During the past five years, rookie Jamil Douglas’ game experience at right guard consists of half of one preseason game. But he’s poised to be the Dolphins’ opening-day starter at that position if he doesn’t stumble before then.
Douglas lined up with the first team at right guard on Tuesday, replacing Billy Turner, who started each of the first three preseason games. Douglas said coaches told him he’s the new starter at that position, as of now, but wasn’t given any long-term promises.
“I was honored they feel that way about me,” Douglas said. “I know I’ve got to keep coming out every week and proving myself. If you look at the tape, I’ve been able to get better every week.”
Douglas, a fourth-round pick, played exclusively on the left side, at tackle and guard, at Arizona State but has taken snaps at left and right guard in practice for the past month. He played right guard in the second half of the second preseason game against Carolina.
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Douglas said he already feels comfortable at right guard — “it’s a position I like” — and coach Joe Philbin said “he looks good in a right-handed stance; he looks comfortable. There’s some adjustment [going from left to right], but it has gone well.
“He played well the other night [at left guard]. He made some plays in space. He played pretty decisively as a young guy. Seems to have picked up the system well.”
The Dolphins decided to move Douglas to right guard because Dallas Thomas has settled in as the starter at left guard.
Right tackle Ja’Wuan James, who has played alongside Douglas in practice but not yet in a game, called Douglas “officially the starting right” and said “he has impressed me just how he’s carried himself. You wouldn’t think he’s a rookie. He’s been on top of everything, searching for help, not one of those quiet guys scared to ask questions. He’s ahead of the curve.”
Turner, selected in the third round out of North Dakota State in 2014, was disappointed when informed of the news Monday, according to team sources.
“I’ve got a lot of things to work on,” he said. “No one is perfect at the game. I did some things well. I did some things poorly.”
Philbin, who said he’s not ready to name starting guards, said “we’ve seen a lot of great things from Billy,” but he wants more consistency.
Meanwhile, left tackle Branden Albert, back from major knee surgery, participated in team drills without any problems for the second day in a row, and the team remains hopeful he will be ready for the Sept. 13 opener at Washington.
James, smiling, said Albert “came to me today [and said], ‘I’m out of shape. I’ve got to get back in shape. I need you to coach me now. I was coaching you last year.’”
Left tackle Jason Fox sat out practice because he is still going through the concussion protocol process in order to be cleared to play in a game.
Also missing practice Tuesday: cornerback Jamar Taylor (quadriceps), running back Mike Gillislee (quadriceps), defensive tackle Anthony Johnson (foot, but wasn’t wearing a boot) and safety Don Jones (illness).
Receiver DeVante Parker has been working in 7-on-7 drills and has felt no discomfort in his surgically-repaired foot.
▪ Besides releasing punter Brandon Fields, the Dolphins reduced their roster to 75 by Tuesday’s deadline by cutting running back Demetrius Bronson.