DAVIE — The Dolphins are at, or near last place in every meaningful statistical category on offense. Coach Adam Gase has placed a great deal of the blame for the offense’s deficiencies at the feet of the offensive line.
The Dolphins have poured a great deal of resources into their offensive line, but they have yet to see the desired return on their investment in 2017. The Dolphins, struggled mightily along the offensive line during the 2015 season and they made the decision to fortify the unit the following offseason.
The Dolphins selected tackle, Laremy Tunsil out of Ole Miss with the No. 13 pick in the 2016 NFL draft. Tunsil filled in admirably at the left guard position and was a key cog in the rushing attack that averaged 114 yards per game.
Through the first four games in the 2017 season, the Dolphins run game is averaging just 74.8 yards per game, but Tunsil believes the team can amend their missteps along the offensive line.
“As a line, we just need to come together and have like a chemistry – like we did last year,” Tunsil said. “It’s coming along man. This is the fifth game and everything will be fine.”
The offensive line’s performance was the catalyst for improved performance on offense last year, but the results have been vastly different this season.
With the departure of Branden Albert, Tunsil has moved from left guard to left tackle this season and offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen described his play at left tackle as middle-of-the-road.
“I think it’s been OK. I think he would tell you just OK. I think he feels like he could play better and I think he will play better as it goes. I would evaluate his play as probably expected. It’s [his] first time at a high-profile position in this league and again, there’s a tendency to think of him as a veteran guy and that’s really not the case. He’s a second-year guy who’s really playing – he’s got four games under his belt playing left tackle, which is a tough position. You’re out on an island. I think it’s probably been expected.”
While Tunsil has had his fair share of struggles at left tackle, the good certainly outweighs the bad. Despite the occasional mistake on game day, Christensen is excited about Tunsil’s future in the NFL and is optimistic he’ll become more consistent as the season progresses.
“I think he’ll tell you that he’s going to play better and I think he will,” Christensen said. “The more games he gets under his belt, he’s going to keep getting better and better and better and better. He does work. He’s a pro. He’s a talented guy. I think it is coming and some things you only can learn through making a mistake and messing it up. He’s had his share of those. One good thing, one thing you look for as a coach, is that it doesn’t derail him.
“It doesn’t ruin him for the whole day. That’s what you don’t want. You can’t play left tackle in this league if you have a long memory and you can’t forget things. Bad stuff happens at that position. You’ve got to move on and keep going and he has been able to do that. I think you’re going to just see him keep ascending and again, I think like everybody, just getting into some form of a routine and a rhythm and a cadence on this thing will do wonders for us, especially if we can string a couple of wins together. That cures a lot of small ills. Hopefully we can do that.”