Is Adams the Dolphins’ answer at left tackle?

By Joe Mayes  |   Tuesday, February 26, 2008  |  Comments( 12 )

Miami Dolphins
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With NFL teams able to officially begin negotiating with free agents on Friday, fans in Miami are eager to see what moves Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland will make to bring experienced veterans to the Dolphins.

With an offense that rushed for a meager 98.1 yards per game and surrendered 42 sacks last season, the team's primary focus on that side of the ball should be improving its line. While much of the free agency discussion has focused on quarterbacks and other high-visibility positions, perhaps the greatest need for the Dolphins' offense is at left tackle.

After Vernon Carey was moved from right tackle to left in 2007, he was flagged for 7 false starts as he adjusted to the new position. And though he allowed just 3 sacks, was not flagged for holding a single time, and was solid as a run blocker, Carey is the first to admit that he has no problem moving back to the right side. If the Dolphins move Carey (26-years old) back to his more familiar right side and keep second year center Samson Satele (23) in the middle, the Dolphins would be a left tackle away from having the type of foundation upon which they could build their offense for years.

One option Parcells and head coach Tony Sparano have almost certainly considered is Cowboys 32-year-old free agent Flozell Adams. Adams is the best left tackle in this year's free-agent market, a four-time Pro Bowler who was also named an All-Pro after the 2007 season.

Despite his postseason honors, however, 2007 was statistically not Adams' best year. A closer look at his performance might indicate that the abuse of playing in the NFL for 10 seasons may be catching up with him.

In most offenses, the left tackle faces every opponent's best pass rusher. To counter the various techniques used by these defenders, a tackle must play an almost basketball-style defense, where positioning of the feet is as important as strength and size. From the position of the feet stems the rest of the techniques an effective tackle uses, from hip roll to leverage to arm extension.

There are several indicators that a tackle isn't quick enough on his feet to negate the outside pass rushers. Sacks are an obvious one, but experienced linemen develop tricks that allow them to compete.

If a tackle is getting beaten regularly, he will be more likely to leave his stance early, resulting in false start penalties. Likewise, a tackle will hold more if he's forced to reach for the pass rusher to compensate for being out of position.

In 2007, Adams' was flagged for 14 penalties, more than double the average of his first nine years in the league. He was called for nine false starts (as opposed to his nine-year average of 4.2) and flagged for holding five times (more than triple his nine-year average of 1.4). While these numbers may be anomalies, they may also be indications of a great player in decline.

Adams will be 33 in May and rather than being the answer for the Dolphins' offensive line woes, he may be starting to see his potentially Hall of Fame skills diminish. Fortunately, few people in the NFL know Adams as well as Parcells and Sparano, so their decision later this week should give an indication of whether they believe Adams is the answer for the Dolphins at left tackle. If they do not make a play for Adams, it could also give a glimpse into what the Dolphins' draft intentions may be.
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About Joe Mayes

Joe Mayes is an award-winning writer with credits ranging from national sports columns to local newspapers and commercial and technical writing. Joe is the host of "The Morning Wrap," a morning drive-time sports talk radio show on WTKE-FM in Northwest Florida.
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CommentsComments: 12  |  Sign Up  View all comments
01:02 AM
What a Gay Article....Is Adams the answer at Tackle???? You damn right he is. The last time weve had a productive probowl LT is...
08:59 AM
Adams is not the answer, those stats that you mentioned are not impressive! My advice? Keep Carey at Left Tackle! He's the best...
09:25 AM
We don't need a left tackle in free agency. Carey is already top 10 at the position so just draft a few tackles and let Carey...
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