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Dolphins practicing patience with OT Austin Jackson
Dolphins practicing patience with OT Austin Jackson
Jul 18, 2024 1:13 PM

Looking back on the Miami Dolphins first preseason game of the 2021 season, it’s safe to say that the offensive line is going to be a concern. To make matters worse, one player stood out above the rest with his struggles against the Chicago Bears. That’s offensive tackle Austin Jackson. According to ProFootballFocus, Jackson gave up five pressures in 18 pass blocking chances. His run blocking was only marginally better.

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By every available metric, Jackson struggled in his first ever preseason game. It’s no secret that numbers sometimes lie in sports. However, in this case, the film seems to support the numbers.

Tua was able to complete this extremely tight window throw with his own Offensive Lineman (Austin Jackson) crashing into him pic.twitter.com/overoJo4nO

— MiamiClutchPE (@MiamiClutchPE) August 14, 2021

Austin Jackson is a 1st round draft pick. He is expected to perform as such. If Jackson doesn’t figure things out quickly, then Tua Tagovailoa could find himself hitting the ground a lot more than what is necessary. Granted, there is still time, and Jackson is only 22 years old. He showed what he’s capable of during his rookie season, having plenty of ups to go with his downs. As a result, the Dolphins seem to be taking the same approach they’re taking with Noah Igbinoghene.

Patience.

“I thought he did some good things. I thought he competed well.” Head coach Brian Flores said on Sunday. “We were playing against a good front, some good players over there. I thought he competed well, I thought he did some good things in the running game, did some good things in pass protection. I thought he did a lot of good things. Obviously there were some instances where his techniques and fundamentals weren’t as good and we’re making those corrections right now. But I was pleased with how he played.”

It’s no surprise to see Flores defending his players. He’s never been one to throw any one player under the bus. As for Jackson himself, he’s focusing on trying to get up to speed, and declines to comment on where the OL is versus where they want to be.

“That’s a tough question to ask, especially with all of the moving pieces going in.” He said after the game. “We’re putting in the offense right now, so we’re all learning; but I know one thing we do do is we come in and compete every day. The effort part, if you’re not lacking the effort part – which is a struggle for a lot of people and teams – then you can go great places. We’re staying on that track and just keep building until we get a brick wall.”

While Austin Jackson struggled against the Bears, not all hope is lost. The offensive line was not able to do anything while run blocking, but their pass protection was better than given credit for. QB Tua Tagovailoa even went out of his way to credit them after the game was over.

“I think the line did a tremendous job today.” Tagovailoa said after the game. “They kept the pocket clean, gave me a lot of time to step up into the pocket and make that throw. And it wasn’t just that play. There were numerous occasions throughout the first quarter and second quarter where they’ve really shown up and given me a clean pocket.”

Watching the film, the pass protection actually was better than it seemed. Tagovailoa’s best throws of the day came with no one around him. The real glaring weak spot was Austin Jackson. Fortunately for the Miami Dolphins, there’s still time to bring him back up to speed.

Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for seven years. Follow him on Twitter:@LuisDSung

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