As was noted earlier tonight, the Miami Dolphins' All-Pro left tackle Jake Long was held out of practice today due to the back injury he suffered on the Dolphins' seventh offensive snap last week. As soon as Long walked off the field, the momentum of the game changed, and the Dolphins were never able to recover.
Now, with it looking more and more likely that Long will be out this week as the Dolphins travel north to play their AFC East division rival the Buffalo Bills, Miami is trying to find a replacement for Long. At least at practice this week, that replacement has been the embattled second-year player, John Jerry.
Jerry was drafted by Bill Parcells in the third round of the 2010 draft. Since then, he has disappeared down the depth chart, and had little impact on the team until a couple of weeks ago. Jerry was called upon to start in place of Vernon Carey at right guard against the Oakland Raiders, and actually played well.
He was called upon again last week against the Eagles when Carey was sidelined in the third quarter. Again, Jerry played well.
Now, Jerry will have to play even better as he protects the blind side of fellow backup and probable-Week 15 starter, quarterback J.P. Losman.
Omar Kelly, Dolphins' beat reporter for the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that Jerry has been spending 15-30 minutes every day working with the Dolphins' quality control coach, Tony Sparano, Jr., trying to improve his footwork.
"That's been Jerry's routine for the past month or so with the Miami Dolphins. When most players are hitting the showers or starting up their game of dominoes Jerry's out on the field working on his footwork."
Then again, this is just one practice in preparation for a game four days away. The Dolphins could put Carey at left tackle, a position he played in 2007. They also have tackle Will Barker, who has spent the season inactive on game day, who could fill in for Long. But, at least for Wednesday, interim head coach Todd Bowles seemed to lean toward Jerry.