AFC Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Jets


Bill DT Star Lotulelei was one of the dozens of players who decided to opt out of the 2020 season due to a variety of pandemic-related reasons. Lotulelei says he enjoyed his time away with his family but the 31-year-old nixed any thoughts about retirement. 

“I knew when I was watching the team and when I watched last season that I wasn’t done,” Lotulelei said via the Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia and Matthew Fairburn, adding, “I enjoyed [the time away], but my wife wasn’t so into the whole idea as much as I was. She was getting sick of me, so that’s when I found out like, maybe my wife isn’t ready for me to call it yet. I was ready to come back.”

  • Bills 2020 sixth-round WR Isaiah Hodgins has been one of the standouts of OTAs after spending his rookie year on injured reserve and Bills HC Sean McDermott said he’s positioning himself to make noise in a crowded receiving corps: “Isaiah, I think is off to a phenomenal start again because of his process and the offseason. He got himself healthy and now here we stand in the last week of offseason practices and I think he’s putting himself in position to make a real move.”


Dolphins CB Byron Jones said he’s hopeful CB Xavien Howard returns after skipping the team’s mandatory minicamp as he holds out over contract demands. 

“I would love to have him, of course, but like you said, it’s none of my business,” said Jones, via Kevin Patra. “We had fun last year. We balled out. Obviously, what he did was completely special and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. And those skills are … We love those skills in our defense. So yes, we’d love to have him back, of course.”


Jets’ first-round QB Zach Wilson couldn’t say whether he’s done well or played poorly in practice thus far and added that he’s still going through an adjustment period.

“It’s hard to say exactly how you did,” Wilson said, via the team’s official site. “I feel I can improve every single day, I feel like I’m learning something every single day. Even on the good days, it’s still frustrating, and it’s just because it’s like a foreign language. Every day it’s the same plays but you’re getting different reps, different looks at it, different coverages, whatever it is. One of our running backs said to me after practice today that it’s hard to know sometimes if it was a good day or a bad day.”

Wilson said he is getting accustomed to the “timing” of the NFL, passing windows, and footwork. 

“I’d say just the timing of the NFL game. Understanding what holes you can throw into, how quickly guys can break on things, just the timing of your footwork. And I think that comes with understanding the offense,” Wilson said.

Wilson believes he’s initially a “step slow” coming out of college and is also working on reading his progressions on a faster level. 

I look back on college, you’re running the same offense for three years so you know it like the back of your hand. Out here, you’re always just a step slow at first. It’s just how fast can I get through my progression to where I don’t even have to think about it, if something’s covered, I instantly know how to move on. I think that’s the key, that’s what I’ve gotten better with, and same with the other quarterbacks as well.”

Wilson plans on putting in extra work with the Jets’ receivers ahead of training camp and thinks it will be “critical” towards learning their offensive system. 

“I think that’s critical in understanding how an offense flows together,” Wilson said. “Not only are we out here looking at different coverages and trying to get our footwork and routes, timing, progression locked up, but now you’ve got to make the throw. These are all guys that we haven’t had a lot of experience throwing to. I think that’s needed, to be able to talk through routes, what they’re thinking, what things they’re going to do against certain coverages, where they’re going to step things off at. You get a feel for how they are as route runners. So I think that’s pretty critical and we’ll make sure we find some time to get together.”

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