3 Miami Dolphins Players in Danger of Losing Their Starting Role After Week 1

Thomas Galicia@thomasgaliciaFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 10, 2013

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 8: Linebacker Jabaal Sheard #97 of the Cleveland Browns tries to tackle running back Lamar Miller #26 of the Miami Dolphins during the second half at First Energy Stadium on September 8, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Dolphins defeated the Browns 23-10. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins came away from Cleveland with a 23-10 victory and seemingly a better sense of who can put this team in the best position to win in 2013. 

Some players expected to make a big impact did just that on Sunday, while some did nothing but disappoint. 

There were even some players who didn't originally start but still turned in performances that might have shown the coaches why they deserve to start. 

Here's a list of three players who are in danger of losing their starting roles. Please note that just because a player is on this list doesn't mean that it was due to their own disappointing play but rather the play of players who are behind them on the depth chart. 

Also note that it was just one game and that the players who did disappoint will have a chance at redemption in the coming weeks. 

Olivier Vernon

How did Oliver Vernon do on Sunday? I actually had to look up his statistics and even go back and watch the game again to see Vernon's impact. 

Vernon didn't record any tackles, but he was a factor in defending the run despite not making a dent on the stat sheet. 

So why would he lose his job?

Dion Jordan. 

Jordan only played 17 snaps per Pro Football Focus, and he only recorded one tackle and one sack, which was marred by a facemask penalty in the fourth quarter. 

Why would that be enough for me to come to the conclusion that Vernon might cede the starting job to Jordan sooner rather than later? Jordan's 17 snaps were effective. He was in the backfield on every play he was in as part of a massive Miami pass rush that made life hell for Brandon Weeden in the pocket. 

With the Dolphins taking on Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Joe Flacco in the next four weeks, expect to see Jordan take more snaps in each game before gradually taking the starting defensive end job by the end of the season. 

Jared Odrick

Don't get me wrong, Jared Odrick was great on Sunday, recording a tackle, getting a hit on Weeden and, according to Pro Football Focus (per Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald), grading better overall. 

But Randy Starks was also great, coming away with three tackles (one for a loss) and 1.5 sacks. 

Both players played well and played an equal number of snaps, so to call Odrick the starter is a loose label more than anything. The Dolphins rotate their defensive tackles, and so far they do it well. 

The only difference here is who will be on the field for the first play of the game, and you likely will see Starks filling that role depending on the opponent later on this season. 

Lamar Miller

How does one rush for three yards on 10 carries? 

Yes, you could blame the bad offensive line (who would see some players on this list if it wasn't for the fact that the depth at that position is horrid enough to render the players on the line as the best offensive linemen on the team). 

Yes, you could blame Cleveland's run defense (which is excellent). 

But Miller wasn't exactly innocent here. His "improved" pass blocking didn't help, not when he was only on the field for seven passing plays and allowed a hurry and a hit to Tannehill. 

Daniel Thomas was actually the "better" running back for the Dolphins, rushing for 14 yards on eight carries.

It's worth noting that Thomas also scored a touchdown and went into the end zone on that play with authority by leaping over the pile along the offensive and defensive lines as opposed to his usual run, turn around and fall routine. 

Thomas also provided better pass protection than Miller; he outplayed him plain and simple. 

This game will likely look like an aberration for Miller as next week the Dolphins play a team with a much weaker front seven and run defense in Indianapolis. Miller should do well there. 

But if he doesn't, and if his pass protection continues to be suspect, expect Miller to see some time in the same Joe Philbin doghouse that Reggie Bush found himself in last season when he fumbled against the Titans


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