Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Philbin expects 'significant jump' for Dion Jordan


One of the biggest disappointments of the Miami Dolphins' 2013 season -- which ended in the ultimate disappointment of a late-season collapse and no playoff berth -- was the lack of impact from No. 3 overall pick defensive end Dion Jordan, whom the Dolphins moved up nine spots to draft.

To be more specific, Jordan's lack of playing time raised concerns that the coaching staff didn't believe that the 6-foot-6, 260 hybrid defender could succeed in a more significant role.

Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin dispelled that rumor, citing "injury issues" as the primary reason Jordan's role was curbed last season in an interview at the NFL owner's meetings in Orlando, via The Miami Herald.

Philbin expects that "with a full offseason," Jordan will be fully recovered from his shoulder issues and be a bigger contributor. He also quashed the notion that the staff didn't like Jordan's work ethic, and laid out some expectations for the former Oregon Duck's sophomore season.

"I'm not sure where that came from, I've said I'm expecting him to make a significant jump from year one to year two," Philbin added. "He's definitely a hard worker."

Jordan was on the field for just 339 snaps in 2013, according to Pro Football Focus, and contributed just two sacks and 22 total pressures. Just 25.6-percent of those snaps came on running plays due to the fact that Miami kept him off the field on early downs and short yardage situations, which Philbin expects to change as Jordan gets stronger.

"He's going to have to get more snaps on first and second down," he said. Philbin also said that the team planned to focus keeping Jordan at defensive end, as opposed to outside linebacker.

Two more of Miami's top four draft picks, cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Will Davis, also missed the vast majority of the season due to injuries. Both will face competition for playing time with newly-signed veteran Cortland Finnegan, but Philbin still expects them to contribute in their second years.

"We expect to see progress there," he said.

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