DAVIE—After recently floundering behind a fifth-round pick on the Dolphins’ depth chart, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips has reemerged as a starting candidate over the past week.
It’s been an odd offseason coming off a year in which he was benched and publicly criticized for inconsistency. Phillips continued battling with his weight, but vowed during Organized Team Activities that he was turning things around.
Now, despite Miami starting rookie Davon Godchaux over him the first three preseason games, Phillips is getting a fairly equal share of the first-team reps and believes this has been a great lead-up to the season. According to him, there “was never a question in my mind” that he had a chance to claim a starting job.
“I feel like this is my best preseason, training camp, everything,” he said. “I’ve been sticking to the grind.”
As far as what’s turned things around for him lately, he added, “I’m just playing harder, honestly. Everything’s just coming together. Everything’s a lot slower.”
Phillips was listed at 336 pounds last season, when he started 11 games, then climbed to 347 before reporting for offseason training. He said he got that down to 335 in late May and now he’s at 328.
He accomplished some of that by eating better, and it’s hard not to lose weight given the conditions in which the Dolphins practice.
It’s clear he’s been motivated by Godchaux’s rise, too, and fellow defensive lineman William Hayes noticed Phillips got the message when he saw Godchaux taking his job.
“I think it was good,” Hayes said. “I feel it made him compete a little harder and he had to earn his spot back. And that’s what this league is about. Every day it’s a prove-yourself business. And since then he’s been coming out, he’s a totally different football player. He’s working a lot harder and he’s just grinding. And I can appreciate that.”
Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook
Join our reporters for a special evening as they talk NFL with Dolphins Pro Bowl Guard Jermon Bushrod, two-time Super Bowl champion Bob Kuechenberg and former Dolphins Pro Bowl linebacker Kim Bokamper on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Bokamper’s Fort Lauderdale. The event is free to the first 100 people and will include raffles, light bites and drinks.