Timely Start To Jordan’s First Official Practice

Posted Jul 23, 2013

Rookie makes his debut two days after being placed on Active/NFI.

It didn’t take long for Miami Dolphins rookie defensive end Dion Jordan to shed the role of spectator and take his place on the practice field with the rest of his teammates.

Just two days after opening training camp on the Active/Non-Football Injury list, Jordan was cleared to put on the pads and join the team on the first day of full pads practice. He is still being eased into the schedule, so he did not participate in the team drills, but he was able to do individual drills and get acclimated to the heat and humidity.

“I feel real good, first of all just being out there with the guys and being able to run around and hit things and just get back to normal football routine,” said Jordan, who was the third overall pick of April’s NFL Draft. “I knew how far I was as far as my injury. I’m just trying to push myself to make sure I’m ready. I want to be out here, so I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I’m ready.”

Head Coach Joe Philbin was pleased to see Jordan suited up and start putting some of the concepts he has been shown on paper into action. Being as it is just the first week of camp and this was the third practice, Jordan didn’t have a lot of catching up to do.

In terms of playbook and scheme installation, Philbin explained that everything started at square one once everyone returned from the break in between the OTAs and minicamp and training camp. Since Jordan has been in the classroom for all of the corrections and to watch all of the film, he didn’t necessarily need a cram session.

“Obviously, there’s going to be a point in time when he needs to get out there and feel it for himself and do it for himself and make a couple of mistakes and then learn from them and move forward as a player,” Philbin said. “It’s going to be a gradual process. We’ll see how he responds, see how he feels tomorrow and take it from there. We’re never going to rush a guy if we don’t feel he’s ready.”

During this part of the process, Jordan is making it a point to watch Pro Bowl defensive end Cam Wake closely, as well as the other returning players on the defensive line like second-year defensive end Olivier Vernon and fourth-year defensive tackle/end Jared Odrick. The value of what he can learn from them he knows is priceless.

But since Jordan was the third overall pick and comes in with such high expectations, those other players also have been eager to see what he’s capable of. Even newcomers like middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe have been intrigued by what the former Oregon standout will bring.

“I’m just as curious as everybody else,” said Ellerbe, who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens last season. “He’s got a good frame. I heard a lot about him. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch him when he was at Oregon. I know he’s the No. 3 pick, I know we’re going to get a lot from him, so I’m just looking forward to it.”

Wake’s locker is right next to Jordan’s for a reason, much like when he was getting dressed next to Jason Taylor in his first season with Miami back in 2009. The coaching staff expects him to play the role of mentor again like he did last year for Vernon and he is welcoming it.

“It’s crazy how quick it happens,” Wake said. “This is my fifth year but I’m like the third longest tenured Dolphin on the team and it sounds crazy but it’s the truth. Being a guy who’s the young vet I’ll say, going out there and doing whatever I can to help these young players make strides to help this defense, I’m definitely down for it.”

Before Jordan first arrived in South Florida after the draft, he made it a point to do his homework on Wake because he wanted to be prepared before meeting him in person. Now that’s starting to pay off.

“I’m learning a lot from him,” Jordan said. “First of all, watching a lot of film on the guy before I even got here, the way he works, the way he takes care of his body, it all translates over here to the playing field.”

As for the goals he has set for himself and any pressure he might feel about the expectations that come with being a first-rounder taken so high, Jordan keeping that all in perspective.

“Honestly, I put more pressure on myself to come out here and perform,” said Jordan, who at 6-foot-6 is the tallest player on the defensive line. “It’s not just because I’m in the NFL now or I was drafted high, it’s something that I’ve always done. I’ve got to compete every day to make myself a better player. Anytime I step out here on the field, that’s what I try to do.”