Dolphins add Whitticker to depleted O-line

Updated: September 20, 2006, 3:03 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

With their offensive line depleted by injuries, especially at the right guard position, the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday signed second-year veteran William Whitticker to a one-year contract.

Whitticker, 24, was one of the few feel-good stories for the Green Bay Packers in 2005, a seventh-round draft choice who overcame his low-round status, worked his way past several veterans, and ended up as a starter at right guard in 14 games.

But the new Green Bay coaching staff installed a zone-blocking scheme this season, one that requires more nimble offensive linemen, and the 338-pound Whitticker was a poor fit in the system. He was moved to tackle at one point in the spring, switched back to guard in the summer, and then missed much of training camp with a hamstring injury.

His situation wasn't helped, either, by the fact the Packers chose three offensive linemen in the draft, all of them better suited to the new blocking design.

The former Michigan State lineman was released by the Packers on Sept. 1. He generated interest from a few teams and auditioned for Miami coaches and personnel officials nearly two weeks ago.

Miami has lost three right guards to injuries, with three of them being placed on injured reserve for the 2006 season. The latest setback came on Tuesday when starter Bennie Anderson underwent surgery to repair a torn triceps sustained in the first quarter of last Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bills. Anderson was placed on injured reserve, creating a roster spot for Whitticker's addition.

Nine-year veteran Kendyl Jacox, who has 92 starts on his resume, will move into the lineup at right guard. But the Dolphins' coaches will try to get Whitticker, who should perform better in a blocking scheme that is more power-based and in which line coach Hudson Houck likes size, up to speed as quickly as possible.

Whitticker practiced on Wednesday with the Dolphins. His one-year contract is likely for $350,000, which is the league minimum for a second-year player, prorated over the balance of the season.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.