Former NFL executive Bill Polian, who is now one of the most respected NFL analysis in the business, weighed in on Dolphins left tackle Jonathan Martin today on ESPN’s NFL Insiders.
Polian was brief but encouraging. “(Martin) has a strength deficiency,” he said. “Lot of young OTs have that. I think he’ll make it. Give him a chance.”
Polian’s take on Martin doesn’t echo the sentiment from the majority of Dolphins fans, who have been panicking ever since Martin gave up his first sack of training camp.
There’s no denying that the second-year tackle has had some struggles attempting to fill the shoes of former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long. But have those struggles been overblown?
Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman certainly thinks so. While Sherman admitted that Martin “has a ways to go,” he still believes he’ll become “a fine left tackle in this league.”
It’s no secret that the Dolphins will only go as far as quarterback Ryan Tannehill can take them this season. But if Tannehill ends up on his back every other play, he’s probably not going to take them very far.
Much of that onus falls on Jonathan Martin.
The concern over whether he can provide consistent protection for Tannehill this season is warranted. The Stanford product had difficulty doing so at right and left tackle as a rookie and he’s been victimized for sacks and pressures often during the first three weeks of training camp.
But the jury is still out on Jonathan Martin, in my opinion.
Trusted NFL insider Bill Polian thinks so too.
Martin’s strength was an issue as a rookie. He added up to 15 pounds over the offseason, though, and I expect those dividends to eventually become apparent. And although protecting Tannehill is his first priority, Martin has quietly been a much improved run blocker in practice.
Being concerned about Martin and, in turn, Tannehill’s well-being is fair. To already write him off as not a being a starting-caliber left tackle, however, is premature. Like Polian hinted, Martin deserves more of a chance than 10 snaps in one preseason game.