Dolphins: Albert loss has ripple affect on line
Once Branden Albert left the game with a serious knee injury after 20 snaps, Miami’s line crumbled. After Shelley Smith and Dallas Thomas had swapped series at left guard early in the game, Thomas kicked out to right tackle, while rookie Ja’Wuan James moved over to the blindside.
The results speak for themselves: Ryan Tannehill was pressured on 20 of his 38 drop-backs. Against the Bills’ explosive front four, on a short week, the odds are against the makeshift offensive line avoiding a repeat of last week.
Albert had brought consistently dominant play to the left tackle position, boasting a +12.6 pass blocking grade and allowing just nine pressures across his 333 pass blocking snaps.
More worrisome, is the recent play of James. The rookie had a strong start to the season, but since Week 5, he’s allowed 15 pressures, which puts him in the bottom third in our Pass Blocking Efficiency stat. By comparison, over that same time, Albert has allowed only three pressures, and sits at 3rd in PBE.
While James will have his hands full this week with Jerry Hughes, Thomas moves out to right tackle and draws Mario Williams. As a part-time player, the former Volunteer has allowed 14 pressures on 202 pass blocking snaps in 2014, resulting in a -5.4 grade in pass blocking that has him ranked 61st of 76 qualifiers at guard. Kicking out to right tackle should prove to be a bit more challenging.
With Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus also playing well on the interior for Buffalo, it’s shaping up to be a tough matchup across the entire line for Miami on Thursday Night Football.