When the league suspended Dion Jordan for six games last fall, Joe Philbin talked publicly about keeping tabs on his troubled defensive end and welcoming him back once Jordan’s time had been served.
“While we were disappointed to learn of this result, we support Dion for proactively taking steps to voluntarily seek treatment to better himself,” Philbin said in October. “We will continue to support and work with him as he takes advantage of all available resources during this time.”
Times apparently have changed. There was none of that Saturday.
Philbin struck a decidedly different tone when asked about Jordan’s latest suspension, a season-long ban after a third violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy.
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“The policies are very clear in terms of what’s allowed and not allowed,” Philbin said. “You have to abide by the rules and then you have to pay the consequences. It’s pretty cut and dry.”
As for whether the door remains open for Jordan when the suspension is over: “We haven’t gotten that far. That’s … what is it? Eleven-and-a-half months from now. So there will be a time and a place to discuss all of that stuff.”
To be fair, there’s no guarantee Philbin will be back in 2016, so his reluctance to predict any player’s future is understandable.
Still, it speaks to how the Dolphins have moved on from Jordan — both in the present, and, as many believe, the future.
The team had hoped to use Jordan in a variety of ways on defense this fall. But without him, the Dolphins must rely more on unheralded second-year players Terrence Fede and Chris McCain in passing situations.
“We have a number of different candidates and we’re going to see how things shake out,” Philbin said. “It’s a little early to tell.”
McCain, who was an undrafted find last year, is working with the linebackers during individual portions of the team’s offseason program, but Philbin said “he obviously has some skills as a pass rusher.”
These were just a few of several topics discussed by Philbin during his post-practice briefing at Saturday’s rookie minicamp.
Among the others:
▪ Philbin gave no assurances that star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will attend this spring’s organized team activities, which are voluntary but viewed as important by the franchise.
The team made a big deal out of Suh reporting for the first day of workouts three weeks ago, but the league’s highest-paid defensive player has had far from perfect attendance since.
When asked whether it was his understanding that Suh would be present for the start of OTAs, Philbin said: “We’ll see when the time comes.”
▪ Philbin said “we’re all on board” with the franchise’s decision to pick up the fifth-year option on Ryan Tannehill’s contract, which will pay him $16.2 million in 2016.
The team would prefer to have Tannehill sign a long-term deal before it gets to that point.
“We’re happy with it,” Philbin said. “We’ll see what happens in the future.”
▪ Koa Misi remains the team’s starting inside linebacker, but Philbin hinted that projection shouldn’t be written in ink.
Some in the organization believe Misi is better suited playing on the outside.
“We’ll see how things go,” Philbin said.
▪ Philbin declined to address a Miami Herald report that wide receiver Rishard Matthews is boycotting the voluntary workouts in an attempt to force his release or a trade. Matthews is unhappy about the prospect of another season buried on the team’s depth chart and wants out.