AFC Notes: Dolphins, Jets, Patriots

     

Dolphins

Dolphins WR DeVante Parker finally had a fully healthy season in 2019 and responded with the breakout year Miami had been hoping to see. The team rewarded Parker with a four-year, $40 million extension and now the young wideout is looking to not only prove his breakout wasn’t a fluke but also take on a larger leadership role on the team. 

“The fact that he was healthy last year and had all of that success, it’s beautiful to see this year that he’s now more vocal. Guys gravitate to that. The young guys that are around, they see that. They see the way he works,” Dolphins WR coach Josh Grizzard said via ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe. “He now understands, I think more than ever, that not only is your job to get open and catch the ball, but if it’s a concept that you need to go get doubled or you need to be in this spot to open it up for the next guy, he understands that side of it, too.”

Parker wasn’t the only Dolphins receiver to break out in 2019. Undrafted rookie Preston Williams was fourth at his position in receiving yards before going down with a torn ACL in Week 9. The 6-5 Williams has intriguing athleticism and appears to be healthy and ready to pick up where he left off. 

“Preston is very unique, just in terms of his physical qualities — the height, the weight, the speed, how nimble he is, all that stuff, his ability to track the ball — and having to sit out, you always kind of look for the silver lining or maybe the positives in a situation that isn’t so positive; so him getting hurt last year, he was also just able to take a step back and watch a little bit and learn the game a little bit more,” Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “His confidence is high right now and that’s important for those guys, and rightfully so because he’s playing really well.”

  • Dolphins HC Brian Flores says CB Xavien Howard is “trending in the right direction” after coming off the PUP and COVID-19 list last week. (Wolfe)
  • Dolphins RB Jordan Howard said first-round QB Tua Tagovailoa is looking healthy during camp: “I can’t tell that he was injured before. He looks good. He will be ready when his time is (called).” (Josh Tolentino)

Jets

  • After denying it on Twitter last week, Jets RB Le’Veon Bell said his hamstrings were actually tight in practice. (Connor Hughes)
  • Bell called his Twitter rants following the incident with HC Adam Gase and the training staff a “miscommunication.” (Rich Cimini)
  • Bell said there’s no reason to worry about the relationship between him and Gase: “I know how hard it is to believe that, but we actually like each other.” (Dennis Waszak)
  • Jets S Bradley McDougald was out for personal reasons. (Hughes)

Patriots

  • ESPN’s Field Yates notes in addition to being named the starter, Patriots QB Cam Newton was also voted as a captain by his teammates. 
  • According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Patriots RB Damien Harris has a hand injury that will require surgery and could impact his availability for Week 1. 
  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says the procedure was on Harris’ pinky finger and will take a few weeks to heal.
  • Per Josina Anderson, former Patriots’ WR Mohamed Sanu said HC Bill Belichick informed him of his release from the team: “He told me it wasn’t going to work out, which I respect. I personally think it was a money thing. I still want to play where I’m valued.” 
  • Doug Kyed of NESN.com says WRs Damiere Byrd, Gunner Olszewski, and Jakobi Meyers will likely make the roster after Sanu’s release, as could undrafted free agents Devin Ross and Jeff Thomas.
  • Kyed thinks the Patriots should be active in acquiring a veteran receiver through waivers, trade, or free agency during this weekend’s roster cuts.
  • New England tried to trade Sanu but was unable to find any takers. (Rapoport)
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