The Miami Dolphins’ prized free-agent acquisition this offseason, Terron Armstead, hasn’t yet been available to work with the offensive line through organized team activities and minicamp, but that hasn’t stopped him from making an impact in guiding the team’s young linemen he’ll have alongside him this fall.
“Terron has definitely helped a lot of our guys,” said third-year guard Robert Hunt after Tuesday’s OTA session. “He’s after practice working with some guys. He’s in the meeting room telling us what we can do, what he’s seeing.
“He’s been doing this for a while. What he has said, we definitely take heed, and we listen to it because he’s done it. He’s been an All-Pro. He’s been a Pro Bowler. He’s been everything that we want to be in life. Everything Terron says, we’re taking it in. We’re listening.”
At the start of OTAs, Armstead, the left tackle who has been a Pro-Bowl selection three times with the New Orleans Saints, was seen working after practice with Liam Eichenberg and Robert Jones, both rookies last year looking to make a leap in their second professional seasons. Hunt said Armstead has helped him with technical aspects of line play.
Armstead, who will turn 31 days before training camp opens, feels it comes natural to him to help out the youngsters.
“I’m always just looking to help any way I can. I’m at these guys’ service,” he said last week. “I’ve been a captain for the last five years in New Orleans, so it’s just a part of who I am as a player. If I get knowledge and information, I’ve just got to share it.”
The true test of an offensive line, especially the way it run-blocks, will be once full pads come on several practices into training camp, but Hunt still feels the intensity from the group in offseason workouts.
“I think we are trying to hit,” Hunt said. “It’s crazy to say that, but I think everybody’s working. That’s what I can tell about this team. The guys are working without pads on. You can tell. Guys are definitely fitting their gaps right. Guys are coming off the ball, flying off the ball. We’re doing it in a controlled manner.”
It’s critical for the unit to be ahead of the game this offseason as it transitions to the outside-zone blocking scheme, which Hunt has enjoyed.
“We’re trying to make everybody defend the whole field,” he said. “We’ve got them guessing. I love it. This is the type of offense I ran in college.”
Armstead said the scheme is allowing the Dolphins’ returning linemen to play the style that best suits them.
“You see guys like Rob Hunt, Austin Jackson, [and they are] just extremely explosive, like they jump off the film,” he said. “So those guys are just tapping into what they are becoming as players, as pros. It’s exciting.”
Scarlett adding versatility
Dolphins outside linebacker Brennan Scarlett said he has been practicing some with the defensive line through OTAs and minicamp.
A rotational defender who joined the Dolphins last season, Scarlett said putting his hand in the ground is something he was asked to sparingly in 2021, but it wasn’t something he was training for through that offseason and training camp. It popped up for certain matches.
Working on it this far ahead of the season for a defense that returns mostly every key contributor could be advantageous for the 6-foot-4, 263-pound seventh-year veteran out of Stanford.
“Any time I have the opportunity to expand my versatility, I look at it as an important opportunity, one that I take seriously,” Scarlett said. “Putting my hand in ground, working some 5-technique and some 3-technique and also working out on the edge. I played off the ball too. I played split-out. I played in the middle, pretty much every position in the front seven. I pride myself on the ability to do that.”
In his first season in Miami, Scarlett had 19 tackles, primarily an early-down outside linebacker and special teamer who played in 13 games, starting four. He had a quick turnaround whenever he would find out he’s helping on the defensive line on a given week.
“Most of that came up last year in the heat of the moment, kind of found out on Monday type of situation and then played on Sunday,” he said. “I’m lucky this year to have the ability to get the reps and the time and work the footwork, feel the blocks, anticipate what I’m going to see instead of just it happening. It’s going to be to my advantage.”
Scarlett was happy to be able to re-sign with the Dolphins this offseason after spending his first five seasons with the Houston Texans, where he mostly played on the edge but also played some middle linebacker.
“I love being here in Miami,” he said. “Great energy, the fan base. Obviously, the city’s great, and I think we have a really talented team. We had a young team last year that now is an older team, and I think we have a lot of competitive guys and guys who really want to win. That’s who, ultimately, I want to surround myself with.”