Miami Dolphins new head coach Joe Philbin has a ton of knowledge when it comes to offensive-line play. Entering his first head coach gig surely Philbin will need to increase his knowledge in certain positions, but o-line is not one of them. Philbin, and new offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, will instal a zone-blocking approach for the o-line. Even though preseason has yet to begin, the rumors are that right guard is a position that could see a small surprise.
Well, maybe not small surprise as Artis Hicks is 6’4″ 340+ pounds, but surprise none the less. Miami decided to let long time lineman Vernon Carey walk away this summer, and Marc Colombo retired. That was no problem as it was going to be OUT with the old, IN with the new. Carey/Colombo combined for 202 NFL starts, while Miami was going to turn to 3rd year man John Jerry and his 13 career starts.
As mentioned this new Dolphins regime knows the o-line position. They are either going to smell what you’re cooking right away, or be willing to move on. Word is that John Jerry is not looking good so far this summer. The 6’5″ 330 pounder was a great collegian at the University of Mississippi (4-year starter) but his skill-set may not mesh with the new west-coast offense the ‘Phins will run. Jerry’s Ole Miss roomie Michael Oher gets all the pub, but when the Rebels needed tough/physical yards they ran behind John Jerry. A smash-mouth style is likely more suited for Jerry. He is versatile, but word is he is around 30 pounds overweight which will not mesh with the west-coast offense need for athletic o-lineman.
Rumor is the starter at right guard could in fact be 11 year veteran Artis Hicks. At 34 Hicks was signed as a free agent four months ago by Miami. For Hicks this will be his fourth different team in last four years. It has been since 2006 that Hicks was a NFL weekly starter. Not as much wear-and-tear on Hicks’ body as you may think as he was mostly a reserve player. Miami is looking for an active o-line and Hicks has always been able to move well. In recent years Miami has drafted power-blockers, but Hicks has played in a zone-blocking system before which is a sure leg up for him with this group. Miami could have Hicks between youngsters like Mike Pouncey (2nd year center) and Jonathan Martin (rookie right tackle). A vet with experience in the system like Hicks will be a valuable asset for Philbin/Sherman
There are veteran guards still available through free-agency. Jake Scott, Chris Kemoeatu, and Andre Gurode amongst them. Heck, Vernon Carey is still out there too. However it does seem like the early favorite to line-up at right guard for YOUR MIAMI DOLPHINS is Artis Hicks.
follow me on twitter @craigballard77