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NOTEBOOK: Jordan And Bills LB Alonso Were College Roommates; Other Notes

Posted Oct 18, 2013

Two defensive stars at Oregon will be on opposite sidelines Sunday.



As much attention as the University of Oregon’s offense got in recent years, two of the school’s top defensive players – Dion Jordan and Kiko Alonso -- are emerging as impact players in the NFL this year.

Jordan, a defensive end, was chosen in the first round of April’s NFL Draft with the third overall pick by the Miami Dolphins after they moved up in a trade with the Oakland Raiders, while Alonso, a linebacker, was a second-round selection (46th overall) of the Buffalo Bills. The two happened to be roommates at Oregon.

Through six games, Alonso has six starts and leads the team with four interceptions to go along with 66 tackles (32 solo), one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. While that kind of start to his career might surprise some, it did not catch Jordan off guard.

“That’s my guy and I lived with him for a long time and I saw the work that he put in,” said Jordan, who was a disruptive force himself for the Ducks. “It’s starting to pay off and I wouldn’t be surprised at the end of this year if he’s one of the top rookies. I kind of expect it from him and he expects it out of me, too.”

Jordan has appeared in all five of Miami’s games with no starts and has seven tackles (six solo), one sack and two passes defensed, with his best performance coming right before the bye against Baltimore. He forced a Joe Flacco interception that was returned for a touchdown by safety Reshad Jones, as he came hard around the edge and fought through a block to get his long arm in and get a piece of the ball just as Flacco released it.

Bills head coach Doug Marrone remembers watching film of Alonso during scouting sessions when he and his staff deliberated over which direction to go in the draft. It was hard not to notice Jordan in those clips wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks and opening up lanes for Alonso and the other defensive players.

“I think that whole team with Chip Kelly in Oregon, they were an explosive team,” Marrone said. “The offense gets a lot of the credit, which is well deserved, but when you put on the defensive tape and Dion Jordan was out there and Kiko and a couple of those other guys, they can flat out play.”

Now that they are on opposing teams in the same division, it’s not as easy for Jordan and Alonso to root for each other, especially this Sunday when their teams face each other in the first of two divisional meetings. Jordan will get to experience the frigid Buffalo temperatures in late December when Miami travels to Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 22nd for what could be a pivotal game.

So while the two stay in touch and try to talk to each other on a regular basis, they have managed to refrain from any trash talking headed into this week’s game. Their mutual respect for each other is strong, but so is their will to win.

“We talk about who’s going to win,” Jordan said. “But I expect a lot from him this week and he expects a lot from myself so I just hope he plays well and I’ll wish him the best of luck.”

Just not too much luck.

THIS AND THAT

Wide receiver Brandon Gibson made the highlight-reel catch of the portion of practice open to the media this morning in the right corner of the end zone on a designed rollout by second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He stretched out for a diving reception, using his hands to snatch the ball out of the air on a nice throw from Tannehill. … Special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi always likes tinkering with his formations on punt coverage and kickoff coverage and today was no different. Safety Jordan Kovacs, who was called up from the practice squad recently, is now in the backfield with Daniel Thomas and Chris Clemons as the upbacks on punts.

TGIF ON THE MUSIC FRONT

Today was B.o.B. Day inside the bubble during the stretching period as the rapper was featured on both songs that were played. His “Ready,” featuring Future kicked things off and then he made on a guest appearance on “Headband,” by 2 Chainz. Then the team got down to business in preparation for the AFC East showdown with the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium.

THE LAST WORD

“You know we’re going to get a lot of work. That’s the main thing is that it’s going to fall on our shoulders and that’s the way we like it. If you want to run the ball we’re up for the challenge. This is our chance to get our rushing defense back to where we want it. Right now it’s not where we want it and this is a good team to do it against.” – Two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Randy Starks on facing the AFC’s top-ranked rushing offense in the Buffalo Bills (148.8 ypg) on Sunday.

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