AFC Notes: Dolphins, Jets, Patriots



  • Joe Schad of The Palm Beach Post ponders whether or not the additions of defensive linemen Emmanuel Ogbah, Shaq Lawson, and rookie Raekwon Davis can change the face of a Dolphins’ pass rush that finished last in the league in sacks in 2019.
  • The likely outcome for Miami in 2020, according to Schad, is for their run defense to jump from 32nd to top 24th with Lawson, Ogbah and Davis making a difference.
  • Schad can see Dolphins DT Christian Wilkins having a larger impact in terms of tackles-for-loss.
  • Schad expects the Dolphins’ defensive line to be more respectable but still lacking of a “game-changing, controlling, wrecking ball of destruction.”
  • Dolphins first-round QB Tua Tagovailoa‘s agent confirmed his client is healthy enough to start if Miami needs him: “He is physically all ready to go.” (Barry Jackson)
  • Tagovailoa has not been able to throw with teammates as he’s been occupied with hip rehab and there’s at least one receiver who isn’t in South Florida. 
  • Tagovailoa’s agent confirmed the Dolphins paid $11 million of his $19.6 million signing bonus by the end of May, which is earlier than they were required to: “Tua has a great rookie contract. The Dolphins worked really hard on that. It’s been a great relationship with the Dolphins.”


  • Most Jets reporters believe 2020 will be the final year in New York for RB Le’Veon Bell. But SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano says Bell could play well enough to avoid being cut or traded. 
  • Jets HC Adam Gase was reportedly never on board with signing Bell to a huge deal in free agency last year and Bell will be 28, struggled in 2019 and is owed $24.5 million over the final two years of his deal. 
  • However, Vacchiano says if Bell rushes for 1,200 yards and adds another 600 yards receiving as the centerpiece of the offense behind a rebuilt offensive line, that could prompt the Jets to keep him around another year. 
  • ESPN’s Rich Cimini reiterates again if the Jets are out of contention by midseason, they likely will try to shop Bell at the trade deadline. 
  • Former NFL GM and analyst for the Athletic Michael Lombardi writes the most obvious question for the Jets in 2020 is if QB Sam Darnold will take another step forward in his development. 
  • Jets WR Breshad Perriman, signed as one of the team’s bigger free-agent acquisitions, thinks the Jets offense rebuilt around Darnold can be really good in 2020: “I think we can be really dangerous, and I feel like that’s everybody’s expectations coming into it.” (Eric Allen)


The Patriots continue to motor toward the start of the 2020 season with every apparent intention of replacing legendary QB Tom Brady with 2019 fourth-round QB Jarrett Stidham. It would be a tough act to follow for anyone, let alone someone with Stidham’s meager NFL experience. But retired Patriots OL coach Dante Scarnecchia — another New England legend in his own right who moved on this offseason — says that Stidham has shown promise even if he’ll go through some growing pains. 

“This is a different guy in a couple of ways. No. 1, he doesn’t have the wealth of experience that Tom has,” Scarnecchia in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “There’s no doubt about that, and you have to concede that No. 1. Yes, there’s going to be some things where he’s going to hold the ball longer than you want it to be held, but that’s all about growing up in this league and you know that as well as I do. Those young guys, they take some time. But I would say this for Jarrett, too: He’s a bright kid.”

Most of Stidham’s NFL experience came in the preseason as a rookie. He completed 61-90 passes for an AFC-high 731 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. One key difference he also brings from Brady is mobility, tallying 88 yards on 17 carries. Unlocking that aspect could help New England make up for what Stidham lacks in other areas. 

“He’s a guy that when he doesn’t know, he’ll take off,” Scarnecchia said. “And he showed in the preseason last year that he’s got some skills and he knows when to get out of there and where the escape points may be. And when he gets out of there, he also knows he better get down, because he knows better than to try to run through guys, as well. And you’re not running through many guys in this league.”

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