Throughout the offseason, the Miami Dolphins improved many aspects of their roster via free agency and the draft, however, the position that remains a question mark is the offensive line.
While the lack of depth is an issue, the starting unit is inexperienced and has yet to prove themselves at the NFL level, particularly the left side of the offensive line.
Mike Pouncey has been the centre piece of the Dolphins offensive line over the past two years, starting the full 16 games over each of those seasons. Veteran Richie Incognito, entering his ninth season in the league, has been a reliable option for Miami at guard while making his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2013. Despite the reports of Tyson Clabo struggling in camp, it's expected cconsidering he is lining up against Cameron Wake every day. The tough test should prove to be beneficial for the veteran entering the regular season.
However, the left side of the offensive line doesn't offer much comfort. Sophomore Jonathan Martin will have the task of protecting Ryan Tannehill's blind side after a mediocre rookie campaign for the young left tackle. Due to an injury to John Jerry, rookie Dallas Thomas is getting reps at left guard.
For the first week of camp, this was the Dolphins starting offensive line:
LT: Martin, LG: Thomas, C: Pouncey, RG: Incognito, RT: Clabo
While the possibility of the Dolphins entering the regular season with this starting unit has instilled fear into the fan base, it also appears to worry the coaching staff.
In order to field the best possible offensive line with what they have, Pouncey has been rotating between his normal centre position and right guard with Josh Samuda taking over at centre. Incognito also moves from right guard to left while Thomas drops to the second unit.
The Dolphins are now experimenting with this offensive line:
LT: Martin, LG: Incognito, C: Samuda, RG: Pouncey, RT: Clabo
Even though this option removes the Dolphins best offensive lineman from their most comfortable positions, it provides the team with more balance. Incognito will be able to assist Martin on the left side, something that can't be asked of the rookie Thomas. There should be no concerns with a right side of Pouncey and Clabo as they are both proven commodities. As for Samuda, his performance moving from a backup role to the starting unit will be closely monitored.
In the latter half of Sunday's practice, the Dolphins tried another new look by keeping Pouncey and centre, Incognito at right guard and moving Samuda to left guard. This option makes the most sense as the team can keep their best lineman in their natural positions while holding a competition between Samuda and Thomas for the fifth spot.