DAVIE, Fla. – At the quarter mark of the season, perhaps no singular unit with the Miami Dolphins has been more scrutinized than their offensive line.
Coach Adam Gase has pointed to the group as one of the reasons the offense is dead last in total offense (231.3 yards) and scoring (10.3 points). Many have pointed to the poor pass protection, which included 10 sacks allowed of quarterback Jay Cutler in four games.
Then, scandal broke off the field this week when a video surfaced on social media of offensive line coach Chris Foerster snorting a white substance. Foerster quickly resigned, and Miami hired former Miami offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo as a special offensive assistant.
Throughout the chaos, the Dolphins expect their offensive line to respond in an important game Sunday against the reigning NFC champion Atlanta Falcons (3-1). Miami has overcome a poor offensive start to be 2-2 after four games.
Miami’s offensive line was dealt with another blow of adversity with Foerster’s resignation. The video was shocking and surfaced hours after the Dolphins’ home victory over the Tennessee Titans. The next day Foerster was off the team.
Starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil didn’t want to talk about it. Injured backup tackle Eric Smith said he didn’t have words to describe what happened and that the entire line was “hit hard” by the news.
“It’s unfortunate,” Dolphins right tackle Ja'Wuan James said. “I hope Coach Foerster gets the help he needs and he’s back to doing the stuff he needs to do. He’s a great coach to us, a great man, and we appreciate everything he’s done for us.”
There are a lot of leaks in the ship when an offense is ranked last in the NFL. In addition to the offensive line, Cutler hasn’t been consistent at quarterback, Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry and hasn’t scored a touchdown this season, and receivers have had issues with drops and getting separation.
However, the offense is sticking together despite growing frustration.
“I haven’t seen a bunch of finger-pointing around here,” Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said. “As a coach that’s something you’re proud of.”
Atlanta, a heavy favorite, is eighth in the NFL in scoring at 26 points per game. Despite Miami’s defense playing well, its offense likely must play its best game of the season thus far to pull off the upset. The Dolphins’ offensive line hasn’t done its job in both the running and passing game through four games.
“We still have a lot of things to work on, a lot of things to correct and we will get it done,” Tunsil said. “As a line we just need to come together and just have chemistry like we did last year. It’s coming along. This is the fifth game and everything will be fine.”