Wednesday, January 27, 2016

AFC East crowds PFF's top-20 free agent list


The AFC East front offices have some decisions to make.

ProFootballFocus.com recently published a list of its 20 highest-graded unrestricted free agents, and some key players from the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills made the list.

Below are the AFC East'ers, with a sliver of analysis from PFF. Click the link at the bottom for the full list and full analysis.
3. Olivier Vernon (Dolphins)
If you want an example of a player turning it on right before free agency, look no further than Olivier Vernon. 
4. Damon Harrison (Jets)
The highly-paid nose tackle may be a dying breed, but Damon Harrison has a great chance to buck the trend. 
6. Richie Incognito (Bills)
Incognito’s off-field reputation preceded him heading into 2015, but he has always been one of the better guards in the league, and his signing always seemed a shrewd piece of business by Rex Ryan from an on-field perspective. 
7. Muhammad Wilkerson (Jets)
If it weren’t for coming into the league with J.J. Watt, Muhammad Wilkerson would have the argument for being the league’s top 3-4 defensive end. 
19. Lamar Miller (Dolphins)
If PFF gave an award for the most underutilized player in the league, Lamar Miller would have been a frontrunner. 
20. Corey Glenn (Bills)
The Bills’ offensive line, as a whole, had a huge turnaround from the largely disastrous performance of the 2014 season, but it’s a testament to Glenn’s consistency that he was the highest-graded Bills offensive player in 2014, despite the poor play of his fellow linemen.
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RPT: Coaching moves continue as Pats, Nash break ties


In the wake of their AFC Championship loss, the New England Patriots still seem to have more coaching changes in mind for next season.

Just days after parting ways with offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo, the Pats have reportedly said good-bye to Harold Nash.

According to ESPN.com, Nash, who's been the team's strength and conditioning coach since 2011 and part of the S+C squad since 2005, will not be back for the 2016 season. 

New England was faced with a plethora of injuries on both sides of the ball this season, which contributed to a patchwork starting squad that, at times, struggled with consistency.

Despite being banged up, the Patriots still managed to finish the season ninth in total defense and sixth in total offense on their way to their seventh straight divisional title.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Pro Bowl will be Patriot-less as seven players opt out


The New England Patriots were well represented in this year's Pro Bowl selections. Too bad none of them is going.

A total of seven players were selected for the Jan. 31 game in Hawaii, and a loss to Denver last Sunday left open the possibility that some, if not all, would actually play despite the fact that a majority of starters around the league have already dropped out.

New England's squad followed suit though, and all seven players — Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Malcolm Butler, Stephen Gostkowski, Jamie Collins, Chandler Jones and Matthew Slater — bailed on the cross-country trip, according to WEEI.com.

More than 30 players have already declined to participate in the annual all-star game, making an already meaningless game even easier to sleep through on Sunday.

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Pats' offensive dysfunction 'a combination of things'


Bill Belichick has never really been one to call out an individual player or unit's poor play in a press conference.

Despite some puzzling miscues in New England's loss to the Broncos Sunday, that MO didn't change Monday in Belichick's meeting with the media.

That doesn't mean he didn't point any fingers, though.

"I thought Denver did a good job defensively," he said via WEEI.com. "It's all interconnected between the receivers, the quarterback, the offensive line. The timing, execution, balance of the running game, long yardage situations. It’s all part of it.

"In the end, it wasn't as good as it needed to be yesterday, period. In any area. I wouldn't put it on one guy, or one situation, or one position, or anything like that. In the end we came up short."

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With Talib out, Grimes 4th Dolphin going to Pro Bowl


The outcome of Sunday's divisional championships has been most pleasant for the AFC East's top-tier players.

A Panthers win put two Bills players in next week's game, while a Denver win has given the Dolphins their fourth player making travel arrangements for Hawaii.

Brent Grimes, now a four-time Pro Bowler for Miami, will replace Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib next weekend, per to the Palm Beach Post.

He'll join fellow DB Reshad Jones, as well as offensive lineman Branden Albert and wideout Jarvis Landry.

Center Mike Pouncey was also chosen, but he'll miss the trip with a foot injury; he was replaced by Gang Green's Nick Mangold.

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Gase, Dolphins announce more coaching positions


It's not all new faces in Miami this offseason.

With a number of Miami Dolphins staff positions made official Monday, a few coaches from the 2015 squad are staying put, namely interim defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo.

Anarumo, who started the season as the defensive backs coach, will return to that role in 2016 -- he'd coached the DBs since 2012 before this season's shake-up.

"I am excited about this group of talented and experienced coaches," coach Adam Gase said in a statement via the Sun Sentinel. "I have high regard for their collective experience, knowledge and passion for the game.

"We will tirelessly work together to build schemes around our players' strengths and are looking forward to getting to work and preparing for the upcoming offseason program."


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With Panthers in, Taylor, Wood get Pro Bowl nods


Since the end of the regular season, Buffalo Bills center Eric Wood has been an avid Carolina Panthers fan.

As an alternate for the Pro Bowl, Wood needed Ryan Kalil and the cats to make it to the big game in order to have a shot at a roster spot for the Jan. 31 game.

Now, Wood and teammate Tyrod Taylor are headed to Hawaii.

"I’ve been rooting pretty hard for Carolina throughout the playoffs," Wood said via BuffaloBills.com. "So when they won I knew I was in and someone from the league contacted me about 11:30 last night.

"I'm on the way back from the University of Louisville now from a workout; I was trying to do a little crash course to get back in shape and get ready to play a game this weekend."
  

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Jets plan to negotiate with Fitz 'in the very near future'


The New York Jets want quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick back.

Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan told WFAN's "Boomer and Carton Show" that Gang Green are "going to talk to Ryan's people here in the very near future," via NJ.com.

"We have time, obviously, before free agency, and we really would like to get Ryan back in the fold. [Head coach] Todd [Bowles] has said that. Obviously, myself and the rest of the organization feel very strongly about this."

The Jets like Fitzpatrick as a more-than-formidable stopgap as they plan for their quarterback situation of the future--whatever that entails.

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Patriots fill active roster with linebacker Kevin Snyder


The New England Patriots promoted Kevin Snyder from their practice squad, according to Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal.

Via Daniels:
The linebacker will give the team some more depth at a position where they certainly could use it. This week, the Patriots placed Jerod Mayo on the injured reserve. Dont’a Hightower (knee), Jamie Collins (back) and Jonathan Freeny (hand) have all been limited in practice as well. The Patriots also have backups Darius Fleming and Jon Bostic.
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Amendola will appeal a fine for his hit last week


New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola has been fined for what the NFL deemed an illegal hit on Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Jamell Fleming.

Via Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston:
Amendola was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness for hitting Fleming in the second quarter of Saturday's divisional-round playoff game. Fleming was attempting to catch a high-arcing punt near the goal line when Amendola, one of the Patriots' punt returners, delivered a forceful hit.
Amendola said he will appeal.

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