Monday, July 19, 2010
Guard battle coming in Dolphins camp
One of the most interesting position battles of training camp will be at guard for the Miami Dolphins.
Scouts Inc. analyst Matt Williamson examines the upcoming competition for ESPN Insider. He writes "Miami has a chance to have the best offensive line in the league."
The Dolphins made some bold moves at guard over the offseason, signing the notorious Richie Incognito and trading Justin Smiley, who they signed minutes into the start of free agency just two years ago.
Incognito, Donald Thomas, Nate Garner, Joe Berger -- all of whom started games somewhere last year -- and third-round pick John Jerry are in the mix.
Garner started at both left and right guard for the Dolphins. Thomas was the first-stringer for the first dozen games at right guard. Incognito started for the St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills. Berger's time came at center for Miami.
Williamson breaks down the pluses and minuses of each player in the run game, pass blocking, character and upside. In general, he likes what he sees lining up inside tackles Jake Long and Vernon Carey.
I expect Miami to have an elite offensive line. The Dolphins routinely kept extra pass-blockers in for added protection last season. That trend should begin to change drastically, which should help the passing game. This is a young group collectively, and Miami should be set for years to come. It has clearly been a major priority of this regime to rebuild the front wall after it took over a hapless Dolphins' team several years ago.