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Next two weeks loom large for Dion Jordan

The Dolphins hope to start working rookie Dion Jordan back into practice this week. He still might be limited in the scope of things he's able to do but the team desperately wants Jordan back working because, well, he needs the work.

And that leads me to this:

I'm starting to hear grumblings from inside the team that Jordan's first camp has been a disappointment because it has been derailed by injury to the point he's not looking like a major contributor early in the regular season.

That's not me saying that. That's what I'm hearing.

And that isn't wrong.

Let's face it, when a player is picked No. 3 overall in the draft and for whatever reason, including durability which was measured before the draft, he isn't a factor in the team's opening day plans two weeks from that day, you have a bad situation.

Jordan is not going to be a starter. We know that's going to be Olivier Vernon, who has had a good training camp, according to coach Joe Philbin.

But Jordan is supposed to bring a level of athletic freakishness to the defense, with his speed and ability to attack the quarterback, that was to raise the bar on Miami's pass rush and ability to chase ballcarriers to the boundary.

We've only seen that ability in flashes during camp and the preseason.

Instead, Jordan has spent much of this summer rehabilitating a shoulder injury for which he had surgery in February, came back from in July, and had to return to rehabilitating two weeks ago after re-injuring it in a preseason game.

He didn't practice last week, unless you count a walk-thru a practice. And so he's falling behind. The Dolphins, meanwhile, signed an experienced 4-3 defensive end in Antwan Applewhite as insurance against Jordan not being able to contribute.

This would not be bad if Jordan were a proven veteran. If Cameron Wake missed a couple of weeks of the preseason and a bunch of practices, the Dolphins wouldn't be too worried.

But the fact is Jordan needs to work to get better because he's not game-ready at the moment.

That makes the next two weeks huge for him. If he can indeed get some work this week and perhaps play one of the final two preseason games, he might earn playing time in the regular season opener. If he doesn't do that, it will be difficult to simply put him in the season-opener and hope he figures it out.

The Dolphins badly want him to get on track. They need him to get on track.

This week will be a major test to see if Jordan can begin to do that.

Now, before anyone goes off on a rant that Jordan is a bust, stop. Breathe. We are talking a snapshot in time here. We are talking now. And we are talking the next couple of weeks.

I am not saying Jordan will be unavailable for the next two years. This is about the present.

The future might still be bright. It's just that the present has some issues.

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