Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Clady looked up to Ferguson entering NFL

When entering the NFL in 2008, Ryan Clady drew comparisons with D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Now, he's filling the void Ferguson left at left tackle earlier this year when the 10-year veteran retired from the New York Jets.

Per Eric Allen of NewYorkJets.com:
“It is a little ironic. It definitely is,” said Clady, a Boise State product. “He is a great player and I always looked up to him when I got in the league. He definitely is one of the premier tackles the past 10 years he has been in the league. I met him a few years back at the Pro Bowl. He’s just a pro, he does it the right way. I think he’s really good in pass protection with his long arms and ability to anchor.”
The Jets traded for Clady a day after Ferguson retired. Clady is a four-time Pro Bowler and can be a premier offensive lineman... when healthy. He missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in the spring and played just two games in 2013 following a season-ending Lisfranc injury.

Tyrod Taylor feels 'more in charge' this year

Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor has come a long way in a year. This time in 2015, he was duking it out with two other signal-callers for the starting gig, which he earned in the preseason.

This year, he's in a much more comfortable spot, rolling through OTAs as the clear starter and preparing accordingly.

Per Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News:
You see it on the field during OTA practices. He's more vocal, literally taking over certain offensive periods whenever he feels a spark is needed. Taylor clearly is stretching his leadership legs. And he feels good about it. 
"Yes," Taylor said. "I would say that definitely comes with being in this system and being the starter for a year, learning all your teammates, learning the offense and being comfortable in the offense. I definitely feel more in charge, more of a command, being able to speak up. And guys listen because they know the preparation that I put in, the preparation we put in as a unit, and they see the vision of what we want to be.

Dolphins stressing red zone offense in OTAs

The Miami Dolphins' offense has put an emphasis on the red zone during OTA practices this spring.

Per the team's website:
"The difference between a field goal and a touchdown is four points, (and) most of these games come down to four points," offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said. "We plan on playing a lot of close games and being in some close games in the second half of the season. So those red-zone snaps are a huge deposit we want to make right from the get-go. The other thing is just that there’s extra teaching on that, there’s extra understanding on that and the more we can invest in that (the better)."
The Dolphins ranked 20th in the red zone last season, scoring touchdowns on 53.49 percent of trips inside the 20. For comparison, the New York Jets were third at 66.04 percent, and the New England Patriots fourth at 65.22 percent.

Gronkowski was at Patriots' facility during practice

Rob Gronkowski wasn't on the practice field Tuesday, per multiple reports earlier today. Turns out, he was in the vicinity.

According to Christopher Price of WEEI, the tight end stayed off the field for the team's first three mandatory minicamp practices but was in fact at Gillette Stadium.

Per Price:
Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn’t shed much light on Gronkowski’s absence. “There are a lot of players that were not on the field,” Belichick told reporters following Tuesday’s workout. “They were doing other things.”

Friday, May 27, 2016

Gronk, Goodwin, Hogan among SI's Top 50 Most Fit

Sports Illustrated put together a list of the most impressive male athletes in the world, and some familiar faces from the division made the cut.

Based on six criteria — strength (or "strengh," as their infographic depicts), speed, endurance, agility, flexibility and skill in his or her respective sport — they, with the help of a large panel of trainers, coaches, experts and coaches, put together the 50 most fit male athletes.

Here are your AFC East shout-outs:

18. Marquise Goodwin - Buffalo Bills
"Some know Goodwin as an NFL wide receiver while others remember him for his track-and-field accomplishments in the long jump, including an appearance at the 2012 London Olympics. From leaping into the sand pit to squatting more than 400 pounds, Goodwin's feats in two elite professional sports speak to his impressive athletic abilities."

38. Chris Hogan - New England Patriots
"Hogan may not be one of the most notable players in the NFL, but the former college lacrosse standout and New Jersey native is training to be one of the league's top (and fittest) wide receivers. His high-intensity workouts hone balance, agility and explosiveness through exercises such as sprints and sled pushes. It's only right that he trains at a facility called 'Freak Strength.'"

46. Rob Gronkowski - New England Patriots
"Gronkowski's 6'6'', 265-pound frame is near impossible to stop on the football field thanks to his intense workouts and commitment to fitness. Now Gronk is taking his passion one step further with his new family business, Gronk Fitness Products, a line of performance fitness products built for sports facilities and home gyms."


Rex blasts Mario for 'bitching' about coaching calls

The Mario Williams saga may be over in Buffalo, but his presence in the division is still very real.

Rex Ryan went off about the former defensive end's decision to speak out about the coaching decisions Friday, comparing him to other former greats that he's coached who acted less selfish in similar situations.

Per Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com:
"He's a good kid, but I am used to some mean motherf—ers that play out there. The Terrell Suggs, Jarrett Johnsons of the world. I screwed them, too; I had them drop [into coverage], too. Not one of them bitched. 
Von Miller [dropped into coverage] in the Super Bowl. Why? Because that's what's asked of him; that’s what his job is. Your job is to play. Coaches spend a hell of a lot more time studying tape and everything else. They are trying to put the team in the best position to be successful, not an individual."
Tell us how you really feel, Rex.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Dolphins 'in the red zone' in stadium-naming talks

That stadium in Miami Gardens where the Dolphins play is apparently close to having an easier way to identify itself.

Formerly Sun Life Stadium, negotiations for naming rights to the arena are approaching the finish line, according to the team's president, Tom Garfinkel.

Per ProFootballTalk.com:
"I can’t disclose who the companies are [negotiating], but I can tell you we’re in sort of what I call late-stage discussions with a few different companies," Garfinkel said. "I’m optimistic that we’ve got to get one into the end zone here, but I think we’re in the red zone and pushing towards the goal line.
So hopefully we get one done soon and [I’m] excited about the potential of getting a new name on it.”

Jets' Sheldon Richardson drops a little weight

New York Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is down from 320 pounds to 309 pounds, as he and the team agreed it would be best if he went into 2016 a little lighter.

“Sheldon’s a good athlete, he holds it well and he can move, but being a little bit lighter will play in his benefit,” coach Todd Bowles said this week, via Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday.

Richardson, who won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2013 and a Pro Bowl bid in 2014, is facing a possible suspension stemming from a July 2015 incident in which he violated the NFL's personal conduct policy.

He told Martin he's preparing as if he'll play Day 1 and is focused on "positive vibes."

Woods hopes to capitalize on deep-ball opportunities

Robert Woods was relegated last year to what he referred to as a "blocking receiver" role.

The Buffalo Bills wideout is again ready to do what it takes for the team, but he's hoping to spend a little more time downfield this season.

Via Tyler Dunne of The Buffalo News:
After catching a myriad of passes on shorter routes in his career, averaging 12.1 yards per catch, he hopes to develop into more of a deep threat for quarterback Tyrod Taylor. He expects cornerbacks to press up closely on him, which will put his new wheels to the test. 
“Now, I have my speed back as well," he said. "I can even take them up top. Tyrod has a great deep ball. So we need to capitalize on that.”
He's currently working as the team's No. 1 receiver with Sammy Watkins sidelined.

Bennett an early standout at Patriots OTAs

Seventeen New England Patriots players were absent from OTAs Thursday, according to Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal.

Missing starters included Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis, Alan Branch, Danny Amendola, Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder.

While Gronk was away, his new sidekick Matellus Bennet apparently made the most of his time on the field. Per Daniels:
Bennett was an early standout and favorite target among quarterbacks. With Gronkowski and Edelman out, Bennett caught a team-leading four passes during full-team drills. The big tight end had a highlight reel-type catch over Patrick Chung in the end zone.