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Miami Dolphins: Time to Worry About Dion Jordan?

Dolphins rookie defensive end Dion Jordan was off to an impressive start in training camp, abusing left tackle Jonathan Martin for two would-be sacks during the team’s intrasquad scrimmage and looking the part of high-impact rusher against the Cowboys in Canton.

He took only seven snaps in Jacksonville in preseason game number two and has been held out of the team’s first two practices this week since.

“We’ve obviously taken some precaution as we move forward with Dion, not wanting to overload him,” Dolphins defensive coordinator said on Monday afternoon. “We have a plan in place that will get him ready to participate at the level we feel best at when we begin the season,” Coyle continued. “We’d like to see as much of him as we can, but we’re going to be real careful how we proceed.”

Coyle wasn’t coy about Jordan’s prospects of cracking the starting lineup either, hinting that the rookie isn’t competing for a starting role “at this time.” A third-round pick in 2012, Olivier Vernon, appears to be entrenched as the starter at defensive end opposite Cameron Wake.

So, has Jordan’s rookie training camp been a disappointment?

As the third-overall selection of April’s draft, you would think anything short of earning a starting spot would be. While it is disappointing that Jordan has been sidelined this week at practice and that the shoulder he had operated on during the offseason looks to be acting up, he’s already flashed the elite athleticism that made him the top defensive player drafted.

Jordan’s rookie camp, his rookie season, is only the first chapter in hopefully a think, thorough read with the Dolphins. He’s going to be around for quite some time and will be expected to become a dominant pass rusher and versatile chess piece for years into the foreseeable future.

Risking his long-term health by rushing him into action for this year’s team would be beyond heedless. The Dolphins are playing it safe with their first-round pick — the only logical move to make when dealing with a player who has been invested in as much as Jordan has.

While the Oregon product likely needs more reps at practice and during the exhibition games to earn a starting spot in Miami’s base defense, he’s ready to be difference maker on third downs as is — even if he doesn’t get another snap between now and the opener in Cleveland.

Jordan still needs work at setting the edge as an early-down run defender, but as a pass rushing specialist and a player the Dolphins can move all over the field as the elephant, he’s still ready to make Kevin Coyle’s defense a more dangerous unit in 2013. He’s just too explosive, too athletic not to.

This latest hiccup in Jordan’s development is unfortunate and will likely limit how soon he’ll be able to emerge as every-down player and starter.

But if the Dolphins’ plan was to give Jordan a role on third downs exclusively this season, anyway, which some of the team’s beat writers have suggested, he’s still right on schedule to provide that as a rookie.

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2 Responses to “Miami Dolphins: Time to Worry About Dion Jordan?”

  1. Dennis says:

    Well said, he’ll be find, just annoying there’s so many injuries.

  2. Fins_Swag says:

    Not too worried about Jordan but this isnt an ideal start for him. Thought he could beat out Vernon but now Im not so sure.

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