Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jets stuck with embattled tackle Hunter... Uh-O(ta)h


Well, at least they can say they tried.

The Jets, who traded for Panthers right tackle Jeff Otah last week in seeking competition for incumbent starter Wayne Hunter, sent Otah back to Carolina Tuesday after Otah failed to meet terms of the trade.

Gang Green failed to address their weakness at right tackle during the draft or throughout almost all of the offseason before bringing in Otah.

So the right tackle job is again in the hands of Hunter, who was arguably the worst starting offensive tackle in the NFL last season. Hunter called himself the team's "weak link" earlier in the offseason.

"For a guy to come out and say that, you have to respect his humility," Jets coach Rex Ryan told reporters Tuesday. "He was in some tough spots last year. We all remember the first play of the game against DeMarcus Ware, and he was 1-on-1. He missed, yes, he did. That probably wasn’t a great situation for him, but he accepted it. He moved on."

His shortcomings against Ware Week 1 were only the beginning. He went on to commit 11 penalties, a team-high, and gave up 11 sacks, 11 hits and 32 pressures on his quarterback in 2011, according to Pro Football Focus.

Coyle: Dolphins' transition to 4-3 'has been great'

Photo: hcabral, Flickr 

Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle inherited a pretty decent unit for his first season on the job. Though it only ranked 15th in total yards allowed last season, Miami allowed the sixth-fewest points and fielded the third-stingiest run defense.

Despite that success, Coyle is bringing changes, and likely improvement, in key areas.

"I felt coming out of the spring one of the goals we had was to be better communicators in the back, and there was considerable improvement in that area," Coyle told The Miami Herald.

Though the Dolphins were stout up front, last season was peppered with coverage breakdowns in the secondary that cost the team dearly. After serving as the defensive backs coach of the Bengals for the past 11 years, Coyle hopes to improve the Dolphins in that facet of the game.

"Our technique is getting better and better every day," Coyle said. "It’s not close to what it has to be, but this group of guys has really bought into what we are trying to do and every day we see glimpses of how good they can be if they continue to work the technique we are encouraging and coaching them to do each and every day."

As he uses training camp to coach his players up on technique, he is helping the entire unit adjust to a change in scheme.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Continuity of O-line coach a huge benefit for Brady

Photo: Jack Newton, Flickr 

Tom Brady has had plenty of moving parts at receiver and multiple offensive coordinators during his 13 years with the Patriots.

But one thing has been consistent throughout his Hall-of-Fame career (besides success) -- the offensive line play.

Brady's offensive line has been mostly steady in terms of personnel, but more importantly, he's had the luxury of playing behind an unit led by one of the league's premier positional coaches in Dante Scarnecchia.

"(Scarnecchia's) been coaching the line since I got here and like I said, his style is – he’s a great coach," Brady told the media Saturday. "He expects nothing but the best from those guys every single day. He coaches them hard. He coaches them hard in the spring, he coaches them hard in the summer [and] he coaches them hard in the fall.

"He’s a demanding coach and I think he gets the best out of every player that he’s got. That’s what it takes."

With longtime tackle Matt Light retiring, second-year Patriot Nate Solder taking over the left side, guard Logan Mankins battling an injury, reported poor practice efforts from center Dan Koppen and guard Dan Connolly and the absence of veteran Brian Waters from camp so far, among other depth issues, New England's offensive front appears to be a little shaky entering 2012.

Bills WR Graham's role: 'Run fast and catch the ball'


Bills rookie T.J. Graham is a speedy wide receiver. So, his job description is pretty clear.

"Yeah, run fast and catch the ball," Graham told the media Sunday. "So I have been trying to do that the best I can. I am trying to learn the playbook so I can run as fast as I can and make the plays for the team."

Graham, who was drafted in the third round, is battling with a handful returning Bills for the No. 2 receiver position. 

While Bills coach Chan Gailey said Graham "has still got a lot to learn," he's fully taking advantage of his skill set.

"Not only working on the field, but he is giving it some thought," Gailey said. "And the thing we do is we give him some freedom. So if he will use his imagination and get out there and do the thing he does best as far as using his speed, the sky is the limit for the guy."

Graham has been diving head first into the playbook all offseason, trying to learn and absorb as much as possible so he can let his natural ability take over.

Revis, Holmes, Cro coaching up rookie Hill on field


Receiver Stephen Hill will start in the Jets' offense right from the start of the 2012 season, so a few savvy Jets veterans are making sure he has everything he needs.

