Many Miami Dolphins fans are underwhelmed with having John Jerry as the teams starting right guard, but there are a few guys who could push the big fella for that spot once they return to health. Weight is always an issue for Jerry and he will need to get (and remain) under 340 pounds to have Joe Philbin keep him in his starting spot regardless of how other lineman fare at the position.
The offseason was filled with big name signings, but an under-the-radar addition could end up being Lance Louis. The 6’3″ 325 pounder started 24 games combined on the right side of the line for the 2011 and 2012 Chicago Bears and he was signed to a one year “prove you are healthy and worth it” deal by the Dolphins back in late March. The big fella is affordable considering he is only guaranteed $100,000, and even if he plays all 16 games, he will not go north of $2 million, so it is a good gamble by Miami. I say gamble because Louis is still recovering from a torn ACL, but he seems to be at least on a good pace for recovery (if not slightly ahead of pace). We should see Louis in training camp, and if that is the case then Jerry will need to not only keep his weight below 340 but he will also need to outplay Louis.
Another potential Dolphin returning from injury that could push Jerry is rookie Dallas Thomas. The 6’5″ 310 pounder is out with a labrum issue, but once he gets healthy and on the field (likely in July) he will be a guy who pushes for playing time. Thomas has the ability to play tackle, but as a guard he is excellent at getting blocks — plural — on a play. Thomas can get to the second level and wreak havoc for would-be defenders looking to make a tackle. Even if Jerry stays below 340 we will still see Thomas push him for playing time at some point.
It almost seems to me like Jerry is a placeholder at this point because I like Louis and Thomas to jump over him on the depth chart very quickly and effectively. This is an opportunity for Jerry as he is the only healthy one of this bunch, but he may be on the outside looking in soon enough. Good luck big fella…