The Dolphins have defeated winning teams in each of their past two games and are responding to the Adam Gase-led coaching staff more than their group of leaders last season, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes.
Miami’s roster has been more receptive to coaching from this staff after many resisted instruction from the Joe Philbin– and Dan Campbell-led staffs last season, per Salguero, who adds the team’s highest-paid player has fallen in line more in his second season in south Florida.
During his first, “very few people in the building” liked Ndamukong Suh, writes Salguero, who characterizes the standout defensive tackle as not buying into Philbin or Kevin Coyle in leadership positions. This season, Suh’s been living up to his $19MM-AAV price tag, with 3.5 sacks through seven games, rating as Pro Football Focus’ No. 5 interior defender. The Dolphins remain 3-4, though, with a No. 20-ranked defense. They have an uphill battle if they’re going to contend for a playoff spot in Gase’s first season, even if they’ve created some rare momentum.
Here’s more from the AFC, beginning with a team whose momentum the Dolphins stunted.
- Fantasy owners of Ben Roethlisberger or the Steelers‘ Big Ben-dependent skill-position contingent will need to stay on top of his status going into Week 9, with Adam Schefter reporting (via Twitter) the Steelers haven’t decided if Roethlisberger or Landry Jones will get the call against the Ravens. The 34-year-old passer is less than three weeks removed from meniscus surgery, and another Roethlisberger absence could sink the Steelers to .500 after they looked like one of the league’s most dangerous teams prior to his injury.
- The Bills remain confident LeSean McCoy and Percy Harvin will play against the Seahawks on Monday night. However, Marcell Dareus will miss the game due to the groin injury he suffered against the Patriots, the team announced. Dareus has played in just one game for the Bills this season.
- Harvin’s unretirement will net him $825K for the rest of the season, Tom Pelissero reports (on Twitter). The 28-year-old slot target will also earn $22.5K in game-day roster bonuses. Harvin made $6MM for the Bills last season.
- In addition to Aqib Talib being set to miss Sunday night’s Broncos-Raiders tilt, Denver dime back Kayvon Webster will be out as well, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post tweets. Functioning as the No. 4 corner for a third straight season, Webster injured his hamstring against the Chargers, leaving the Broncos with three healthy corners on their active roster who have played in a game this season. The defending champions did add Taurean Nixon from their practice squad earlier today.
- Free to use this year as an observational campaign now that they’re 0-8, the Browns are considering moving Cameron Erving from center to tackle, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. PFF rates Erving as its worst center among the 34 qualifying as full-time snappers. Hue Jackson intends to keep trying the 2015 first-rounder at center but acknowledged a position change could be in the cards, with Ulrich noting tackle would be the move. The 6-foot-6 Erving started at left tackle for two full seasons at Florida State before moving to center during his senior year in 2014. Cleveland obviously has Joe Thomas at left tackle and opted not to trade him again, but Thomas turns 32 this offseason and will continue to see his trade value diminish as he ages. The Browns have Austin Pasztor at right tackle.
- Although he sees the Jets making a big move this coming offseason regardless of what transpires down the stretch (Twitter link), ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini does not see the team pulling an about-face and rekindling Muhammad Wilkerson trade talks. Cimini agrees with Sheldon Richardson, who categorized himself as the defensive line’s “odd man out” earlier this week.