Friday, July 25, 2014

Jets excited about using Chris Johnson in the flat

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

It’s no secret that Chris Johnson is a spectacular runner – more than 1,300 yards of rushing offense per year (with a 2,000-plus season, to boot) on average can tell you that.

But CJ2K in the flat, one-on-one with a linebacker? That’s a very different, but equally scary monster to face for any defense.

That’s what the New York Jets were working on in practice Thursday, moving the elusive back around the formation by lining him up on the outside as a receiver and through the use of motion in the backfield.

Center role ‘will take some time’ for Shelley Smith

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Shelly Smith hasn’t played center since his days at Colorado State.

Come Friday morning, however, it was he who was snapping for a fully revamped Miami line unit that’s looking to rebound from the recent loss of its most valued player, Mike Pouncey.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Smith, who signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract with the Fins back in March, didn’t learn of the decision until he reported to training camp.

Revis: Being a Patriot is awesome in a weird way

BY NICK ST. DENIS

Darrelle Revis is with the enemy. Well, the used-to-be enemy.

The former New York Jets star cornerback took the practice field this week with his new team, his ex-rival New England Patriots, and needless to say, it's been a bit of an adjustment--a good one, though.

“It’s been awesome, but it’s been kind of weird in a way,” he said Friday, via ESPN Boston.

Bills make minor moves, swap reserve defenders

BY EDITOR

The Buffalo Bills announced Friday the signing of cornerback Bobby Felder, and in a corresponding move, the team released defensive tackle Colby Way.

Felder entered the league in 2012 as an undrafted free agent with the Minnesota Vikings. The 5-11, 200-pound Nicholls State product spent some time on the Vikings' practice squad prior to joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' reserve unit in 2013.

The 23-year-old Felder finished his collegiate career ranking fourth in school history with 12 interceptions.

Dolphins' Tannehill knows 'it's a big year for myself'

BY SEAN DONOVAN

In 2014, the Miami Dolphins look to build on the positives of last season and deliver the franchise's first postseason berth in six years.

In the minds of Dolphins fans, however, the season is expected to produce an answer to the most significant question of the team's short term future: After two seasons of slow but steady growth, can Ryan Tannehill turn the corner and be the quarterback that leads Miami into AFC contention?

The potential gravity of the situation isn't lost on the third-year passer, who seeks to turn the page on last season's disappointing ending and rally around the changes the team has made in the offseason.

Belichick says Mayo has Bruschi-type leadership traits

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

The New England Patriots have a slew of recognizable names on their roster that can be classified as a team leader, from Tom Brady to Vince Wilfork.

You can add veteran linebacker Jerod Mayo to that list.

Coach Bill Belichick addressed the media prior to the team’s second training camp session Friday and was asked about the type of presence the seven-year vet brings to the table. He didn’t hold back, comparing the linebacker to some of the team’s all-time greats at the position.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Belichick getting to know Patriots version of Revis

BY NICK ST. DENIS

Bill Belichick got to see plenty of Darrelle Revis when the veteran cornerback was ruling the roost for half a decade in the New York Jets' defense.

Now that Revis is donning New England Patriots digs, Belichick is getting a little different perspective this summer.

"Just on a personal level, I never had a personal relationship with him so I’ve enjoyed that part of it," Belichick said Thursday, via Patriots.com. "... Now we’ve seen him ourselves for 13 practices and the time in the spring. But again, it’s a new year, he’s in a new system so we’ll see how it all plays out but I’m glad we have him on our team. I look forward to working with him more."

Pouncey on PUP, likely to miss first half of season

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

For a team that would like nothing more than to get back to a fully functioning offensive line, it looks like the Miami Dolphins may have to wait half the season to get it.

One month ago, the leader of the team's line, center Mike Pouncey, underwent hip surgery to repair a torn labrum. Wednesday, a source told The Miami Herald that rehab could take up to four months, and Thursday, Pouncey was reportedly put on the PUP list to start training camp.

If Pouncey remains on PUP going into the regular season, he'll be required to miss the first six games of the season. Supposedly, that's the likely scenario.

Brady: Work ethic is one of Thompkins' best attributes

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

New England Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins had a rookie year like most youngsters just starting out in the league -- flashes of brilliance clouded by a plethora of mistakes.

The 25-year-old out of Cincinnati tallied 466 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games in 2013. He put up 127 yards in Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons and even averaged 30 yards a catch in the team's Week 11 loss to Carolina.

But with the good, there was plenty of bad.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Searcy: Family adds 'fuel to the fire' to up his game

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

In three years with the Buffalo Bills, safety Da'Norris Searcy has been slowly but surely working himself in the starting secondary.

After two promising years where his involvement and contributions to the defense grew, Searcy took more than 700 snaps with Mike Pettine's unit in 2013, tallying 3.5 sacks, an interception and even a touchdown.

Now coming into his fourth year and a favorite among many to win the starting safety position next to Aaron Williams, Searcy is using his off-the-field inspiration to push his game to new heights.

Jets' Idzik primed for camp: 'Now we start to hit'

BY NICK ST. DENIS

The New York Jets are in Cortland, priming to hit the field Thursday for the first training camp practice of 2014.

Consider second-year general manager John Idzik ready.

“Now we’re living together, now we don the pads (and) now we start to hit," Idzik said, via NewYorkJets.com. "We’re playing in a couple of weeks, so it feels like this is the dawn of the 2014 season and just coming together.

Patriots swap out a couple of reserve receivers

BY NICK ST. DENIS

The New England Patriots announced Wednesday the re-signing wide receiver Greg Orton, releasing rookie wideout Tyler McDonald in the process.

Orton, 28, was originally signed to the Patriots' practice squad at the end of December and released in May. The 6-foot-3, 199-pounder spent part of 2011 and all of 2012 on the Denver practice squad and went to training camp with Denver in 2013.

After entering the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals out of Purdue in 2009, Orton had stints with the Arena Football League’s Spokane Shock and the United Football League’s Omaha Knights.

Marrone doesn't see Dareus-gate as a distraction

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

First, it was his offseason arrests. Then, a failed conditioning test Saturday. Sunday and Monday, Buffalo Bills defensive tackle was absent from training camp due to a court date for his first alleged crime in Alabama.

Wednesday was the second consecutive day the 24-year-old was in attendance at camp, though still limited due his failed test. He reportedly participated in a slew of conditioning drills including sprints and bike work.

Coach Doug Marrone was peppered with questions about Dareus following Wednesday's workout, and he insisted the on- and off-field issues with the Pro Bowl lineman are not a distraction for him or the team.

Mankins glad to have Gronkowski back in the mix

BY EDITOR

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is cleared to play, according to coach Bill Belichick.

Gronk avoided the Physically Unable to Perform list for the start of training camp, and it appears the rehab of the torn ACL he sustained last December is moving along. That's music to his teammates' ears as the squad prepares to take the practice field this week.

"We were all hoping Gronk would have a good recovery. So far he has," Patriots guard Logan Mankins said Wednesday, via Patriots.com. "We'll just see where he is and how good he is right now. It's great to have him out there."

Jets add situational rusher Babin to defensive front

BY EDITOR

The New York Jets arrived to training camp Wednesday and immediately made a bit of news.

Gang Green announced the signing of veteran defender Jason Babin, an 11th-year veteran with 62.5 career sacks and 14 forced fumbles to his name.

The 34-year-old outside linebacker joins an already stount defensive front that apparently was in the market for a situational pass rusher given the uncertain health and availability of Antwan Barnes.