Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Misi's move inside a step in Dolphins' 4-3 direction


With the Dolphins' transition to more of a 4-3 defense this season, Miami will do its best to see a linebacker corps that was very good in the 3-4 translate accordingly.

The coaching staff appears to be willing to re-assess the role of at least one of those linebackers.

Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel is reporting that the Dolphins are going to work out outside Koa Misi at middle linebacker in an effort to adapt to the new scheme, where the 4-3 requires a more athletic, rangy player in the middle. Misi fits this profile more than existing middle linebackers Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett.

So far, Misi has been a dissapointment as the pass rusher he was drafted to be. Injuries and unproductive play have mired the first two years of the 2010 second round pick out of Utah.

"It's unfortunate that he got hurt at the end of the season because I saw some growth in him there late," said Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland earlier this year, according to Kelly. "We just got to see where he continues to grow. But he's got to get better."

Patriots seeking restructured deal with Ochocinco

(Photo: Beth Hart, Flickr) 

Step One of “Operation Aging Wideouts” has apparently begun, as the Patriots have reportedly “approached Chad Ochocinco about restructuring his contract.”

According to Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal via Twitter, the two sides have discussed a pay-cut for the 2012 season, which is no surprise here. Ocho was statistically the worst wideout of the top three on the New England depth chart, snagging a dreadfully-low 15 receptions last season and one touchdown. And at 34, well, he's not getting any younger.

Ochocinco is slated to receive $3 million in 2012 and '13, a number the Pats would love to knock down and use elsewhere.

Ochocinco could still be released before the beginning of the season, though the Patriots would take a $3.17 million cap hit, according to Greg Bedard of

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Burress wants to fly like an Eagle, not a Jet, in 2012


Plaxico Burress won't be a Jet in 2012, but there's a good chance he'll still be wearing green.

Speaking on 97.5 The Fanatic Tuesday, Burress said "nothing else would make me happier" than signing with the Eagles this season.

Multiple media outlets have reported that Burress will not return to the Jets in 2012, and Adam Caplan of reported earlier in February that the Eagles would pursue Burress this offseason.

It's just as well for New York, which needs to get younger at the receiver position. I've said since last offseason that the Jets need to surround quarterback Mark Sanchez with young talent he can grow with rather than a bunch of veteran wideouts who are past their prime.

Dolphins' 1st-round trade-up a possibility via Rams


The Rams' No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft is of very high value because of the presumed top two overall picks, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Both are considered to be franchise-caliber quarterbacks who can be the face of their respective teams.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Rams' intention is to deal that pick, as St. Louis already has its franchise signal-caller in 2010 top-overall pick Sam Bradford. Teams that are figured to be in trade discussions with St. Louis are the Browns (No. 4), Redskins (No. 6) and Dolphins (No. 8). This is a good move for the Rams because they will get another top 10 first round pick, another first round pick either this year or next, as well as some other later round picks to use on their other needs, which are plentiful.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Report: Scott gets approval from Jets to seek trade

Photo: Marianne O'Leary, Flickr 

The Jets owe linebacker Bart Scott more than $18 million over the next three years, and apparently they'd just assume someone else make the payments.

The New York Daily News reported Monday that Gang Green gave Scott permission to seek a trade, as the price the Jets are paying for the amount of snaps they're giving Scott isn't of the frugal variety.

Scott has seen a decrease in playing time each year since signing a $48 million contract with the Jets in 2009. He was part of the fraternity of defensive players Jets coach Rex Ryan brought to New York from Baltimore.

Pats have moves to make with aging receiver corps

Photo: Beth Hart, Flickr 


Despite an extremely productive 2011 season, question marks still surround the future of the Patriots’ receiving corps.

Believe it or not, a scenario where Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Chad Ochocinco all do not return to New England next season is still possible, though unlikely. But with an average age of 32 between the three wideouts, New England is definitely exploring its options.

Breaking down Dolphins' possible QB candidates

Abqtrucker - Joe D. Photography, Flickr 

The Dolphins' brass is on a mission: find a quarterback. It's been a while since they had a reliable solution at the position, and another change has to be made this offseason. There are a few options for general manager Jeff Ireland to choose from, but the choice is not easy, or guaranteed.

