MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins’ latest acquisition took the practice field Tuesday and immediately began to cast a shadow over the left tackle position.
Of course when you’re 6’8”, 364 pounds, like Dolphins left tackle Bryant McKinnie, you cast a shadow pretty much anywhere you go. The 12 year pro was acquired in a trade from the Baltimore Ravens on Monday and is likely going to eventually move into the starting left tackle job soon.
“He’s a heck of a player,” said tackle Jonathan Martin, who will likely shift back to right tackle. “Anytime you bring in a guy like that, it’s going to make you better.”
Anyone who has seen the Dolphins this year knows they need all the help they can find along the offensive line. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been sacked the most of any quarterback in the NFL and the running game has been anemic for the Dolphins all season long.
McKinnie might not be ready for Sunday’s game at New England, or even the Halloween game against Cincinnati. But barring sudden, dramatic improvement by right tackle Tyson Clabo, McKinnie is expected to move into the starting lineup eventually.
He likely would assume his customary spot at left tackle, with Martin moving from the left side to right tackle as Clabo’s replacement. McKinnie practiced only on the left side Tuesday, and while Clabo and Martin remained with the first team, Martin worked some on the right.
But the decision to acquire McKinnie showed a growing desperation inside the Miami Dolphins facility as the team has crashed into a three-game losing streak after starting the season 3-0.
McKinnie, in recent years, is known as much for his off-the-field problems as he is for his on-field performance. Outside of a four-game stretch in the playoffs last season, most NFL experts say McKinnie has lost a step and is not dedicated enough to remain a viable starter in the league.
The former Miami Hurricane star also has weight issues that cost him practice time with the Baltimore Ravens this year. McKinnie weighed in at 364 pounds when he reported to the Dolphins on Tuesday and said he wants to play at 355 pounds.
Just to emphasize how big McKinnie is, his number 78 practice jersey was too small to cover his immense midsection.
But the Dolphins are desperate for help and unlike last year when the team was more than ready to cut ties to Chad Johnson; the need to win is helping the Fins begin to look the other way when players make mistakes off the field.
“I don’t mandate what people do outside the building,” head coach Joe Philbin said. “I expect him to be a professional, just like all the other guys.”
McKinnie declined to predict how soon he might play, as did Philbin. But guard Richie Incognito, who was traded by the St. Louis Rams during the 2009 season, predicted McKinnie would be ready for the Patriots on Sunday.
“No question I think he can do that,” Incognito said. “I showed up on a Thursday in Buffalo and started Sunday, so it has been done before.”
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)