- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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MIAMI -- It was an odd scene that doesn’t happen often in an NFL locker room.
Following the Miami Dolphins’ 23-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills, Miami offensive line coach Jim Turner -- unplanned and unannounced -- came to the defense of starting right tackle Tyson Clabo during the player's interview.
Turner spoke over Clabo during a hard line of questioning after Clabo gave up two fourth-quarter sacks to Bills defensive end Mario Williams that changed to complexion of the game.
“You’re talking about two plays in the whole game,” Turner said behind the large group of media in defense of his offensive lineman. “The guy played a great football game today against one of the best players in the NFL.”
It was an effort by Miami’s position coach to boost morale of his struggling and much-maligned right tackle. However, the facts are the facts: Clabo has now allowed seven sacks in six games. Miami’s right tackle is not having a good season, and it came back to haunt the team in the fourth quarter.
Williams beat Clabo inside with a power move twice in the fourth quarter to get to Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The second sack caused Tannehill to fumble and set up Buffalo’s game-winning field goal by former Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter.
To Clabo’s credit, he stood up and faced the music with the media after the game. He was open and honest about his poor play in the fourth quarter.
“I have to take full responsibility,” Clabo said. “Those sacks are my sacks. There’s no way around it.”
Miami’s coaching staff put Clabo on notice during the bye and said his play must improve. After giving up two key sacks that led to the team’s third straight loss, where do the Dolphins go from here?
There are no easy answers in this scenario. Nate Garner may be an option off the bench, but he's a better guard than offensive tackle. Although a trade is possible, most teams aren’t willing to give up quality offensive tackles in the middle of the season. The Dolphins may have to stick with Clabo for the rest of the season. He will be a free agent after this year.
The easiest answer for Miami would be for Clabo to simply play better. Turner has a point that Clabo's bad plays were late, but it's the player's job to play the full 60 minutes.
"I have to give credit to my other four guys," Clabo said of the offensive line. "Those guys played their [tails] off. They kept [Tannehill] clean. I'm very disappointed that it ended the way that it did."
23mEric D. Williams