Saturday, December 20, 2014

Patriots assistants may face offseason of choices

EDITOR

The head-coaching vacancy list could approach double digits this coming NFL offseason, and some of those vacancies will come with an additional spot in their respective front offices.

The New England Patriots will will likely be part of that conversation.

Not because Bill Belichick is going anywhere, of course, but because a trio of staff members may be facing interviews and offers from other teams.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Patriots' Darrelle Revis 'humbled' by MVP chatter

BY DAVID HEIM

Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, DeMarco Murray and J.J. Watt all have one thing in common. The four of them will all most likely receive votes for this year’s league MVP award.

And rightfully so.

Rodgers’ 35-to-five touchdown-to-interception ratio is best in the league. Brady’s resurgence after the Week four loss to Kansas City has been unmatched by anyone else in the league. Murray leads all running backs by a mile with 1,687 rushing yards, and Watt’s five touchdowns is the most by a defensive lineman since 1944.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Marrone confident in Spiller; roster move pending

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

It's been two months since C.J. Spiller has seen the field on Sunday.

Now four days from the Bills' Week 16 matchup against the Oakland Raiders, coach Doug Marrone is pretty confident the former Pro Bowler is ready to go.

"He looks good. I mean, he really does," Marrone told reporters Thursday, via buffalobills.com. "It's just a matter of waiting until the end of the week, make a move there. The only concern I have is just to make sure -- just from a standpoint of, it's not really being in shape but to be able to play and run plays, in and out, in and out -- that his conditioning is right at that level.

Odrick: 9-7 record means nothing with no playoffs

BY NICK ST. DENIS

The Miami Dolphins will be out for a pair of moral victories the next two weeks when they take on the Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets, respectively.

A two-game sweep, however, won't be enough to lift the morale of the locker room if they miss the playoffs for the 12th time in 13 years--a likely scenario given their playoff hopes are slim to none.

“Finishing 9-7 and not going to the playoffs doesn’t mean a thing," defensive lineman Jared Odrick said this week, via Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Rex was hoping Brady would've retired by now

BY NICK ST. DENIS

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan will face New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady Sunday in probably his last AFC East rival bout with the future Hall of Fame signal-caller.

Ryan would prefer he never had to step in the ring to begin with.

"I was hoping he'd retire like four or five years ago, but that didn't happen," the still-clever Ryan quipped Thursday, via NJ.com. "Now he's talking about playing his whole life. Like, 'Oh, boy.'"

Marrone: Consistency of O-line has to get better

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

The Buffalo Bills' defensive line can't play much better than it has thus far.

The crew leads the league in sacks with 49 and has held opposing offenses to only 3.8 rushing yards per attempt and six total rushing touchdowns.

The offensive line, however, has seen its ups and downs.

"I think, obviously, we have to get better," coach Doug Marrone said Wednesday, via buffalobills.com. "There’s been times in games where there’s been spurts where you think, ‘Okay, here we go. We’ve finally got it going,’ but there’s been a setback, for whatever reasons.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Healthy Chandler Jones 'a huge fan' of Akeem Ayers

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

Coming into Sunday's game against the Dolphins, New England defensive end Chandler Jones had missed six weeks to a hip injury. The team's sack leader a year prior, Jones had notched 4.5 in six games before he went down against the Jets.

Lucky for the Pats, linebacker Akeem Ayers picked up the slack.

Ayers, brought on from the Titans following the injury to Jones, has tallied three sacks and an interception since, helping to keep New England's pass rush relevant on its way to yet another division title.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Jets cornerback would like his stolen playbook back

BY NICK ST. DENIS

The New York Jets escaped their road AFC matchup with the Tennessee Titans Sunday with a win, but did you really think they wouldn't find a way to lose something along the way?

Jets' reserve cornerback Josh Thomas apparently had his luggage, which include some rather important goods, stolen later that evening.

"Please return all of the stolen articles," Thomas tweeted Monday. "At least return my passport [and] playbook."

Jerry Hughes finds his way back on field in big way

BY NICK ST. DENIS

A week ago, Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes got extensive work as a benchwarmer following a second-quarter unsportsmanlike conduct flag against the Denver Broncos.

In that game, defensive line coach Pepper Johnson decided to cut heavily into Hughes' playing time after the penalty.

This past Sunday, however, Hughes was thrust back into action.

Belichick gives speedster Brady thumbs up on run

BY EDITOR

Tom Brady took off on a rare 17-yard scamper Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, early in the third quarter on a third-and-11.

It was an emotionally driven move, and that emotion triggered a streak of five consecutive Patriots scoring drives, as New England pulled far away to a 38-13 win and a clinch of the AFC East title.

Brady took a hit at the end of the play, something Patriots fans and members of the organization prefer to see as little as possible. But all turned out just fine, and it sounds like Brady would do it again if he had to.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

'Communication' rules the day for Bills defense

BY NICK ST. DENIS

Buffalo Bills safety Nickell Robey can describe his team's defensive success Sunday in one word, though he may have to say the word more than once.

"Communication, communication, communication," Robey said Sunday, via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. That's all there was to it."

Robey of course, was referring to the Bills' stellar outing against the Green Bay Packers in a 21-13 win for the home team.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Duke Williams: 'Season on the line' against Packers

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

The Buffalo Bills have been perfect so far this season against the NFC North, but it's the team's last game against the division that'll count most.

Wins against the Bears, Lions and Vikings have helped the team get to its current 7-7 record and still have a chance at the playoffs. But now, the league's fifth-ranked defense will have to quell the league's highest scoring offense to stay in the hunt.

"We have to win this game. This is a must-win game," Bills safety Duke Williams said via buffalobills.com. "The season is pretty much on the line and guys have to go into this game knowing that. We have a lot of veterans on the team that know what's at stake in this game. We just gotta get the job done."

Friday, December 12, 2014

Revis: Jarvis Landry 'somebody we need to focus on'

BY DAN BEGNOCHE

When the New England Patriots line up against Dolphins Sunday, it'll likely be cornerback Darrelle Revis opposite Miami's Mike Wallace, a battle of No. 1's on the outside.

That doesn't mean he won't have an eye on the slot, specifically on rookie wideout Jarvis Landry.

The 22-year-old Landry has seen a decent amount of work in this, his first year in the league. He's received the second-most targets on the team behind Wallace (82), and he has the second-most receiving touchdowns (5).

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mario Williams back to practice after illness

BY EDITOR

Mario Williams was under the weather Wednesday, but the start defensive end re-joined his Buffalo Bills teammates at practice a day later.

According to ESPN.com, Williams and offensive lineman Chris Hairston returned to the field Thursday after being absent the day before to illness.

Tight end Chris Gragg, with a knee ailment, was the only player absent.

SOURCE: ESPN.com

Patriots practicing in full, sans Dominique Easley

BY EDITOR

The New England Patriots had full attendance at practice Thursday--minus their first-round rookie defensive lineman.

Dominique Easley missed practice for the second straight day, according to CSNNE. Easley is dealing with a knee ailment.

Ten players were reported limited in practice, including defensive ends Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, as they prep for a rematch with divisional foe the Miami Dolphins.

SOURCE: CSNNE