AFC Notes: Dolphins, Jets, Patriots

     

Dolphins

After an eight-catch, 130-yard breakout in Week 2, Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki has been held to just one catch in each of the past two games. Dolphins OC Chan Gailey said teams have started double-covering Gesicki a lot more, and often bluffing double when not. 

“A few times it looks like they were double covering him and they ended up single covering but on first look, it looked like double covering,” Gailey said via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “We have to pay close attention to how they’re defending him. Hopefully things will start to go his way.”

The Dolphins have also struggled to consistently integrate WR Preston Williams into the offense. Williams has caught just six of 17 targets and his looks have gone down each game. 

“We’re trying to use all our weapons,” Gailey said. “The good thing is we have several weapons. The bad thing is there is only one football. If it’s not a clean look, he’s not getting the throws right now. We’re hoping to continue to work with him and get him in position to get some catches. We know he should be a weapon. We need him to be.”

  • Dolphins first-round LT Austin Jackson is day-to-day with a foot injury and the team will have a backup plan in place if he can’t go in Week 5. (Joe Schad)

Jets

  • Per Zach Braziller of the New York Post, Jets LB Neville Hewitt said the coaching staff isn’t to blame for the team’s penalty problem: “We just have to play smart. We’ve had penalties on numerous drives we should’ve been off the field. We’re not going to win games until we stop doing those things.”

Patriots

Billed as the potential heir to Tom Brady this offseason, Patriots QB Jarrett Stidham wasn’t even the first man up at quarterback, losing the No. 2 job to veteran Brian Hoyer. An injury during camp helped push Stidham to the back of the pack and he showed why in his brief appearance in Monday night’s loss. But the Patriots overall are optimistic about his long-term prospects. 

“He’s a great kid and loves the game of football. Works really hard. Has put a lot of time and effort into his craft,” Patriots OC Josh McDaniels said last week via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “He’s really an unselfish guy … continues to prepare just as he would if he was starting, which is what he did last year as a rookie. I have a lot of confidence in Jarrett and I see a lot of growth in him each week that he’s here.”

As for Hoyer, he faced a tall task getting the starting nod late in the week and then having to prepare for a road trip against the defending champion amidst swirling uncertainty about the game’s status because of the virus. Still, his performance left a lot to be desired. There was a pick on a wild overthrow. There was Hoyer forgetting New England was out of timeouts at the end of the first half and taking a sack that cost the Patriots a chance to kick a field goal. Then on a deep drive into the red zone early in the second half, Hoyer lost the ball on a sack that cost the Patriots at least another three points. 

“It was a whirlwind,” Hoyer said via Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald. “But that’s just the world we’re living in, in 2020. You just have to make the most of it. It had nothing to do with the bad plays that I had.”

  • A report from ESPN indicated Patriots QB Cam Newton was still asymptomatic on Monday. If he continues to show no symptoms and tests negative two days in a row, he could potentially return to practice later this week. 
  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport notes based on Newton’s infection date around Friday or Saturday, having the virus leave his system in time to play in Week 5 appears to be a longshot. 
  • Patriots HC Bill Belichick declined to name either Hoyer or Stidham the starter if Newton can’t go and said they “will see how it goes” this week. (Jeff Howe)
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