The Last Stop for Phins Jesse Davis?Photo by Dave Adamson

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Jesse Davis is trying to find a position in a crowded Phins offensive line

The Miami Dolphins have so many good storylines in the 2020 Season that it feels like a dream. The defense, Brian Flores, Chan Gailey, and Tua are at the top of the list. But to a lesser degree, the improvement on the Oline is a key point as well. The group has grown enough that veteran Jesse Davis is having a hard time finding a spot. Now that Jesse Davis was moved inside, is this his last stop?

First, if missed it, Davis was moved from starting Left Tackle to starting Right Guard early in the 2nd Qrt. It’s easy to miss player swaps on the O-line, I didn’t notice until the 2nd Half. But, after the Phins second touchdown, rookie RG Solomon Kindley was replaced by veteran Davis, who proceeded to have a solid–if not good–game. There were no reports of injury, so the replacement seemed to be more about upgrading the line with players swaps.

Jesse Davis was moved the RG replacing rookie Solomon Kindley

Inserting Jackson at Left Tackle was because Davis was struggling hard against speed in the wide pass rush. This move freed up Davis to upgrade the right guard spot. While Kindley was playing well enough, Brian Flores believed Davis was an upgrade–and he was… slightly. Also, Davis played a key factor in the two big runs of the day and was a real factor in the win.

Davis struggles as an edge blocker when left alone all day
Inside at RG Davis thrived against the Cards
How is the Phins O-line holding up in 2020 compared to 2019?

The key difference between the Phins 2019 and the 2020 offensive line is not one starter is paying terrible. In 2019, LG Michael Dieter and Shaq Calhoun produced amid 40’s PFF Grade, which is terrible. Add to this interior Daniel Kilgore was victimized in the run game and with the bull rush. This disastrous interior o-line dragged the offense down. It was only because of the excellent play by Fitzpatrick that there was an offense at all.

This Oline is playing around the average level with good chemistry and has six quality options for starters.

PFF Grades for the Phins O-line
  1. LT Austin Jackson 55.0 slightly below average
  2. LT, RT, RG Jesse Davis 59.0 average
  3. RT Robert Hunt 52.3 slightly below average
  4. C Ted Karras 66.3 above average
  5. RG Ereck Flowers 63.5 slightly above average
  6. RG Solomon Kindley 52.5 slightly below average
This O-line has warts, but they are manageable
  1. Jesse Davis is well rounded, but his punch is soft. Smaller, speed rushers abuse this weakness with edge rush when he’s at tackle.
  2. Ereck Flowers lacks ‘umpf’ in run blocking despite his massive size and isn’t mobile enough to pull. His pass blocking though is excellent.
  3. Ted Karras is well rounded, but a better run blocker who occasionally has pass-blocking lapses.
  4. Austin Jackson does very well against edge rushers using speed. Rookie blues, lack of power, and poor run blocking are his early negatives.
  5. Solomn Kindley moves very well in pulls, very physical, and well balanced, but his hand technique needs to grow and limits the rookie at times… along with rookie blues.
  6. Robert Hunt has excellent agility, size, hand technique, and physicality. But, rookie blues and poor footwork have him on the edge of being a liability because of how tough edge blocking is.
Keys on plays below :
  • First play: LT Jackson misses switch and RT Hunt leans too far and gets burnt
  • Second play: LG Flowers misses a pulls block terribly
  • Third play: TE Smythe misses (one of many) blocks
  • Fourth play: RT Hunt misses the call and takes the outside rusher who is supposed to be taken by the RB. This lets in a free rusher.
Just imagine when the rookies grow and new talent is added?!

When you watch this o-line closely you see a lot of chemistry and toughness despite their shortcomings. It’s hard not to respect this group. Though they don’t routinely break open big running lanes, they do make magic happen on occasion… which is a lot more than previous seasons. You can bet with the pay per head services that this group will find a way to give this offense a chance each and every week. Fitz did help this O-line with his quick reads and veteran savviness. Tua is helping this O-line with the RPOs, rollouts, and quick throws. But, this group is ‘doing work’ and certainly is a key to this 5-3 record.

This offensive line is like the rest of the team–smart, scrappy, and play well together.

Will Davis start this week? I’d assume so. If he does it will be on the right side either at RG or RT. Robert Hunt has played well, but the tackle spot is so hard. Maybe Davis will go outside again? The veteran is one of the best o-linemen on the squad… when not asked to block on the edge consistently without help. This will be a very interesting storyline for this Chargers game. The Good news is the Miami Dolphins are heading in the right direction with their offensive line and have at least 6 quality options available. The even better news is that Tua has enough protection him to allow him to grow… and eventually thrive. Go Phins!!!