Friday, August 1, 2014

Dolphins bring in linebacker Rau, waive Edwards

BY NICK ST. DENIS

The Miami Dolphins announced Friday they have signed linebacker Ryan Rau and waived/injured linebacker Tariq Edwards.

The 6-1, 230-pound Rau joins the Dolphins after a stint with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League earlier this year. In 2013, Rau spent time during the year with the Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles.

Rau originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent following the 2012 NFL Draft with the Eagles and spent the majority of the 2012 season on Philadelphia’s practice squad prior to being signed to the active roster that December.

Hogan's third-down reliabity earning him a roster spot

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

Third down was a nightmare for the entire Buffalo Bills offense last season. Well, with one exception.

Chris Hogan had only 10 receptions for 83 yards during the team’s 2013 campaign. He may not have seen a ton of action in his third year in the league, but he was certainly relied upon to help move the chains.

Of those 10 catches, 40 percent of them yielded a first down, a rare bright spot in a unit that had only a 34 percent conversion rate on third down.

34-year-old Michael Vick says age isn't affecting him

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

Michael Vick may have lost a step or two since his days in Atlanta, but he’s still as quick as he’s ever been. Heck, he’s willing to put money on it.

The 34-year-old signal-caller, who was joking with New York Daily News beat writer Manish Mehta Thursday, admitted his 40-yard dash time isn’t what it used to be. But he still thinks he can clock a solid time and keep up with pretty much anyone on the field.

“I’ll be running a 4.4 when I’m 39,” Vick said. “When I’m 39, you come find me . . . and bring some money.”

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dolphins swap tight end Brackett for tight end Webber

BY NICK ST. DENIS

The Miami Dolphins announced Thursday they have signed tight end Raymond Webber and waived tight end Brett Brackett.

The 6-2, 237-pound Webber joins the Dolphins after a stint with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League in 2013.

He spent time with the New York Jets during the 2012 preseason after entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011, where he was placed on injured reserve for the season.

Spiller still shopping for agent as crucial year nears

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

While Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson celebrates his new contract extension, fellow back C.J. Spiller is still searching for representation to aid with his.

Coming into his fifth year in the league, Spiller will be looking to land another long-term deal with the team between now and the start of 2015, or he has the option to test the free agent market. He's currently in the top bracket of highest paid backs in the league, though injuries last season kept the 26-year-old from playing at top form.

Spiller told the Post-Standard recently that vetting a new agent is still ongoing.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ouch! Jets' Dee Milliner gets Mike Westhoff'd

BY NICK ST. DENIS

Dee Milliner recently did that whole New York Jets "best" thing that's been plaguing the headlines of late.

The second-year cornerback, who struggled for most of his rookie season despite a strong finish, told the NY Daily News last weekend that he felt he was the best cornerback in the NFL.

After watching Milliner and the rest of Gang Green's cornerback unit in practice this week, however, former Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff pitched in with his take. Spoiler alert: it was a zinger.

Jackson 'one step closer' to being a Bill for life

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

Running back Fred Jackson just wants to finish his career as a Buffalo Bill. The team helped facilitate that dream Wednesday, re-upping the 33-year-old veteran's contract through the 2015 season.

"I’m one step closer to being able to finish my career in Buffalo," Jackson said, via the Buffalo News. "That’s what I always wanted to do.

"Usually when guys get my age they’re ready to kind of shut it down and not come out here and get beat up like we do in training camp. But I wake up every day and I love it ... I don’t want that to end any time soon so I’m going to continue to work and show I can still compete at a high level."

Alone on Dolphins' roster, Sturgis' job isn't secure

BY SEAN DONOVAN

Usually, ranking 29th in field goal percentage earns a NFL kicker competition in the following training camp.

That doesn't appear to be the case for the Miami Dolphins' Caleb Sturgis, who hit just 76.5-percent of his kicks last year but is the only rostered kicker in camp. "Appear" being the key word there.

That lack of side-by-side competition doesn't mean Sturgis isn't playing for his job, according to Dolphins special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Gronk looks forward to getting hit before season

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has checked off pretty much every needed requirement to ensure he's ready to get back to the starting lineup -- rigorous rehab regimens, the all-clear from medical professionals, even full-pad workouts.

The next step? Being prepared for a legit shot from an opposing defender.

“You always expect to take a hit before you step out on the field before any game,” Gronkowski said Tuesday, via the Boston Globe. “You’ve got to be prepared and you’ve got to be ready, and whenever that is, I’m obviously going to take some hits in practice before I have to step out on the field.”

Ivory likely to get the keys close to the end zone

BY NICK ST. DENIS

New York Jets running backs coach Anthony Lynn said Monday that short-yardage backs don't necessarily have to be of the power variety, because “some guys have that unique ability to get skinny in a hole, find a soft spot."

That may be true, but at the moment, the power guy is the leading candidate to take the bulk of Gang Green's goal line attempts this coming season.

“If we were playing tomorrow, Chris Ivory would be on the goal line, obviously,” Lynn said, via the NY Daily News. “Sometimes in those situations you have an extra defender that you can’t block, and you need a back that can take him on.”

Schumer: Keeping Bills in WNY the only litmus test

BY NICK ST. DENIS

The bidding for ownership of the Buffalo Bills began Tuesday, with preliminary bids due to Morgan Stanley at 5 p.m.

Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula, billionaire Donald Trump and a Toronto group including rock star Jon Bon Jovi are expected to be among the top dogs -- at least from a name recognition standpoint.

Regardless of who is in the mix, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, who has been a leading political voice in the movement to keep the team in Western New York, is confident the group of finalists will favor doing just that.

Bills' Gilmore glad to be back to his physical self

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

The Buffalo Bills drafted Stephon Gilmore not only for his speed, but for the physical prowess he likes to impose on opposing wideouts.

After some ailment-induced downtime, that physicality is apparently back.

Coming off a sophomore campaign where he lost part of the season to rehabbing a hand injury and subsequently played a few games with a club-like cast, the third-year cornerback entered training camp this season fully healthy. That’s allowed the former Gamecock to get back to what he loves doing most — disrupting passing routes any way he can.

Dolphins add camp bodies at TE, QB and DE

BY EDITOR

The Miami Dolphins announced Tuesday they have signed tight end Brett Brackett, quarterback Seth Lobato and defensive end D’Aundre Reed and waived quarterback Brock Jensen, linebacker Derrell Johnson and guard Davonte Wallace.

The 6-5, 246-pound Brackett re-joins the Dolphins after spending part of the 2013 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

After originally entering the NFL in 2011 as an undrafted free agent with the Dolphins, Brackett spent parts of the 2011 season on the practice squads of Miami, Jacksonville and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Schwartz: Mario has Megatron-type effect on defense

BY LANDON RODY

Is Mario Williams a Calvin Johnson on defense? Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz seems to think so.

Schwartz, who coached Megatron in Detroit, likens Williams to Johnson, despite their playing on opposite sides of the ball.

"Mario's got a lot of the same in him," Schwartz said recently, via BuffaloBills.com. "He's just so damn big, and he's such an explosive player, even if you want to move him around, they're still going to account for him."

Jets' defense putting a big emphasis on turnovers

BY NICK ST. DENIS

The New York Jets' defense is one of the better ones in the NFL. The Jets' defensive front is one of the best in the NFL.

But the unit is not without its faults. One of the biggest of late? Turnovers.

"We’ve got to get takeaways—that’s number one," Jets coach Rex Ryan said over the weekend, via NJ.com. "It’s not just good enough to stop them or something like that, prevent points. We need to get the ball back to our offense as fast as possible and find ways to score with it ourselves."