If there’s a silver lining to the dark cloud that settled over the Dolphins yesterday, it’s that they were already adjusting to a brand new offensive line.
So while the loss of Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey for at least three months and likely longer is a blow, it’s at least not the first one.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald outlined their options, mostly internal ones given the chaotic nature of their line rebuilding.
Looking for a clean slate after last year’s Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin mess (and some bad line play), the Dolphins have revamped this year.
They signed left tackle Branden Albert in free agency and used their first-round pick on right tackle Ja’Wuan James. Free agent pickup Shelley Smith has been working at right guard, with Dallas Thomas at left guard.
That leaves filling the hold in the middle, setting the stage for five new starters in Week One.
During practice last week, Sam Brenner filled in for Pouncey. He started four games at guard last year. Veteran Nate Garner started a pair of games in the middle last year when Pouncey was sick, and remains another option. Smith could move inside, but that would weaken two spots instead of one.
There’s a full bus of capable-if-unremarkable veteran centers on the street, and the Dolphins have plenty of time to look for one of them.
The simple reality is that wholesale change was already happening, so adjusting is something they’re used to.