Finally, some clarity. During the portion of Monday’s practice open to the media, it became obvious why the Dolphins are currently carrying 11 defensive backs on their 53-man roster. Both rookie cornerbacks — Jamar Taylor and Will Davis — were held out of practice.
Taylor worked with trainers on the sideline, likely dealing with more groin issues, while Davis (ankle) was seen in a walking boot — which indicates he’ll be held out for weeks rather than days.
With both projected to sit out Sunday’s game in Cleveland, the Dolphins are down to four healthy cornerbacks, but expect Jimmy Wilson to move over from safety, which also potentially explains why the team is keeping a fifth safety.
For the rookies, missing time early in the year will be a crippling blow to their ability to become significant contributors this season. Davis looked the part of ball-hawk during training camp, and would have been a nice addition to the secondary on a defense that has made producing more takeaways a priority in 2013.
As or Taylor, I had high hopes he would eventually challenge Dimitri Patterson and Nolan Carroll for boundary duties opposite Brent Grimes. With this latest setback, though — the second since training camp opened — seriously competing for a starting role likely won’t come to fruition until 2014.
It looks like the Dolphins will open the season with Nolan Carroll, R.J. Stanford and Jimmy Wilson to rely on behind starters Brent Grimes and Dimitri Patterson. And with Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Joe Flacco all on the slate before the bye week, that’s certainly a cause for concern.
Dion Jordan appears ready for opener
After telling reports he’ll be ready to play if the Dolphins need him against the Browns last Thursday night, Dion Jordan looked to be a full participant in Monday’s practice. Jordan participated in team drills and special-teams work, which likely signals he’s availability for the first game of the season.
Competing for the starting right defensive end job was something Jordan wasn’t able to do in his rookie preseason. He just missed too much time with a nagging shoulder injury. But he’s too athletic, too explosive not to have an impact as early as Sunday as a pass-rushing specialist.
Expect him to become a true chess piece for defensive coordinator Kevin Colye, standing up at linebacker in addition to rushing with his hands in the dirt. Given the injuries in the secondary, the Dolphins could use all of the pass rush they can generate.
Dolphins announce practice squad
Miami made their eight-man practice squad official on Monday morning:
Brian Tyms, wide receiver
Marvin McNutt, wide receiver
Kyle Miller, tight end
Jordan Kovacs, safety
Al Lapuaho, defensive tackle
Sam Brenner, center
De’Andre Presley, cornerback
Jason Weaver, tackle
Rookie running back Mike Gillislee has had his number changed from 35 to 23 and rookie linebacker Jelani Jenkins has switched from No. 43 to No. 53.