Dolphins Working Jordan in Slowly

Jordan in his NFL debut on Sunday. (Photo: BleacherReport)
Not everyone was happy with Miami Dolphins rookie Dion Jordan's performance in Miami's 24-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday's Hall of Fame Game. Fortunately for the Dolphins, the majority of those unhappy are opposing quarterbacks and offensive tackles.

Without playing until the early parts of the second half, Jordan recorded just two tackles, but did a good job getting pressure on the quarterback. As Miami gets set for their second preseason game on Friday in Jacksonville, it's hard to not want to see more of Jordan. Joe Philbin and the coaching staff however, appear to know what they're doing.

With Cameron Wake, Jared Odrick, and Olivier Vernon out of the lineup on Sunday, it would have been easy to give Jordan the start, but the Dolphins didn't and probably for a number of reasons.

Guys like Jonathan Freeny and Derrick Shelby played in front of Jordan on Sunday and even though those guys played pretty well, neither are as intricate a part of Miami's future as Jordan. One reason for the move however, may have been to get Jordan's feet wet against weaker competition. While the term "first string" should be used far more loosely than normal after watching Sunday's Hall of Fame Game, Jordan's first taste of action came against players with NFL experience closer to his own instead of immediately facing a more veteran presence.

Secondly, not starting Jordan sends a message to not only the third overall pick, but to the rest of the team as well. Younger athletes are more entitled than ever before and not anointing Jordan as an immediate starter lets him know that he like everyone else will have to work his way to the top of the depth chart. Instead, Jordan had to wait his turn and made the most of his playing time despite a pedestrian stat line.

The third reason that sitting Jordan until the second half was a good move was that it allowed Philbin, Kevin Coyle and the rest of the coaching staff to see how lesser-known players responded with the chance to play against Dallas' "starters". While names like Jordan, Wake, Odrick and Vernon will most certainly be on the roster for the September 8th opener in Cleveland, others like Shelby and Freeny are fighting for their football lives and it made more sense to get them a look against guys closer to the top of Dallas' depth chart than others in the same position as they are, especially considering that the Dolphins play five preseason games while the rest of the league plays four.

All that said, it's hard not to expect Jordan to get more action as Miami visits Jacksonville on Friday. Jordan shined in his NFL debut and despite just two tackles, showed an ability to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks and did so with relative ease. He will also likely see the field a bit earlier in Friday's contest, but by not giving Jordan the start in the Hall of Fame Game, the rookie from Oregon is learning that nothing in the NFL comes easy.

Mike Ferguson is a staff writer at Dolphin Shout and the founder and editor of Outside the Redzone. Like Outside the Redzone on Facebook!