DAVIE - If there's one thing we can say about John Jerry it is that he's resilient.
No matter who they replace Jerry with (Vernon Carey back in 2011), or whom the organization drafts or signs to unseat him, Jerry has remained entrenched in the starting lineup.
Heading into Sunday's season-opener against the Cleveland Browns that's where we'll find him, right between center Mike Pouncey and new right tackle Tyson Clabo, manning a spot he earned this summer despite having his left knee scoped early in training camp.
"I’m confident," coach Joe Philbin said when asked about Jerry's progress. "I’ve liked what he’s done. He's going to play.”
But maybe this season Jerry, who has started 29 games the past three season, will need to play well to keep the starting spot. The Dolphins selected Dallas Thomas in the third round of the 2013 draft, and while he's learning the right tackle spot now the rookie was a guard at the University of Tennessee.
Nate Garner can also man the right guard spot considering he's started eight games at guard back in the 2010 season. Before suffering a shoulder injury in mid-August Garner was plugged in as the starting right guard while Jerry was sidelined with a knee injury.
Watkins has started 18 of the 23 games he played for the Eagles the past two seasons, and most of them have been at right guard. However, it will likely take him a few weeks to grasp the Dolphins' wide-zone blocking scheme, and understand the offensive's communication system.
During that time Jerry, who is entering the final year of his contract, which pays him $1.323 million this season, will have a few starts to show the coaches he's completely healthy, has improved in his fourth season as a pro, and belongs in the starting lineup.
Last year Jerry started all 16 games and was ranked the NFL's 49th best offensive guard by ProFootballFocus.com, which credited him with two sacks, 15 hurries and three penalties.
Miami's biggest concern with Jerry the past few seasons has been his weight, which presently hovers between 340-350 pounds.
“John has always been able to run pretty good, even when we first got here and he was a little overweight. I never questioned his stamina," offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said. "His movement suffered when he was a little bit heavy, but he can run all day long. That was never a problem, in my mind anyway. He’s in much better shape now. Actually, to my surprise, he lost weight while he was injured, which most guys don’t do.
"I give him credit because that’s hard for a guy that hasn’t been able to run around and be out in this heat, to lose weight, and he’s done that," Sherman said. "That tells you the type of commitment he has, and I applaud him for that.”