Here are the candidates to be the next signal-caller in South Beach:

Glance at Jets' 2012 non-divisional schedule


The Jets just want to put 2011 behind them, as New York finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs for the first time since Rex Ryan took over as head coach in 2009.

Gang Green is slated against a bunch of familiar foes in 2012, including three non-divisional teams it faced in the playoffs in 2010 and 2011. Most of the teams the Jets will face in 2012 have youth and uncertainty plaguing their respective quarterback situations. This bodes well for an elite pass defense and what should be a rejuvenated front-seven.

Glance at Patriots' 2012 non-divisional schedule


Super Bowl XLVI's runner-up Patriots enter 2012 in need of an improved pass defense and secondary. There's also plenty of untapped potential in the team's receiving corps, highlighted by an underused and underachieving Chad (soon-to-again-be Johnson) Ochocinco.

Star tight end Rob Gronkowski, who recently had ankle surgery, should have no problem regaining full health and be ready to go. With former offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien leaving to become head coach at Penn State, John McDaniels, who returned to the Patriots' sideline during the playoffs last season, will be back running the offense, which was his job before being hired as head coach of the Broncos three years ago.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Glance at Bills' 2012 non-divisional schedule


After a disappointing second half to to the 2011 season, the Bills will be looking for more balance throughout 2012 as they aim to improve their defense and keep their offensive attack healthy and consistent.

Their schedule for this upcoming season may help facilitate that goal, as the Bills will face five first-year coaches, and nine out of their 13 opponents failed to tally a winning record last year. Buffalo will face a number of strong rushing attacks next season, and it will be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt’s switch to the 4-3 will fare.

Glance at Dolphins' 2012 non-divisional schedule


The Dolphins look forward to 2012 after a disappointing campaign last season. Miami finished 6-10 in 2011, including a disastrous 0-7 start that claimed the head coach's job.

The Dolphins will head into battle led by new coach Joe Philbin, and presumably a new quarterback, as they face the NFC West and AFC South. Besides trips to conference contenders Houston and San Francisco, Miami has a manageable non-divisional schedule.

Johnson's agent calls contract talks 'very productive'


Take it for what it's worth, but Stevie Johnson's camp thinks things are headed in the right direction with the Bills.

Johnson, who is set to become a free agent in March if he doesn't come to a contract agreement with Buffalo, met with Bills management Friday at the NFL Combine.

Johnson's agent told the Associated Press in an email Friday that he was "very optimistic" after talking to the Bills.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dolphins win coin toss, get 8th overall pick in draft


The Dolphins will have the No. 8 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft after winning a coin flip Friday morning. The toss was to break a tie between Miami and the Panthers after each team finished 6-10 and had a similar strength of schedule.

Carolina will pick ninth overall.

The difference between the picks might not seem like much, but every little bit helps as the franchise tries to shape itself into a contender.

“I think it makes a big difference,” Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said, according to the team's website. “I’ve never been into a draft where I didn’t feel like if you’re at the 10th pick there are nine players and if you’re the 22nd pick there’s usually 20 players so you’re usually right behind it. So the higher up the board I can get, as long as it’s with the flip of a coin, I’ll take it.”

Phins GM not too popular in Miami, not that he cares


Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland is not the most popular person in Miami, to say the least.

Many 'Phins fans assign equal blame for the recent failures of the franchise to Ireland and recently-fired head coach Tony Sparano. And many were disappointed when owner Stephen Ross gave Ireland a vote of confidence during that firing and the ensuing search for the replacement.

None of this seems to affect Ireland as he heads into the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and prepares for free agency and April's draft. He has shown a somewhat cold, almost emotionless demeanor when addressing both his job and the criticisms he has faced since taking the job in 2008.

When asked about the billboard that fans put up about wanting to acquire Peyton Manning, Ireland told reporters, "Fans were flying a billboard last game. They can do what they want to do," according to USA Today. He was referencing the banner that said "Mr. Ross: Save our Fins, Fire Ireland" that a group of fans commissioned to fly over Sun Life Stadium during a January 1 game against the Jets.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gailey: Player negotiations are 'no place for a coach'


The Bills and receiver Stevie Johnson will be talking. Chan Gailey won't be there.

Johnson and the Bills' management are reportedly scheduled to meet Friday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in hopes of getting close to a deal that would keep Johnson in Buffalo.

