It’s not often that an offensive tackle shoulders the bulk of the pressure on offense coming into a season, but Jonathan Martin faces that burden entering the 2013 campaign.
With Jake Long’s offseason departure via free agency to the St. Louis Rams, there is a huge vacancy that needs to be filled at left tackle for the Miami Dolphins. Martin will be given every opportunity to take hold of that position as a blindside protector for last year’s first round pick Ryan Tannehill under center.
The expectations on Martin are huge entering just his second NFL season as Miami went on an offseason spending spree by adding all kinds of offensive weaponry. Wide receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson are joined by tight end Dustin Keller to help make the Phins much more dangerous around Tannehill.
A late free agent addition of veteran tackle Tyson Clabo shouldn’t worry Martin as far as the depth chart is concerned. He is penciled in as the starter, and if he can show any improvement from his rookie year the Dolphins shouldn’t have much to worry about. Reports out of camp say that the tackle looks much more fluid in his movement which will help him to better mirror oncoming defenders in the year ahead.
Following the Dolphins OTAs, Martin told the team’s website:
“I’m excited. It’s a position I want to play, obviously. I’m excited for the challenge, I’m excited for the opportunity, so I’m going to try to make the most of it during these OTAs and do whatever I can to help this team win.”
It may seem like a stretch to say that an offensive lineman is the most pivotal piece on offense for any team to realize success, but Martin truly is that guy for Miami in 2013. His ability to keep Tannehill clean and upright will be paramount to the club experiencing the level of success that they expect this season.
The Dolphins passed on the opportunity to trade for disgruntled left tackle Branden Albert from the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2013 NFL Draft, and that spoke volumes about their faith in Martin. It’s time the second round pick from Stanford in 2012 goes out and validates that trust with a solid year of protecting Tannehill.