AFC Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Patriots

     

Bills

The Bills followed up a breakout 10-6 season last year with another true step forward, going 13-3 and securing the No. 2 seed in the AFC. They’re still playing on Wildcard Weekend though thanks to the NFL’s expansion to a seven-team playoff and are looking to avoid the same result as last year when the Texans knocked them out. 

“Nothing matters unless we win this one,” Bills QB Josh Allen said via the Buffalo News’ Vic Carucci. “That’s our mindset, going from playoff-caliber to championship-caliber, something Coach McDermott always preaches to us.”

The Bills infamously collapsed last year, surrendering a 16-point lead as Allen regressed back to many of the problems that plagued him his first two years. He’s been sensational this year, though, in part due to the lessons he learned from that loss. 

“I think the main lesson was not to press, understanding the situation we were in,” Allen said. “Obviously, if I could go back and change things, I would. But I’m glad they went down the way they went down. I was able to learn a lot from it and, hopefully, carry that playoff experience into Saturday’s game.”

  • Bills WR Stefon Diggs said his oblique injury is no big deal: “I’m cool. Don’t believe everything you read. I’ll be all right.” (Thad Brown)

Dolphins

  • ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe writes Dolphins TE coach George Godsey and RB coach Eric Studesville are internal candidates to replace OC Chan Gailey
  • Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says he was told Gailey made the decision to retire himself and that the experience of coaching during a pandemic was less enjoyable than usual. 
  • Jackson adds in addition to the internal candidates, the Dolphins are expected to at least reach out to former Texans HC Bill O’Brien to gauge his interest in being their offensive coordinator. 

Jets

  • Per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Jets GM Joe Douglas said whoever they hire as the next head coach will have the latitude to pick their staff. That infamously was an issue with Matt Rhule when New York was courting him from Baylor in 2019: “I think you hire the right person and you let him do his job. I certainly don’t believe in meddling in any coach’s staff.”
  • Brian Costello of the New York Post lists Jets WR Jamison Crowder, RT George Fant, DE Henry Anderson, G Alex Lewis and G Greg Van Roten as potential cap casualties given they have little to no guaranteed money on their deals. 
  • Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes Douglas was “non-committal as he’s ever been” toward QB Sam Darnold during Tuesday’s meeting with media members. 
  • Although Douglas said that he still views Darnold as a starting quarterback in the NFL, he mentioned that he’ll have a difficult decision to make about Darnold once the Jets hire its next head coach. 

Patriots

  • ESPN’s Mike Reiss provides a gut check on his sense of the chances for various Patriots free agents to leave or be re-signed. He is pessimistic about QB Cam Newton, G Joe Thuney, CB Jason McCourty and RB James White while more optimistic about C David Andrews, DL Lawrence Guy, CB J.C. Jackson and RB Rex Burkhead
  • Per WEEI’s Ryan Hannable, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said in a radio interview he was not reporting that Newton and the Patriots are done: “My little bit on Cam got blown up into a report. It was not a report.”
  • What Schefter said on ESPN was: “Both sides enjoyed their relationship, but both sides expect that it will take them to a different place and a different direction in 2021 with Cam Newton likely moving on and the Patriots in search of a new quarterback for next season.”
  • NBC Sports’ Tom Curran said his read is that Patriots OC Josh McDaniels won’t be a candidate for the Texans head coaching vacancy despite Houston hiring Nick Caserio
  • Doug Kyed of NESN writes Caserio’s “tireless work ethic and attention to detail” was infectious around New England’s front office and will be a difficult member of their scouting department to replace. 
  • Patriots executive Dave Ziegler is poised to take over for Caserio as the Patriots’ top front-office employee if he doesn’t take another position. (Reiss)
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