Miami Dolphins OT Laremy Tunsil proud to protect the blind side

Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil in action against the New York Giants during an NFL preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (AP Photo/Brad Penner)

DAVIE — At the very end of a press conference on Thursday afternoon, the Miami Dolphins‘ newest starting left tackle acknowledged that, yes, playing left tackle is a special role, with special responsibility.

Laremy Tunsil embraces it.

“Playing the blind side,” Tunsil said, “it does mean a lot.”

Tunsil now has the ultimate responsibility to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill, coming off a serious knee injury that ended his 2016 season.

“I always kind of put pressure on myself to get better and always find something new to perfect,” Tunsil said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself just to be that guy.”

There is every expectation that Tunsil, in his second season, will outperform former Pro Bowler Branden Albert, his mentor. Albert was dealt to Jacksonville this offseason, though he’s yet to report due to a contract dispute.

Albert’s advice to Tunsil?

“He really didn’t tell me a message,” said Tunsil, who has stayed in touch with Albert. “It’s the same thing as playing left guard. The only thing he told me is ‘Hey man, be yourself. Be you.”

Dolphins players marvel at Tunsil’s athleticism.

“He’s impressive,” guard Ted Larsen said. “He’s super athletic, really strong and as far as his head, he knows the scheme inside and out. He’s been super impressive.”

RELATED: Miami Dolphins’ Laremy Tunsil should be dominant at left tackle

Defensive end Andre Branch has been matched up with Tunsil more often in practice this week, as the team began organized team activity.

“Athletically, I’d put him up against any left tackle that’s in this league,” Branch said. “He’s willing to learn. Every time we get a rep together, he’s always asking questions. So he’s a student of the game. He’s played guard. He’s played tackle. So he knows exactly the ins and outs of everything. I don’t look at him as a second-year player. He’s a vet in my eyes. That’s how we treat each other.”

After playing left guard as a rookie, Tunsil just feels more comfortable at left tackle, where he starred at Ole Miss and in high school.

““It feels good to be at the natural spot I was drafted here for,” Tunsil said. “Playing left guard, I learned a lot. It was a different position, different everything. I’m glad I got the opportunity to play (guard) so I could learn the game inside and out.”

Albert realized he was Miami’s new left tackle when he saw a news report confirming Albert had been dealt. A few minutes later, offensive line coach Chris Foerster sent a text message.

“‘Man, you’re the new left tackle.’” Foerster texted.

“‘Let’s get it man. Let’s do it.’” Tunsil replied.

RELATED: Why the Miami Dolphins are moving Laremy Tunsil to left tackle

Tunsil believes his experience at left guard in the NFL is a huge plus.

“I think the offensive line is the offensive line,” he said. “Right tackle, left tackle, I think they are all the same. Playing left guard really helped me play left tackle. It helped me play any position on the line, just to know the offensive line in and out.”

Despite his status as a high draft choice and his pedigree as a dominant college player, Tunsil bring a humility to the game that his teammates and coaches respect.

“I’m always hard on myself,” Tunsil said. I’m always trying to perfect every craft that I have.”

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