Greetings, fellow podium gazers! It's great to be spending Saturday afternoon with you and not my family. And what better way to kick things off but with some four day old news!
When we last saw Bill Parcells, he was sitting in the owner's box watching the Dolphins' final game, looking like a late-era, lead-poisoning-and-incest Roman Emperor who just learned that his Coliseum lions had been replaced with Syrian hamsters. Parcells spent the off-season stealing everything but the Venetian blinds curtains from the Cowboys front office (he even swiped a linebacker and tight end this morning), but he hasn't done much to improve the roster except walk around the practice facility and glower at guys while they lift. Yes, the Tuna is an advocate of Management by Walking Around and Motivation by Glowering. Both methods work. As I write this, Christmas Ape is circling my desk and shooting ion cannons through me with his eyes. Man, am I motivated.
Parcells likes players who are tough and disciplined, unlike those other GMs who prefer mincing scatterbrains. Naturally, Parcells was drawn to Long. You want tough? Long only allowed one sack in his last three seasons, and that was to Vernon Gholston, who you'll be reading about soon. You want disciplined? Long only jumped offsides once in his whole college career. Most young linemen jump offsides twice before breakfast. True story: every time Alex Barron false starts, an angel gets his wings.
Long comes from a long line of great Michigan tackles. Like Jan Jasnen, he's a solid pass protector and exceptional run blocker. Like Jumbo Elliot (an ex-Parcells guy), he's huge, dedicated, and focused. Like Jon Runyan, he's willing to bring a rail gun onto the field and decapitate the opposing defensive line when the ref's back is turned (in the scouting biz, that's called a "mean streak"). The only question is whether he's quick enough to play left tackle in the pros. Jansen and Runyan weren't, but even if Long must switch sides, the Dolphins can live with a right tackle who starts for a decade.
With Long in the fold, the Dolphins line will get good in a hurry. Their line finished near the middle of the pack (20th) in Adjusted Sack Rate last season, even though the Dolphins were playing out-of-work mortgage consultants at quarterback.
Wow, over 300 words and not a single American Dragon reference. That bodes well for the rest of the afternoon.