First of all, right off the start, don’t get me wrong. I will not defend the play of Turner or Thomas. They had some potential but never lived up to it, never excelled, never seemed passionate enough to destroy any competition. Whether it was an opponent on Sunday afternoons or a rookie lineman fighting to take their jobs away in camp, Thomas and Turner never once raised their game to an acceptable level.
Last Sunday at around noon, Thomas and Turner were warming up, expecting to take their usual role on the Dolphins bench where they belonged. But then some strange things happened.
Strike one: Brandon Albert, who was sick 5 days earlier, said he couldn’t play. That meant Laremy Tunsil would play left tackle again, and either Thomas or Turner would fill in at left guard.
Strike two: Laremy Tunsil called offensive line coach Chris Foerster and said he tripped in the shower and can’t play.
Strike three: Adam Gase made the deadly decision to move BOTH Thomas and Turner to the left side, where neither one had ever played.
Meanwhile, Jermon Bushrod is a Pro Bowl left tackle and a Super Bowl champion. Gase decided to leave him at right guard and stubbornly stuck with Thomas and Turner on the left side.
I won’t defend the overall play of Thomas and Turner over the years, but as far as last Sunday goes, I’ll cut them both some slack for one game anyway. Both were unprepared to play, and I feel that’s the coach’s fault. All 53 men need to step up and step in at any given time, but that is rarely the case with the mediocre Dolphins. Can you name me ONE time in the last decade when a backup player came in during an emergency and instantly became a success? Happens CONSTANTLY on other teams, but never once to the Dolphins. The coaching just doesn’t prepare our guys to perform.
And even if they ARE ready to perform, Gase hurts our team by putting them into positions that they never played before. Yes, Sunday’s line situation was an unprecedented emergency, but it’s not like Gase didn’t have options.
Gase had a Pro Bowl left tackle on his roster, and Gase chose to ignore him.
Don’t blame Tannenbaum or Ireland or Thomas and Turner or the curse of destroying the Orange Bowl or Stephen Ross for that one. Only one person made such a brutally bad decision.
Okay, so we just cut two backup lineman. Shouldn’t be the end of the world, right? The problem now is that we have no one to replace them. Even for depth. Even for just an emergency. We re-signed lineman Sam Young, a journeyman tackle who’s on his 4th team in 5 years. Not exactly reassuring. He can’t be much worse that Thomas and Turner or even Jason Fox, but time will tell if he is better.
So we have virtually zero depth on our offensive line, and the Dolphins decided to get rid of 2 guys and replace them with one. Let’s hope nobody else slips in the shower. By the way, who the hell takes a shower right before suiting up? I know the NFL has mandated programs that rookies have to attend. Rookies are required to attend classes on drug usage, avoiding leeches/entourages, and how to handle the millions of dollars you’re now receiving, etc. Laremy Tunsil obviously missed the class about using drugs. Now he needs a special one-on-one tutor to tell him that he should shower AFTER the game.
I have a feeling that both Turner and Thomas will show up on another team’s roster, and they’ll have decent careers as a backup, as long as they’re in a system where teamwork is a priority instead of being in Dolphinland, where you’re expected to win every single one one one battle or else get cut.
Meanwhile, Adam Gase continues to defend and praise Tannehill, and cutting Turner and Thomas proves how short-sighted Gase is. Look, there has to be a time when you expect your QB to evade a blitz. Even if you have all 5 lineman lay down and you allow 6 rushers to run right at a QB, if he’s in the shotgun, he still has a second to get the ball away. To sidestep one of the 6 rushers. To lunge forward. Anything. My point is no matter how bad the line does on a particular play, the QB can do some things to alleviate the problem. But Tannehill has zero skills in that regard. He sees rushers and does nothing to evade them. Every single week.
Gase is not wrong when he blames the linemen for getting Tannehill killed out there. But he IS wrong when he blames ONLY the linemen.
He IS wrong when he calls 18 different plays that require a 7-yard dropback. EIGHTEEN different times Gase decided to trust the linemen. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 18 times, and that proves our head coach is in over his head.
He refused to call rollouts, QB draws, read-options, and (God forbid) any trick plays. He watched our linemen get decimated play after play, and how did he fix it? He called the same play again.
Meanwhile, he watched Tannehill just stand there as if he had a ticket to the game, instead of being in the game. Does that guy EVER step up in the pocket? EVER?
So yeah, all in all, Turner and Thomas won’t be missed, but I hate to see them hit the road because of Ryan Tannehill’s inability to move and Adam Gase’s refusal to do anything about it.