Dolphins notebook

Miami Dolphins’ line depth depleted on offense, defense

 

bjackson@MiamiHerald.com

Injuries continued to create issues at Dolphins camp Wednesday, with versatile offensive lineman Nate Garner and third-string quarterback Pat Devlin the latest to be sidelined.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins remain without defensive linemen Randy Starks (knee) and Dion Jordan, who reinjured his troublesome shoulder during Friday’s game at Jacksonville. A league source said the Dolphins expect Jordan will be ready before the Sept. 8 opener at Cleveland, but it’s uncertain when he will be able to practice.

The injury is to the same shoulder that was surgically repaired in February.

“We’ve got to get him back on the field,” general manager Jeff Ireland said Wednesday on Sirius Satellite Radio. “Until you get him back on the field, it’s really hard to kind of see progress.”

According to a league source, Garner underwent arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder this week and is expected to miss two to three weeks. On Monday, Garner handled first-team snaps at right guard, which has become the Dolphins’ most problematic position.

John Jerry, last season’s starter at right guard, is working his way back from a knee injury and remains limited. Lance Louis is still not 100 percent after last November’s knee surgery and has taken very few first-team snaps.

By necessity, Josh Samuda took first-team snaps at right guard Wednesday, even though the Dolphins were so underwhelmed by his performance there against Jacksonville that they moved him back to center.

Meanwhile, Devlin sustained an undisclosed injury that could sideline him a week or two. Needing a third quarterback in the interim, the Dolphins re-signed Aaron Corp, who was released earlier in training camp.

Coach Joe Philbin, who refused to comment on any of the injuries, said starters will play at least one quarter of Saturday’s game at Houston.

Ireland speaks

Ireland opined on several issues during his Sirius interview. Among them:

• He said Jordan “has a long way to go. He’s an extraordinary athlete. We’re not going to ask him to do a whole lot different [than] what he was asked to do in college.”

• Left tackle Jonathan Martin “is doing a nice job. There are certainly some things we’ve seen during training camp he’s got to get better at.”

Martin has been matched up against Olivier Vernon and Jordan in practice, and Ireland said Martin has “certainly taken some lumps. But he’s also blocked those guys quite a bit, too.”

• Ireland said it “looks like all [of the rookie draft picks] are going to be contributing.”

• Ireland praised Lamar Miller but added “I don’t think it’s just going to be Lamar’s position. We’ve got a good running back in Daniel Thomas that’s certainly making some noise.”

He said he believes Miller and Thomas will have a “breakout season” and “they’re a pretty good one/two punch.”

“Lamar has got explosiveness and speed and burst. You give him a crease, he’s going to get through it. He was one of our best pass protectors last year. And Daniel also has got some one-cut quickness and downhill attitude about him. He can catch and block.”

On receiver Mike Wallace: “He’s been outstanding, really shining these last couple days and showing the speed and explosiveness and the catching ability that were the reasons we brought him here.”

• Ireland said safety Reshad Jones’ “maturation process over the last couple of years has been outstanding,” and fellow starting safety Chris Clemons “has really developed as a nice player.”

• He said: “I feel very confident that our defense is going to be pretty strong.” He also said Vernon “is really coming on strong” and that linebackers Dannell Ellerbe, Philip Wheeler and Koa Misi are “really good blitzers.”

• Asked how far along the Dolphins are, Ireland said: “We’ve put a lot of resources into certain positions where we feel we’re going to be good for a while. We’ve got some pieces we’ve got to address. Some of them are obvious, some of them maybe not so obvious.”

Notable

• The Dolphins on Wednesday made ample and effective use of a formation with an empty backfield and five players lined up as receivers: Wallace, Brian Hartline, Miller, tight end Dustin Keller and either receiver Brandon Gibson or tight end/fullback Charles Clay.

Ryan [ Tannehill] can see the field a lot better when all of us are out there spreading it out for him,” Wallace said.

• The Dolphins will hold their final open practice of training camp at 8 a.m. Thursday in Davie.

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