Hill was selected by Gang Green in the second round of April's draft, and he's been working opposite Santonio Holmes at the No. 2 receiver spot.

Throughout the first part of training camp, Holmes, cornerback Darrelle Revis and cornerback Antonio Cromartie have been in Hill's ear after every drill, sharing words of wisdom and trying to get the young wideout up to NFL speed as quickly as possible.

"They're always on top of me, because these guys want to win," Hill told NewYorkJets.com's Eric Allen. "I'm right here with them."

Hill is getting a crash-course going up against Revis, considered the best cornerback in the NFL.

"He was very physical with me, and also Cromartie," Hill said. "Those guys right after we were done with that, they come right in my ear, tell me what I need to do."

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tannehill on Dolphins' QB battle: 'I feel like I'm in it'

Photo: Dirk Hansen, Flickr 

The Dolphins finally signed first-round pick Ryan Tannehill on Saturday, avoiding a potentially lengthy holdout that could have put the rookie way behind the curve going into his first season.

Tannehill was now able to begin a 2012 season in which he is expected to sit and learn behind the team's two veterans, Matt Moore and David Garrard.

But if you ask Tannehill, he isn't planning to just sit and learn. He's planning to play.

"I feel like I'm in it," Tannehill said, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "I may be naive, but the coaches haven't given me any indication that I'm not so I'm going to go out there every day and do my best to win the job."

The rookie may be optimistic about his chances, but the South Florida media has all but counted him out of the team's competition to open the season as starting QB. This is mostly due to his lack of college starting experience and tepid showing at the team's voluntary offseason workouts.

Bills' offense has 'a lot of work to do' to catch 'D'


The Bills' offense has some catching up to do against the defense.

Through the first few days of training camp, Bills coach Chan Gailey said Buffalo's defense has clearly had the upper hand.

"We have a lot of work to do on offense to be at (the defense's) level of play right now," Gailey told the media Saturday. "It is a little bit different than it has been and it is good for our football team.

"They have some good players (on that side of the ball). They work hard, they play hard, they are good leaders; it is a solid group up there."

The disparity between each side of the ball isn't surprising, as the Bills bolstered their defensive line with the addition of veteran standouts Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. Plus, the offensive line, as it was all year last year, isn't fully settled yet with a position battle at left tackle and some injury setbacks on the right side.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

McDaniels: Gronkowski, Hernandez easy to coach

Photo: jdn, Flickr 

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was working with Ben Watson and David Thomas as his top two tight ends when he last called New England's offense in 2008. The pair combined for 302 yards and two touchdowns on 31 catches that year.

Things have changed since then.

McDaniels, who is back in charge of the Patriots' offense, now has the league's best tight end in Rob Gronkowski and a would-be starter on almost any other team in Aaron Hernandez to work with.

The tandem combined for 2,237 yards and 24 touchdowns on 167 receptions last season. Not a bad set of tools for McDaniels' new playbook.

"Not being in a meeting room with them until this year, you realize how intelligent they are and how many things they can pick up and how well coached they’ve been and how easy to coach they are, because they really listen well, they take good notes in the meeting room," McDaniels told the media Thursday.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hill's run-blocking gives him leg up in Jets' offense


Last season, Georgia Tech drew up 718 rushes to 167 pass attempts.

The result? Stephen Hill is a Jet.

Hill, Georgia Tech's leading receiver in 2011, was snagged by the Jets in the second round of the 2012 draft. The Jets liked Hill's physical attributes, deep-ball ability and knack for making the tough catch, but Hill's experience as a run-blocking receiver fit with the Jets' hard-nosed offensive style.

"One thing he should be able to do is block," Jets coach Rex Ryan told the media Thursday. "He only caught 28 balls (in 2011) and when you talk about ground and pound, those guys pound it in there more than we ever have."

Hill will start opposite Santonio Holmes, so he's getting work with the first team and facing the Jets' top-notch cornerback tandem in Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. That should expedite his development as a true "receiver."

Mechanics still the focus for Bills QB Fitzpatrick


When things went wrong with Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick last season, they could often be traced back to mechanics.

So Fitzpatrick spent most of his time in OTAs working on mechanics, specifically footwork, with quarterbacks coach David Lee. Fitz's focus is still in the same place as training camp begins this week.

