2 p.m. update: When I asked Jon Gruden about the Dolphins early last September, he said: "I think this is the year of the Dolphins in the AFC East. I think Miami can win 10-12 games this year."
Then Miami went 6-10.
When I asked him today if he's again optimistic, he made clear he wouldn't fall into that trap again.
"I wasn't good last year in the Dolphins prognostication. I am going to play it by what I see this year. They have a lot of new faces, not only in coaching staff but the offensive and defensive systems but the personnel they're counting on heavily. I'm most concerned about the Dolphins secondary. I want to see how they play at the corner position and how Mario Williams and Ndamukong Suh play in that Miami heat and can they get a fourth quarter pass rush. Can the corners hold up for 16 weeks? Can Tannehill do it consistently in a new offense? I haven't seen enough from the offensive line this summer. I was expecting more. I want to see that pick up as well."
3 PM DOLPHINS NOTES
• After missing two weeks with a hamstring injury earlier in camp, DeVante Parker again has a hamstring problem and will sit out Thursday's preseason finale against Tennessee, according to coach Adam Gase, who called Parker day to day.
For the second time in a week, Gase seemed to challenge Parker on the injury issue.
"We’re going to keep strengthening him up," Gase said. I feel like I’ve been through this with Demaryius [Thomas] in Denver. Felt like he was always hurt. One thing after the other."
Gase then spoke of "all the little things you have to do off the field, in the building and when you get to practice, you have to treat everything like a game. Sometimes it takes some guys more time to learn more than others. Eventually you get tired of being the guy standing on the sideline. I do think he’s a little frustrated. He’s been the odd man out all the time. Eventually… he will know how to push through certain kinds of pain."
• Asked about the progress of rookie receivers Jakeem Grant (who played just five offensive snaps against Atlanta) and Leonte Carroo (who played just eight), Gase said: "It’s the execution point of knowing what to do, being in the right spot. We’ve had a couple times when both those guys had their moments of having mistakes where quarterback thinks they’re going to do one thing and [they] do something different. We would like to see them as sound as possible as far as what they’re supposed to do, and develop techniques and little details of the routes."
About Carroo specifically, Gase said: "We’ve see a guy that obviously can catch the ball when he was a defender draped on him, he will pull it in. I see a guy with strong hands, a guy that can move defenders off the ball. Has that quick first step. At the same time he can stretch the field vertically. He doesn’t know some of the things he needs to know to help himself. That’s a little bit of experience.…. He’s got a little ways to go. The thing I love about him is he works so hard, spends so much time in the classroom."
• Gase also explained why Kenny Stills and Laremy Tunsil left practice Monday. (Both are fine now.)
Stills' "back locked up, which is something he has had in the past," Gase said. " Felt a lot better today. Laremy's foot got caught in turf. He’s fine. It scared him a little."
• On trading Chris McCain to New Orleans for a conditional seventh-round pick, Gase said: "He was in a situation where he’s battling on the back end. It’s a really good opportunity for him. Here, would he be active? Would he make it? How much would he contribute? Situation is really good for him. He seemed excited to get opportunity to go to a place where he feels he’s going to get a ton of snaps. Every player wants to play as much as possible. That’s a better opportunity for him there."
JORDAN ON NFI
Dion Jordan’s return to the field has been delayed until at least mid-to-late October.
In an expected move, the Dolphins placed Jordan on the NFL’s reserved non-football injury list, meaning the earliest he would be eligible to return is Miami’s seventh game, an Oct. 23 home game against Buffalo.
Jordan hasn’t played since the 2014 season, when he had 20 tackles and a sack in 10 games for Miami. He was suspended in April 2015 for multiple violations of the NFL’s drug policy and was reinstated conditionally on July 29, provided he meets certain requirements.
But when he showed up to practice in late July, the Dolphins learned he had recently undergone knee surgery. Jordan is still recovering from that surgery and isn’t ready to play.
The NFL’s conditional reinstatement requires Jordan to undergo counseling and be re-evaluated before the start of the regular season. He will be eligible to play when he returns if he meets the NFL’s conditions.
Jordan, drafted third overall in 2013, has three sacks in 26 games.
Jordan is still in the process of returning the $3.35 million signing bonus the Dolphins gave him when he signed, and the Dolphins are being patient with that. That bonus exceeds what Jordan would earn this season.
The Dolphins have indicated they plan to keep the 6-6, 275-pound Jordan at defensive end instead of moving him to linebacker.
Asked if he expects Jordan to help after six weeks, Gase said: "Hard for me to answer because I’ve never seen himplay live. Once we get to that point, we’ll figure out how much he can help or what a role is. Right now, the biggest thing for me is helping him make sure he’s doing everything right in our building and outside our building. After we feel like that is in a good place, then I’ll worry about how his body goes. Let’s get him right to where he feels he’s back and his mind is right and he’s ready to take the next step."
The Dolphins also placed linebacker Zach Vigil on the NFI list because of a back issue that has sidelined him since the start of training camp. The Dolphins are hopeful he will be able to return after six games or soon after.
Undrafted last year of Utah State, Vigil had 18 tackles in 16 games, including two starts.
The moves with Jordan and Vigil allowed the Dolphins to reach the 75-player roster limit hours before Tuesday’s deadline.
Teams must cut to 53 players by Saturday.
• Whether playing at a faster pace, without much huddling, makes the Dolphins offense any more efficient remains to be seen.
But Dolphins players believe they’re already gaining a psychological advantage. Jarvis Landry said exhausted Cowboys defenders were vomiting while trying to keep up with the Dolphins offense in the first half of their second preseason game.
And against Atlanta last Thursday, Ryan Tannehill said: “You can definitely see just the number of plays starting to wear on guys. I think we had 46 plays or something like that in the first half. You add that to another second half and you're going to be getting over 70, close to 80 plays in a game - possibly 90.
“Our conditioning level is extremely high. We want to push ourselves in practice and just keep the pressure on the defense. That way when we get into the second half of games, teams do start wearing down and we can get some big plays because of it."
At times, the Dolphins won’t huddle and will run a play quickly. Other times, they won’t huddle but will still take the play clock down to the final seconds.
“It's fun to get out there and get up to the line, get our guys in the right spots and keep the pressure on the defense,” Tannehill said. “I feel in charge of our offense now and in command of what we're doing.”
• Defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, sidelined for much of August with a calf injury, said he expects to be ready for the Sept. 11 opener against Seattle.
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