AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Newton, Bills

With the Dolphins for just 18 games, Minkah Fitzpatrick elaborated on the difference of opinion he had with his second NFL head coach. Brian Flores, per Fitzpatrick, preferred he play a hybrid strong safety/linebacker role and only tried him as a deep safety in one practice last summer. This only came after Fitzpatrick asked Flores to see more time in coverage, Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report notes. After the Dolphins’ Week 1 blowout loss to the Ravens, in which Fitzpatrick was used more in coverage — albeit after limited practice time as a deep safety in Flores’ scheme — the 2018 first-round pick asked for a trade. Flores, Dunne adds, attempted to convince Fitzpatrick he was a key part of Miami’s future. That did not end up working. The Dolphins traded Fitzpatrick to the Steelers, with whom he became an All-Pro, for a first-round pick that turned into tackle Austin Jackson.

We had a difference of opinion in my skill set and what he thought I could do and what I thought I could do,” Fitzpatrick said, via Dunne. “It was going to get tough for me to show something to somebody they were choosing not to see. They didn’t give me the opportunity to show it, even though I had film that showed it. The losing and all that stuff? If I was put in the right position and we’re losing — because of decisions people made upstairs — it is what it is. I can only control how I play. That didn’t affect me at all. It was just a fact that I was being used the wrong way.”

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Shoulder and foot injuries helped lead Cam Newton out of Charlotte after nine seasons. But the former MVP quarterback said he is “full go” as he begins practices with the Patriots, Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston notes. Newton, 31, sounded more cautiously optimistic about staying fully healthy, Perry writes, after being injured for much of the past three seasons. But going into the padded portion of New England’s training camp, Tom Brady‘s likely successor said he feels “amazing.”
  • Since Dolphins players reported to camp, Xavien Howard has landed on both the active/PUP list and the reserve/COVID-19 list. Howard underwent knee surgery in December. While Howard was running at the team’s facility this summer, per’s Cameron Wolfe, he does not figure to see much practice time before Week 1. This makes the standout corner’s availability for the Dolphins’ opener against the Patriots uncertain.
  • Another Dolphin uncertain for Week 1: Preston Williams. The Dolphins are easing their UDFA success story back into action after his ACL tear, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes, adding that Williams’ Week 1 status is in doubt. Williams went down in Week 8 last season, ending a strong start to his career. He caught 32 passes for 428 yards. With Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns opting out, Williams will be critical to Miami’s passing attack.
  • Formerly a key Bills wide receiver, Robert Foster now appears on the verge of being cut or traded. The third-year Bills wideout will need a strong camp to make the team, Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Buffalo drafted Gabriel Davis in Round 4, and the rookie will join the recently re-signed Isaiah McKenzie as a backup to the team’s Stefon DiggsJohn BrownCole Beasley starter trio. After Foster averaged 20 yards per catch as a rookie — in a 27-reception, 541-yard, three-TD season — he caught just three passes in 13 games last season.
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8 comments on “AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Newton, Bills

  1. NFL's San Diego Waves

    A team like the Browns, Chargers, Eagles, Bucs, or 49ers should send a conditional 7th to the Bills for Foster.

    Could be a steal as a 3rd or 4th receiver.

    • mstockw1

      As a Bills fan, I would hate that deal. Especially, with the new practice squad slots that can be protected. Foster has a lot to offer but is still very raw (I mean he was an UDFA coming out from Alabama). Also, after recovery from a foot injury he played a lot of ST snaps and I’m not sure he ever really refound that timing with Allen as a WR. I’m not sure I throw in the towel on him yet,but it’s a pretty conflicting viewpoint amongst many Bills fans.. Beane has a way of using those late round picks to climb his way up draft boards so there’s really value to be found on both sides.

    • wagner13

      The 49ers and Eagles are overloaded with receivers. They have the same problem as Buffalo. I’m not sure Foster is a good fit for Brady either, given his tendency to make quick throws over the middle of the field. The Chargers already have Mike Williams as well.

      I totally agree about Cleveland, as he could stretch the field while Landry and their pair of talented tight ends serve as intermediate targets. The Colts would make sense, as Rivers still has a strong (if a little inaccurate) arm. Vikings could use a deep target as well to replace Diggs

  2. forwhomjoshbelltolls

    Until proven otherwise, the best draft pick in the 2020 draft is the one the Steelers used to acquire Fitzpatrick.

    Just a dominant player.

  3. case7187

    I for one an excited to see what the pats will do with Cam I think it will surprise a lot of people

    The one thing that always bugged me about Brady is he plays favorites and doesn’t want to work with anyone who he doesn’t like or trust after one bad play he’s not patient with his teammates and he doesn’t forgive or forget

    • Ak185

      The forgive and forget may trigger some debate, but there is no question that Brady does/did have certain favorites (Edelman, Gronk, Welker, Woodhead, etc). Most of that is just his connection and knowing where they’re going to be plus the trust factor, so it can be advantageous, but at times can not be. Most great QBs have some of that, to be fair, but McDaniels hasn’t had a mobile QB since Tebow. Of course, he didn’t coach him much after being fired, but it’ll be interesting to see if he has any plays for Cam that will take advantage of Newton’s mobility.

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