"(Mechanics) are a big thing for me and something that fell off last year as the season went on," he told reporters Thursday. "We will be working a lot of drills while the special team stuff is going on. A lot of drill work. A lot of things that are really tailored to me for things that I need to improve at and get better at. That will be big.

"And always to have (Coach David Lee) in my ear on the sidelines during games and when we are breaking down practice and watching film. Just being able to have him there telling me ‘This is good’ or ‘This is not good’ -- even if it is a completion that did not have the proper mechanics."

Fitzpatrick started the 2011 season strongly but threw 16 interceptions to 10 touchdowns over the last nine weeks, including nine picks and just four touchdowns in his last four games.

Training camp primer: 5 questions for the Jets

Photo: Nick St. Denis 

The Jets' defense got deeper and likely a little better this offseason. The offense, on the other hand, has a very similar look from a personnel standpoint, at least in terms of the starters, but it is in the middle of a big change in philosophy. Oh, and a guy named Tim Tebow is in the mix.

Here's your five-question training camp primer for the Jets:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Patriots still have seven 'backs' after dropping Addai

Photo: Brad J Ward, Flickr 

Veteran running back Joseph Addai’s tenure with the Patriots is already over.

Brought in to fight for the chance to fill the void left by former feature back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who signed with the Bengals in the offseason, Addai was cut the day before training camp was set to begin after failing his team physical.

“It didn’t work out,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick told the media before the team’s first minicamp practice on Thursday.

“We have seven backs on our roster, so, if we add one, then we’ll add one. If we don’t, then we’ll go with what we’ve got.”

Of those seven players, four are true tailbacks: sophomore backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, fifth-year back Danny Woodhead, who has been a reliable option for the Pats since being added to the roster, and undrafted rookie Brandon Bolden. The Patriots official roster also lists two fullbacks: Tony Fiammetta and Spencer Larsen.

Johnson: 'Oprah can play QB and we'll be all right'

Photo: Beth Hart, Flickr 

Even before his first training camp in Miami, Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson is showing the Dolphins exactly what they signed up for when they inked him to a one-year deal earlier this summer.

“This season is going to be a monster year. I don’t care who’s playing quarterback," Johnson said Monday, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

"I’m going to have a great year. The first day I get to camp, everybody’s mouth can drop the [expletive] open. My game is at the point where it doesn’t matter who starts at quarterback. Oprah can play quarterback and we’ll be all right.”

Though he is the most talented receiver on the Dolphins' roster, Johnson has some on-the-field proving to do before he can return to his former bombastic ways.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Training camp primer: 5 questions for the Patriots

Photo: Beth Hart, Flickr 

The Patriots are the obvious preseason favorites in the AFC East, but that doesn't mean they're taking their foot off the pedal. New England attacked its defensive weaknesses in the draft and bolstered its already-ridiculous passing attack via free agency.

Here's your five-question training camp primer for the Patriots:

Making sense of the Patriots' Shiancoe signing


The Patriots definitely didn't have enough tight ends, so they got another one Tuesday.

New England, which already plays home to the best tight end in football in Rob Gronkowski and another versatile end who would start on almost any other team in Aaron Hernandez, added veteran Visanthe Shiancoe, the former Viking and Giant, to its loaded pass-catching and blocking corps.

Shiancoe (photo: Michael Wifall, Flickr), who has caught 27 touchdowns in nine seasons, reportedly also visited with the Eagles but decided to settle in Foxborough. The signing could indicate a few things on both sides.

At first glance, given the fact that Gronkowski and Hernandez are slated to see a ton of playing time as it is, you wonder why New England would bother to add a tight end of Shiancoe's caliber, or why Shaincoe would want to become a Patriot under the circumstances. New England also has fifth-year tight end Daniel Fells, formerly of the Broncos and Rams, on its roster.

However, Fells is starting training camp on the PUP list, and Gronkowski is returning to the field this week for the first time this offseason since suffering an ankle injury.

Plus, it's been speculated that Hernandez's role in 2012 will often resemble that of a receiver, and he's not the best run-blocker as it is. Shiancoe can run block.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Williams: Bills' defense needs to prove it on the field


With an overhaul to Buffalo’s defense this offseason, both in formation and personnel, some are already touting its front line as one of the top units in football.

Kyle Williams isn’t ready to go that far, yet.

While the group may look like one of the strongest on paper, the seven-year defensive back knows the hardest part — playing as one — is still ahead of them.

