Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Miami Dolphins 2010 Position Grades: Offensive Line

The Miami Dolphins' offensive line looked quite different in 2010, with only tackles Jake Long and Vernon Carey remaining as starters from the previous season.

The Dolphins used the uncapped year to get rid of the bloated contracts of productive but injury-prone guard Justin Smiley and Jake Grove, who had a combined $50+ million on the books.

The team also gave up on 2008 sixth-rounder Donald Thomas, who missed all but one game of his rookie season with a foot injury after winning a starting job in camp. He started most of the 2009 season, but was benched due to performance at one point.

I completely understand the Dolphins' moves. Smiley and Grove weren't reliable health-wise and weren't worth the money they were making. Of course, the Dolphins can be blamed for handing out those contracts in the first place.

I also fully expected the release of Thomas all preseason and know it to be the right move. Fans loved the guy because of the potential he showed as a rookie in 2008 camp, but he never played like a starter and was actually a free agent for most of the 2010 season before joining the Detroit Lions in late November.

That all being said, the Dolphins made these moves without the talent to replace them, and it cost the offense and the team greatly in 2010

While Jake Long continued to play like a Hall of Fame tackle, the interior line made up of hot-headed left guard Richie Incognito, journeyman center Joe Berger, and rookie John Jersey was horrendous.

That kind of play killed the Dolphins' two-headed rushing attack, which in turn put far too much pressure on the passing game. Essentially, the line held back the offense in 2010.

So how did each of the Dolphins' linemen grade out in 2010? Let's take a look:

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