The Phinsider’s annual 90-in-90 series is back today with another in-depth look at the players who are currently vying to make the Miami Dolphins’ 53-man roster. This series of articles takes a look at each individual on the roster, breaking down how they performed in 2017, why they could progress or regress in 2018, and the odds that the player makes the team when the regular season arrives.
This year, we have already finished the reviews for wide receiver Leonte Carroo, punter Matt Haack, safety T.J. McDonald, running back Buddy Howell, wide receiver DeVante Parker, defensive end William Hayes, wide receiver Isaiah Ford, safety/cornerback Walt Aikens, defensive end Claudy Mathieu, linebacker Kiko Alonso, cornerback Xavien Howard, long snapper Lucas Gravelle, wide receiver Danny Amendola, tight end A.J. Derby, running back Frank Gore, defensive tackle Gabe Wright, wide receiver Kenny Stills, cornerback Tony Lippett, kicker Jason Sanders, kicker Greg Joseph, left tackle Laremy Tunsil, tight end Mike Gesicki, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, running back Kalen Ballage, wide receiver Jakeem Grant, tight end Durham Smythe, quarterback David Fales, wide receiver Albert Wilson, defensive tackle Akeem Spence, linebacker Chase Allen, defensive end Cameron Wake, running back Senorise Perry, and tight end MarQueis Gray, offensive lineman Ted Larsen, defensive end Andre Branch, running back Kenyan Drake, defensive end Quincy Redmon, quarterback Bryce Petty, wide receiver Francis Owusu, defensive end Jonathan Woodard, defensive end Charles Harris, center Connor Hilland, guard Jesse Davis, and safety Reshad Jones. Today, we take a look at defensive tackle Jordan Phillips.
2017 was a big year for Phillips, as he finally began to show more frequent flashes and meet some of the expectations that the coaching staff and front office had for him after another offseason of hype. After reestablishing his starting role alongside the now departed Ndamukong Suh, the former second-round draft pick played in 13 games, 11 of which were starts.
Over that time, Phillips accumulated 16 tackles, two sacks, and three passes defended. While those numbers may seem underwhelming it’s important to remember that Phillips’ role as a big man in the middle (he’s 6’6”, 333 lbs) is to clog running lanes and make life difficult in the opposing offenses’ backfield. He doesn’t need to rack up 40 tackles and 10+ sacks to be effective. As the season wore on, he continued to rotate with rookie Davon Godchaux.
Why he might progress
With Suh now in Los Angeles, Phillips projects to line up alongside Godchaux, with the two of them as the team’s starting defensive tackles. This means more responsibility will be put on Phillips’ shoulders to produce on a consistent basis, something he’s had difficulty with in the past.
One of the biggest knocks on the 25 year-old behemoth has been his inability to play with a constant motor through the second half of games. However, if he’s improved his conditioning, and if the rotation on the defensive line that the coaching staff has planned succeeds as hoped, then Phillips could blossom into one of the better and more reliable defensive tackles in the league.
Why he might regress
As I just mentioned, Phillips has had difficulty producing at a high level through entire games in the past. If this is an issue that he has failed to correct, Phillips could see himself forced out of the rotation by the likes of Akeem Spence, Vincent Taylor, or Gabe Wright. I doubt Phillips is entirely forgotten at any point this season, but it’s possible his contributions are reduced to that of a rotational player if his weaknesses have not been addressed.
Chances of making the 53-man roster
Barring some unforeseen shock (knock on wood), Phillips will be on the team through the 2018 season. He will most likely be in the starting lineup alongside Godchaux and will look to have his best season yet in his biggest role to date.