AFC Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Patriots

     

Bills

The Bills officially clinched the AFC East and dethroned the Patriots this weekend, as New England lost and QB Josh Allen was once again impressive. Allen’s massive leap forward is one of the biggest stories of 2020, especially given the narrative on him coming into the season, and he couldn’t help but slightly acknowledge how satisfying that felt before putting the focus back on the team. 

“Personally, there’s a lot of people that said there’s no way in hell that I’d be able to do this coming out of college,” Allen said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “I don’t play to prove other people wrong; I play to prove myself right, my family right and my teammates right. Obviously, the first time in 25 years, we’re [winning the division], it’s something special. But the work’s not done.”

Dolphins

The Patriots coaching tree is littered with far more landmines than success stories. So that makes the job Dolphins HC Brian Flores has done in turning around the team even more remarkable. Miami was seen as one of the worst teams in football a year ago but are now at 9-5 and in the thick of the playoff race after a win against the Patriots Sunday that also happened to knock New England out of contention. Dolphins LB Kyle Van Noy says Flores is avoiding the pitfalls other coaches who have left New England have fallen into. 

“He’s not trying to be anybody else. He’s trying to be himself,” Van Noy said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “And I think that’s what you want. He’s going to give you love when you deserve it, but he’s also going to get after you when you deserve it as well. I feel like he’s doing a great job. I respect him. One thing that I’ve noticed is the way he handles himself from the top down. The way he takes care of the trainers, the training staff, the janitors, everybody to the owner. It’s nothing but first-class. He’s doing a great job, and he’s having a mentality you can’t teach. He’s got it.”

  • According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Dolphins fourth-round G Solomon Kindley has no structural damage in his knee but his status is up in the air for this week against the Raiders. 

Jets

Patriots

  • The Athletic’s Jeff Howe writes that if the Patriots decide to re-sign QB Cam Newton, he doesn’t think they’ll have a lot of competition driving up the price. 
  • Newton will end up making around $4 million in 2020 and Howe doesn’t expect him to cost much more than that to re-sign. 
  • Newton shot down any idea of retiring after this season: “No, I’m not there…I still have a lot of football left. I still want to play football. I have the urge to be better. After putting out this film? Hey, c’mon now. I definitely can’t go out like this.” (Reiss)
  • Patriots HC Bill Belichick said “it could be a possibility” that the team gives some younger players more reps now that they’re eliminated from the playoffs. As to whether Jarrett Stidham would get a start ahead of Newton, Belichick just said, “We’ll see.” (Howe)
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