Bye week gives Dolphins time to answer major questions starting with the offensive line

Marc Serota

The Miami Dolphins are heading into their bye week with a lot of questions surround the team. They have to use the two weeks until they face the Buffalo Bills as a chance to find some answers.

If you have read the Phinsider for any length of time, you know I am not someone who calls for another person's job. I think there is always an ability to debate a decision, or a body of work, but I am not a coach. I am not a general manager. It's not something I could do, and it's not a job from which I think I should be calling for someone to be fired

With that being said, this Miami Dolphins team has a lot of questions that have to be answered and changes that have to be made. With the bye week coming for the Dolphins, now is the time to make those changes.

I am a big believer in letting an offensive line have time to build chemistry. Each member of an offensive line has to know what the person next to him is going to do, and they have to be able to adjust without much communication. That only comes with time working together.

But this offensive line does not seem to be coming together. Something has to change. And, all five members of the offensive line need to be considered in the retool.

Don't get me wrong, I completely agree with head coach Joe Philbin, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and everyone else who have said the pressure getting to Tannehill is not just on the offensive line. The tight ends, the running backs, and Tannehill all have a part of it. But, when Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito is standing in the middle of the field, looking back at Tannehill as he gets sacked, there's nothing the quarterback could have done but eat the ball and take the hit.

This offensive line has issues. Pretty straight forward, and pretty simple.

For some reason, the sum of the offensive line does not equal the individual parts. Mike Pouncey is a top center in the league. Incognito went to the Pro Bowl last year, because he played to that level, and he is actually having a decent year again this season. Tyson Clabo is a veteran tackle, who is on the downside of his career, but should be better than he has played. John Jerry is simply average, but average should be better than what is happening with the line right now. And Jonathan Martin, while not something special, is, again, an average lineman who should be adding to the offensive line.

Does the line, on paper, have issues? Yes. Should they be this bad? No. Absolutely not.

Somehow, these five guys detract from each other, rather than add to their play.

General manager Jeff Ireland and Coach Philbin have to sit down today, if they didn't over night, and figure out how to fix this offensive line this week. There's no way they can wait until the offseason to address the problem. It has to be fixed now. The sooner they come up with a plan, the more time the line will have to work on implementing that change.

Otherwise, the offensive line and Tannehill are going to have an NFL record they do not want. After yesterday's six sacks allowed performance against the Baltimore Ravens, Miami is now on pace to allow 76.8 sacks this season. The NFL record for most sacks in a season on one quarterback is 76. David Carr suffered through that season with the Houston Texans in 2002. At this rate, Tannehill will surpass that.

The good news, if there is any here, is that the 77 sacks allowed would not be the record sacks allowed by a team in one season. That record belongs to the 1986 Philadelphia Eagles, who allowed Randall Cunningham (72), Ron Jaworski (22), Matt Cavanaugh (9), and Keith Byars (1) to be sacked a combine 104 times.

And, it's not like the team is tearing it up in the running game right now. Although the team is probably not handing off the ball as much as a lot of us would like, when they do, the offensive line is struggling to open up running lanes for Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, or Ryan Tannehill.

The Dolphins have to find an answer. Is that move players around on the line, like putting Jerry in Clabo's right tackle position, benching Clabo, and putting someone like Dallas Thomas or Nate Garner into the starting right guard position? Could the team look to see if Lance Louis' knee is ready for him to come back? Could the team look to someone like tackle Vernon Carey, who, according to the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero, tried to get in touch with the team in the preseason about coming back to his former club? Is it time for Will Yeatman to get some playing time?

Is there a trade out there that makes sense for the Dolphins?

Obviously, if a player is brought in, at this point, he's another team's cast off. There's no one out there that is going to be an All Pro level offensive lineman just hanging out on the street. But, at this point, the Dolphins don't need an All Pro. They just need a pro.

Because the performance this offensive line is putting together right now is not NFL worthy. It's not NCAA worthy. I'm not sure a high school football team would put up with a performance like this.

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