|Offseason updates on rest of AFC East||02.18.14 at 12:51 pm ET|
While we continue to view the world through a Patriots’ prism, here’s a quick update on what’s been going on in the rest of the AFC East this offseason:
Jets – New York started the offseason with a bang, announcing Rex Ryan landed a multiyear extension. But at the same time, the Jets have some tough calls to make on some veterans, including outside linebacker Calvin Pace. Then, there’s the question as to whether or not to release quarterback Mark Sanchez — per salary cap expert Joel Corry, the Jets will gain more than $8.3 million of cap room if they let him go before his $2 million roster bonus is due on March 25. (They’ll also get some more financial flexibility if they decide to part ways with wide receiver Santonio Holmes in mid-March.) If Sanchez is indeed gone, that will likely clear the decks for Geno Smith, who was involved in an off-field dustup involving a flight attendant on a Virgin America flight. However, GM John Idzik says he anticipates a competition at quarterback this season. On the other side of the ball, while the New York defense is pretty solid as a whole, they’ll almost certainly be the market for offensive skill position players this offseason either in the draft or free agency.
Bills – As is the case at this time of year, the biggest moves for Buffalo to this point in the offseason have come on the coaching staff — following the departure of Mike Pettine, the Bills have added Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator. They’ve also done some more sideline shuffling, including the addition of Rob Moore as receivers coach and Pepper Johnson as linebackers coach. Schwartz favors a 4-3 scheme, which means the Bills will have to tweak their personnel as a result, but on paper, the Buffalo defense is actually pretty well-positioned going into 2014. Led by linebacker Kiko Alonso and pass rushers Kyle Williams, Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes, the Bills led the league with 57 sacks, and were second in the league with 23 picks. They could add some depth in the secondary, particularly if defensive back Jairus Byrd leaves as a free agent. Buffalo also needs some help on the offensive line, as well as some help at tight end if Scott Chandler walks in free agency. The Bills reportedly have roughly $15 million under the cap, and will likely use some of that to put more offensive skill position players around quarterback EJ Manuel, who needs to make a sizable leap going into 2014 if the Bills are able to break through in the AFC East.
Dolphins – Where to start? Miami is a bit of a mess right now, as the franchise continues to deal with the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin saga. It remains to be seen if the Dolphins end up making changes on their coaching staff as a result of what’s happened, but they’ve already parted ways with GM Jeff Ireland, going with Dennis Hickey in his place. (They also fired offensive coordinator Mike Sherman after Miami’s offense finished 26th in the league with an average of 19.8 points per game. They hired Eagles quarterback coach Bill Lazor as the new OC.) Hickey will have roughly $17 million in cap space to deal with when free agency opens, and he will almost certainly focus on an offensive line that was struggling, even before the Incognito-Martin situation blew up — quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked 58 times in 2013, most in the league. From a big picture perspective, it will be interesting to watch the moves that Hickey, coach Joe Philbin and owner Stephen Ross will make this offseason in hopes of trying to repair the Dolphins rep this offseason.
|Rex Ryan humble, but New York Post takes shot at Bill Belichick||11.20.12 at 11:39 am ET|
Jets coach Rex Ryan has been abnormally subdued this week, leading up to Thursday’s Patriots-Jets game at MetLife Stadium. Ryan, known for his brash behavior, has been complimentary of the Pats and said he needs to worry about his 4-6 team that trails New England by three games in the AFC East.
“We can only focus on ourselves and just find a way to punch out,” Ryan said Monday. “We earned where we are, and we just have to find a way to punch our way out. That’s it. I’m not even worried about tweaking New England or anybody else. It’s to the point where we have to focus on us.”
Added Ryan: “We put ourselves in this spot. Without question [the sense of desperation], it’s there. Again, it’s not a panic thing, it’s just the fact that we just have to be focused and tight, and whatever the next challenge is, to face it head on. That’s what we’ll do.”
Ryan said he would not tell his players to avoid any bulletin-board material, but he’s not planning to offer any himself, especially considering the limited preparation time this week.
“We’re just trying to punch our way out, so I don’t know how much of that there will be,” he said. “But it’s not something I’ll bring up to the team.”
Jets linebacker Calvin Pace said his team needs to avoid the errors that have played New York this season.
