Vaughn Martin needed a strong game Thursday night, if for no other reason than he was playing in it.
While most every starter — and plenty of key backups — had the night off, Martin suited up and played against the Saints. Intuitively, then, he’s one of dozens of Dolphins players who had to show the coaches something they had not seen up to this point.
In Martin’s case, it might have been to justify his salary — and spot on the roster. Defensive line is the Dolphins’ deepest position, and Martin is due to make more than $1.5 million in base salary this season — far more than some of his competition.
The last impression Martin left with his coaching staff, then, was a good one. In the first quarter, he jarred the ball out of Saints running back Mark Ingram’s hands — a fumble recovered by Tristan Okpalaugo.
The turnover put Miami on a short field, setting up a 33-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis.
Rounding into form
John Jerry also logged extensive minutes Thursday, but for an entirely different reason: he needs to play himself back into game shape.
Jerry missed several weeks with a knee injury and only made it through the first quarter of Saturday’s preseason game against Tampa Bay.
Jerry played roughly the same amount Thursday, the only position player projected to start who appeared in the team’s fifth preseason game.
Josh Samuda, who started at right guard when Jerry was injured, played center well into the second quarter.
Nate Garner was back in pads after missing several weeks because of shoulder surgery. He started at left tackle and played a little more than a quarter.
Garner, vying to become the first lineman off the bench this season, surrendered a sack to Jay Richardson that ended a Dolphins drive.
On second thought
Dion Jordan’s mending shoulder evidently still isn’t ready for live contact. The draft’s No. 3 overall pick missed his third consecutive game — despite Joe Philbin’s encouraging words the night before.
On Wednesday, Philbin told fans on a conference call that Jordan needed to get more reps and that the world would see “a lot of him in the next couple of weeks.”
Will Davis, the rookie cornerback , also sat out with an apparent injury
Odds and ends
• Sen. Marco Rubio attended Thursday’s game and was on the sidelines prior to kickoff. Rubio spent a few minutes chatting with general manager Jeff Ireland, with a camera crew capturing every word.
Rubio is a fervent Dolphins fan. His wife, Jeanette, is a former cheerleader.
• Jerry, linebacker Jason Trusnik and R.J. Stanford served as the Dolphins captains. Trusnik recovered a muffed snap in the second quarter, and Stanford started at corner.