DAVIE — There was a stretch of about nine plays bridging the third and fourth quarters last Sunday, when Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Jordan Phillips destroyed the guard across from him.
Phillips overpowered him. Phillips ran past him. Phillips was a wrecking ball.
“Jordan played really well last week, first of all,” Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said Thursday. “Jordan is a player that, if you can take his explosive or flash plays, you can make a tape and it’s special. But you can take his bad plays also and make a lowlight tape.”
Well, Joseph is nothing if not a direct and candid truth-teller.
Phillips was the 52nd pick in last year’s NFL draft. And at times, he looks dynamite.
At other times, Phillips disappears, or worse, misfits or overpursues on long runs.
“So he’s a young player that’s inconsistent,” Joseph continued. “He’s obviously a big man with talent. If he’s on and doing it right, he can be a special help to us this weekend; but he’s got to put the bad plays to rest. That’s Jordan’s call of duty this week.”
Phillips had 19 tackles and 2.0 sacks as a rookie.
Phillips has 23 tackles and 0.5 sacks this season.
According to Pro Football Focus, Phillips has been Miami’s worst starting defensive lineman this season. Phillips is the 60th-best defensive tackle in the NFL according to PFF.
It’s gone a bit under the rader, but Phillips has actually lost his starting job to Earl Mitchell the past five weeks. And his snap count has decreased in each of the last three weeks, with a season-low 26 snaps on Sunday.
The Dolphins have hoped that Phillips would be motivated by decreased playing time and it appeared to work on Sunday. Phillips played with some passion and enthusiasm, positive steps.
The Dolphins believe that playing alongside players like Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake, Phillips should be more dominant, more often.
But they’re also not ready to give up on his unique talents. Last month, Joseph expressed hope that Suh’s mentoring would positively impact Phillips.
“Jordan is kind of the young guy in the room that needs guidance, and (Suh’s) been great with Jordan,” Joseph said. “Jordan is going to be a great player in the future. But he needs support from Suh. He needs a guy to kind of mentor him through this process.”
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