First off, I know it sucks we lost Keller, and I know we lack strong depth on this team...but we'll be fine and here is why.
The starters on the o-line are not that bad, in fact, they've been pretty darn good. Jonathon Martin, yes, the punching bag of South Florida the past month and the national media is ranked by PFF as the SECOND, yes SECOND best OT in the NFL through the preseason so far. He is clearly getting better and better as we didnt hear anything negative come his way expect he didnt hold his block long enough on one play that resulted in Tannehill getting sacked. To Martin's defense, the play was going for about 4 seconds so he probably thought it was over, but to his fault, you don't give up until you hear a whistle. Stuff like that will get fixed.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering where Jake Long ranked, 115th out of 138 people. Yea, the guy who just got paid 8 mil a year, has looked like garbage. I saw the Rams games on nfl network and watched him closely, he's getting abused play after play in the run and pass game, constantly ending plays on the ground. Thank G-d we didnt pay him and saved that cap room.
Mike Pouncey ranked 3rd by PFF of all Center's in the NFL. This is no surprise as he's been outstanding all last year and the year before. The center position is arguably the most important after LT, and luckily we have drafted a very good one in Mike Pouncey.
Richie Incognito ranked 4th best OG in the NFL through the preseason. Richie has always been a solid stable on our o-line the past few years, and he continues to get better as he increases his reps with Pouncey and Martin by his sides. He's also playing for a new contract, which always helps, although he's never needed extra incentive to hit someone.
Tyson Clabo has ranked 69th by PFF so far. He has a positive pass blocking grade and negative run blocking. This shouldn't be too big of a surprise as he went from a power blocking scheme for the past several years in ATL to a zone here in Miami. It will take him time to adjust but he's a vet, and his most important job is to make sure Tanne is clean.
Now for the RG, Yes Samuda has been pretty bad, especially pass blocking as he's given up a few sacks. But John Jerry last year had a positive pass blocking grade, and was average as the 26th best pass blocking guard by PFF. Lance Louis on the other hand was the 19th best pass blocking guard in the NFL last year. So once these two gets healthy, things should improve from the right side. As far as run blocking, neither is that great, but as the unit plays together more and more, that will improve itself.
So you see, our o-line is actually pretty decent, if not pretty good. Our depth isn't that great, but when Garner, and Louis get healthy, we will have a few guards that can move around as well as guys with experience at tackle like Jerry and Garner.
Now, Dustin Keller got hurt, and that sucks! But if you did notice, the next few plays Brandon Gibson caught a few balls and they happen to be over the middle. I expect him to take on that roll as we go to more 3 wide instead of 2 TE sets. I also expect Clay to step into Keller's role to work down the seem, as he's agile and actually a better blocker than Keller was. He certainly lacks in the agility, pass catching, and route running ability that Keller had, but I think he can be decent enough to be effective in that area. I'm not counting on Egnew to do much, so if he does, that would be a pleasant surprise.
Our wrs are legit, 2 1000 yard wr's and Gibson will cause any defense issues. Lamar Miller has shown great burst but also some mental errors with dropped balls and a fumble. I expect those to be cut down as he gains more and more touches. And we definitely have depth behind him in Thomas, Gray and Gillisee, not to mention Thigpen.
Our Defense is a top 10 unit with top 5 potential and have beasted this preseason so far. Once Dion Jordan comes back, our pass rush will be even better, and Grimes has shown quickly why he can be the steal of free agency this year with a beautiful pick off Schaub last week. We have all the pieces on Defense, a Kicker who doesn't allow returns and shows a strong leg, and an offense with a lot of potential. We are all really concerned about depth and our o-line. Well just like we WERE concerned about Martin a few weeks ago, once Jerry and Louis are healthy, o-line wont be much of a concern either.
Injuries happen, but strong teams over come them. The years the Giants and Packers won super bowls, they were badly hurt by the injury bug. But they had a next man up mentality and were led by their veterans. Keller will be missed, but as mentioned plenty on twitter, if losing Dustin Keller stops you from going to the playoffs, you weren't a playoff team to begin with. When Tanne was given time, he was picking Houston's defense apart. And we pretty much held the best defensive player in check, in JJ Watt, from touching our qb. Big improvement from week 1 last year when he basically ate Tannehill in the 1st quarter and batted down several of his passes.
I will say, as said before, that Clev is no push over team, but that if we are to contend for the playoffs, we need to come out and own them. I mean defensively just shut them down drive after drive. Give Tanne some good field position and time to throw, and eventually he'll find the open guys between our wrs. They have Haden, but thats really it as far as coverage. Hartline and Gibson should have big games while Haden focuses on Wallace.
Sky is not falling, actually far from it. Players improve as do teams. We are missing starters on the oline and dline (starks and Dion Jordan). Time to be optimistic. Get through next week without more injuries and then let the starters heal for when the games actually count.