Camp Countdown: Offensive Line

Training Camp 2009 is scheduled to begin with the first practice in the afternoon of Aug. 2, and it figures to be an intriguing summer for the Dolphins. We take a look at the Dolphins heading into camp by breaking down the team by position with an analysis of the biggest issue at each spot and a projection of the roster battles. This installment looks at the offensive line.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

On the roster: C Jake Grove, G Donald Thomas, G Shawn Murphy, G/C Andy Alleman, G Justin Smiley, G/T Ikechuku Ndukwe, G J.D. Quinn, G/C Joe Berger, G Mark Lewis, T Andrew Gardner, T SirVincent Rogers, T Vernon Carey, T Nate Garner, T Jake Long, G/T Brandon Frye.

Number likely to be kept: 9

On the 2008 opening-day roster: T Jake Long, G Justin Smiley, C Samson Satele, G Donald Thomas, T Vernon Carey, G/T Ikechuku Ndukwe, C Andy Alleman, G Shawn Murphy, T Nate Garner

The big training camp question: How soon will guard Donald Thomas be able to start practicing, and can he regain the form that helped him win a starting job as a rookie last season?

Analysis: The Dolphins have quickly put together what has the makings of a very good offensive line, and they have built up a lot of depth in the middle after the offseason acquisitions of Jake Grove and Joe Berger, but there is one nagging concern that remains. That's the right guard position, where the Dolphins don't really have a great answer if Thomas' offseason pectoral injury prevents him from getting ready for the start of the season. The three guys who took reps at the position in offseason workouts were Brandon Frye, Shawn Murphy and Joe Berger, and all three of them really look more like backups. If Thomas can go and be effective, then the Dolphins will be in fine shape here with a starting five of Long, Smiley, Grove, Thomas and Carey.

Who will make the team: Long, Smiley, Grove, Thomas, Carey, Alleman, Berger, Ndukwe, Gardner


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