In our third and final installment of the first weekly "Around the AFC East" feature, we have Phinatic from The Phinsider sounding off on Miami's offensive line...
Buffalo Rumblings: How does Miami's O-Line look? Are they solid enough to protect the immobile Trent Green?
Phinatic, The Phinsider: That's the million dollar question. As it stands now, all but one of the spots (LG) is basically determined. Vernon Carey will move from RT to LT, rookie Samson Satele will likely be the starting center, Rex Hadnot moves from C to RG, and LJ Shelton moves to RT. As for that left guard spot, it'll be a battle between Chris Liwienski and rookie Drew Mormino.
So how will they perform? Who knows, really. But last season's struggles have been well documented. However, they are also slightly exaggerated. The Dolphins' QB was sacked 41 times, which was 21st in the league. But 21 of those came in the 4 games started by Daunte Culpepper. Once the switch was made, the Dolphins QB (Joey Harrington or Cleo Lemon) was sacked just 1.6 times per game. If you averaged that out across a 16 game season, it would've put them ranked 6th in the league. Considering that, and considering that Hadnot playing RG and Satele playing C are both upgrades, it's conceivable to think that this offensive line will end up being good enough to keep Green upright most of the time. The real question, though, will be how they will run block, which will really be the key in determining how much success this offense has.
While the stats do seem to be skewed heavily (proving Daunte Culpepper's true ineptitude), I still don't see Miami's O-Line being solid enough to protect Green for a full season. Rookie centers are anything but fully dependable, and Liwienski (the likely starter at LG, in my mind) is on the downside of his career.
I expect Green to miss a game or two due to injury this season, and while I believe that Ronnie Brown's stats will see improvement, there's still a lot to be desired given his talent and potential. Getting Green, in my mind, was a move of stability for the franchise, but there's still a lot to prove. And it all starts with that suspect O-Line.
That's it for Week One of "Around the AFC East". Once again, if you have any questions you're itching to have answered about our division rivals, send them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll do my best to have them answered. And don't forget to check out NY Landing Strip, Pats Pulpit and The Phinsider to view the rest of this AFC East project.