Dolphins co-OC George Godsey weighs in on offensive line development

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The Miami Dolphins’ attempted overhaul of the offensive line is entering into Year 2 with a number of key contributors — and the results throughout the course of training camp have been something of a mixed bag. But with so many young pieces, that can be an expected growing pain for one of Miami’s most scrutinized units on the roster. It’s been a long time since Miami had their line “right” and there’s no guarantee things will fully come together this year, either.

But in a world in which Miami could enter the 2021 season with all 5 starters on the line being draft picks of this regime within the last three years, there’s plenty of hope that the Dolphins can get it to a competitive spot by either the start of the season or, just as important, the end of the season.

Co-offensive coordinator George Godsey was asked about his line during Monday’s press availability and offered an extensive rundown on many of the young contenders to start. Miami’s line features at least two players playing in new positions in 2021: Robert Hunt at right guard and Michael Deiter (formerly a left guard) at center.

Godsey has appreciated their preparations to take the switches in stride.

“Both those guys are smart players and it’s another position where there’s only really eight of them active on game day so they’ve got to have some flexibility and it’s nice for Michael (Deiter) to have played guard for a year now knowing what it takes from a center with that communication. Same thing with Rob (Hunt) with the guard and tackle. So all of that works together,” said Godsey.

“I wouldn’t say it’s an easy transition for anybody at any level or at this level for any position, but those guys have done a good job of trying to stay ahead of all the install.”

No player on the line will be watched more closely than Austin Jackson. The team’s left tackle was a top-20 selection by the team in 2020 and his preseason struggles thus far in 2021 have not gone unnoticed. Jackson has all the physical tools but appears to be struggling with putting everything together in real time; he’s too often conceding his chest or not timing his strikes on the edge.

Godsey understands the complexity of the position and appreciates Jackson’s communication efforts up front.

“That position – left tackle – at this level is one of the hardest in sports and it’s one of the hardest on the line. You’re going against a premier pass rusher on every snap and he knows it’s one play at a time. We’ve got to make sure we help both sides out with chips and tight end presence, but Austin (Jackson) has been nothing but a pleasantry out there at tackle because he knows the offense, he run blocks well, he’s aggressive,” said Godsey.

“He enjoys being out here every day. He’s doing a good job, too, of communicating with the guards, who’s playing left guard and we know that there’s been some movement there so that’s part of his leadership on the line.”

And finally, the “other” 2020 draft pick on the offensive line appears to have re-secured his role as a starter on the inside. Solomon Kindley has started both of the first two games of the preseason after getting pushed to the third-team early in training camp. His only true competition for a starting spot in rookie Liam Eichenberg; who flashed playing right guard on Saturday against Atlanta. But regardless of Eichenberg’s status, Kindley’s experience from his rookie season does give him an advantage in prepping in 2021.

“(Kindley) got some experience as a rookie playing there a lot of snaps and then he also is a run blocker – north, south, downhill, inside run blocker. He can pull, he can double-team a zone block and he’s got, like I said, familiarity with going against some pretty top-level players last year. So again, all experience helps at that position.”