When Jaylen Phillips came out of his momentary retirement from football in college and decided he would renew his career at the University of Miami in 2019, he had a lot of work to do on his body.
Time away from the sport, coupled with multiple injuries and frequent injuries at UCLA, caused him to lose muscle. 1-rated recruit in high school, the edge defender was reduced to 225 pounds after playing at around 250. He spoke about this ahead of the success of the 2020 season with the Hurricanes, which eventually led him to become the Miami Dolphins’ 2021 first-round pick.
In the year and a half from arriving at UM to training camp before that stellar college season, he increased his weight from 45 pounds to 270, mostly muscle mass, as he kept up his pace at the new weight.
In his first full season as a pro, Phillips has actually reversed course to get lean in his second NFL season. He said he recently shed five pounds since the end of his rookie campaign, when he recorded a franchise rookie record 8½ sacks. He was officially listed at 266 pounds last season.
“Just working on body re-composition, constantly trying to build lean muscle and cut as much fat as possible, and so weight wise I feel really good,” Phillips said. “I feel like I’m running well. I feel like I’m strong too, so just constantly trying to improve my body and fix some of the smaller muscles I’m about to get into.” I can’t think of you, who are really good at stabilization and various lateral movements.”
The skinny Phillips, who took off after working as a rookie with a confident coach, is looking to prove himself to every down-out linebacker in Year 2. He came to the Dolphins as a versatile edge defender, having had the best college season ever. with Miami, when he played defensive end in a 4–3 plan. It should come as no surprise, as a rookie, that his best moment as a rookie came when he was told to put his head down and run to a passerby, whether he lays his hand on the ground or is standing.
“I’m just trying to be the best-rounded player that I can be,” Phillips said, adding that he’s still in the outside linebackers’ room and not with the defensive linemen, “so whatever. The roles coach suits me, I can fit into those roles accordingly.”
However, the new weight was not necessary for the sole purpose of fitting into the role of outside linebacker in the plan.
“There’s always a conversation with our strength staff, the nutritionists, our players, the things we’re asking them to do,” said defensive coordinator Josh Boyer. “It really starts with overall health, like ‘Hey, we need you to lose five or 10 pounds to do this’ or ‘We need you to gain 20 pounds.’ Asking someone to lose five pounds and not be able to gain an edge is not beneficial. Obviously, running better, feeling better.
“Jellan is someone who wants to be great and do everything right. I think he’s finding that happy balance of work—failing to bring out the best of himself. A few pounds here and there, be it football or is more nutrition-based than sports-based.”
Outside linebackers coach Ty Mackenzie has been impressed with the approach of the New Dolphins Phillies since Mackenzie came on board this off-season.
“He has been very eager to get better. From day one, we started from ground zero and worked up,” said Mackenzie. “He has found success in preparation. His attitude in class has been very good [Boyer]with me in my living room, with [coach Mike McDaniel] In the squad meeting room. He is taken to the practice field for preparation. ,
Phillips was always exceptionally athletic in his size, running an impressive official 4.56-second 40-yard dash back in his Miami pro day, and still bench-pressing 21 reps of 225 pounds.
Former UM defensive line coach Todd Stroud once said, “I would put Jaylen Phillips in the 99th percentile of any player as far as physical characteristics I’ve trained for,” nine from 1986, including Florida State. Have coached in other college programs. Auburn and NC State. “His ability to run and jump and twitch is exactly what you want in that situation.”