“Obviously when we come in we are going to have a new defense going in,” Williams told the media Tuesday after his arrival to training camp. “When we go in and talk as a defense, we have to be very clear about where we want to go. We have good players but things can look good on paper but they (sometimes) do not pan out on the field.

"Things do not pan out on the field unless you lay it on the line here in training camp. When you get here, you get to work and you put the kind of work in that you need to get in to be successful.”

Monday, July 23, 2012

Training camp primer: 5 questions for the Bills

Photo: Iswiecicki, Flickr 

The Bills had one of the best offseasons in the league in terms of improving weaknesses and locking up already-important members of their team. However, Buffalo still has a lot to prove, as games are won on the field, not on paper.

Here's your five-question training camp primer for the Bills:

Training camp primer: 5 questions for the Dolphins

Photo: photo-gator, Flickr 


The Dolphins are a team in transition right now. With new head coach Joe Philbin bringing a brand new philosophy to Miami and the team parting ways with some staple veterans of recent years in exchange for unproven players with high upside, question marks are aplenty in South Beach.

Here's your five-question training camp primer for the Dolphins:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tony 'Not-tenheimer' Sparano is opposite of Schotty

Photo: Marianne O'Leary, Flickr 

Former Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's departure from New York was probably long overdue, but the sides didn't have a spot for a clean break until Gang Green went 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the first time under head coach Rex Ryan.

Schottenheimer was relieved of his duties in January and went on to take the Rams' offensive coordinator job. Meanwhile, the Jets replaced Schottenheimer with a guy who is nothing like his predecessor.

Gang Green hired former Dolphins coach, former Cowboys offensive coordinator and offensive line guru Tony Sparano to right the wayward ship that is the Jets' offense.

Players have responded very positively to the change through OTAs and minicamp, and it's probably because Sparano and his philosophies are a much better fit with what the Ryan-era Jets are trying to do.

Under Philbin, Dolphins' new offense all about tempo

Photo: TR Roberts, Flickr 


If there's one word that will describe the difference between the Dolphins' 2011 offense and the 2012 version, it's tempo.

The coaches have been saying it all offseason, and after June's minicamp, the players are getting in line.

“No huddle. Very up-tempo and fast-paced offense. That’s the biggest thing right off the bat," veteran tailback Reggie Bush said in a recent interview with The Finsiders. "We’ve got to play fast and know the system; we can’t have split-second indecision because it could mess up a play or a whole drive.”

That's a good summary of the primary difference between Brain Daboll's pro style offense that Matt Moore ran effectively in the back half of last season and the West Coast scheme head coach Joe Philbin and new coordinator Mike Sherman are installing.

The West Coast offense emphasizes quick reads and decision-making and relies on speed and athleticism to create matchup problems for the defense.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Patriots set for joint practices with Bucs and Saints

Photo: Kevin Lawrance, Flickr 

Joint practices with another team isn't uncommon among NFL squads' preseason programs. Doing them with two different teams is.

The Patriots announced Friday morning they'll host a pair of practices with the Saints over the two days before the teams face off in their preseason opener Aug. 9.

Two weeks later, New England will travel to Buccaneers headquarters a little early for their preseason matchup, as the teams will participate in two days of joint practices prior to the game, which is slated for Aug. 24.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Report: Fins wary of fully-guaranteeing Tannehill deal

Photo: Dirk Hansen, Flickr 

The Dolphins are hoping that No. 8 overall pick Ryan Tannehill eventually becomes their franchise quarterback, but it seems that they don't want to be completely on the hook to pay him if he doesn't.

ProFootballTalk.com is reporting that the Dolphins are standing their ground on including offset language in Tannehill's rookie contract, which would reduce their financial obligation to the QB in the event that he is cut before the end of his deal.

Many teams that drafted in the top 10 of April's draft, including the Colts with Andrew Luck and Redskins with Robert Griffin III, have given their players fully-guaranteed deals. Those teams would still be liable for the balance of the contract if they released their picks before the end of the four years.

Even a player drafted later than Tannehill, No. 9 overall pick Luke Kuechly, was given a fully-guaranteed contract by Carolina.

The guaranteed money is a nice protection for the top draft picks, who have seen their contracts decrease in overall value due to the rookie wage scale included in the CBA that took effect last season. It is unlikely that a top draft pick is cut in their first few seasons, but it isn't unprecedented. Bills draft bust Aaron Maybin would have fallen into this category, as he was cut just two seasons into his five-year deal.

