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Dolphins' rebuilt offensive line has more questions than answers

Omar Kelly, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Football

Successful offensive lines feed off chemistry, communication and cohesion.

That's why most NFL insiders expect the truncated NFL offseason, limited contact in training camp, and the lack of a preseason to present the greatest challenge to those units around the league.

It doesn't help that the Miami Dolphins embarked on a massive makeover because of last season's historic struggles along the offensive line.

Miami's 14-player offensive line not only features eight newcomers, but six of them are rookies. And there's also a new offense to learn, and a new position coach, Steve Marshall, responsible for teaching it.

This could lead to growing pains for a unit that not only finished tied with the Carolina Panthers for most sacks allowed (58) last season, but set a franchise-low in rushing yards gained (1,156).

"When the first ball game is the New England Patriots on the road, we certainly have a challenge there," Marshall said, referring to the Dolphins' Sept. 13 season opener at New England. "Whether you're a rookie or a four-year guy, my job is to get them prepared to play the best they can play."

 

At least Marshall does have some familiarity with Chan Gailey's system and schemes, considering he worked under the Dolphins' new offensive coordinator for two seasons with the New York Jets.

"I thought it was important to go with someone who was familiar with that style of play. That played a role in hiring Steve," coach Brian Flores said. "He's a good coach, a teacher. A very good teacher of O-line play. He and I had a good feel, a good vibe during our interview process. He works well with Chan, and he works well with the offensive staff."

According to Flores, who is now working with his third offensive line coach in a little over a year, Marshall has a reputation as a respected teacher and for being "tough on his players."

"He offers tons of knowledge," veteran offensive lineman Jesse Davis said when asked about Marshall, who he played for briefly as a member of the Jets in 2016. "He's seen probably every technique you can get from different players to different styles of play and any question you have, he answers it on the fly and it's been great."

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