DAVIE (CBSMiami) – Two games through the preseason, the Miami Dolphins are still dealing with problems at the right guard position.
Last year’s starting right guard, John Jerry, has been out of training camp since the first week while dealing with a knee injury. In his place, the Dolphins have tried multiple players and none of them have taken advantage of the opportunity.
The Dolphins first moved center Josh Samuda to right guard and he struggled. In only his second snap of the game against the Jaguars, Samuda was easily beat by a Jacksonville defensive tackle for a sack. Samuda was taken out of the game and replaced by Nate Garner late in the first quarter.
The Dolphins also have former Bears right guard Lance Louis on the roster, but he’s still trying to complete his comeback from a serious knee injury from last season.
“We didn’t get off to a great start offensively, I think everybody would agree to that. We have to do better,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. “We are going to have to do better in pass protection early in a ball game. When the first play is a sack, that’s not the way you want to start a game.”
Philbin was also quick not to lay all of the blame for the offensive line’s problems against Jacksonville at Samuda’s feet, “Josh has been working his tail off. He wasn’t the only issue. Everyone wants to focus on him. That certainly wasn’t the only issue we had in the ball game the other night.”
Moving forward, it appears Garner will be next in line to get a shot at the position.
“He is a contender right now,” Philbin said. “We know a lot about him. He’s very versatile. He fills a lot of roles, at times we’ve been competing. Again, our philosophy is we are going to find the five best guys and line them up get them ready to go. Right now, we aren’t exactly sure who those five guys are, so he’s absolutely in the competition at this time.”
Overall, the Dolphins offensive line is set with Jonathan Martin at left tackle, Richie Incognito at left guard, Mike Pouncey at center, and Tyson Clabo at right tackle. Filling in the right guard spot will come down to a competition between Garner, Samuda, Louis, and Jerry, if he can overcome his injury quickly enough.
For quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the quicker the offensive line is settled, the better off he will be finding a comfort zone in the pocket.
“The thing that excites me when I look at the guys that we’re going to line up with, I believe with our skills guys and with our offensive line, I’m excited about those guys, we still have a lot of work to do though,” offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said.