Transactions and injury news roundup: 7/19 edition

Photo: Marianne O'Leary, Flickr


Quick notes and links regarding AFC East teams' recent transactions activity and injury news:


Safety Jim Leonhard says the recovery of his knee has been successful, but the Jets reportedly don't plan on bringing him back.

Safety LaRon Landry is expected to be limited in training camp while he nurses an injury he's been trying to shake the past two years.

Free agent receiver Plaxico Burress said Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was "battling with some injuries last year, shoulder-wise that a lot of people didn't know about."

Gang Green signed undrafted free agent tackle Paul Cornick, who participated as a tryout player in rookie camp.


Tight end Daniel Fells missed all of New England's offseason program, and that's because he reportedly is nursing a leg injury.

New England inked first-round linebacker Dont'a Hightower to a four-year contract.

Projected starting cornerback Ras-I Dowling, coming off hip surgery, was full-go in OTAs.


Buffalo signed third-round receiver T.J. Graham to a four-year deal.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

AFC East linemen among league's best in pass-pro

Photo: Nick St. Denis 

The AFC East is chock full of very good offensive linemen, specifically in pass protection.

The fine folks at Pro Football Focus recently compiled a "Three Years of Pass Blocking Efficiency" series on the NFL's offensive linemen, and many familiar names rose to the top.

Jets guard Brandon Moore topped the list at his position, scoring a 98.17 efficiency rating, having given up just 38 pressures on 1,585 pass protects. Brian Waters of the Patriots was second at guard at 98.05 with 43 pressures given up on 1,689 pass protects.

Jets center Nick Mangold was the NFL's second-most efficient pass blocker at his position with 98.74 rating, giving up just 23 pressures on 14.74 pass protects. No other AFC East center cracked the top 10.

Jake Long of the Dolphins was second in the league in pass protection among tackles, surrendering 63 pressures on 1,614 pass protects for a 96.84 rating. Fellow left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson of the Jets was seventh with 95.91 rating.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Logo tinkering another effort to change Fins' culture


The Dolphins have been working hard this offseason to change their image by hiring a new coaching staff, drafting a quarterback in the first round and using a friendlier public relations strategy.

Now it appears they are going to take it a step further and change their actual appearance.

According to Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post, the team has already been in communication with the league about changing its logo for the 2013 season.

It would be the first update to the team's insignia since 1997, when the Dolphins simply modernized the original design that has been in place since the team's founding in 1966.

Dolphins CEO Mike Dee told Volin that the change likely wouldn't be a complete overhaul, but more like another re-imagination of the helmeted dolphin jumping in front of a sun.

“We’re not talking about changing colors or taking the sun off the helmet. It’s not going to be like when Tampa Bay changed from orange to pewter gray,” Dee said. “It’s definitely keeping one eye on what’s traditional in the logo intact, while keeping one eye on a 21st century version of that.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fins making most of multi-quarterback offseason

Photo: photo-gator, Flickr

The Dolphins' offense is learning a completely new system this offseason under new head coach Joe Philbin, but that's not all.

Miami has a three-way competition going on for the starting quarterback gig. Rookie Ryan Tannehill, incumbent starter Matt Moore and veteran David Garrard are all jockeying for position behind center.

With that, each player is getting a fair share of reps with the starting offense, so the rest of the offensive skill players are adjusting on the fly with a different signal-caller dropping back behind them on a given play.

“It is a challenge that we are going to have to get through," Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano recently told the Finsiders. "Having this type of offseason, I think we have a lot more time, I think we have already put a lot more time than any offseason I have been a part of, and that is just going to continue to grow through June.

"I think having that extra time is going to help being able to get comfortable with multiple guys.”

The coaches' decision on who starts Week 1 will likely be between Moore and Garrard, since the team reportedly plans to let Tannehill learn from the sidelines early on.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Graham finally signs, Bills' WR ready for battle


With training camp approaching, the Bills’ receiving corps has finally crossed all the T’s and dotted the I’s.

Buffalo agreed to terms with rookie T.J. Graham Monday, the team's last drafted rookie left to ink a deal. The Bills’ third-rounder out of North Carolina State was touted as one of Buffalo’s best picks, a speedy wideout with deep-threat and special-teams potential.

“I’m just excited to officially be part of the team so I’m ready to get things started,” Graham told buffalobills.com earlier in the day.

Luckily for Graham, he didn’t miss any practice time on the field, and with a packed crowd going into training camp, he’ll have to show he deserves a spot on the roster.

