Time to finish up this short series of posts by discussing the big men in the trenches.
Everywhere you look, the Jets are gaining momentum as a trendy Super Bowl pick. For the most part, the "experts" who are picking the Jets give two reasons. One is their defense - which, by all means, is very good. The other reason, though, seems to be New York's offensive line. But here's the thing - if people think the Jet offensive line is good Super Bowl caliber, then there's no doubt that the Dolphins' line is as well, right?
That's the focus of today's AFC East debate. Who has the better offensive line? I'll make my case below. John B from Gang Green Nation will then make his case for the Jets.
Why the Dolphins have the better offensive line
I think it's easy to see why the Dolphins have the better offensive line when you go position by position. Jake Long is one of the top two or three left tackles in the sport - and he's just two seasons into his career. He's already a two time Pro Bowler and is only going to get better.
At right tackle, Vernon Carey and Damien Woody are probably pretty darn close. Woody is probably the better pass blocker while Carey is the better run blocker. But I'll take the mauling 29 year old who hasn't missed a single game in over four years over the aging vet who is on the downside of his career.
The Jets have the better center, though. I can't possibly deny that. But Jake Grove isn't all that far behind Nick Mangold. If only Grove could stay healthy.
I think what really separates these two units, though, is the depth along the interior line. The Dolphins are loaded with big, tough, physical, and versatile guards and a quality backup center as well. Richie Incognito, assuming he can keep his head on straight, has the ability to be a stud at guard. On the other side, Donald Thomas and rookie John Jerry are maulers. And we can't forget about the do-it-all Nate Garner - who can effectively play right tackle, center, and both guard spots (hell, the man did it all in one game last year).
Though both units are top five offensive lines in the league, the Jets simply can't match that depth along the interior and that is why Miami's offensive line is better.
Why the Jets have the better offensive line
I would say the Jets have two advantages over Miami at this point. The first is we currently know 80% of the starting lineup. The only open competition is at the left guard slot. Miami's situation seems to be more in flux. The second advantage is that 80% has started 35 games together including the Playoffs over the past two seasons. Lines function as a unit so familiarity is important. The Dolphins don't have it to the same degree.
Thanks to John B for helping out. Your thoughts are encouraged below. I'll be back from vacation tomorrow. Talk to you all then.