How Much Will The Loss Of Donald Thomas Affect Miami's Offensive Line?

Harlequin RowContributor IMay 28, 2009

MIAMI - 2008:  Donald Thomas of the Miami Dolphins poses for his 2008 NFL headshot at photo day in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Getty Images)

To go back to an earlier development cited, Miami Dolphins right guard, Donald Thomas (pictured), has torn a pectoral muscle and subsequently cannot put any weight on his upper body.

The result, as reported by Yahoo! Sports, is that the second-year UConn Husky will be sidelined indefinitely. 

Back up left tackle, Brandon Frye, has been taking snaps in mini-camp in Thomas' stead.  The surprise here is that the team previously listed career-long guard, Joe Berger, as Thomas' back-up.  No comment is available from the coaching staff regarding this position rotation.  Frye has no previous starting experience in the NFL.

Last year's eventual replacement for Thomas when he went down in week one with a broken foot was Ikechuku Ndukwe, now third on the team's depth chart at right guard.

So, as of now, expect the 305-lb. Frye to take snaps with the first offense on August 17th's pre-season kickoff against the Jaguars.

Frye was originally converted to the tackle position out of team necessity, after being a guard throughout his career at Virginia Tech.  So, he should have good stand-ups, and plow.  Of course, Thomas is one of the league's fastest o-linemen from the snap, so Frye will need to show much agility to fill those empty shoes left.

One thing Frye does have in his favor, that Thomas lacks, is a thick lower body, good for shielding a rusher on a 3rd and inches draw designed to simply move the chains.

Plus, Frye will be lining up next to the 350-lb. beast of a right tackle, Vernon Carey, and new center, Jake Grove.  Hopefully, whatever speed Frye will lack, in comparison to Thomas, he'll make up in durability, something Thomas has completely lacked to this early point in his career.

Certainly, Frye is yet to officially win any spot at this point in the pre-season, and the team remains optimistic that Thomas will return for the stretch run by winter.

Another Dolphins note to report revolves around back-up running back, Ricky Williams.  The Miami Herald is claiming the 32 year-old wants to retire after the 2010 NFL season, to pursue the sixty academic credits he needs for his pre-med degree.  Then, he will need to attend medical school. 

How this affects any future trade, free agent or draft pickups for the Dolphins remains to be seen.  Patrick Cobbs, the team's sixth leading receiver and third leading rusher in '08, is currently the man third on the halfback depth chart, behind Williams, and, starter, Ronnie Brown.

And, lastly, the Palm Beach Post is projecting veteran Chad Henne to be Chad Pennington's back-up quarterback should injury or inactivity conflict #10 early in the year.  Despite, rookie Pat White has been lining up as the single-weak side receiver for the team's customized Wildcat formation.