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Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill: Offensive line is coming together

One of the big questions entering this week during joint practices was how well the Miami Dolphins’ offensive line would hold up against the quality defensive line of the Carolina Panthers.

Miami’s offensive line has been pummeled consistently in training camp against its defensive line, led by Pro Bowl lineman Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake. For weeks, the Dolphins’ coaching staff said the pummeling is only making their offensive line better.

There were some early signs in Wednesday’s joint practices that Miami’s coaches could be correct in their assessment. By all accounts, the Dolphins’ offensive line protected well Wednesday against the Panthers. The much-maligned group also held up well in its only drive last week in a preseason opener against the Chicago Bears.

“Our defensive line is one of the best in the league. So for them to go against them every day, it’s only going to strengthen their ability,” Tannehill told reporters in Spartanburg, S.C., on Wednesday. “To come out here and do a great job all day, especially with all of these pressures they’re getting, being able to pass them off, [identify] them correctly. I thought they did a great job.”

The group had plenty of ups and downs this summer but is showing improvement in the past week. Young guards Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas were the two biggest question marks, but are making strides.

The expected return of starting left tackle Branden Albert (knee) also would be a big boost for Miami’s offense. Albert is gradually doing more in practice and is aiming for Week 1 of the regular season against the Washington Redskins.

Tannehill is the NFL’s most-sacked quarterback (139 times) in the past three seasons. An improved offensive line will go a long way to helping the Dolphins’ offense take the next step.

“Yeah, they’re definitely becoming better each and every day,” Tannehill said. “I sensed it in the beginning that they had some work to do, but the more that those guys play together, the more consistent they get.”