NFL: Lake City's Tunsil still working on 'relationship' with Dolphins' Sitton
Josh Sitton and Laremy Tunsil dance an intricate step, and it takes a bit of time to get it right.
“You learn each other through drills and through being on the field together, getting reps,” Sitton said.
But Sitton, the Dolphins left guard, and Tunsil, the left tackle, must go a little beyond drills to work effectively together in their first season as a duo.
“I think it’s more of a relationship,” Tunsil said, “and me and Sitton have a good relationship so we’re good.”
To this point in training camp the Dolphins have struggled a bit as an offensive line, and coach Jeremiah Washburn said a few days ago the line is "not where we need it to be."
The left side, where Sitton and Tunsil usually line up against defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and defensive end Robert Quinn, has had its share of issues.
Sitton, a 32-year-old, four-time Pro Bowl selection, has won lots of battles against Phillips and the other tackles in pass protection. But Phillips has made his presence known a few times in the run game.
Tunsil, the 2016 first-round pick, has struggled against Quinn in pass protection, where Quinn’s unique ability to turn the corner with his hips and knees close to the ground, have caused problems.
But this is more about how Sitton and Tunsil work together than how they work as individuals.
Sitton, who spent his first eight seasons in Green Bay and his last two in Chicago, said there’s no specific time period in which a guard and tackle work well together.
“I’ve been in situations where I played next to a guy for three or four years in a row, and I’ve been in situations where I’ve had to come in and play and just a couple of days,” he said. “I’ve had success at both. It’s just more work when you don’t have as much time.
“That’s why in between drills you’ll see Laremy and I just talking. We’re talking through things. It’s a process of learning each other.”
Tunsil, drafted as a tackle, spent his rookie season at left guard. Then he had a rough time last season in his first NFL year at left tackle. Coach Adam Gase said Tunsil made mid-season adjustments in his routine on and off the field, what he did in meetings, his recovery, and film study.
“He looks at it as two different seasons,” Gase said.
Sitton has replaced Larsen, which the Dolphins hope leads to better production.
So the work begins, and continues, for the new tandem on the left side of Miami’s offensive line.
Sitton and Tunsil aren’t exactly sure when they’ll be in perfect sync, but they’ll know when it happens.
“For us you have a drill and you fit really well together on a certain double team, you feel it and you know, ‘Oh, OK, alright, cool, we got that one down.’
“Because you can feel when you don’t. So when you get it you know. [Sunday] we had a couple of really good drills and it carried over into the team period in a couple of plays. That was really nice.”