The Curse of the Right Guard?

We won't blame anybody if suddenly players refuse to line up at right guard for the Dolphins. Already, two players at that spot have landed on injured reserve and a third could be on the way.

Starter Bennie Anderson sustained a torn triceps in Sunday's loss to Buffalo and Nick Saban mentioned that IR could be a possibility depending on what an MRI shows.

But Saban didn't sound optimistic when he said, "I don't think it looks good."

Seth McKinney started the injury parade at the position when he had to undergo neck surgery and ultimately was placed on injured reserve.

Shortly after that, rookie Joe Toledo was injured while practicing at the position and his knee injury also landed him on injured reserve.

The next in line at the position, along with Anderson, was Joe Berger and he has been out for a few weeks for a mid-foot sprain.

And now Anderson.

Anderson's replacement against Buffalo and likely for the foreseeable future is veteran Kendyl Jacox, who himself is coming offseason foot surgery.

All the injuries up front are not conducive to developing any kind of cohesiveness, and it might be telling that Saban on Monday pointed out as the three offensive linemen doing a good job Vernon Carey, Rex Hadnot and Jeno James. Those are the three returning starters from last year.

The biggest concern on the offensive line right now, though, isn't the right guard position, but rather the play of left tackle L.J. Shelton.

He was supposed to represent an upgrade over last year's starter, Damion McIntosh, but is off to a difficult start in 2006. He was particularly brutal against Buffalo after getting called for an illegal formation penalty, getting called for holding (even though the penalty was declined) and getting beat cleanly for a sack.

This clearly isn't what the Dolphins envisioned when they signed him as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

With the way Daunte Culpepper is struggling early in the season, he needs all the help he can get up front, and Shelton picking up his play would be an important step in the right direction.

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