DAVIE, Fla. — Jared Odrick likely was the Miami Dolphins player most directly affected by the first-round selection of edge rusher Dion Jordan.
Still, Odrick eagerly awaited Jordan’s arrival at the Dolphins’ organized team activities the past several weeks.
Not for football reasons, mind you. Odrick wanted Jordan to help with a Miami Heat issue.
“Randy Starks is so bored — I get a group text from him every five seconds,” said Odrick, referring to his teammate who has skipped the voluntary OTAs because he’s unhappy at being slapped with the team’s franchise tag.
“It was his original idea (to attend Eastern Conference finals Game 5), but we were waiting for the rookie to get down here. I guess the rookie’s not going to be down here for a while. We wanted him to pay for our seats. So we all got together as a group and said, ‘Hey, let’s do this.'”
Don’t think Jordan — absent because classes at Oregon were still in session — would have attended the Heat-Pacers game with the veterans even if he had been in South Florida.
“He wouldn’t have gone.” Odrick said with a laugh. “His money, but he wouldn’t have gone.”
When Jordan does arrive, he and Cameron Wake figure to be the defensive ends in the Dolphins’ 4-3 defense.
Odrick also could see time there, considering he had 11 sacks while playing end the past two seasons, the first in a 3-4 alignment and last year in the 4-3.
Even with Jordan yet to hit town, the Dolphins have been looking at Odrick at defensive tackle, a position he played at Penn State.
“When I got drafted here to be a 3-4 ‘D’ end, it was something I had to adjust to,” the first-round pick in 2010 said. “Defensive tackle is a position I’ve played before and I’ve felt comfortable playing. We’ll see how much I’m there and how much I’m somewhere else.”
Coach Joe Philbin has insisted OTAs offer a chance to take a look at players in different roles.
“Position flexibility is an important part,” Philbin said. “Things happen that you can’t control. It might be during a practice week, it might be during the course of a game. To have players that can fill multiple roles is definitely an advantage.”
Being able to play defensive tackle and defensive end isn’t as easy as moving over a few steps, especially when going from a 3-4 to a 4-3.
In the 3-4, Odrick usually played a two-gap role — that is, he lined up helmet to helmet with an opponent and was responsible for the gap on each side.
In a 4-3, linemen often have one-gap responsibility by lining up between two offensive linemen.
“I’m sitting over here asking the coaches, ‘When can I two-gap? Let me two-gap one or two plays this series,'” Odrick said. “It’s something that’s revered as a specialty, and it’s something that I’m proud I learned and can carry over to many different defenses.”
Odrick’s potential position switch isn’t the only new wrinkle in the Dolphins defense. The draft and free agency have helped to overhaul the linebacker and secondary units.
“So far, there hasn’t been any bumps,” Odrick said of the defensive unit. “The new guys that are here are team players. The organization obviously knew what type of guys they were bringing in.
“Everybody’s working hard, flying around. As everybody gets to know everybody’s game, and gets to know everybody in the locker room and outside of here, things mesh pretty easily and it’s been going good.”
The Heat game wasn’t the only field trip for the defense. The veteran linemen also took a trip to the Dominican Republic during the offseason.
Odrick said such team-building trips are invaluable.
“You can’t coach that,” he said. “When guys get along and mesh better, they play better.”
“Chemistry of the football team is critical, ” the coach said. “The locker room is the most important room we have in the building — players are much more important than the coaches.
“When they can do some of that stuff on their own, and we don’t have to orchestrate it, I think it’s great. I’m all for it.”