Next man up at safety means it's Rontez Miles' turn to step in for Marcus Gilchrist, who's gone to injured reserve. And Miles says it's no sweat becoming a defensive starter for the last three games of the Jets' season.
"I won't say it's a big change," Miles told me this week. "Last year I was the swing safety so when I got activated I backed up both spots. I'm not nervous, I'm not overthinking it. It's football. We're all professionals, so I'm not really worried about it. Nothing's going to change or get altered because there's a person missing."
Head coach Todd Bowles was asked about who'll be making the DB calls now that the "quarterback of the secondary" is sidelined and said it would be a combination of Miles, Calvin Pryor, DC Kacy Rodgers and himself making and monitoring the calls. Miles called it "collective communication ... the same thing we do every week."
As for playing time, Miles has been picking up steam since midway through last season, playing in the last 22 games (two starts) with averages of more than 15 defensive snaps and more than 20 special teams plays a game.
"Rontez is getting comfortable back there in his roles," Bowles said, "and we're fine having him back there."
And the only thing Miles is a little uncomfortable with is maybe giving up his special teams work.
"I asked them to keep me on," he said. "Last game I played all four [kickoff return, kickoff coverage, punt return, punt coverage] and played the second half on defense, so I'm capable of doing it. I guess with the numbers and with some of the younger guys having to come up, they'll probably tell me to stay off teams and focus on defense, but I might sneak out there once or twice. We'll see how it goes."
Images from the Final Practice of Dolphins Week
Miles' mantra is "Let's play football," and that's similar to what rookie Brandon Shell is saying now that he could be pressed into duty at RT due to Brent Qvale's hamstring injury. He chuckled at the "too big a stage" concept for a so-far little-used fifth-rounder.
"You can't look at it like that," he said. "You've got to go out there and play a game. That's all you've really got to do."
Shell is well aware of the talents of Dolphins LDE Cameron Wake, but like a grizzled veteran, he said that if his number is called, "It really doesn't matter who lines up in front of me. You've just got to go out there and play your game. You don't even look at names.
"Yeah, man, I'm ready. I'm just ready. You've been doing this your whole life. I'm just ready to go out there and have fun with the guys."
WR Brandon Marshall said he knew the subject of him vs. Miami CB Byron Maxwell was going to come up and he prepared for it.
"I'm going to let the refs do their job," he said. "I thought they did a great job last game. I thought that my point was proven. Guys can get hurt when you hold like that. And it's not fun. You get open and a guy like that holds you. That's in the past, but I will assist the refs with my flag just in case."
And with that, Marshall produced a yellow penalty flag that looks just like the ones we see flying from officials' pockets on gamedays.
We're sure Brandon's just joking about throwing that flag, which might get him thrown out of the game. But his point about the teams' Nov. 6 battle at Miami is well-taken. Marshall drew three penalties on the Dolphins, including two pass interference calls against Maxwell (one was declined), while getting no penalties called against him.