Still, the decision-makers kept Jerry on the 53-man roster, and he rewarded them Sunday with a solid performance in the Dolphins' 34-14 win over the Raiders.
Jerry replaced Carey, who suffered a left ankle sprain in the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Cowboys, and the former Ole Miss standout performed so well he graded out as the top-performing offensive lineman.
"He did some really good things," coach Tony Sparano said. "Three or four plays that John will watch (Monday), he'll learn from because he hasn't been out there for that extended period."
It was a surprise lineup change because Garner replaced Carey when Carey was injured the previous game against the Cowboys. Sparano said Jerry received most of the first-team reps during practice because he was more of a natural guard.
Garner did play 28 snaps.
"The one thing that John does very well for a big guy is he can move his feet really well," Sparano said. "He has power. He moved some people (Sunday) at times."
Jerry has been staying after practice each day for more than a month, working on his technique with Tony Sparano Jr., who serves as a quality control coach for his father.
"I've been trying to polish up everything, staying late at practice," Jerry said last week. "Just trying to get better."