The quarterback's blindside has solidified itself as one of the most important positions in football. Where did the Dolphins turn, after all, when attempting to lay the framework for the turnaround we have seen?
They took a mammouth left tackle from Michigan with the first overall pick a little over two years ago, and have transformed what was considered one of the worse offensive lines in the league, into one of the better units in football.
That low-risk selection has to be considered one of the smartest moves made by this regime in the re-building process, and I think it's safe to say they would do the same thing, if given the opportunity to do it all over again.
While the interior of the line is in for a bit of a shakeup, the tackles on the outside should continue to provide stability for an offensive line looking to protect and open up holes for an offense possibly ready to sky rocket into elite status.
Jake Long: Long is probably the best player on this team, and could hold down that status for years into the foreseeable future. He's as safe as safe can be on the roster and as the starter at left tackle.
Vernon Carey: Carey provides solid play at right tackle, and finally received a little recognition after 09', when he was named a first-team all-pro by Peter King. Although he's undoubtedly safe on the roster this season, some question his long-term value. He's always been a tremendous run blocker, but the 20 quarterback pressures he surrendered last season could make him replaceable down the road. If he can make significant strides in pass protection in 2010 though, I don't see why he can't be apart of this team's future plans.
Nate Garner: The versatility Garner brings to the table makes him virtually uncuttable, in my opinion. His heroics last year in Carolina, where he played just about every position on along the line, won him over in the opinion of fans and coaches, alike.
Andrew Garner: Andrew got the nod over Nate at the beginning of last season, when the Dolphins only kept three tackles, and placed Nate on the practice squad. Things will likely be in reverse this time around, however, as Nate's versatility should win out, regardless of the progress Andrew makes in year two. Of course, the Dolphins could always keep four tackles, but with many expecting them to keep four running backs again, keeping one less tackle will likely be the repercussion.
Lydon Murtha: Murtha was brought over from the Detroit Lions practice squad last October. He will likely have the same fate on the Dolphins' roster though, as it's hard to make a case for him sticking to the final roster with the talent in front of him.
Andrew Hartline: Hartline stared the 09' season on the practice squad after failing to make the team. He was promoted though, after the Dolphins regrettably washed their hands of Matt Roth. He will likely start this season as a practice squad member as well, but if something opens up down the road, he could find himself on the team, once again.
LT Depth Chart
1. Jake Long
2. Nate Garner
RT Depth Chart
1. Vernon Carey
2. Nate Garner
Coutdown to Camp: 18 days