If you’re a Dolphins fan, and you watched every game last season, it’s easy to forget how sparingly Jaelan Phillips played the first half, and how much he came on in the 2nd half of the season with that additional playing time. For comparison, in totality, Jaelan Phillips played 54% of snaps on defense. AVG (Andrew Van Ginkel) played 71% of the defensive snaps. DE Emmanuel Ogbah played 67% defensive snaps. Now that we’ve seen what Phillips is capable of, his time on the field will greatly increase, probably exceeding 75% of the defensive snaps. If not at age 23, when?
Once again, for comparison, Pro Bowl LB Micah Parsons who was beloved from many here on FMU played 84% of the defensive snaps last season. You’d have to think Phillips approaches that this season. With more playing time, more plays will happen, and Jaelan Phillips, and hopefully the Miami Dolphins defense will get an increase in production in their pass rush and rushing defense. Phillips was tied for 2nd on the team with 9 tackles for loss, and 3rd in QB hits with 16. He was 2nd on the team in sacks with 8.5, just a half sack away from being tied with DE Emmanuel Ogbah. Phillips showed the ability to play the run as well as rush the passer. He’s a very athletic, guy with a nice repertoire of pass rushing moves that he will keep refining. He definitely learned a lot last year, you could see the difference by the end of the season he was so much more effective.
This season, I don’t think it’s crazy to expect 12-15 sacks from Phillips if he plays all season and gets at least 75% snaps on defense. He’ll probably have more than 20 QB hits, and I’d expect close to 80 tackles. You want your best players on the field as much as possible, and I feel Phillips will be, already is one of our best. We did pick up Melvin Ingram who will share some snaps with Phillps, but Ingram is 33, and will have to be used strategically to keep him effective, and healthy. Although this only year 2 for Phillips, he came to the team with a good toolbox of pass rush moves, he has prototypical size and length at 6’5 266 and wide wingspan, crucial to getting to the QB. He’s certainly one guy to watch on this aggressive Dolphins defense. He should be among the leaders in a few defensive statistical categories this season, I can’t wait to see this kid shine!