Defensive end Mario Williams needs to “play better” and “play harder,” Dolphins D-coordinator Vance Joseph told reporters, including Chris Perkins of the Sun-Sentinel, on Thursday. After the AFC East rival Bills released Williams in March, the Dolphins quickly signed the 2006 No. 1 overall pick to a two-year, $17MM deal. Williams, 31, has underwhelmed on the stat sheet in Miami, where he has picked up just seven tackles in a sack in five games. While Pro Football Focus grades Williams’ overall performance a decent 44th among 99 qualifying DEs, his production is way down since last season. Over his past 20 games, Williams has recorded a meager 26 tackles and six sacks.
Elsewhere around the AFC…
- Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta endorsed the Monday firing of offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, saying Wednesday, “Marc Trestman is a great guy, a great coach. It was difficult to see him go, but I think it was something that this offense needed” (via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun). Although injuries limited Pitta to just seven of 48 regular-season games from 2013-15, he bounced back this year under Trestman to catch 28 passes on 37 targets. As a whole, though, the Ravens’ offense ranks 18th in yardage, 22nd in scoring and 27th in DVOA. The unit will try to better its production under Marty Mornhinweg, whom Ravens players “have a lot of faith in,” Pitta added.
- The Patriots might have to consider a long-term deal for contract-year tight end Martellus Bennett, observes Ryan Hannable of WEEI. The offseason trade pickup from Chicago has racked up 21 receptions with four touchdowns and a whopping 15.0 yards per catch over his first five games in New England. His production has helped make up for a slow start from Rob Gronkowski, who was either out or limited for the first four games of the season. Gronkowski broke out against the Browns last Sunday in a 33-13 win for New England, which appears to have the best tight end duo in the league with him and Bennett. “I’ve felt at home here since Day 1. It’s a place I feel like I belong,” Bennett said. The soon-to-be 30-year-old is currently on track to net a raise over his $5MM salary.
- Jets receiver Eric Decker will undergo surgery on his injured right shoulder within the next two weeks, he announced Thursday, adding that he’ll need six to eight months to return to full strength (per Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday). “Getting surgery was really going to be the only answer,” said Decker, whom the Jets placed on injured reserve Wednesday because of a torn rotator cuff. Decker caught nine passes for a whopping 194 yards and two touchdowns in three games this season.