Incognito-Martin situation hides football issues

Published: Feb 14, 2014 12:20pm EST
By Jeff Kryglik, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Feb 14, 2014 @ 12:20pm EST

 

With NFL Investigator Ted Wells' report finding that Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey were all engaged in a form of bullying and harassment toward Jonathan Martin, another unnamed offensive lineman and an assistant trainer, there is something great that is being lost in this locker room debacle.

Many are commentating on the impact a situation like this has on society and how the day-to-day operations and routines of those affected are hindered. However, what hasn't been addressed is the beat down Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill received last season courtesy of his offensive line.

Sure, anytime heinous actions like these take place, social commentary is necessary to address the situation. Incognito and whoever else engaged in these acts should be ridiculed and criticized for what they did off the field.

On the field, none of these guys produced.

At all.

Tannehill was sacked 58 times last season. Not only was that tops in the league - a number players don't want to claim they own - but the next closest number was that of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco with 48.

That's 10 less.

And the Ravens' offensive line was putrid.

When this situation erupted and neither player was participating for the Dolphins, their offensive line was already struggling. And it only regressed as the season progressed.

Incognito is a former Pro Bowler and Martin is a former second-round selection, but even with them in the lineup, the Dolphins weren't able to keep Tannehill afloat on a regular basis.

Plus, the coaches had to know this was going on. As many meetings and film sessions as these players and coaches spend together, in addition to time on the practice field, if it was affecting the product on the field, they would have taken action and they did. Martin and Incognito didn't play the rest of the season per an indefinite suspension for Incognito and Martin just walked away.

Would the play on the field been as bad if this wasn't going on behind closed doors? 

Quite possibly. Most people don't realize how much of a mental game all sports are.

Without the mentality, an athlete is essentially just an ordinary bystander.

Regardless of what comes out of this situation, head coach Joe Philbin and the rest of his coaching staff need to move past this incident and part ways with both of these players. Both of which are loose cannons, but on different ends of the spectrum.

Martin is a loose cannon in the sense that he snapped and just left his team a midst the bullying.

Incognito is a loose cannon per the evidence provided against him and he will do just about anything to belittle another human being.

Don't be surprised if this costs Philbin or any of his other coaches their jobs. They had to know this was going on. And seeing that they were just one win away from a playoff appearance, some may wonder if they had better offensive line play if that would have led to their first playoff appearance since the 2008 season where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens at home 27-9. 

Mentally tough individuals are hard to find for any job, let alone the NFL. Sometimes though, teams need to invest in better talent as well. 


 

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Jeff Kryglik
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