Graham had 99 catches for 1,453 yards and 12 touchdowns in his college career and will compete for the "No. 2" receiver role with fellow wideouts David Nelson and Donald Jones.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Scott: Jets 'D' back to pressure, aggressive mentality

Photo: Nick St. Denis

In 2009, the Jets boasted the NFL's best defense. In 2010, they dropped to No. 3 (based on average yards against), and in 2011, Gang Green's defense fell to a disappointing (in their eyes) No. 5 ranking.

This season, New York is re-focused on its 2009 mentality: pressure, pressure and more pressure.

"It’s all about playing faster and playing and going and not just reacting all the time," Scott told the Newark Star-Ledger earlier this week. "Go in there, and we put the pressure on people. Like we did our first year. We came out, we blitzed, we didn’t care. You pick it up or you didn’t pick it up. Somebody swings, so what? We’re going to hit your quarterback."

The Jets were middle-of-the-pack that year in sacks, but they put an incredible amount of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, making them throw the ball before they wanted to. New York's defense held opposing quarterbacks to a 51.7 completion percentage, which was league-best by a decent margin.

In 2010, Gang Green was still stout defensively but relied more on the offense than it did the year before. The Jets were even more passive in 2011, and they were much less effective.

"The second year, it’s like, we’ll come off," Scott said. "If a guy swings, you come off your blitz and stuff like that. Then what happens is it becomes a three-man rush, a defense that was supposed to be an aggressive defense turns into a passive one, and gives the quarterback more time."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pats' tailback situation could go in many directions

Photo: Beth Hart, Flickr 

With the free-agent departure of the Patriots' most recent feature back in BenJarvus Green-Ellis, New England has a serious hole to fill in its high-caliber offense. Who will be the No. 1 tailback at the start of the season? It could be anybody. Or nobody.

The Patriots have two second-year backs they drafted in Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen; both were limited last year behind Green-Ellis.

Ridley is poised to take over the majority of the workload, as he was responsible for all of the team's rushes of more than 20 yards last season (five), while also racking up 441 yards on only 87 carries (5.2-yard average).

While faster and seemingly more agile than Green-Ellis — and with a similar between-the-tackles running game — Ridley doesn't possess the ball security Green-Ellis does. (Not many players do; Green-Ellis has never fumbled in his professional career.) Ridley fumbled twice last season: once in the regular-season finale vs. Buffalo and again in the playoffs vs. Denver. While neither mistake was detrimental, they came in consecutive games, and as a result, coach Bill Belichick sat Ridley for the rest of the postseason.

Vereen was selected before Ridley in the 2011 NFL Draft (56th overall), but his running style is more suitable as an outside-the-tackles, third-down utility than one that fills Green-Ellis' shoes. Along with the returning Danny Woodhead and a maybe-returning Kevin Faulk, it really seems like Belichick will let the players decide who gets the ball most. Vereen's opportunity is as good anyone else's. He scored a touchdown last season on just 15 attempts.

The addition of Joseph Addai, who was signed as a free agent after six years with the Colts, could have a large impact, too.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

7/4: Midweek transaction and injury news roundup


The past week has been bone dry of news in the AFC East, which comes in handy when the roundup day falls on the Fourth of July.

Here are a few nuggets:


Center Eric Wood, who is recovering from ACL surgery, says he'll be "full go" for training camp. [BuffaloBills.com]


Gang Green released undrafted tight end Brian Linthicum, who recently acquired a quadriceps injury. [NewYorkJets.com]


Receiver Brian Hartline revealed in a recent interview that his absence from minicamp was due to appendectomy. [Miami Herald]



Monday, July 2, 2012

Ihedigbo's stats telling of Jets, Patriots identity clash


For the most part, the Jets' defense needs to be at least somewhere near the top of its game for Gang Green to be successful.

For the Patriots' defense, it's a different story.

The Patriots' usual dominance on offense and the Jets' usual stoutness on defense isn't surprising, as the two have made it an annual thing to be ranked at the top of their respective categories.

However, it's a little more interesting when you look at the individual situations of players who have gone from one team to the other.

Look at running back Danny Woodhead. Woodhead was a preseason stud for the Jets in 2009 and 2010, but he didn't fit on the Jets' depth chart, even for as small of a dude as he is. Woodhead went on to find a niche and a fair amount of success with the Patriots.

The latest example in the differences in identities between the teams, though, is safety/special-teamer James Ihedigbo.