Are Armstead and Williams Enough to Solve Offensive Line Woes?
Former New Orleans Saints offensive tackle signed with the Miami Dolphins in free agency. Scouts and analysts considered him the best tackle in this free agent class. The Dolphins signed former Dallas Cowboys guard Connor Williams as well. Those two signings automatically improved a problem area, offensive line, for the team, if both players can stay healthy.
Miami chose not to draft anyone else along the line with any of their four picks this year. How much will the twp veterans presences help what is otherwise a young line? The Dolphins line ranked 32nd, dead last, in the league last year, per Pro Football Focus. Right Guard Robert Hunt and Center Michael Dieter rated highest for the team last year. Tackles Liam Eicheberg and Jesse Davis, as well as Guard Austin Jackson, all struggled. Only Davis is older than 25 among last years starters. Youth and lack of development meant Tua Tagovailoa had little time to throw. It led to him rarely looking down the field. The running game also suffered, finishing 30th in yards last season. Did Miami make the right call keeping a unit that was worst in the league together, even if not all of them start?
New Oline Coach Applebaum fits McDaniels Scheme
The Dolphins clearly believe coaching was part of the lines issues last year. They hired, Matt Applebaum the former Boston College Eagles offensive line coach to help their lines development. The Eagles line ranked as one of the highest in the nation last year. Boston College ran a zone blocking scheme, the same as the San Francisco 49ers. Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel was San Francisco’s running game coordinator last season. The 49ers also ran a zone blocking scheme.
Applebaum’s hiring appears to fit what McDaniel’s wants to do. McDaniel’s creative running scheme needs a strong line to open up holes for backs, and also to lead receivers around the edge on jet sweeps. If Applebaum and McDaniel can find a way to improve the line Miami may have a chance to be a top ten offense. Miami added plenty of weapons in free agency. None of those additions matter much if the players up front don’t get a good push and protect Tua. Their growth can go a long way to Miami’s offense, and team overall, reaching its potential.
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