The Miami Dolphins are almost certain to start this season with a brand new starting five on the offensive line than the unit they played Week 1 in 2013.
That's because center Mike Pouncey, the unit's best player, is expected to miss three months or more following hip surgery that almost certainly means he'll miss multiple games.
Dolphins Pro-Bowl C Mike Pouncey underwent hip surgery today and is expected to miss at least three months, per ESPN sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 23, 2014
Pouncey also was a key figure in the team's hazing scandal involving 2013 starting linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. Martin left the team last November after he said a group of players led by Incognito — and including Pouncey and John Jerry — relentless hazed him the previous two seasons. Martin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers, and Incognito and Jerry were not re-signed as free agents.
Pouncey remains with the team, and he figured to be playing for a contract extension this season, but he could be a candidate for the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, which would keep him out six games but save the team a roster spot and allow it to bring him back this season.
Replacing Pouncey could be one of two undrafted free agents from the past two seasons, respectively, Sam Brenner and Tyler Larsen; they've split reps at the position in camps. Free-agent addition Branden Albert anchors the left tackle spot. Left guard could be a battle betwixt Dallas Thomas, coming off a four-snap season, and project rookie Bill Turner. Right guard figures to be Shelley Smith's job, and right tackle likely will go to first-rounder (reach) J'Wuan James.
How this group jells is the biggest story heading into training camp, if it wasn't already. It would not be stunning if the Dolphins look for experienced center help to buttress the group.
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