So much talk about rebuilding with the Miami Dolphins over the past several seasons. This has me thinking about the process of rebuilding. Do you start with the QB? Do you start with the best player you can get your hands on regardless of position? Do you start with the offensive and defensive lines? Front 7? Secondary?
In my view winning starts with the offensive line. I have a pretty simple theory. Offensive line blocks, blocking opens holes for your running backs and gives your quarterback time to make good decisions with the ball. This gives your play callers a nice foundation of money plays that can move the sticks. Move the sticks, keep your offense on the field.
Once you have your offensive line set you can focus on RB, QB, TE, WR in that order. Here you can move one ahead of another depending on who is available to you but generally you want to plug in a back that can find the holes, a QB who can make the reads, and a TE who can force the defense to respect the middle of the field.
So here is what we have so far:
- Offensive line blocks, opens holes for consistent gains and gives QB time to make good decisions.
- TE and running game encourages the defense to commit resources to the middle of the field.
- Wideouts have time to get down field and can spread the field east to west to thin the defensive focus.
Again we start with the defensive line. In opposition to my earlier offensive build philosophy your defensive line will limit running lanes and time opposing QB has to make good decisions. You grab hold of the best available LB and DL players you can get in any order in an effort to cause chaos for the opposing offense. My top priority is the run stopping fire hydrant of a DT but beyond that have at it any order. Round it out with a single blue chip DB and serviceable complimentary DBs.
In my view all pretty simple. I think teams get into trouble if they completely skip over one of the building blocks in their quest to get to the big dance. This could be due to simply overrating your own players. I think the problems the Dolphins found themselves in in recent team history is they have treated the offensive line as an after thought. Probably a poor philosophy that thinks you can plug in serviceable lineman to open running lanes and give your QB time in the pocket. This simply is flawed logic because this is an arms race with teams trying very hard to close running lanes and pressure the QB. This is why I focus so much on offensive line, because in a sense every team is going to have a good front 7, good enough to hurry your QB if you do not pay MORE attention to your offensive line that other teams do.
Do the Dolphins finally have it right? I am not sure given they have only addressed LT and to some extent LG in FA. Center is set with Pouncey but they really need another blue chip lineman on the right side before I would say that building block is set.