The O-line Shuffle Continues
C Mike Pouncey
C Mike Pouncey
Associate Editor
Posted Jul 28, 2013


The focus at Dolphins training camp continues to be the offensive line, where the mixing and matching continued on Sunday. More specifically, it's the middle of the line where the Dolphins continue to experiment with various combinations involving Mike Pouncey, Richie Incognito, Josh Samuda and rookie Dallas Thomas.

For the second consecutive day, Mike Pouncey took snaps at right guard with the first-team offense. That's the same Mike Pouncey who has started every game at center the past two seasons after joining the team as a first-round draft pick in 2011.

Samuda took Pouncey’s place at center during drills when Pouncey was at right guard, while Incognito lined up on both sides with the first-team offensive line. Remember that Incognito went to the Pro Bowl last season as a left guard.

“We’re moving guys and trying to get the best mix,” offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said. “The key to that whole position is to stay healthy in my mind and try to play with the same guys from day one to game 16 and beyond. We’re trying different combinations. The extra week gives us an opportunity to be a little more creative in that way.”

All the movement in the middle of the offensive line has come about as the result of injuries.

John Jerry, who started at right guard last season and came back this summer looking more fit than ever, hasn't practiced since Wednesday because of an undisclosed injury.

Then there's veteran free agent pick-up Lance Louis, who was expected to challenge for a starting job but hasn't taken part in team drills yet as he continues to work his way back to 100 percent after sustaining a torn ACL last November.

The Dolphins on Sunday used their different middle combinations on the first offensive line: from left to right, Incognito-Samuda-Pouncey; rookie Dallas Thomas-Pouncey-Incognito; and Samuda-Pouncey-Incognito.

Pouncey was a second-team AP All-America selection at guard as a junior at the University of Florida in 2009 before he moved to center as a senior after his twin brother Maurkice left early for the NFL.

“It felt weird (to practice at guard), but it’s whatever the team needs right now because we’re short guys and so they want to see guys work out at different spots,” Pouncey said. “Just getting back in that stance and anticipating the snap count was the biggest adjustment because usually I’m the first one off the ball. But I was an All-American at guard, so it’ll be easy.”

Samuda and Incognito also are no strangers to moving around.

Incognito started at right guard for the St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills before joining the Dolphins as a free agent in 2010, while Samuda started at both guard spots and backed up at center during his college career at the University of Massachusetts.

“You always want to get around, just switch spots, help the team out," said Samuda, who appeared in all 16 games in 2012 after making the team as an undrafted rookie free agent. "That’s all you’re trying to do. Whatever helps the team, that’s what I’m here for. If I can start, if I’m the backup, I’m good with it.”

The only two spots on the first-team offensive line that have remained constant since the start of training camp are left tackle with Jonathan Martin and right tackle with Tyson Clabo.

Martin, a second-year player from Stanford, is preparing for his first full season at left tackle. He started the first 12 games at right tackle as a rookie in 2012 before moving over to the left side for the last four games in place of the injured Jake Long, who then left in the offseason as a free agent. Clabo was signed in the offseason after being released by Atlanta.

“I think they’re doing well,” Coach Joe Philbin said. “I think Jonathan’s transition is going well. And Tyson Clabo is intelligent, is efficient, he’s been in the league long enough he knows what works for him and what doesn’t.”


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