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Season Snapshot: Jaelan Phillips bullied the New York Jets in Week 18

Phillips became a cornerstone of the defense in his second season.

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New York Jets v Miami Dolphins Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Jaelan Phillips delivered an impressive final word on the 2022 regular season with a big game against the New York Jets in Week 18.

Seven tackles, four quarterback hits, and three quarterback hits may not seem impressive but Miami’s second-year edge rusher was disruptive for 60 minutes.

Phillips earned an 89.5 Pro Football Focus grade, his third-highest of the year, with what seemed like a bottomless toolbox. An impressive chop prevented the tackle from extending his arms. Shortly after, Phillips was in Flacco’s face with a bullrush.

Miami’s blitz-happy mindset under Josh Boyer forced plenty of one-on-one matchups in the trenches. That said, the Dolphins didn’t have to blitz for Phillips to be a menace — especially when lined up against a tight end.

Phillips proved he must be a priority for opposing offenses by taking advantage of mismatches — punishing teams that didn’t plan for his speed off the edge.

The former first-round pick and Bradley Chubb, who the Dolphins traded a first-round pick for, are penciled in as outside linebackers in Vic Fangio’s 3-4 defense. Phillips shines as a pass rusher but has also taken major steps forward when it comes to stopping the run.

After years of relying on a stout secondary, Miami’s front seven is the clear strength on defense. While things may look different — primarily a lot less blitzing — a front consisting of Phillips, Chub, Christian Wilkins, Zach Sieler, and Emmanuel Ogbah should have little issue generating favorable matchups in the trenches.