Jonathan Martin Needs to Step Up for the 2013 Miami Dolphins

By Craig Ballard
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

As we know, the left tackle is the big fella that protects the blindside of a right handed quarterback, which is the scenario for the Miami Dolphins as they have given the keys of the franchise to Ryan  Tannehill. The organization played hardball with four-time Pro Bowl tackle Jake Long this offseason and eventually he moved to the NFC West with the St. Louis Rams (why anyone would join that division to get beat on by the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers I do not know, but I digress). The ‘Phins made what they considered a legit offer to Long, but they were unwilling to go beyond that which left free agency or the NFL draft to address Tanny’s blindside protection.

Free agency is almost over, and the team did add Tyson Clabo plus they drafted Dallas Thomas who is coming off shoulder surgery which will keep him sidelined for a while (and he will likely play at guard for the ‘Phins). The left tackle position is likely going to be manned by second year starter Jonathan Martin who spent most of his rookie season getting torched at right tackle before sliding over to his natural left tackle position with decent results in the final month of the season. Martin protected the blindside of Andrew Luck in college, and he is likely the guy who will get the call in 2013 (and going forward) to protect Tanny’s blindside.

In 2012 there was not an offensive lineman in the NFL that allowed the opposition to hurry his QB as often as Martin did, but a recent interview I did with former Dolphins lineman Keith Sims offers some explanation as to why ‘Phins phans can be optimistic about J-Mart developing as a legit left tackle on the NFL stage.

Check out what Sims has to say about Martin at the 20:15 minute mark of The Keith Sims Interview (entire Sims interview is the first 25 minutes of the show/link). Sims talks about how difficult it is to make the switch that Martin made as a rookie (going from RT to LT) and he comments on what he sees when he watches J-Mart. The three time Pro Bowl LG had great insight on Martin and a few other Dolphins linemen too.

One thing to remember is that head coach Joe Philbin has a great history of developing offensive lineman, and he has been praising Martin’s offseason progress as far as getting stronger and improving his blocking skills. Philbin seems to feel that J-Mart is a guy who “gets it” and that is going to allow him to get better going forward. While a lot of peeps see a guy who struggled in 2012, it seems the coaching staff sees a guy who they can work with and they seem to feel like LT is less of a question mark than others do.

Martin + Philbin + offensive line coach Jim Turner = a significantly improved J-Mart in 2013+ (in my opinion anyway!).

Thank you for your read! I hope you enjoy the interview with Sims too, we had a ton of fun taping it.

Craig Ballard is a NFL/NBA/MLB writer for Follow him on Twitter @craigballard77, and you can find all of his articles HERE

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