Lots and lots of Wednesday Dolphins notes: (Please see the last post if you haven't seen the Wednesday buzz, with lots of Marlins and Canes and Heat).
### Injuries continued to create issues at Dolphins camp on Wednesday, with versatile offensive lineman Nate Garner and third-string quarterback Pat Devlin the latest to be sidelined.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins remain without defensive linemen Randy Starks (knee) and Dion Jordan, who re-injured his troublesome shoulder during Friday’s game at Jacksonville. A league source said the Dolphins expect Jordan will be ready before the Sept. 8 opener at Cleveland, but it’s uncertain when he will be able to practice.
The injury is to the same shoulder that was surgically repaired in February.
“We’ve got to get him back on the field,” general manager Jeff Ireland said Wednesday on Sirius Satellite Radio. “Until you get him back on the field, it’s really hard to kind of see progress. Getting him healthy and getting him to where he needs to be,… we’ll be there at some point.”
According to a league source, Garner underwent arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder this week and is expected to miss two to three weeks. On Monday, Garner handled first-team snaps at right guard, which has become the Dolphins’ most problematic position.
John Jerry, last season’s starter at right guard, is working his way back from a knee injury suffered early in training camp and remains limited. Lance Louis is still not 100 percent after last November’s knee surgery and has taken very few first-team snaps.
By necessity, Josh Samuda took first-team snaps at right guard at Wednesday’s practice, even though the Dolphins were so underwhelmed by his performance there against Jacksonville that they moved him back to center earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Devlin suffered an undisclosed injury that could sideline him a week or two. Needing a third quarterback in the interim, the Dolphins re-signed Aaron Corp, who was released earlier in training camp.
Ireland, who generally doesn’t do interviews between July and December, opined on several issues during his Sirius Radio chat with Bill Polian and Alex Marvez. Among them:
### He said Jordan “has a long way to go. He’s an extraordinary athlete. He’s 6 foot 6, has got 37 inch wingspan. He’s a 4.55 guy. He can come forward. He can go backwards. He can go laterally. He’s got a different skill set…. A smart kid, too.
“We’re not going to ask him to do a whole lot different than what he was asked to do in college. We’re going to let him hopefully rush the passer and do what the defensive coaches want him to do. That should come naturally to him.”
Polian asked him where he fits exactly. “I think I learned from you – you never have enough of those guys,” Ireland responded. “Where he fits on third down, I’m sure we can find a place for him to come after the passer or maybe drop back into the backfield.”
### Left tackle Jonathan Martin “is doing a nice job,” Ireland said. “He obviously has a long way to go, just like the rest of the team. There are certainly some things we’ve seen during training camp he’s got to get better at. He’s a tireless worker. He’s very smart. We saw enough of him last year to make this move and not bring Jake Long back."
Martin has been matched up against Olivier Vernon and Jordan (when healthy) in practice, and Ireland said Martin’s “mindset has been, ‘These are some of the best pass rushers I’m going to face. I’ve got to block these guys in front of me.’ He’s certainly taken some lumps. But he’s also blocked those guys quite a bit, too. He just has to provide some consistency. I’ve got confidence in him.”
### Ireland said it “looks like all [of the rookie draft picks] are going to be contributing.” Though Ireland didn’t say this, the only draft pick who might not make the team is Don Jones, the No. 5 safety on a team that might keep four. But Jones could be kept on the practice squad.
### Ireland praised Lamar Miller but added “I don’t think it’s just going to be Lamar’s position. We’ve got a good running back in Daniel Thomas that’s certainly making some noise.”
He said he believes Miller and Thomas will each have a “breakout season” and “they’re a pretty good one/two punch.”
“Lamar is a tremendous athlete, He’s got great explosion. He’s about 218 pounds. He’s well built for the position, which I like. He runs low to the ground. He’s got very good instincts. He can stop on a dime. I just felt like going into the season, we had to get this guy going. He can catch it out of the backfield. He can block. He was one of our best pass protectors last year.... You give him a crease, he’s going to get through it.
"And Daniel also has got some one-cut quickness and downhill attitude about him. He can catch and block.”
### On Mike Wallace: “The last couple days, I’ve really seen some explosiveness from him. That’s been nice to see. He’s been hampered by a couple things in the last couple weeks. He’s very good in the offseason, works his tail off.
