AFC Notes: Dolphins, Jets, Patriots


Dolphins first-round OLB Jaelan Phillips is pleased with the progress he’s making as a starter. The rookie had just 1.5 sacks in his first eight games. In the past four, he’s had at least half a sack in each game for a total of five in that span. 

“I’ve trying to get 1 percent better every day… working on my hands, technique and different things through this whole year,” Phillips said, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “I think now it’s just starting to pay off, just the work we’ve been putting in consistently all year.”

  • Dolphins RB Phillip Lindsay (ankle) didn’t practice on Thursday, which puts his Week 13 availability in question. (Jackson)


  • The Athletic’s Connor Hughes notes Jets CB Bryce Hall and S Elijah Riley have been two pleasant surprises late in the season. Both could factor into the equation for the team’s future in the secondary. 
  • Hughes says again the top priority for the Jets this offseason will be the defense, with an edge rusher, No. 1 corner and safety help on the shopping list. 
  • He adds tight end should also be a priority for the Jets given their lack of production so far this year from the position and how important it is, both in OC Mike LaFleur‘s scheme and as a safety blanket for a young quarterback. 
  • Hughes thinks the Jets could address the position in both the draft and free agency, with Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz and Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard some names worth watching. 
  • LaFleur said WR Denzel Mims has been doing workouts to “get back in football shape” and was “pumped for the strides he was making” before landing on the COVID-19 list.  (Rich Cimini)


Patriots HC Bill Belichick called WR Kendrick Bourne “very coachable” and has improved “on a number of levels” throughout the season. 

“I think he’s been very coachable,” Belichick said, via Zack Cox of NESN. “We can see some improvement in the things that he’s doing on a number of levels throughout the course of the year. I think if he keeps working hard and continues — which he has, he’s a hard-working kid — if he continues to work hard and pay attention to little details, that there’s still a lot of room for improvement, as well.”

Belichick added that he respects how Bourne has approached his development since joining the organization. 

“I really respect the way he’s tried to do what we’ve asked him to do. It’s certainly gone in the right direction.”

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