AFC Notes: Dolphins, Jets, Patriots

Dolphins

  • According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, Dolphins LB Kamu Grugier-Hill broke a finger in Sunday’s win against the Jets and had the bone breaking through the skin. However, he got stitched up and finished the game. 
  • NJ.com’s Mike Kaye writes an Eagles trade for Dolphins RB Jordan Howard could make a lot of sense. Howard was with the Eagles last year and is familiar with the offense. He could provide a bruising element and carry the load if starting RB Miles Sanders misses time. 
  • Howard has fallen out of the rotation in Miami despite signing a two-year deal as a free agent this offseason, so Kaye says a conditional pick would likely be all that’s necessary to bring Howard back. 
  • Dolphins first-round QB Tua Tagovailoa praised how good of a mentor veteran starter Ryan Fitzpatrick has been for him: “I’m very fortunate to have a mentor like him. I could say a lot about him but we won’t have enough time.” (Josh Tolentino)

Jets

Before the Jets’ lost their sixth straight game of the season in a 24-0 shutout to the Dolphins this weekend, they had additional off-the-field drama to deal with. In his media availability, DC Gregg Williams appeared to blame some of his defense’s struggles on a lack of support from the offense. When HC Adam Gase heard about it in a production meeting with CBS, he went off. Given some time to cool off and talk to Williams, Gase was more measured after the game. 

“We talked about it. I think he was trying to talk about complementary football – the three phases playing together,” Gase said via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. “I wasn’t happy about it. But we talked about it. Right now I feel like our players are doing such a good job trying to get things righted. Everything we say, it matters. He understood we’ve got to set the right example.”

From an outside perspective, it’s easy to see the tiff between the two coaches as a sign of internal dysfunction inside the worst team in the league right now. However, Gase defended his relationship with his notably prickly defensive coordinator and disagreed with the notion that a rift is developing between the two. 

“I disagree with that,” Gase said. “Me and Gregg talk so much. We talk through a lot of things, not just football. The majority of time we’re exactly thinking the same thing.”

Gase added he’s not focused on the intensifying rumors about his job security, instead keeping his eyes on the players and the weekly routine. 

“I have to focus on making sure our guys are ready to go when we get back in the building,” Gase said via Brian Costello of the New York Post. 

  • Costello notes Williams’ comments could have cost him a chance at the interim head coaching job if the team makes a midseason change. Costello highlights assistant HC Frank Bush as the next most-likely interim option. 
  • Jets G Alex Lewis will be week-to-week and has “multiple” issues with his shoulder, per Gase. (Connor Hughes)
  • Jets OLB Frankie Luvu will be out a while with a groin injury, while QB Sam Darnold and LT Mekhi Becton are “progressing” with their shoulder injuries. 
  • Lewis is dealing with a sprained AC joint which is the same injury that has kept Darnold out the past couple of weeks. (Manish Mehta)
  • Gase is optimistic second-round WR Denzel Mims will make his season debut this week after getting a lot of reps on the scout team in practice. (Hughes)
  • Gase pushed back against the characterization of the team’s trade of veteran DL Steve McLendon being the start of a fire sale: “This was a different deal. It was something that came up. After talking to Steve, we felt this was the right thing to do.” (Vacchiano)

Patriots

Patriots QB Cam Newton and the New England offense struggled in his return to the field, putting up just 12 points in an upset loss to the visiting Broncos. The game seemed to highlight the lack of playmaking ability on the Patriots offense outside of Newton’s rushing ability but the veteran quarterback said in a radio interview on WEEI that, “there’s no need to press the panic button…We have the answers in that locker room,” when asked if he would support a trade for another weapon. 

“The grass is not always greener on the other side — a wise man once told me that. It just comes down to us producing better and playing situational football better,” Newton said via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “Going back and mentally looking back at the game, that was a sloppy display of football for the first couple of series — different people taking turns making mistakes, and that can not happen. Offensive football is the ultimate team sport, where even one person not doing their job, it shows. I think it showed yesterday.”

  • Per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Newton admitted that the lack of practice time the past two weeks while he was on the COVID-19 list contributed to his sub-standard performance in Sunday’s loss to the Broncos: “I just have to be better, and I cannot stress that enough moving forward. … Timing was off, and the anticipation was off. … Not having practiced for as long as I have, it just showed yesterday.”
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer notes Washington’s decision to bench QB Dwayne Haskins puts the team in contention to sign Newton this offseason given how many connections there are on the coaching staff.
  • Breer adds New England will likely have to tag Newton to keep him if they can’t agree on a long-term deal. 
  • Patriots HC Bill Belichick was noncommital on when the team could potentially get DL Beau Allen off of injured reserve: “Beau’s working hard and we’ll just take it day by day. If and when he’s ready, we’ll put him out there. If he’s not ready, then we won’t put him out there until he’s ready.” (Doug Kyed)

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