AFC Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Patriots



Jets HC Robert Saleh said fans need to be patient as the team goes through its rebuild.

“I respect the heck out of the urgency from the fans and the wanting to flip this thing, but in fairness, this is the first time this fan base is actually experiencing something like this,” Saleh said, via the New York Post’s Brian Costello. “Usually it’s been a quick fix, followed by a scramble. This is an actual plan. 

“I feel like Joe [Douglas] is doing a phenomenal job with a really, really concise plan on how to build from the ground up and there’s a lot of exciting pieces on this team that are hidden in these losses. But when you sit back and watch it from our perspective and the combination of veterans and youth, it’s definitely going in the right direction and eventually, while frustrating today, is going to be awesome when this thing gets flipped.” 


Patriots TE Jonnu Smith said he is happy with his role in the offense. Smith signed with New England on a major deal in free agency this past offseason but so far in 2021 he’s struggled with some injuries and finding a consistent role on offense. He has 22 catches for 210 yards and a touchdown in 10 games. 

“I’m not going in there asking for a role. I know they know what position to put us all in to help us get wins. That’s the most important thing,” Smith said, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “I’m just trying to do my part, whatever that is, and do it 100% like I always did. Nothing different than my career; I’m not changing now.”

Patriots OC Josh McDaniels explained a little bit more of why Smith might be off to a slow start. 

“The tight end position, obviously here and everywhere, is unique because you’re involved in so many different things — run-blocking, pass receiving, pass protection, alerts, motion. There’s a lot of different things you have to do well,” McDaniels said. “Jonnu’s tried really hard to do all the things we’ve asked him to do. I always think the first year that we have an opportunity to have a free agent in our system is kind of a foundational year.

“They might have heard NFL vernacular and been around NFL football, but sitting in Bill’s squad meetings, listening to what we do on a weekly basis, fitting into how we change the offense from one week to the next to try to attack the defense’s weaknesses or protect our weaknesses; I don’t know how much of those things happen at other places. … But no question he adds an element of unique ability and he’s been a good addition, a great teammate.”

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