In what most will not find surprising after the emergence of rookie Jay Ajayi last week, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, reported Tuesday that the Dolphins have cut running back Jonas Gray, and re-signed offensive lineman Sam Brenner.
Ajayi put together a strong performance in his season debut, running with authority, and even broke outside on a draw run for 23 yards showing a flash of his speed as he dove to the 1 yard line stretching out for the pylon. The fifth-round rookie finished the day averaging 8.2 yards a carry(5 carries, 41 yards).
As for Jonas Gray, who originally signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2012 as an un-drafted free agent (cut due to injury). The 25 year old back according to agent Mike Garafolo will return to the Miami Dolphins as a member of the practice squad.
Gray finished his second tenure in Miami with 31 carries for 122 yards.
Sam Brenner, the un-drafted center out of Utah, who besides Mike Pouncey is listed as the only other center on the Dolphins roster , was cut Saturday to activate Ajayi, but was instantly signed back on Tuesday. While this could all be hypothetical, the resigning of Brenner could also mean change is in the air for the offensive line.
Starting line: LT- Albert LG- Thomas C- Pouncey RG- Turner/ Douglas RT- Fox
New Line: LT- Albert LG-Turner/ Douglas C-Brenner RG- Pouncey RT- Thomas
Why it Works– Pouncey is familiar with the guard position and did a solid job at guard in 2014. The Dolphins gave up 12 less sacks then the previous season(46). Pouncey was the only returning offensive lineman that returned for the 2014 season, but played an unnatural position. Miami in their first 6 games last season averaged 136.3 ypg and allowed only 14 sacks.
Why it doesn’t work– Moving Dallas Thomas to RT is a huge “leap of faith”. Though Thomas has played the position before, in his 695 snaps last season (RG, LG, RT) Dallas Thomas was ranked among the league’s worst offensive lineman per-snap. Miami would also be taking a huge step on Sam Brenner, though Samson Satele did a great job at center in the 2014 season, Brenner has seen very little field time and an offense run almost strictly in shotgun may be too much for Brenner to handle.
Why it needs to happen– The Miami Dolphins trio of guards (Jamil Douglas, Dallas Thomas, and Billy Turner) are ranked the worst starting guards in the NFL no matter which way you were to mix and match the three players. Pro Football Focus also rates Miami’s guards among the worst in passing and run protection situations. This problem easily can account for the problems
Miami has had in 3rd and short situations.
Since Tannehill bequeath the quarterback position in 2012, The Dolphins have ranked an average of 25th in sacks per game, which has accounted to a underdeveloped pass game and the inability for the offense to be run in anything but shotgun.
Furthermore, the injuries alone this offensive line sustained within the last few years, have placed Pouncey/Albert/James together on the field only 5 times since last season.
After last weeks showing it is clear Jason Fox is not the answer in replacing Ja’wuan James while James sits out with a toe injury. If Miami wants any chance (what little is left) of making the playoffs this season, the line needs to be fixed.
6:08 am update: Billy Turner suffered a knee injury week 9 and did not practice on Wednesday. Jamil Douglas would start if Turner is not available.
9:26 pm update: Dan Campbell says Turner will play Sunday. Returned to practice Thursday.