Stop me if you have heard this before: ESPN does not like the Miami Dolphins. The team had a solid draft - though Mel Kiper definitely did not like it because the team did not grab the quarterback he thought they needed - and they have addressed so many of their needs through free agency and the draft that the team’s roster looks solid despite a massive turnover of talent - talent that ESPN likes to remind everyone the Dolphins lost in players like Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh, and Mike Pouncey.
Especially Pouncey. On Monday, ESPN and Football Outsiders created a listing of the biggest remaining need for each NFL team heading into the summer. For the Dolphins, it was the offensive line.
Because, the team actually did fill just about everything else. And because...Pouncey.
Of the Dolphins’ offensive line need, Rivers McCown writes:
The Dolphins made some great picks as far as filling needs, but the interior of the line is still underwhelming and this team badly needs a better season from 2016 first-round tackle Laremy Tunsil. Daniel Kilgore, whom the team is relying on to replace Mike Pouncey, was brutal with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017 and had never started 16 games in a season before that. Josh Sitton sliding in for Pouncey should be a lateral move overall, assuming the 32-year-old doesn’t lose anything to age. But outside of Sitton, there aren’t any real strengths on this line. Anytime Ted Larsen is Plan A, you know the player development program has a few blind spots.
McCown makes some great points. The team does need to see a better season from Tunsil this year. Of course, the writeup also explains that Kilgore had a “brutal” 2017 and “never starter 16 games in a season before that.” The highlight of Pouncey’s 2017 season was...starting 16 games, something he had not done since 2012. But, hey, that does not fit the hatchet job on Miami’s offensive line.
So, Kilgore may or may not be a replacement for Pouncey, but then Josh Sitton is apparently also replacing Pouncey? Did I miss something where Pouncey played two offensive line positions last year? Sitton is presumed to be replacing Ted Larsen as the starting left guard, not Pouncey. And, since Sitton is replacing Larsen, it is hard to define Larsen as the “Plan A” as McCown clearly states. The starters at guard should be Sitton and Jesse Davis, but again, who needs to actually see what the team is doing, and how they are developing Davis - and eventually Asiata - before trashing the Miami offensive line and the “player development program.”
Once again, ESPN is showing that they do not know the Miami Dolphins, or care to even try to find out something about the team before they start denigrating the club. It would have been pretty easy to just ask someone who the starting guards will likely be for the team. It should have been pretty simple to not associate Pouncey with two different positions this year.
But, hey, at least they were right that Tunsil needs to play better.