Guarded Optimism

G Richie Incognito

Coach Joe Philbin has stated on more than one occasion that he wants to line up the five best players to start along the offensive line. That, however, may create a bit of a dilemma when it comes to the guard spot.

The issue is that the one position that doesn't appear cemented at this point is right guard, where veteran Artis Hicks currently is working with the first team.

Hicks' biggest value to the team, though, just might be as the top backup on the line with his experience and ability to play both guard or tackle.

New acquisition Eric Steinbach has started 124 of 125 games in his career and he's a proven performer.

But Steinbach has started every game in his career at left guard, a spot currently occupied by Richie Incognito.

Incognito has started the last two seasons for the Dolphins, so he's pretty entrenched in the starting lineup.

Steinbach is coming off back surgery, but if his back holds up, he's most definitely one of the five best linemen on this team.

So the dilemma is this: Who plays left guard and who plays right guard?

The logical move clearly would be to move Incognito to right guard, simply because he's got starting experience at that spot, whereas Steinbach has only played left guard during his NFL career.

Incognito actually has started more games at right guard than at left guard, although those starts came early in his career.

Incognito was asked about the possibility of moving to the right side and said he would be OK with it.

"It's always a possibility, but I think right now we're pretty set on the left side and we're really looking to solidify that right side," Incognito said. "I've started a bunch of games on the right side. I'm willing to do anything to make this team better."

Steinbach has been working at left guard with the second-team offense since joining the Dolphins, but it'll be interesting to see if either he or Incognito gets moved at some point this summer.

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