“We do things differently than Pittsburgh. When you bring a player over from a different program, he has to learn how Joe [Philbin] does things. But he’s been outstanding, really shining these last couple days and showing the speed and explosiveness and the catching ability that were the reasons we brought him over here.”
### Ireland said safety Reshad Jones’ “maturation process over the last couple of years has been outstanding” and fellow starting safety Chris Clemons “has really developed as a nice player for us.”
Ireland mentioned that with Brent Grimes, Dimitri Patterson and Richard Marshall at cornerback, “we’ve got some real veteran leadership back there. Very good professionals, very hard workers. Then you add the young kids to it –-- Jamar Taylor, Will Davis, Don Jones…. There’s a lot of competition back there. We’ve got depth there. We feel good about it. We’ve got to figure out what the right combination of those players are.”
### He said “I feel very confident that our defense is going to be pretty strong; said Olivier Vernon “is really coming on strong"; Vaughn Martin “will be good depth on the defensive line"; and that Dannell Ellerbe, Philip Wheeler and Koa Misi are “really good blitzers.”
### Asked how far along the Dolphins are, Ireland said: "We have some things we need to see developed. We’ve put a lot of resources into certain positions where we feel we’re going to be good for a while. We’ve obviously got some pieces we’ve got to address. I’m not going to name them on the air. Some of them are obvious, some of them maybe not so obvious.”
AND ANOTHER THING...
### A bit more on the kicker battle, which ended Wednesday, with the Dolphins releasing Dan Carpenter and keeping Caleb Sturgis, whose 58-yard field goal against Jacksonville was his longest ever in a game, from what he was telling me. Sturgis made three field goals on Wednesday (two from 42, one from 51) and was short from 57 yards.
Carpenter’s agent, Noel LaMontagne, is optimistic Carpenter will find work. “It’s always good to be the best guy on the market whose available,” he said. “You figure you are at the top of the call sheet. Definitely a few teams are in need for a kicker. Dan is damn good at what he does.”
### Wednesday's highlight: Mike Wallace made a beautiful catch, over Nolan Carroll and Kelcie McCray, on a well thrown deep ball from Ryan Tannehill.
### Dustin Keller scored on a 45-yard pass from Tannehill, but the play ended strangely: Keller fell at the 10 yard line, wasn’t touched, got up and ran into the end zone.
### Marvin McNutt, whose hands haven’t been especially reliable, made an outstanding one-handed grab.
### Philbin said starters will play at least one quarter Saturday at Houston, then would play more in the Dolphins’ fourth preseason game against Tampa.
### The Dolphins made ample and generally successful use of a formation with an empty backfield and five players lined up as receivers: Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, running back Lamar Miller, tight end Dustin Keller and either receiver Brandon Gibson or tight end/fullback Charles Clay.
“Ryan can see the field a lot better when all of us are out there spreading it out for him,” Wallace said. “He can just take his pick.”
The Dolphins even practiced with that grouping in goal line situations. “That surprised me and I’m on the team,” Wallace said. “If we can do that, we’ll keep catching teams off guard and get a lot of mismatches we want.
“It’s very dangerous and it’s fun. All our tight ends are like hybrid tight ends. Any time we have two of those guys in the game, it’s like we are going five wides. And Lamar is [joking that] he’s going to take one of our spots at receiver.”
The flip side, of course, is that it leaves the Dolphins vulnerable on blitzes if Tannehill doesn’t throw very quickly. “If you go empty, you’re inviting the defense to pressure," Philbin said. "I don’t know that you can live and die by that package. It’s certainly something we’ll use at various times throughout the year.”
### Tannehill’s first pass on 11 on 11 drills was dropped by safety Reshad Jones. But Tannehill was very sharp the rest of the day.
“He takes some chances and believes in his arm,” Wallace said. “A lot of times, those work out for him.”
“It’s good to see John Jerry back out there. He’s been on vacation, hanging out in the air conditioning, sucking down Gatorade and relaxing while the rest of us have been working.”---
Richie Incognito, on Jerry, who has recovered enough from a knee injury to do some on-field work.
Again, please see the last post if you haven't read the Wednesday buzz column, which I posted late last night. I'm on Twitter at @flasportsbuzz.