FanPost

Miami Dolphins Offensive Line Upgraded to B Minus by CBS Sports

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

This revelation warms my insides as much as the cup of coffee I’m drinking:

http://fantasynews.cbssports.com/fantasyfootball/story/22274386/offseason-extra-grading-offensive-lines-for-2013

I’ve been worrying about the O line situation for some time, and the uncertainty, for me anyway, extends to the RB position with Rookie Lamar Miller taking over the reins from Reggie Bush.

We’ll have to wait until preseason, but for now, it can’t be anything but good news that when CBS Sports Fantasy Football calculated offensive line grades, the Miami Dolphins came away with an improved grade, from last year’s C plus to a B minus.

Team

GPA

2013

2012

12

Dolphins

2.794

B-

C+

It’s a comprehensive review, including an overall ranking, and as you can see the Dolphins are twelfth. Clearly, the Clabo addition was key for Miami, and according to the chart below, it is Jonathan Martin who is currently the weak link. While that’s not too surprising, it’s largely attributed to inexperience. If Martin adjusts better than we expect, and makes a jump, the line can be a strength for the team.

LT

LG

C

RG

RT

Jonathan Martin

Richie Incognito

Mike Pouncey

John Jerry

Tyson Clabo

C-

B-

A-

C+

A-

What does it mean to go from a C plus to a B minus? Is it significant at all? I think so. This is a game of inches, and small improvements here and there are the difference between being average and being really good, and at the next level, between very good and great.

Reviewing the chart further, you can see the impact of a good offensive line. Two familiar names at the top of the chart were championship teams last year, the Patriots and 49er’s. While the ranking is for 2013, you can see the grades from 2012 were also good. The other two teams who made it to the finals, the Ravens and Falcons, are listed further down, but again, this is the 2013 ranking. Last year, the Ravens also had a solid O line with a B minus grade.

Team

GPA

2013

2012

1

Patriots

3.396

B+

B

3

49ers

3.33

B+

B-

7

Ravens

2.33

C+

B-

7

Falcons

2.198

C

C+

The Falcons are a different story. They seem to be the lone championship team with an average offensive line. Did this matter for them last year? I think it did. The Falcons couldn’t seem to hold onto a lead. They blew 20 and 17 point leads in the playoffs and championship games, respectively. Throughout the season, their RB Turner was not the asset to them that Gore, Rice, and Ridley was, for the other three championship teams. When recalling the Falcon’s final game, I’m sure Falcon fans will remember the turnovers and inability to shut down the 49er offense, but I also remember the Falcons could not run the ball.

I was curious enough to check the 2013 draft results to see who the Falcons drafted, to see what they thought their biggest problem was. They drafted 2 cornerbacks back to back. Perhaps it’s true they need to better defend the pass, but I wonder how their draft picks will help them run the ball. Or, on the flip side, stop the run. They absolutely did not stop Vernon Davis.

For further reference, here’s another chart, with rushing statistics. The Falcons are fourth from the bottom:

http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/team/_/stat/rushing

In conclusion, I think a very good O line is necessary in big games. Brady gets protection to throw. Flacco has time for the long ball on 3rd down, and even Kaepernick enjoyed good protection until he ran into a brutal Raven defense. Ridley, Rice and Gore ran all over opponents, putting up big yards. The fact that the Miami Dolphins may also be on their way to improving their line bodes well for the franchise.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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