphins a win to clinch a playoff spot. 

The question is, what is different this year? The Dolphins lost Hunt to a $100 million contract that nobody saw coming. Replacing him will come down to Eichenberg and free agent Jack Driscoll. It is a concern, but Hunt missed at least six games last year, and between Eichenberg and Jones, the line was still functional.

I’m not saying the Dolphins won’t miss Hunt, but you can find another player to plug in there, and the drop-off in play may not be as severe as some think.

The Dolphins also signed center Aaron Brewer from Tennessee Titans as a free agent. he’s not the biggest player in the world, but he can move to the second level, which will help in the running game with the zone blocking scheme.

There are questions about his pass blocking, but that’s where Barry comes into play. Even before the injury, it was doubtful that the Dolphins would have resigned Williams because, last minicamp, he was a hold-in and looking for a new contract, and the Dolphins didn’t give him one. Williams is still a free agent, and the Dolphins could still reach out to him, but I think that ship has sailed because he’s coming off the injury, and there are some reports that his career could be over, so I don’t know what to believe. 

The Dolphins drafted a potential future starter at left tackle, Patrick Paul, to take over for Armstead.

Terron thought about retirement after the season, and the Dolphins needed to come out of the draft with a left tackle for the future. Lamm has already been on record saying this could be his last season, so the Dolphins were proactive in getting Paul in the draft. Is he going to play right away? Unless there is an injury, he will get plenty of snaps in training camp and the preseason because Armstead’s workload is being managed to get him ready for the season.

Paul has many of the physical tools needed to play the position, but he needs to be coached on his hand placement and footwork. Barry can coach him, and Armstead can also help mentor him as his career ends.  

The Dolphins had 12 different starting offensive linemen combinations last year, and the offense was still as productive as it was. That’s a credit to Barry for coaching these guys up. For that reason, I’m more comfortable with the offensive line.

Can the Dolphins do more to upgrade the line between now and the start of the season? Yes, they can, and I’m sure they will look into various positions.

The Dolphins’ offensive line wasn’t a liability last year; in fact, it was a strength. Losing Williams and Hunt will hurt, but for the first time in a while, the Dolphins have their offensive line coach returning, and he’s a good one. I think that’s something we should look at, not the players we lost until proven otherwise.