AFC Notes: Dolphins, Sam Darnold, Jets, Titans

     

Dolphins

Dolphins HC Brian Flores explained that he feels QB Tua Tagovailoa showed “a lot of improvement” over the course of his rookie season.

“A lot of attention gets paid to Tua, but I thought he made a lot of improvement over the course of the season. I’m excited about the future with him,” Flores said, via Cameron Wolfe of ESPN. “He’s a young player, talented player, bounced back from the hip. I think this is a big offseason for him. That Year 1 to Year 2 jump will be important like it is for all rookies. Criticism comes with the territory in the NFL across the board. Our team did a good job ignoring that stuff. Anyone who saw the Dolphins this year saw we were a tight-knit group and I think that’s still the case. The idea that there is any kind of fracture is overblown. I thought there was a lot of support throughout the locker room. My message to the team has been to ignore the noise and the people inside the building are going to tell the truth to you. Without all the information, how do you make any determination about what’s going on? We learned that he’s healthy. He still has a lot of his mobility. He’s accurate. In the Arizona game, he brings us back in the fourth quarter. He brought us back in the Kansas City game. He also didn’t play as well in other games. He had some bright spots and not so bright spots. That’s the life of a rookie. If he continues to learn, study, stay healthy, get stronger, work on his footwork and his eye progression, and pick up where he left off then I think we’re going to be happy with his improvement.”

Dolphins’ GM Chris Grier attempted to dissuade the media that the team would be going in a direction that did not involve Tagovailoa: “Tua, we’re very happy with. He’s our starting quarterback.”

Jets

ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on “SportsCenter” last night following the news that the Jets are hiring Robert Saleh as their head coach, that he expects Sam Darnold to return as the team’s starting quarterback in 2021. 

“I would think that Sam Darnold is going to return as the Jets’ quarterback,” Schefter said, per ValverdeSZN. “And the Jets will entertain offers at the No. 2 pick. I think they could sit there and take an offensive tackle. They could sit there and take a wide receiver. They could do whatever they want with that pick, but right now, the plan would be to proceed with Sam Darnold as the quarterback of the New York Jets in 2021. I think that Joe Douglas and his staff believe in him. Robert Saleh believes in him and I think they would like to give Sam Darnold an opportunity for a full season, when he’s healthy, with a new staff, to see what he can do. I would be surprised if San Darnold were not the starting quarterback on opening day.”

  • Rich Cimini mentions 49ers’ assistant Miles Austin as a coach to keep an eye on for Jets’ new HC Robert Saleh‘s staff. 

Titans

  • According to Paul Kuharsky, the Titans do not appear interested in Wade Phillips to potentially be their defensive coordinator given HC Mike Vrabel has not reached out to him. 
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