The Bills head coach said he'll stay away.

“I don’t get involved in the negotiation process of things,” Gailey told “That’s Buddy (Nix) and the management group. I don’t get involved in that. I think that’s a very quick way to alienate players because you sit in there and they’re talking how great they are and management is saying, ‘Well look your stats don’t do this and don’t do that’ to try to balance the playing field. It’s no place for a coach.”

Dolphins fans show Manning love via I-595 billboard


The fans have spoken. Well, at least some of them.

A billboard with the words "Manning to Miami" below an altered picture of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning in a Dolphins uniform has been put up on Miami's I-595 by a group of fans. They may be hoping to exert the influence the Denver billboard campaign in favor of Tim Tebow seemed to have on the Broncos' decision to start him over Kyle Orton.

The billboard was set up in conjunction with a website,, that seeks to collect names in support of signing the four-time NFL MVP if and when he becomes a free agent.

Jets free much-needed cap space via OL Ferguson


The Jets had less than half a million dollars in salary cap space earlier this week.

They have a lot more now.

By converting $9 million of tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson's $9.985 million 2012 base salary into a signing bonus, the team created $7.5 million worth of cap relief this season. The NY Daily News first reported the adjustment, which was confirmed by the team Thursday.

Report: Henne's days with Dolphins coming to close


To the surprise of very few, it seems that quarterback Chad Henne's days with the Dolphins are over.

Sources familiar with the situation told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Henne will not be re-signed. He will be allowed to negotiate with other teams when he becomes a free agent on March 13.

For many Miami fans, this divorce is long overdue.

While few would deny his raw abilities, Henne fell out of favor in Miami after continuous erratic play since taking over the position for an injured Chad Pennington in 2009. The Dolphins gave him ample opportunity to succeed, but the results never caught up to the expectations.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bills CB McGee agrees to cut base salary in half


Veteran cornerback Terrence McGee and the Bills agreed to a restructured contract, as announced by the team Wednesday.

The Bills did not disclose terms of the deal due to "team policy," but Aaron Wilson of reported that McGee took a pretty substantial cut to his base salary over the next two years.

McGee was set to make $3.6 million and $4.6 million in 2012 and 2013, respectively. However, Wilson reported that those numbers have been reduced to $1.35 million and $1.75 million.

Patriots release OL Ohrnberger, DL Wright


The Patriots announced the release of offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger and defensive lineman Mike Wright Wednesday.

Both players had little impact on New England's 2011 championship-berth campaign, though one has donned the red, white and blue for quite some time now.

New England drafted Ohrnberger in the fourth round of the 2009 draft. Ohrnberger played in five games over the last three years and didn't see any time on the field last season, as he was placed on injured reserve at the beginning of September.

Wright, on the other hand, did see time in 2011 -- albeit for one game. He had a tackle and half a sack in the team's season-opening victory against the Dolphins before going inactive the next four weeks and eventually being placed on injured reserve, as well.

Wright played in 81 games with the Patriots. He was picked up as a rookie free agent in 2005 and amassed 174 tackles and 15 sacks with New England.

Brady says mentor's "legacy will live on forever"


Tom Brady's longtime personal mentor Tom Martinez passed away Tuesday. Martinez was 66 years old and died of a heart attack.

Via Brady's Facebook page, the Patriots quarterback released the following statement on Martinez:

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of my coach, mentor and friend. Coach Martinez's invaluable assistance and support will never be forgotten and will always have a lasting impact on my life. The time we spent together remain some of my fondest memories. His legacy of commitment, toughness and determination will live on forever."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Stevie Johnson: To be or not to be franchise-tagged?


Use of the franchise tag becomes available today across the league, and the Bills still can't decide whether or not to hang theirs on wide receiver Stevie Johnson.

According to a source for the Associated Press, Johnson and the Bills are “far apart” from inking a new deal, and the fourth-year Kentucky alum doesn't expect the team to use the tag to hold onto him.

Johnson and the front office exchanged offers last week and decided to talk further at the combine, which starts Wednesday.

