Secret sauce: “a special quality or feature regarded as the chief factor in the success of something or someone.”
It was March of 2020 when Jordan Phillips decided to join the Arizona Cardinals after his best NFL season totaling 9.5 sacks with the Buffalo Bills. Like many players, if you have an opportunity to maximize your earning potential—you take it. Phillips’s time in Arizona ended after just two seasons, where he battled injuries and effectiveness in the Cardinals’ defense. So, when the team decided to move on this past offseason, Phillips always knew where “home” was.
During his press conference, the topic of re-signing in Buffalo came up. Phillips said he always planned to “come back to Buffalo.” A media member asked, “what drew you to come back?” Phillips responded, “I mean, you have the best quarterback in the league. You have one of the best receivers in the league. You just signed one of the best pass rushers in the league. Uh, Ed’s playing well! You’re going to get Tre'Davious White back, and you have two of the best safeties in the league. You have one of the best linebackers in the league, so why wouldn’t you want to come back.”
I have to be honest—I liked the signing but didn’t take the time to realize the potential impact of having him back in this defense. When general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott brought in defensive tackles Daquan Jones and Tim Settle, plus linebacker Von Miller, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.
Not only did the Bills’ defense dominate during Thursday’s game, to the score of 31-10, but Phillips caught my attention the most. Out of his 34 snaps, he registered three total stops, two sacks, three hurries, and six total pressures, according to PFF with a run grade of 71.2, a pass-rush rate of 90, and an overall grade of 83.1. He also won with an array of pass-rush moves, converting speed to power, superb extension, and hand placement at the point of attack. For a 6’6”, 330-lb behemoth of a man, that’s pretty impressive. What gives me so much hope that this trend can and will continue is that he’s done it before during his time with with Buffalo, and the pieces around him are immensely better.
Bills Mafia, Jordan Phillips is the defense’s Secret Sauce!