Holding the Line

The start of Dolphins training camp has provided a major shocker: rookie Drew Mormino is starting at right guard and untested Anthony Alabi is starting at right tackle. Rex Hadnot also has been demoted to the second team. L.J. Shelton also isn't starting. What's going on here? Er, maybe we should instead ask, is anything going here? Or is everybody just going a little nuts for no reason?

Camp has been going for exactly three days. The Dolphins have had exactly four practices. Does anybody really think the offensive line has been settled?

So what does it mean that Hadnot isn't working with the first-team offensive line? Maybe Coach Cam Cameron and/or O-line coach Hudson Houck want to light a fire under him. Maybe they just want to look at Mormino in a setting where he's working with other first-team guys.

To think at this point that it means Hadnot is going to be a backup is silly. That's not to say that it's impossible that's going to happen, but what happens in the first handful of days of training camp shouldn't be taken so seriously -- unless, of course, you're talking about a significant player getting injured.

It's kind of what happened last week when Cameron said there was an open competition at quarterback. Under the circumstances, it was a comment that should have been expected.

We're not saying we should have expected Hadnot and Shelton to not be on the first-team offensive line at the start of camp, we're just saying it's not that big a deal.

The reality is the Dolphins have tons of questions on the offensive line at this point and very few answers. So the idea is to look for answers every possible way. Using different groupings together is one way to get answers.

Is there cause for concern on the offensive line? Absolutely.

There's Vernon Carey having to make the transition from right tackle to left tackle even though he appears much better suited for the right side.

There's the prospect of Samson Satele starting at center as a rookie.

There's the lack of an established, proven commodity at left guard.

There's the fact that we're probably looking at five different starters at each of the five starting spots come opening day.

The early commotion along the offensive line is just a reflection of that. It also might be a way to find a cure.

But as far as it being significant or meaning a whole lot in terms of who will play where, who will start and who will sit, it really ain't no big thing.


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Alain Poupart is the Associate Editor of Dolphin Digest and DolphinDigest.com. To read him every day, visit DolphinDigest.com and become a Miami Dolphins insider.