Dolphins' OT Jonathan Martin goes missing after joke in cafeteria
Earlier this week, Martin's teammates joked that they did not want Martin to sit with them in the cafeteria. Though the joke was meant to be harmless, Martin responded by going berserk, slamming his food tray into the ground, and storming out of the facility. The team has not seen or heard from Martin since. Martin has reportedly checked into a treatment facility, though it is not yet known what he is being treated for. The Dolphins have listed him as doubtful for Thursday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
While the Dolphins' players meant no harm by jokingly refusing to sit with Martin, sometimes jokes that are based on truths can hurt. The truth in this situation is that Martin has been a big contributor to the Dolphins' recent slide from 3-0 to 3-4. He lost his starting job on the blindside to recently acquired Bryant McKinnie, and though he was expected to find more success by sliding over to right tackle, he had his worst game of the season at that position in Week 8.
Of course, you can't blame Martin for the entirety of the Dolphins' struggles. A team does not give up a league-leading 32 sacks because of one bad player. Martin's seven sacks and 15 pressures allowed don't even lead the team - Tyson Clabo has allowed eight sacks and 18 pressures.
The fact remains, however, that Martin entered the season as perhaps the Dolphins' biggest X-factor in their hunt for the postseason. General manager Jeff Ireland gambled by spending relentlessly on skill position players and defenders, but placed his trust (irrationally) in the second-year Martin, who struggled as a rookie after being selected in the second round of the 2012 draft. The team was relying on him to play well, but he has not lived up to the task.
With Martin's likely absence on Thursday night, the Dolphins will go back to Clabo - one of the few tackles playing worse than Martin this year - as their starting right tackle. McKinnie - who had a solid Dolphins debut in Week 8 - will continue to start on Ryan Tannehill's blindside. The Bengals have a couple nice edge rushers in Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap, so we could see Tannehill get abused once again on national television.