First, Clabo gave up two sacks in Miami’s upset loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Then, about 24 hours later, the Dolphins orchestrated a trade with the Baltimore Ravens to acquire former Pro Bowl offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie.
Miami put the writing on the wall for Clabo. It’s not a matter of if, but when, Clabo will be benched in favor of McKinnie. The Dolphins must teach McKinnie a new offense and he will play left tackle. In turn, Miami is expected to move Jonathan Martin to right tackle and bench Clabo, who has allowed a team-high eight sacks in six games.
Clabo said he hasn’t been notified of any lineup changes but admits he's “in the dark” about his role for Sunday’s game against the AFC East rival New England Patriots. Clabo assured that he will remain a professional through the process.
“I try to be an adult, that’s part of it,” Clabo said. “I won’t throw a temper tantrum or do anything stupid. I still have a job in the NFL, one of the greatest jobs in the world. I’m going to continue to do my job, which is do whatever they ask me.
“If they ask me to back up, I’m going to back up. If they want to come in and play, I’m going to play. That’s my job, and I’m just trying to do my job."
The key will be McKinnie’s ability to pick up the offense. He’s only had three practices this week leading into Sunday’s game against New England. Playing left tackle is not easy, especially on the road. Communication will be impacted with the crowd noise. But McKinnie, 34, is a veteran who may be able to overcome some of those issues.
“He’s done a good job,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said of McKinnie in practice. “He’s been diligent. Football is not overly complicated. He’s been at this profession for a while, and he has a good broad-based knowledge of offensive football.”
Reality has set in for Clabo. He knows his days as a starter are numbered and according to Clabo, "It happens to everyone at some point.”
The Dolphins may need Clabo for one more game, depending on McKinnie’s progress. But eventually Clabo will go from a starter to a backup in Miami.
“In every career, there are ebbs and flows,” Clabo explained. “I guess right now, I'm a little more ebb than flow, I guess. You just have to come to work and just continue to do the things I’ve done, work hard and let the chips fall where they may."