There are a couple of significant differences with Dion Jordan from this same time last year, one there for all to see and another one not so obvious.

Combined, it’s those two changes that could make one big difference on the field in the fall.

The obvious difference is Jordan’s physique and the extra 15 pounds of muscle he’s put on since the end of his rookie season. That was quite the topic of conversation the first time the media got a look at Jordan this spring.

“It’s not a big deal at all,” Jordan said. “Have you seen my frame, man? Does it look like I’m getting too big? I don’t think so. I just have to make sure I stay healthy. That’s part of being healthy. When I had the shoulder injury, I wasn’t able to do (much) in the weight room because I was injured. But now I had time to take care of my body and it’s a lot easier now. I would never sacrifice my speed for weight.

“It’s good. I don’t want it too big too fast. I’m still young. I’m sure the weight will come. So I’m not in a rush.”

Jordan was able to pick up strength in the offseason because he was able to lift weights, which wasn’t the case last year because he was recovering from shoulder surgery.

The rehabilitation was doubly damaging for Jordan after he was taken third overall by the Dolphins in the 2013 NFL draft because it also forced him to miss all of the offseason practices and even some during training camp.

As a result, Jordan played catch-up throughout his rookie season, both physically and mentally.
“Certainly, Dion wished he had a bigger rookie season and so do we, but we have great expectations for Dion Jordan coming into this year,” defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said. “You cannot have enough great pass rushers and we feel that with Dion at full speed, we have a prime-time player that’s going to explode this year.”
“With those two things being said, Dion has a season under his belt in which he played a role, scheme, with us and we expect him to certainly have a much more feature role this year.”

Head Coach Joe Philbin said during the spring the focus moving forward might be on having Jordan rush the passer, although his ability to play different roles might come into play as well.

“The thing that we look for with him when we drafted him was it was a guy that was going to be able to put pressure on the quarterback,” Philbin said. “One of the big things we feel that’s important for our defense is to continually pressure opposing quarterbacks. And that was really the mind-set when we took him.”
Jordan singled out Randy Starks as someone who helped him get stronger in the offseason. He also benefited for a while this spring from the tutelage of Jason Taylor during his stint as guest coach.