AFC Notes: Dolphins, Jets, Patriots

     

Dolphins

Even though Dolphins WR Preston Williams injured his ACL on a punt return, ST coordinator Danny Crossman is not concerned about using him on returns.

“Injuries can happen anywhere at any time,” Crossman said, via Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. “Number one, you have a guy that has a skillset. Number two, you have a guy that wants to do it. Then we have to decide how it best fits and what the situations are in the game.”

Newly acquired CB Byron Jones has had an up and down camp, and DB coach Gerald Alexander notes that Jones is getting more comfortable in the Dolphins’ system as the days pass.

“You see a guy who is continuing over the course of camp, getting more comfortable with the terminology and the techniques and all of the things that are different than where he previously played [Dallas],”  Alexander said. “You see that he’s the ultimate professional, he’s a great influence on some of our young guys and how he approaches everything that he does, whether he’s on the field, off the field or in the classroom.

Jets

  • The Athletic’s Connor Hughes says first-round OT Mekhi Becton has solidified the starting spot at left tackle and has had some impressive moments during camp. 
  • Hughes adds S Marcus Maye has flourished taking over the versatile responsibilities previous Jets S Jamal Adams had. 
  • On offense, Hughes highlights TE Chris Herndon and WR Chris Hogan as players who have stepped up. Herndon in particular could be in for a big season given the Jets’ injury problems at receiver. 
  • After being benches late last year, Jets 2019 sixth-round CB Blessuan Austin has responded by emerging as the frontrunner to start as the team’s No. 2 corner, per Hughes. 
  • Hughes notes OT George Fant has been entrenched as the starter at right tackle and 2019 third-round OT Chuma Edoga hasn’t been able to really push him, though Edoga hasn’t performed poorly. 
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer notes GM Joe Douglas believes in building through the trenches first so he focused on fixing the Jets’ offensive line this offseason before addressing the receiver position. 
  • Breer anticipates Douglas turning his attention to fixing the Jets’ pass-catching corps in 2021. 
  • Jets UDFA WR Lawrence Cager was on pace not just to make the team but play a contributing role as a rookie before his knee injury, per Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline.

Patriots

Despite being drafted in the third round out of Alabama, Patriots RB Damien Harris spent nearly his entire rookie season as a gameday inactive. Patriots RB coach Ivan Fears consistently maintained, however, it was due to the talent on the roster above him that included Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, James White and Brandon Bolden. With Michel starting camp on the PUP list and Bolden opting out, Harris has made the most of his opportunities and is one of New England’s breakout players in camp. 

“Last year, having the opportunity to just learn and absorb as much information as I could [was important],” Harris said via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “From the older guys — Sony, Rex, Brandon, James — soaking up as much as I could and then translating it to this year. There have been a lot of things that have helped me in my transition from Year 1 to Year 2, and every single day I come in with the mindset [of] ‘How can I be better?'”

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