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Report: Bryant McKinnie Expected to Start Against Patriots

There’s hope benching Tyson Clabo will prevent Tannehill from taking more shots like this.

The Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley has learned that left tackle Bryant McKinnie, who the Dolphins traded for less than a week ago, is expected to start on Sunday in New England.

Many expected McKinnie to sit this game out as he becomes accustomed to Miami’s playbook. But it appears the Dolphins are not willing to risk quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s health for one more game throwing behind right tackle Tyson Clabo.

Although McKinnie isn’t directly replacing Clabo, he will be taking over Tannehill’s blindside from Jonathan Martin, who will slide over to right tackle where he played for the majority of his rookie season.

There’s no guarantee that McKinnie will be an upgrade to Martin at left tackle, as the 34-year-old veteran was benched earlier this season for poor play in Baltimore.  But it does seem likely that Jonathan Martin, despite his struggles on both sides of the line, will provide improved protection at right tackle.

Tyson Clabo was probably the worst starting tackle in all of football, and it would have been irresponsible of the Dolphins to continue trusting him to protect Tannehill.

But that’s not to say Miami isn’t taking a risk here. McKinnie isn’t exactly a safe bet at this stage of his career and only has three practices under his belt with the Dolphins. There’s a possibility that he’ll struggle to digest the Dolphins’ entire game plan and that the line, as a whole, might have difficulty establishing continuity with new starters at both tackle spots.

But then again, there really isn’t anywhere to go but up as far as the offensive line is concerned. The unit was just that inept during the first six games of the season.


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