Reporting Tim Kephart
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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins defense will have likely have a win/lose scenario when it comes to the roster going into the first week of the season.
On the positive side, defensive tackle Randy Starks is expected to be full go when the regular season opens and will form a formidable tandem with fellow tackles Paul Soliai and Jared Odrick. The trio are among the best at their position and will once again key the Fins’ defensive line.
Starks has not played in the preseason yet, but is expected to play on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald. Starks has been dealing with a knee problem for most of August, but has never missed a regular-season game as a member of the Dolphins.
While Starks’ overall numbers may not be overwhelming, 27 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2012, his ability to push the pocket and stuff the run made the Fins want to keep him enough to give him the franchise tag in the offseason.
Starks playing is welcome news to defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, but the other news coming out of Davie this week is that rookie defensive end Dion Jordan may not be ready to play in the season opener a little more than two weeks away.
Jordan has been dealing with a shoulder problem through most of the offseason. He had shoulder surgery earlier this year and after aggravating the injury a little over a week ago, he’s been absent from training camp practices.
“It’s my body, so I know when I’m ready to go or not ready to go,” Jordan told the Herald. “It wouldn’t be a surprise (to not go in Week 1).”
Jordan’s tore his labrum as a senior at Oregon and wasn’t healthy when the Dolphins traded up to select him with the number three overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Jordan did tell the Herald his shoulder was feeling better recently.
The Fins went after Jordan thanks in large part to his freakish physical ability. Jordan stands 6’6” tall and weighs in around 255 pounds. Even at that size and weight, he was the fastest defensive end at the combine and has the speed and feet to play with his hand on the ground or standing up and even covering tight ends and slot receivers.
Jordan is expected to eventually join Cameron Wake as the team’s monstrous defensive end combination that will meet at the opponent’s quarterback. But, Jordan has to have the ability to stay on the field to meet that goal and so far he hasn’t been able to do that.
If Jordan can live up to the lofty status of being a number three overall pick, the Dolphins could sport the best defensive line in football for a few seasons with Wake, Jordan, Odrick, and either Starks or Soliai in the middle.
But that’s still a ways away and the first goal is to get Jordan healthy enough for regular action. When that happens, the Dolphins can quickly take off the training wheels and let the line wreak the havoc so many Fins fans are hoping it can.
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