Dolphins LBs Jelani Jenkins, Kiko Alonso bond over 'Call of Duty'

DAVIE, Fla. – New Miami Dolphins teammates Jelani Jenkins and Kiko Alonso have a lot in common.

For starters, both are young linebackers with a lot to prove this season. Jenkins and Alonso also enter contract years and are coming off injury-plagued seasons in 2015. Jenkins missed three games in Miami with an ankle injury and Alonso missed five games with a bad knee as a former member of the Philadelphia Eagles.

With both linebackers starting in Miami, there are plenty of reasons to begin building chemistry. Interestingly, it's been a popular video game that's helped bring Jenkins and Alonso closer together this offseason.

"We've been playing some ‘Call of Duty,'" Jenkins said of his growing friendship with Alonso. "We've actually gone out to eat a little bit. He lives right near me. He lives by the beach. We just hang out. We have a lot of time off with this phase, so we get a chance to just kick it."

The relationship between the middle linebacker (Alonso) and outside linebacker (Jenkins) is an important one. It takes a lot of preparation, communication and adjustments during the week and in games.

According to Jenkins, the time the new teammates spend together now off the field is going to pay off in the fall during the regular season. "Call of Duty" also has brought out both players' competitive sides during the offseason.

"I'm the best," Jenkins said of his video-game skills. "I think they know that."

The Dolphins are certainly counting on Alonso and Jenkins this year. Both had monster seasons in the past, with Jenkins recording 110 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2014 and Alonso lighting it up with 159 tackles, two sacks and four interceptions during his rookie season with Buffalo in 2013. Since then, the pair has dealt with injuries and inconsistency.

Miami was ranked 25th in total defense last season and 28th against the run. Jenkins and Alonso will have to be on the same page this year to lead Miami's linebackers to have much better production in 2016.

"We sit in the same meeting rooms and a lot of times, whoever the Mike is – the middle linebacker – they kind of make most of the calls," Jenkins said. "We just play off of him. It doesn't take too long [to build chemistry]. Like I said, we try to do a lot of things off the field to just grow our friendship outside of football."