By putting the tag on Johnson, the Bills may be forced to pay much more for a one-year contract (if they can't come to terms on a long-term deal) than they would like, upwards of $10 million. Johnson has already stated that he was not asking for that much per year in their current negotiation, and at the Super Bowl he told CBS's Will Brinson that he would be willing to play under the tag if the team decided to go in that direction.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wannstedt on Bills D: 'Everybody is being evaluated'


Bills defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt knows a thing or two about building a good defense. And that experience couldn’t come at a better time for Buffalo.

Wannstedt takes over the helm at a crucial time for the Bills' defense -- a squad that has youth and potential but lacks experience. Buffalo’s defense gave up the third-most points per game last season (27) and touted the fifth-worst rush defense, allowing 139 yards per game on average. But, according to Wannstedt, numbers aren’t everything.

“It’s a little bit closer than what some of those numbers I think truly show, and we just got to do a job as coaches and players and get everybody on the same page and get this thing cranked up and get it going,” he told Thursday. “It’s exciting. It really is.”

One of the "exciting" things fans can look forward next season is the transition Wannstedt is planning to a 4-3 defensive scheme. Wannstedt spoke of his familiarity with a 4-3 in his days from Chicago, Dallas and Miami and the holes he may have to fill in Buffalo's defense.

Sun Life has some work to do to be 'Super' again


If Miami ever wants to host another Super Bowl, it needs some serious upgrades to its football stadium, according to some recent statements by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Citing increased competition from the newer venues across the country, Goodell said that older stadiums must "raise their game" in order to be selected to host the coveted championship game.

This gives Dolphins CEO Mike Dee and majority owner Stephen Ross powerful incentive to renovate the increasingly antiquated Sun Life Stadium. Miami has hosted the Super Bowl 10 times.

Friday, February 17, 2012

'12 poised to be crucial year for Dolphins tackle Long


Left tackle Jake Long was drafted first overall in 2008 to be the cornerstone of the Dolphins' offense for many years. Through four seasons, Long quickly establishing himself as one of the elite linemen in the NFL.

2011, however, was a struggle for the two-time All-Pro selection. Long played well below his own high standard and missed some time due to injury for the first time in his career.

Various health problems nagged Long throughout the season, but it was a torn biceps that sent him to Injured Reserve and caused him to miss the Pro Bowl.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Slauson had extensive surgery, expected for camp


Matt Slauson was pretty good as a second-year starter in 2011. It's possible he could've been even better.

The Jets' third-year left guard started every game despite having a torn labrum, rotator cuff and biceps.

"I knew something was wrong, but I was like, 'OK, I'll keep on playing as long as I can play,' and I was able to get through it all," Slauson said Thursday, according to Star-Ledger reporter Jenny Vrentas.

Slauson had surgery immediately after the season ended, but his recovery time could stretch into August, which means he won't participate in the physical aspects of the offensive line's minicamps.

Contract talks heat up between Stevie Johnson, Bills

Photo: Matt Britt, Flickr

Stevie Johnson and the Bills both want to make it work, and they're taking the appropriate steps to do so.

A source told The Buffalo News that Johnson's agent and the team swapped contract proposals during the last week and are expected to meet at the NFL Combine next week.

Monday, Johnson's camp reportedly countered an offer made by the Bills last week.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bills get 5th-rounder, not 6th, for 2010 Lynch trade


It's probably not that important, but whatever. Slow news week.

Wednesday, reported that the NFL confirmed the Bills will receive a fifth-round pick in the upcoming draft for trading Marshawn Lynch to the Seahawks prior to the 2010 season.

Lynch was dealt for a fourth-rounder in 2011 and a sixth-rounder in 2012, with the latter having the chance to improve to a fifth-rounder if Lynch got a certain amount of playing time. Lynch apparently reached the mark.

Report: Dolphins ink star CFL running back Messam


The Dolphins have agreed to terms with star CFL running back Jerome Messam, according to the Winnpeg Free Press. The deal is for three years, but the financial terms were not yet disclosed.

Messam (pictured) rushed for 1,057 yards and six touchdowns last season for the Edmonton Eskimos and won the CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian award.

At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, he will likely be the short-yardage and goal line solution the team has lacked since fullback Lousaka Polite was released early last season.

Miami will try and replicate the success of finding gold in the CFL, as it signed pass rusher extraordinaire Cameron Wake in 2009. Wake has become a dominant force at his position and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2010.

