Jones back at Fins' practice, Ajayi stays out

reshad jones.jpg
courtesy: Sun-Sentinel

Dolphins safety Reshad Jones, who was on the non-football injury list to start training camp due to a calf injury, was activated Wednesday and went through practice, most of the time with the first team.

“It was straight go,” Jones said, meaning he had no limitations. “It felt good for me. It’s been seven, eight months since I had pads on. It’s a fun experience. I feel good.”

Coach Adam Gase said Jones, the 2015 Pro Bowl selection, “crushed” his conditioning test. Still, Gase wanted to know if Jones, one of the key players on the defense, was totally healthy because calf injuries have a way of recurring if not totally healed.

“My biggest question for him was, ‘Just shoot me straight, don’t be just trying to run out there just say you’re off [NFI], you’re out there. You’ve got to be honest with us.’

“And he legitimately felt really good and probably did a little more than I expected. I think it’s just hard with him because there’s no middle ground with him. It’s like, ‘Hey, either I’m going or I’m not.’ But he looked good, he was moving good. I was giving him a hard time saying, ‘We’re going to move you to linebacker.’ He looks good though.”

Jones, who said he sustained his injury “working out with my trainer,” agreed with that assessment, saying he felt no tightness or problems in his calf.

“Not at all,” he said. “It felt pretty good.”

All 11 defensive starters weren’t on the field because Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake were given a day off by Gase.

Still, Gase said there was value in having Jones on the field to complete the starting secondary.

“It’s nice to get him out there so those guys can get used to playing with each other,” Gase said. “I think anytime that we can get whoever that 11 is going to be on the field, getting as many reps as possible together, communication factor, getting used to hearing everybody’s voice, especially at safety because you’re making certain kinds of calls.”

Even though the entire starting defense wasn’t on the field for the sixth practice of training camp, it was the first time the Dolphins had their projected starting secondary on the field with Jones and Nate Allen at safeties, Xavien Howard and Byron Maxwell at cornerbacks, and Bobby McCain at nickel/slot cornerback.

Michael Thomas, Allen, and T.J. McDonald shared the two safety positions in Jones’ absence.

Jones, limited to six games last season before going down with a shoulder injury, said he likes the secondary group this season.

“We’ve got some talent back there,” he said. “We’ve got some veteran guys, Nate Allen and T.J., that we brought in that have played a lot of football around this league, so it feels good to be back there, communicate and run around with those guys.”