Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase recently made it clear at the NFL combine that the team expects former second-round pick Jordan Phillips to take the next step and develop into a full-time starting defensive tackle in Year 3.
"We talked about it before the end of last season that we need to get his reps up," Gase said this month. "Twenty-five plays a game is not really going to do anything for us. So we need his snaps to get up."
Were the Dolphins legitimately interested in spending for one of the league's premiere defensive tackles, especially after they've already invested $114 million in Ndamukong Suh? The pair could be dominant but very costly for one position.
Or was this a ploy to light a fire under Phillips, who has lacked motivation at times and was inconsistent in his first two seasons?
Phillips' inconsistency drove coaches crazy. He had 23 tackles and a half sack last season. Phillips was the type of player who could make a tackle for loss look effortless on one play and then jump offside the next play. Former defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said you can make a great highlight tape and a really bad lowlight tape of Phillips, which is accurate.
Regardless, there are no more excuses for Phillips. He is a former second-round pick who had two seasons and plenty of chances to learn how to be a consistent NFL player. The Dolphins want (need?) to count on Phillips in Year 3, but if he doesn't produce, the team must move on.