Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan has not practiced in two weeks and missed last week's preseason game against the Houston Texans. Jordan is also expected to miss this week's contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Could this linger into the regular season, causing Jordan, the third overall pick in last April's NFL Draft, to miss game time then?
Is there doubt about Jordan being ready for Week 1 at the Cleveland Browns?
"I don't have doubt," Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said during Wednesday's press availability. "I hope if he stays on target with what we're hearing and what we're seeing, he'll be ready to help us come opening day."
"There's always going to be a plan A, plan B, plan C as you approach the season," Coyle added. "We have a plan in place to utilize Dion, provided that he's up and ready to go. I think he's making strides with his rehab and working with our trainers and strength coaches. So we are ready to implement that plan if in fact we get the green light."
However, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald is reporting that doubt is starting to settle into the Dolphins. Jordan has been fully dressing for practice each day over the past couple of weeks, but then is pulled out after stretching to go do rehab on his shoulder. As I said when the Dolphins first pulled him out of practices, this could all just be a precautionary thing, letting Jordan's shoulder heal more before the season starts. However, as more and more practices go by without the defensive end working out, the speculation that he has truly injured the shoulder again rises.
On Thursday, Jordan spoke to the Associated Press about the possibility he could miss the season opener. "It's my body, so I know when I'm ready to go or when I'm not ready to go," Jordan said. "It wouldn't be a surprise at all."
The concern seems to be Jordan using the shoulder during swim moves as he rushes the quarterback. Again, it could be a precautionary thing, or it could be that Jordan realized, when going full speed in a game, he does not have the range of motion he wants, and the team is keeping him in rehab to try to get the full range of motion back. If it is something as simple as that, then there really should not be much doubt about his being ready. But, at this point, it's all speculation about exactly what is wrong with Jordan.
The Dolphins were not planning on Jordan being the starting defensive end this year, letting Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon take those two spots while Jordan developed into the NFL. He's not as good at setting the edge against the run as Vernon is, so Jordan, whenever he gets on the field, will be more of a pass rush specialist than an every down defensive end. That's the same role the team used for Cameron Wake when he first signed in Miami.
Starting in Week 1 is not something that was ever planned for Jordan. Playing in Week 1 was. Now, it's just a matter of waiting and watching. When will the Dolphins get to use their fancy new defensive toy?
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