Wednesday, April 23, 2014

RPT: Patriots exercise fifth-year option on Solder

BY SCOTT BAINES

Nate Solder has started 44 of the 47 regular season games he’s played in for the New England Patriots over his first three NFL seasons.

That, and his ever-improving play, gave the Patriots enough reason to exercise the fifth-year option on the left tackle's contract. The move, which was expected, was first reported by CBS Sports Wednesday and confirmed by multiple media outlets.

Tom Brady’s blindside is now worth a little over $7 million in salary, and the added year allows the Patriots ample time to work out a long-term extension with Solder.

2014 AFC East head-to-head schedule

BY NICK ST. DENIS

Eleven of the NFL's 17 regular season weeks in 2014 will see an AFC East bout, including the now-annual doubleheader Week 17.

The head-to-head divisional schedule is as follows:

Week 1: New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.

Week 2: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.

New England Patriots announce 2014 schedule, times

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

As announced Wednesday, the New England Patriots' 2014 regular season schedule is as follows:

Week 1: at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.
Week 2: at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m.
Week 3: vs. Oakland Raiders, 1 p.m.
Week 4: at Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, 8:30 p.m.

Miami Dolphins announce 2014 schedule, times

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

As announced Wednesday, the Miami Dolphins' 2014 regular season schedule is as follows:

Week 1: vs. New England Patriots, 1 p.m.
Week 2: at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.
Week 3: vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m.
Week 4: at Oakland Raiders, 1 p.m.

Buffalo Bills announce 2014 schedule, times

BY NICK ST. DENIS

As announced Wednesday, the Buffalo Bills' 2014 regular season schedule is as follows:

Week 1: at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
Week 2: Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.
Week 3: San Diego Chargers, 1 p.m.
Week 4: at Houston Texans, 1 p.m.

New York Jets announce 2014 schedule, times

BY NICK ST. DENIS

As announced Wednesday, the New York Jets' 2014 regular season schedule is as follows:

Week 1: vs. Oakland Raiders, 1 p.m.
Week 2: at Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m.
Week 3: vs. Chicago Bears, Monday, 8:30 p.m.
Week 4: vs. Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.

Rex: 'I love the fact that we're going back to Cortland'

BY NICK ST. DENIS

The New York Jets had a soft agreement to return to SUNY Cortland this summer, but in January, they made a point that they were performing their "due diligence" in exploring other options.

That was more or less a tease.

The team announced Tuesday that it would continue its relationship with the Central New York university this summer and will hold training camp at Cortland for the fourth time in five years.

Bills handling 'unfortunate' website blunder internally

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

Following an accidental posting of an unfinished story in their website Tuesday night, the Buffalo Bills will be internally handling the mishap that led to the release of news regarding the health of coach Doug Marrone.

Initially brought to light by our publisher, Nick St. Denis, the website inadvertently made public a partially completed story proclaiming that Doug Marrone has cancer.

The story had not yet been filled in with the details of the cancer, or how serious it was, and it contained spelling errors and a space for Marrone's statement regarding the issue.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

E.J. Manuel has eye on visiting receiver prospects

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

Buffalo Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel spent his offseason on both coasts, meeting up with fellow teammates to work on his timing and to build some chemistry with his receiving corps.

When he wasn't practicing, the sophomore quarterback was wired in to the team's cloud-based game film software, dissecting his decisions from his rookie season.

Despite the busy schedule, Manuel told reporters Tuesday he's kept in tune with the draft prospects that have come in and out of One Bills Drive, particularly the receiving talent.

Tannehill, Wallace trying best to avoid repeat of 2013

BY SEAN DONOVAN

The Miami Dolphins may be just a couple days into their 2014 offseason training program, but everyone already wants to know the answers to next season's most pertinent questions.

Like, can Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace improve their chemistry and generate more than one deep touchdown reception this year, for example.

In 2013, Miami's blossoming franchise quarterback and $60 million receiver connected for just five touchdowns, only one of which came on a pass thrown more than 20 yards. A capable deep passer such as Tannehill missing an elite deep threat such as Wallace so frequently is an issue that both must work to fix.

Milliner facing big (as in 'full') offseason as sophomore

BY NICK ST. DENIS

Dee Milliner looked the part of a raw rookie cornerback for much of 2013, getting burned and benched multiple times through the first three quarters of the season.

He had a strong finish, snagging three interceptions and batting down 10 passes in the New York Jets' final two games of the season, though he would've preferred the growing pains not last as long as they did.

The lack of offseason work and limited preseason prep didn't help.

Brandon Spikes 'all in' with former divisional foe Bills

BY NICK ST. DENIS

Brandon Spikes spent four seasons facing the Buffalo Bills twice a year. Now, the former New England Patriots linebacker is getting a little taste of what it's like behind enemy lines.

"It’s kind of weird being on the opposite and now I’m with them," Spikes, who signed with Buffalo after hitting free agency in March, told BuffaloBills.com Tuesday. "I always thought they had a lot of great players and they played hard.

"They were just missing something, so I’m here and I know a lot of people play with a lot of attitude and however I can contribute, I am all in. I’m happy to be here."

Slater ready to work against 'one of best' in practice

BY SCOTT BAINES

Matthew Slater has seen a lot of changes since being drafted by the New England Patriots in 2008. This year is no exception.

"We haven’t even had one practice together, so we have a long way to go," Slater told the media Tuesday after the second day of the Patriots' voluntary workouts, via ESPN Boston.

Unsurprisingly, it didn't take long for the conversation to steer to the topic of newly acquired cornerback Darrelle Revis, whom Slater spent some time with in Hawaii at the Pro Bowl a couple months ago.

NFL to release regular season schedule Wednesday

BY NICK ST. DENIS

We knew the "who." Now we know the "when." Well, at least we know when we'll know the when.

The NFL announced Tuesday that it will release the 2014 regular season schedule Wednesday at 8 p.m., via the NFL Network and NFL.com.

Here's each AFC East team's opponents for the upcoming campaign:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rex hasn't made any promises to new tailback Johnson

BY NICK ST. DENIS

Chris Johnson is guaranteed an opportunity. The carries, he'll have to earn.

"Nothing was ever promised, you know, that you’re going to get X amount of carries and all that kind of stuff," New York Jets coach Rex Ryan said Monday of his team's latest acquisition, via the NY Post.

". . . We’re going to have to compete for roles. No role has definitely been determined for really almost anybody on this football team."