AFC Notes: Von Miller, Bills, Zach Wilson, Jets, Patriots, Mac Jones
Bills DC Leslie Frazier said it’s been challenging to replace CB Tre’Davious White (knee) and points out CBs Kaiir Elam, Christian Benford and Dane Jackson haven’t consistently been available at the same time.
“It is for sure challenging, not knowing week to week which guy’s gonna start, and as you are trying to look at practice and trying to determine who warrants more snaps,” Frazier said, via Alaina Getzenberg of ESPN. “We haven’t had to do that in the past. We had usually four guys that were pretty healthy, for the most part, and they were in the lineup, week in and week out. That hasn’t been the case this year.”
Elam reiterated that their cornerbacks have struggled to remain healthy throughout this season.
“Everybody’s getting a chance to play, which it’s probably not even heard of in the NFL cause you always have like two guys [stay healthy],” Elam said.
Bills HC Sean McDermott said that they still have confidence in their group of cornerbacks.
“[The cornerbacks] are a resilient group. They’re extremely tough. We have a lot of confidence in all of them,” McDermott said. “Obviously there’s been some guys in and out of the lineup due to injury.”
• NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says the initial diagnosis for Bills OLB Von Miller is a knee sprain. That doesn’t mean he didn’t tear his ACL or suffer a more serious injury, but there’s at least some hope the MRI delivers good news.
The way Jets QB Zach Wilson has been playing is a major factor in why he’s now riding the pine. But it’s impossible to ignore his comments after the loss to the Patriots this week where he appeared to dismiss accountability for the offense’s struggles. There’s no doubt that Wilson’s words and demeanor poured accelerant on an already hot situation, and now everyone is doing damage control.
“I talked to Zach, and he didn’t mean it like that as far as he didn’t mean he didn’t let down the defense,” Jets CB D.J. Reed told PFF’s Doug Kyed. “He just didn’t like the way that the reporter worded the question. He felt like if you watch the whole interview, he took account for what he did and they’ve got to figure it out, but they kept egging him to answer the question, and he got a little frustrated, which he said was a mistake. And he answered, ‘No, no’ like that, but that was more so at the reporter. But watching it, it comes off like he’s not the problem or anything.
“But he knows that he needs to play better, the offense needs to play better. He’s very aware of that. The media nowadays is going to blow that up. It definitely was a tough situation, but everyone in the locker room knows he didn’t mean it like that. We’re moving on and getting ready for Chicago.”
• Kyed talked to sources with other NFL teams who think the Jets have to at a minimum bring in a veteran to compete with Wilson next year. One NFC exec said: “I think the vet route is the way to go. Then see what happens with the draft the following year.”
• Kyed notes 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Raiders QB Derek Carr and Dolphins QB Teddy Bridgewater are among a number of notable veterans expected to be available this offseason.
• One AFC executive thought the Jets should aim high and go after Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: “They can’t get another rookie where they will pick, and they have to win now. I think it has to be a home run.”
• NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says he’s heard from Jets sources that Wilson looked off dating back to this spring during OTAs, with the word “yips” being tossed out. The team and Wilson tried to push through but things obviously didn’t improve, leading to this week’s benching.
• The Jets hosted three defensive backs for workouts on Tuesday including Nasir Green, Chris Westry and Chris Wilcox. (Aaron Wilson)
Patriots QB Mac Jones has not taken the leap many expected for his second season after he was a strong candidate for offensive rookie of the year in 2021. It’s been a rough year for Jones, with injuries and the kerfuffle around his job status with fourth-round QB Bailey Zappe starting a few games. But NBC Sports analyst and former QB Chris Simms thinks it can’t be dismissed that Jones lost his offensive coordinator this offseason.
“Losing Josh McDaniels was huge,” Simms said via the Athletic’s Mike Jones. “You cannot overlook the fact that one of the greatest offensive coordinators in football was taken away from Mac Jones and now he has two guys who have never run an offense. McDaniels always found a way to move the ball even without superstar talent, and the offense isn’t as sound and detail-oriented as it was in the past.”
Simms is worried Jones might be developing some bad habits in a less-than-ideal situation but he’s still confident Patriots HC Bill Belichick has his back.
“I think he’ll get back on the right track. Bill Belichick is too smart for him not to,” Simms said. “Mac is never going to provide the wow factor like we could see from Lawrence and Wilson. That’s not his game. His wow is, ‘Oh my god, another 10-yard, on-the-money completion, another 12-yard, great-decision completion.’ But when we see him turn the ball over, it’s like, you can’t be Mr. Gunslinger Josh Allen. You have to take care of the ball. Be smarter with the ball, and make tactical decisions.”