'Phins D has free agent work to do with switch to 4-3


New Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle's 4-3 defensive scheme, which contrasts Mike Nolan’s 3-4 that had been in use the past two seasons, will drastically alter how the Dolphins will evaluate their personnel needs this offseason.

To successfully make this switch, general manager Jeff Ireland will assess both what he has and what is available through the free agent market.

Jet Love: Sanchez sends Holmes Valentine's tweet


A lot has been made of the reported drama between Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and receiver Santonio Holmes and the role it played in the Jets' turbulent season.

Well, Sanchez apparently has a solution.

Sanchez posted the following tweet late Tuesday night:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Giants RB Jacobs 'likes how Rex handles business'


After the Jets and Giants met in December, running back Brandon Jacobs spent some time calling Rex Ryan names to his face and through the media.

But apparently Jacobs actually doesn't mind Ryan.

"I like the way Rex handles his business," Jacobs (pictured) told the New York Times on Monday. "The guys on that team I know, know how I feel."

Jacobs, who may be released this offseason so the Giants can avoid paying him a $500,000 bonus, said he wants to be a Giant but didn't rule out consideration of playing for the Jets -- that's if the Jets would even want him.

Former Raiders cornerback Routt visits Bills


Bills general manager Buddy Nix said Buffalo will address its cornerback situation this offseason, and the Bills got started in that department Monday.

Free agent cornerback Stanford Routt visited One Bills Drive to take a physical and meet with members of the Bills' coaching staff, according to

“It was a good day,” Routt told reporters Monday afternoon. “I got a chance to go and see the city a little bit, see the staff, meet a few of those guys and I like the atmosphere around here.”

The 28-year-old started for the Raiders the last two seasons, leading the team in passes defensed both years. He also recorded six interceptions in that span, so he'd fit right in with Buffalo's ball-hawking secondary.

New England a potential (re-)landing spot for Moss


Randy Moss announced Monday morning via a live video feed that he plans on returning to professional football. Moss turned 35 years old the same day.

"I just wanna go to a team and play some football," Moss said, according to Pro Football Talk.

For what it's worth, Pro Football Talk also reported that the Patriots "still like" Moss, who visited Patriots owner Robert Kraft after the death of Kraft's wife, Myra.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pats president Kraft defends tight end Gronkowski


Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and his post-Super Bowl antics might not have the approval of an important former Patriots player. Gronkowski, however, definitely has the support of an important current member of the organization.

Patriots president Jonathan Kraft discussed the state of the team with ESPN Boston Radio Friday. He touched on the Gronkowski Dancegate situation.

“One thing I do know is the guy is 100 percent a passionate when it comes to football,” Kraft said, according to the Boston Herald. “He loves football. He wants to win. He doesn’t like losing. I don’t know specifically what people are questioning, but he’s an ultimate competitor. I think the team did accomplish a lot this year. Unfortunately, we fell a little bit short of the ultimate goal."

Ex-Bills WR Reed "exhausted" with HOF carousel


Former Bills receiver Andre Reed said he's "exhausted" with his yearly Hall-of-Fame snubbing.

Reed, who was a top-15 Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist for the sixth consecutive year and final-10 participant for the third straight year, was again passed over last Saturday.

"And really, I'm at a loss for words because I've said as much as I could say, politically, the way I want to say it," Reed told The Buffalo News Thursday. "I'm not going to go out and bash anybody. That's not how I work. I don't work like that."

TE Gronkowski has arthroscopic surgery on ankle


Rob Gronkowski, formerly known for his play on the football field but now recognized for his dance moves, reportedly had arthroscopic surgery on his ankle Friday morning.

The second-year tight end suffered a high ankle sprain in the Patriots' AFC Championship victory over the Ravens three weeks ago, though he still played in last Sunday's Super Bowl loss to the Giants.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pats focused on Nicks, Cruz during Giants' last drive


When teams take something away from the Patriots, the Patriots beat them another way.

But things were the other way around in the Patriots' Super Bowl loss to the Giants Sunday.

"This is still a (Victor) Cruz-and-(Hakeem) Nicks game," Belichick told his defense before the Giants' game-winning drive. "I know we're right on them. It's tight, but those are still the guys. Make them go to (Mario) Manningham, make them go to (Bear) Pascoe. Let's make sure we get Cruz and Nicks."

