There was bound to be a microscope on the five players tasked with protecting second-year quarterback
Pouncey kept up the family tradition of traveling to Hawaii on the NFL’s dime by being selected to the Pro Bow for the first time, marking the second consecutive year a Dolphins offensive lineman earned the honor. His twin brother Maurkice, center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, made it the previous two seasons, so that was an example of how players around the league viewed him.
Injuries and other circumstances forced a number of different alignments as the season progressed, with seven-time Pro Bowl tackle
BREAKING DOWN DOLPHINS OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
• Mike Pouncey (6-5, 303) — There was a consensus in the media at the end of the 2012 season that Pouncey deserved to make the Pro Bowl over his twin brother, but he used the snub as motivation in 2013 and put together another strong campaign, despite missing two games with an illness. His unique skill set and athleticism combined with his size allowed him to be effective both as an in-line blocker and on screens as a pulling center capable of getting down the field ahead of his running backs and receivers. That was evident on
• Bryant McKinnie (6-8, 352) — McKinnie was a dominant tackle in college down the road at the University of Miami and a seven-time Pro Bowler with the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens, winning a Super Bowl last year with the Ravens. He jumped right into the starting lineup at the New England Patriots four days after arriving in South Florida and did a stellar job protecting Tannehill’s blind side for the most part over the final 10 games of the season.
• Tyson Clabo (6-6, 329) — After seven seasons in Atlanta with one Pro Bowl appearance in 2010 for the Falcons, Clabo tested the free agent market and added a strong veteran presence to a young Dolphins offensive line. He had a streak of 97 consecutive starts before missing the New England game and then he started the last nine regular-season games, serving as a mentor to Jerry and picking up the quality of his play down the stretch.
• John Jerry (6-5, 345) — Jerry was the only offensive lineman to start all 16 games, which is something he also did in 2012 to give him 33 consecutive starts going back to the 2011 season finale against the New York Jets. His personal highlight of the season was going up against his brother, Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry, in Miami’s home opener at Sun Life Stadium and coming out on the winning end of a 27-23 score.
• Nate Garner (6-7, 325) — Mr. Versatility is Garner’s nickname, as he has managed to play all five positions on the offensive line during his four active seasons in Miami (he missed all of 2010 with a foot injury and was inactive for all 16 games in 2008). The Arkansas native started two games at center for Pouncey and four games at left guard, proving his value on the line in a pinch, and he helped Brenner transition off of the practice squad.
• Sam Brenner (6-2, 301) — Brenner went from an unknown entity stashed on the practice squad to a popular postgame interview after making his unexpected NFL debut against the San Diego Chargers in Week 11. The undrafted rookie out of Utah started at left guard and wasn’t fazed by the big stage, ending the season with four starts in the final seven games.
Only one offensive lineman, rookie tackle