Miami Dolphins about to lean on G Ted Larsen, T Jesse Davis

Jesse Davis is making the move from guard back to tackle, because Miami needs him to. (AP)

DAVIE — Ted Larsen is about to play for his fourth team in five seasons, but the Miami Dolphins aren’t looking at him as a journeyman who may be able to play just an average left guard.

The Dolphins signed Larsen because they felt he was an excellent fit for their system, especially in the run game.

And as Larsen sets to make his Dolphins NFL regular-season debut, he’s confident that he can bring a positive, veteran presence to Miami’s underachieving offensive line.

Perhaps the most interesting this Larsen said Thursday, as he returns from a biceps injury as projected starter Monday night in Carolina, is that he thinks he can assist veteran center Mike Pouncey.

“I’ve played a lot of games,” Larsen said. “I’ve seen a lot of schemes. I think I can be a second set of eyes for Pounce. Try to communicate good with Pounce.”

This off-season, The Daily Dolphin did a film review of some of Larsen’s Bears games and came away relatively impressed. According to Pro Football Focus, Larsen had the best year of his career last season.

[RELATED STORY: What do the Miami Dolphins have in free agent guard Ted Larsen?]

In that story, it was noted that the Dolphins felt Larsen flourished in an “outside zone” Bears running scheme. This is a scheme Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams enjoy, where they often begin their runs by targeting the outside hip of a tight end, as opposed to a guard.

Among the points that the tape review from last season revealed on Larsen:

• Moves his feet from the right side to the left side of the offensive line quicker than expected. Shows good mobility on outside-zone run plays.

• Generally holds up OK at the point of attack against strong interior linemen. Often ties up pass-rushers inside with his hands.

• At least gets in the way on most run blocks. Generally keeps his feet moving and shows required intensity. At times, loses balance falling forward.

• Can be susceptible to a speed rusher, as many guards are, when facing a spin move or outstanding size/speed combination.

• Should be able to help create some holes for running backs, as he did for Chicago’s Jordan Howard, because he was seen on multiple occasions successfully sealing potential tacklers both to the inside and outside.

Thursday was Larsen’s first regular-season practice in pads.

“It was definitely a good day,” Larsen said. “It’s tough. It’s so early in training camp. I missed a lot of reps. I tried to stay in good shape. I tried to keep my legs strong and have a plan coming back.”

Miami Dolphins offensive guard Ted Larsen has to be really, really good, like, right away. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Larsen is replacing Jesse Davis, who started the last two games at left guard with mixed results. Larsen had replaced guard Anthony Steen, who went on season-ending injured reserve, even though the majority of his past experience was at tackle.

Now that right tackle Ja’Wuan James (hamstring) appears unlikely to play Monday night, Davis is the projected starting right tackle.

Davis said he can’t approach the Panthers as though he was James.

“He’s a different player,” said Davis, who is massive, at 6-feet-6, 321 pounds. “I can’t try to do what (James) does. I have to use my strengths. He’s a powerful guy, too. My skill set is I’m wide so I can make them try to bull rush me. That’s not going to happen every time. So I’ve got to be good with my hands. Got to be good with my eyes. Whatever the protection is, to follow the rules.”

In the same way Laremy Tunsil has had to adjust to the speed of playing tackle after playing guard all of last season, Davis is going to have to do the same thing on Monday, as he’s taken so many recent reps at guard.

“Just got to be better with hands and feet,” Davis said. “You have to have the speed of the d-end, rather than the bigger guy inside. I’m critical of myself. Overall, I’d say it’s been OK. I’ve got a lot of improvement to do. On everything. I’m sure everybody else would say the same. There’s not one thing. Hand placement. Feetwork. Strength. All that stuff.”

Davis didn’t know the Panthers are the NFL’s #1-ranked defense.

“Yeah I’ve seen them on film,” Davis said. “They’re strong. They’ve got Julius Peppers (7.5 sacks in 9 games). I’m not going to play into the whole, ‘number one defense.’ Honestly, I think our defense is probably number one. Statistics are statistics. But we have to keep doing what we need to do to win. Coaches get us prepared enough to win the game. So we just have to trust everything we’ve practiced.”

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