Belichick got his wish. Giants quarterback Eli Manning hit Manningham for a 38-yard completion down the left sideline on the first play of the drive, which may have been the biggest play of the game.

Harrison, Rose take forefront of criticism of Gronk


Rodney Harrison was pretty serious. Jalen Rose was pretty something else.

Harrison, a former defensive star for the Patriots, voiced his displeasure on ESPN Chicago Radio 1000 Thursday regarding the infamous Rob Gronkowski post-Super Bowl dance party (see video above).

Gronkowski was captured on video performing some fantastic dance moves before ripping off his shirt and continuing on. All of this came hours after the Patriots lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl Sunday.

Report: Ochocinco to change name back to Johnson


Chad Ochocinco hasn't made many moves on the football field as of late, but he's reportedly going to make a big move off of it.

TMZ reported Thursday that friends of Ochocinco say the veteran receiver plans on changing his name back to Chad Johnson before marrying his fiancé in July.

Last January, Ochocinco said he was going to make the name change, and he also promised to change his name back if Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis shut him down in the teams' season-ending meeting in 2009. Revis held Ochocinco to zero catches and picked off a pass thrown his way, but Ochocinco never followed through.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lindell all but guaranteed to finish career with Bills


When you have a kicker who is second all-time in points in franchise history, unless that leg isn't working anymore, you better re-sign him.

That's exactly what the Bills did Tuesday, inking a four-year deal with veteran Rian Lindell, which will more than likely make him a Bill for the remainder of his career. Buffalo's $11 million deal may seem like a risky one given Lindell's injury this season, but in terms of his career, you couldn't ask for anyone better.

Before his injury, Lindell played in 180 consecutive games, never missing a single game with the Bills and amassing 878 points in his 12 seasons as a pro. 2012 will be his 10th with Buffalo, going in 30 field goals short of the most ever by a Bill, a record held by legend Steve Christie.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Patriots bring back pre-Super Bowl drop Underwood


The Patriots dropped receiver Tiquan Underwood the night before losing to the Giants in the Super Bowl. He's back.

New England signed Underwood and six others to future contracts Tuesday, as announced on the team's website.

Underwood didn't get to participate in the big game despite spending the two weeks prior preparing with the team and going through all the festivities in the week leading up to the game.

Fan gives Sanchez plug at Giants' Super Bowl parade


Eli Manning. Mark Sanchez. What's the difference?

According to one (probably) drunken Giants "fan," not much.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Shocker alert: McDaniels officially named Pats OC


For those of you who couldn't take the suspense, it's official. Josh McDaniels will take over as offensive coordinator of the Patriots.

"It's Josh," Patriots coach Bill Belichick told the media Monday when asked about the partially-vacant position.

This is unofficially old news, as the Patriots hired McDaniels as an offensive assistant at the beginning of the playoffs, a couple days after then-offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien accepted the head coaching job at Penn State.

Jets owner congratulates Giants on Super Bowl win


The relationship between Jets coach Rex Ryan and select Giants players may not be in good standing, but that doesn't apply to the New York teams' respective front offices.

Jets owner Woody Johnson released the following statement following the Giants' Super Bowl victory over the Patriots Sunday:

“On behalf of the New York Jets, I would like to congratulate the Mara and Tisch families, Coach Coughlin and the entire New York Giants organization," Johnson said.

"It was a closely contested game that showcased all of the best elements that our sport has to offer. The Giants demonstrated poise and resolve in earning a hard-fought victory in Super Bowl XLVI."

Pats lose to Giants, again ... in the Super Bowl, again


Beating the Giants just isn't in the cards for the Patriots.

New England lost its second Super Bowl to New York in as many tries, falling, 21-17, Sunday night in Indianapolis. It was the Patriots' third straight loss to the Giants.

"We just couldn't quite make enough plays," Patriots coach Bill Belichick told the media in a rather shortened post game press conference. "Giants made a few more than we did."

Giants quarterback Eli Manning (pictured) orchestrated an 88-yard touchdown drive at the end of the fourth quarter, helping his team take the last go-ahead lead of the game while earning MVP honors. Manning finished the game 30-for-40 for 296 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw two touchdowns but also tossed a pick.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Patriots drop WR Underwood day before Super Bowl


The Patriots raised a few eyebrows Saturday night.

