AFC Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Patriots


  • Bills HC Sean McDermott said the team may consider bringing back DE Shaq Lawson if they need depth: “We’re always looking. Shaq’s always a guy that’s high on my list.” (Joe Buscaglia)


  • NFL Media’s Cameron Wolfe says he thinks the rift between Dolphins GM Chris Grier and former HC Brian Flores was real. As far as Flores being fired for “relationships,” Wolfe adds players acknowledged Flores would get on them if they weren’t playing well, while they wouldn’t hear as much from him otherwise. 
  • Wolfe sums up the disconnect between the Dolphins and Flores as Miami not wanting “tough skin” to be a prerequisite to playing for their team and for Flores. 
  • The constant turnover on the staff also hurt player development, per Wolfe. He noted there was already a disconnect about the coaching staff in 2022. 
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer notes there were murmurs about changes in Miami but Flores was not the guy people expected to be let go. He adds communication broke down over the past few months and Flores and Grier didn’t see eye-to-eye on a number of topics, including the long-term outlook for QB Tua Tagovailoa.
  • According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Flores wanted even more control over the roster, including having final say on the roster over Grier formalized even though Jackson says Grier pretty much went with what Flores wanted in terms of players. 
  • Flores already had full authority over his staff and Jackson says he was planning more changes, including potentially moving on from one or both of co-OC’s George Godsey and Eric Studesville.
  • A member of the Dolphins organization told Jackson that both Flores and Grier deserved equal blame and equal credit for the moves that didn’t or did work out the past few years. 
  • As an example of Flores seeking more control, Jackson says he lobbied for the team to fire top media relations official Matt Taylor, including over the objections of team president Tom Garfinkel. The team fired Taylor last spring. 
  • Jackson adds Flores had a mixed relationship with players. Some admired him and his approach. Others, particularly younger players, found him arrogant and bristly. A close associate of a few younger Dolphins told Jackson: “He doesn’t understand dealing with men. He’s not approachable.”
  • The same person added Flores wouldn’t treat veteran players, such as DB Jason McCourty, the same way: “He was stern with some but joked around with some guys. It was hard to read him.”
  • Flores was also obsessed with protecting injury information, no matter how inconsequential, and stopping leaks, per Jackson. 
  • Regarding Tagovailoa, the two exchanged words during the loss to the Titans, which was Tagovailoa’s worst game of the season. But a source told Jackson their relationship was fine enough to continue and Tagovailoa had sent Flores a Christmas card. 
  • Jackson notes Grier’s affable and easy-going demeanor has helped endear him to people in the building like Garfinkel and owner Stephen Ross and helps explain why he’s lasted through multiple coaching changes. 
  • He also adds both men were on board with taking Tagovailoa over QB Justin Herbert. Ross preferred Tagovailoa as well but didn’t order the pick to go one way or the other. 
  • The Houston Chronicle’s John McClain believes the Dolphins will still pursue a trade for QB Deshaun Watson despite the departure of Flores.
  • Ross is reportedly leaning toward hiring a head coach with previous experience and is exploring those options before putting in requests for assistants. (Armando Salguero)


  • Jets GM Joe Douglas said the team hasn’t started extension talks with DT Quinnen Williams. (Connor Hughes)
  • Douglas said everyone in the building is pulling for WR Denzel Mims. “Everyone wants the best for Denzel (Mims).” (Hughes)


  • Patriots LB coach Jerod Mayo confirmed he will interview for the Broncos HC position. (Mike Giardi)
  • Patriots OC Josh McDaniels said he hasn’t been asked to interview for any head coaching jobs yet: “I know nothing about that.” (Zack Cox)

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