AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Jets, Patriots

     

Dolphins

  • According to Albert Breer, Dolphins’ undrafted WR Preston Williams has been “the talk of camp” and could end up pushing someone off the roster. 
  • Breer notes that Dolphins RBs Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage have both shown “speed and versatility.” However, Drake sustained an injury on Tuesday and is expected to be out “a while.”
  • Breer considers Dolphins’ second-year LB Jerome Baker a “breakthrough candidate” and says he could be an every-down linebacker for Miami. 
  • Breer believes the emergence of Dolphins’ third-round G Michael Deiter will be a big help to Miami’s offensive line and he could have a “long career” with the organization. 
  • Per Breer, Dolphins’ veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is the “clear cut” starter coming out of the spring program and has maintained a lead throughout the start of training camp.
  • However, Breer adds that Dolphins’ recently acquired QB Josh Rosen has “closed the gap” within the last week of practice.
  • Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes that 2018 second-round TE Mike Gesicki has continued to struggle in practice and is running behind veteran Nick O’Leary on the first team. 
  • Dolphins LBs Kiko Alonso and Raekwon McMillan could be in for a significant reduction in snaps given how the Dolphins project to play with only two linebackers most of the time. (Barry Jackson)
  • Alonso played 1,004 defensive snaps in 2018 and McMillan saw 831, but both are currently running behind Jerome Baker and Sam Eguavoen
  • Jackson says there’s no active pursuit for Redskins OT Trent Williams at the moment, as Miami isn’t inclined to give up a high draft pick and Washington isn’t yet actively shopping Williams. 

Jets

If Jets RB Le’Veon Bell had his way, he’d have played in his first NFL game since 2017 in New York’s preseason opener. However, Bell acknowledges the team is “protecting him from himself” and will make sure he’s ready when he finally gets back on the field, even if that means he doesn’t get any preseason reps. 

“I don’t really necessarily need them,” Bell said via Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News. “If I get them, they’ll help. But I don’t think I’ll need them. I think once we get out there… football is football. I’ve been playing for so long. It naturally will come back to me. I’ll get adjusted to the game… in a couple plays and I’m ready to go.”

Jets HC Adam Gase said the team is less worried about getting Bell used to contact, as he’s touched the ball enough and is at a point in his NFL career where he’s familiar with that aspect. Gase said the team might play Bell in order to better integrate him with the rest of the offense. 

“For him, it’s more of getting in-game offense, the flow of the game,” Gase said. “Really that’s the only thing he’s missing from what we’ve done. I don’t think it’s necessarily the contact. He knows what’s going on. It’s just that flow of the game. It’s a different deal when it’s a real game. Like Thursday (in the preseason opener), you saw it’s different than practice. The way Sam was operating — that tempo he was going at — we weren’t going like hurry-up on the ball. He was just playing at a good tempo. I think that’s just something that wouldn’t be a bad thing for (Bell) to experience.”

  • NFL Media’s Gregg Rosenthal says the Jets could be a candidate to trade for Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney
  • Rosenthal says the Jets would have to tweak some things to fit Clowney’s $16 million franchise tag under the cap, but they have a gaping need at outside linebacker and could see Clowney as a building block. 

Patriots

  • According to NBC Sports’ Tom Curran, current Patriots defensive assistant Jerod Mayo could be a surprise candidate to eventually replace Patriots HC Bill Belichick
  • Curran says conventional wisdom has long been that either Patriots OC Josh McDaniels or Titans HC Mike Vrabel would be the top two candidates. 
  • Asked if he’d consider coaching after retiring from playing, Patriots QB Tom Brady responded strongly: “Oh hell no, I’m never coaching. Playing is enough for me.” (Nick Goss)

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