New England, which is set to face the Giants in Indianapolis Sunday for Super Bowl XLVI, announced it released receiver Tiquan Underwood Saturday, just 24 hours before kickoff.

Underwood, who was released Sept. 3 before being re-signed Nov. 24, played in five games for the Patriots during the 2011 season. Underwood recorded three catches for 30 yards as a Patriot.

"This is nothing but MOTIVATION," Underwood wrote on Twitter less than an hour after the announcement was made. He then wished the Patriots luck.

Curtis Martin gets no-brainer nod into Hall of Fame


As if there were any doubt.

Curtis Martin, who spent eight years as the Jets' running back after three years with the Patriots, will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Martin rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first 10 NFL seasons and worked his way to fourth on the all-time rushing list before retiring in 2005.

"It's one of the most humbling feelings I've had in my entire career," Martin said via phone interview during the NFL Network's Hall of Fame Announcement Show Saturday.

Belichick prepares Patriots for extended halftime


Bill Belichick has all the bases covered in preparing for the Super Bowl. That includes the halftime break.

With the mid-game intermission nearly three times as long as that of a regular-season halftime, Belichick says coming out for the second half required a full restart.

"It's like starting the game all over again," Belichick told the media Friday. It's like playing a game, stopping, and then playing a second game. It's like a double-header in baseball, if you will."

Belichick's coaching style has always been based on a learn-by-doing mentality. So, as he prepared his team for its upcoming Super Bowl bout with the Giants, Belichick simulated the extended break in practice Wednesday.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Only one more victory to go for the late Myra Kraft


There are so many intriguing storylines surrounding Super Bowl XVLI this Sunday in Indianapolis.

The rematch and chance at revenge for the Patriots, who had their perfect-season dreams smashed by the Giants at the end of the 2007, is an obvious one.

Then there is the emergence of Giants signal-caller Eli Manning as an elite quarterback, with the chance to enhance his resume to be better than his brother Peyton's and soon-to-be comparable to Tom Brady's.

How about the fact that both team's head coaches, Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin, are disciples of future Hall of Famer Bill Parcells — with the Giants. They worked against each other during drills, Coughlin coaching the receivers, Belichick the secondary.

But no single storyline trumps the one involving the three letters sewed on the jersey of every New England Patriot on gameday.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Gronk on playing in Super Bowl: 'I make the final call'


Rob Gronkowski has a very popular ankle. This week, it might be the most popular ankle in the world.

The Patriots tight end's absence from the field extended to its 10th day Wednesday, as Gronkowski is still nursing an ankle injury he acquired in the AFC Championship Game two Sundays ago. Gronkowski, however, practiced Thursday, albeit limited.

While he appears to be a game-time decision, the only person making the decision will be Gronkowski himself.

"I will make the final call," Gronkowski told the Super Bowl media Thursday. "I listen to the trainer's advice, but it's how I feel. I'm just trying to get better. The trainer has helped me get to a place where I need to be.

"... That is my decision. I know how much pain I can tolerate."

Crowder: Dolphins GM doesn't know what he's doing


Former Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder isn't much for guys of the Jeff Ireland variety.

“He’s not a good person,” Crowder said on Radio Row Wednesday, according to “He has no class, and I wouldn’t choose to go back and play there. And I would have to say it’s the only team I don’t want to play for.”

Crowder took a year off from professional football in 2011, citing his wife's pregnancy as the reason, though before the season, Crowder said he didn't want to play due to lack of interest.

Some would speculate that maybe he just wasn't good enough for anyone to sign. Either way, we now know he definitely won't make a return to Miami.

Brady backpedals on insulting Buffalo comments


Tom Brady made it pretty clear Wednesday that he doesn't think highly of the city of Buffalo.

"I don't know if you guys have ever been to the hotels in Buffalo — they're not the nicest places in the world..." Brady told the Super Bowl media when asked about his family's support of over the years, explaining that his dad even, get this, actually went to Buffalo.

Brady addressed the media again Thursday and apologized for his comments.

"Buffalo was tough on us this year in Buffalo," Brady said. "I should have picked a non-NFL city for that (comment). Any time you throw four picks, it's going to be tough. I did that once before in a loss up there. Any time you throw four picks, you're going to feel pretty miserable the next week. You're never going to win a game if you throw four picks."