“We know them. They know us,” Pace said of the Pats. “I’ll say this until I’m not in the league anymore: You have to beat New England, because they’re not going to beat themselves. We’ve just got to limit our mental mistakes and our turnovers. We’ve got a good chance if we do that.”
Considering the lack of headline material, the New York Post created some on its own, taking a shot at Belichick for sending Rob Gronkowski in for an extra point late in Sunday’s rout of the Colts. Gronkowski reportedly suffered a broken forearm and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. The Post pictured Belichick as a turkey and referred to the situation as “butterball Belichick’s brainlock.”
|Deion Branch is grateful for replay on this Sunday||10.09.11 at 10:05 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Talk about a buzz kill. Just two plays earlier, the Tom Brady finally connected on a deep post pattern to Wes Welker, a 73-yard strike to the Jets 8-yard line.
The crowd was buzzing after the opening play of the second half had the Patriots looking to add to a slim 10-7 halftime lead. Then, BenJarvus Green-Ellis went up the middle for a yard.
Then, Brady was flushed out of the pocket, running for his life like he had all afternoon and found Deion Branch at the Jets 3. Branch caught the ball with no one on him. He touched his right knee to the turf but since no one got to him, he was free to get up and advance. But before he could, Calvin Pace came over and poke the ball out from Branch’s arms.
The Jets recovered and hustled on the field but Bill Belichick immediately threw the red challenge flag. The play would be reviewed. Was Branch certain it would be overruled?
“Honestly even when I saw it on the jumbotron, I was like it’s going to be a close one, it could go either way,” Branch admitted. “It’s one of those bang-bang plays. Yeah my knee was down but it could have gone the other way as well.”
Branch had one HUGE mulligan. Instead of a momentum-killing fumble and turnover, the Patriots had new life. Branch took advantage by making Antonio Cromartie look very foolish on a curl route in the back of the end zone. Naturally, Brady found him for the quarterback’s only TD pass of the day.
“Oh that would have been big,” Branch said of the turnover that wasn’t. “That one would have been big. Because you can almost, if you think about it, we were in the red area and Wes caught a 73-yard pass play, got us down to the 10 yard line and then if that would have happened, it would have taken all the air out of us. Starting out the second half, we always preach about starting fast, both halves and we did that. That would have been bad, but I’m glad it went the other way. ”
|Jets in a world of pain||09.16.10 at 4:05 pm ET|
FOXBORO — If Thursday’s comments from Jets head coach Rex Ryan are any indication, we can expect “Gang Green” to go after Wes Welker on Sunday.
“We have to hit him,” Ryan said of Welker, who caught 15 balls for 192 yards in New England’s 31-14 win on Nov. 22, 2009 at Gillette Stadium.
That might be their best chance because the way they’re losing bodies on defense, they won’t be able to cover anyone.
The New York Jets, already reeling from a season-opening loss to the Baltimore Ravens and injuries to Kris Jenkins and Calvin Pace, are monitoring the condition of their Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Revis, who played his first game back Monday night after missing all of training camp in a contract dispute, was limited on Thursday in practice by hamstring tightness and his availability for Sunday is unknown, though the New York Daily News reported Thursday that he continued to practice after feeling tightness and will practice Friday.
Revis has publicly called Patriots star receiver Randy Moss a “slouch” for his work ethic and held Moss to nine catches and one touchdown in their two meetings in 2009.
Meanwhile, Jets head coach Rex Ryan said Thursday he has told his players they need to do one thing to contain Patriots receiver Wes Welker.
One player Welker and the rest of the Patriots receiving corps will still have to contend with is Antonio Cromartie, the defensive back Welker on Thursday called one of the best in the NFL.
“He’s super fast,” Welker said. “I don’t think there’s anyone faster in the league than that guy. His speed and range and recovery. And not only that, his size, he’s a big guy. He’s a rare combination of size and speed and definitely someone who you have to stay on top of your routes and can’t get sloppy out there.”
|Jets practice report for Wednesday||09.15.10 at 4:22 pm ET|
Jets’ Wednesday injury report
Placed on IR
DT Kris Jenkins (knee)
LB Calvin Pace (foot)
Limited Participation in Practice
S Brodney Pool (ankle)
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