AFC East: Frank Gore

Links: Leach not out of picture in Miami

July, 19, 2013
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NFL.com's Adam Schein identifies the AFC East players who need to achieve -- and overachieve -- for each to team reach its potential.

Buffalo Bills

Appearing on The John Murphy Show Thursday night, former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly says his recovery from surgery to remove a cancerous tumor continues, although not quite as quickly as he would like.

Who can lead the Bills' defense from the middle linebacker position, Chris Brown of the team's official website wonders.

Brown also writes there are other candidates for the team's most important player, beyond defensive end Mario Williams.

Training camp begins in 10 days for the Bills, and the Buffalo News has a list of all the practices.

Miami Dolphins

While the Dolphins plan to enter training camp without offering free agent Vonta Leach a contract, the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero reports Leach is not completely out of the picture in Miami.

With Mike Dee leaving the Dolphins as their CEO, Salguero takes a closer look at one possible in-house candidate.

Two days before training camp starts, the Dolphins added first-year wide receiver Kenny Stafford to their 90-man roster.

Running back Lamar Miller continues to heap praise upon his workout partner, 49ers' Frank Gore. "Just learning from the guy who went to the University of Miami and is from the same neighborhood I'm from, pretty much it just takes my overall game to the next level," Miller told Erica A. Hernandez of the Sun-Sentinel.

New Dolphins linebacker Dannell Ellerbe chats with The Finsiders about what he'll bring to the defense as he joins the team following a Super Bowl run with the Ravens.

Cornerback Brent Grimes, a former Falcon, tells the team's official website that he's not sweating the Dolphins' home opener against Atlanta.

The Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly ranks the Dolphins' top 10 position battles.

New England Patriots

Stevan Ridley makes the cut as a running back who CBS Sports' Pat Kirwan would like to see crack the 300-carry mark this season and get the Patriots' offense back to the pre-2007 season style.

Steve Beauharnais could add value down the road for the Patriots' linebacking corps, writes ESPNBoston.com's Mike Rodak.

Sports Illustrated's Don Banks asks -- and answers -- this question: How many Tom Brady passes will hit the ground without Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Aaron Hernandez, Danny Woodhead and a rehabbing Rob Gronkowski around this preseason?

"There's little doubting that (Chandler) Jones has many of the requisite skills to be an invaluable edge player for the Patriots, though the development of both his body and technique will play a part in his long-term outlook," writes Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com.

The Patriots' website finishes up its Position Battle series with a look at a pair of tight ends: Daniel Fells, a veteran in his second year with the Pats, and Zach Sudfeld, an undrafted free agent.

New York Jets

It's no coincidence that Chris Ivory was acquired by Jets general manager John Idzik, a former Seattle Seahawks executive, in an April trade. Ivory falls in at No. 13 on NFL.com's top 40 players most likely to Make the Leap in 2013. Also, CBS Sports' Pat Kirwan says Ivory could be the "sleeper of Fantasy drafts."

Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com writes chemistry and two new starters on the offensive line could be an issue for the Jets early on.

The Jets withdrew their application for a helipad at their Florham Park training facility amid neighbors' opposition to the project, writes Justin Zaremba of NJ.com.

Links: Lamar Miller learns from Frank Gore

July, 12, 2013
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Buffalo Bills

Free safety Jairus Byrd and the Bills are still far from striking a deal before the July 15 deadline to sign the one-year franchise tender. "I would be completely and utterly shocked if there was a deal done by Monday," a league source told sports station WGR 550. "There are no talks going on. Someone would have to seriously cave."

Undrafted rookie Kendall Gaskins says he'll likely be used more as a running back instead of at fullback in the Bills' offense.

Veteran kicker Rian Lindell has been a mainstay for the Bills since 2003, but that doesn't mean rookie Dustin Hopkins isn't going to compete for the job.

Miami Dolphins

Second-year running back Lamar Miller is getting a summer education of his own, working out with 49ers back Frank Gore. “Since Lamar started gravitating toward Frank, his work ethic and mentality are unparalleled,” said Pete Bommarito, who runs the Bommarito Performance Systems, where Gore, Miller and many other NFL players train in the offseason, according to the Miami Herald.

Rookie first-round pick Dion Jordan joins Miami’s defensive line, the team's deepest unit.

A.J. Francis, a 309-pound rookie defensive tackle for the Dolphins, says via Twitter that ESPN the Magazine's Body Issue should include a variety of people.

Andy Behrens of Roto Arcade says the most important variable for Dolphins fantasy owners is quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

New England Patriots

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski held a book signing for "Growing up Gronk" on Thursday, and he said he's "in great spirits" about the upcoming season.

As the Aaron Hernandez case continues on, the Miami Herald's David J. Neal has a piece of advice for those looking to place responsibility and blame: "Leave Urban Meyer alone."

Continuing a month-long series analyzing players who are on the roster bubble and where they might potentially fit in 2013, ESPNBoston.com's Mike Rodak looks at tight end Daniel Fells.

Tight end is the position being most talked about around Foxborough, and ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss projects how the position might play out given all the question marks.

New York Jets

Jonathan Mael, new media coordinator for MLB.com, recently published a tweet in which he compared Jets' offensive lineman Oday Aboushi to former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Geno Smith’s failure to show up at what is largely considered a team-building weekend doesn’t speak highly of the relationship between the rookie quarterback and veteran Mark Sanchez, writes Seth Walder of the New York Daily News.

NFL.com's Dan Hanzus digs up Jets coach Rex Ryan's autobiography, "Play Like You Mean It," only to find that "Ryan wanted to write a book about the beginning of a great future for the New York Jets. Instead, he accidentally managed to distill everything that's frustrating about being a fan of New York's other team."

Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg talks with Eric Allen, of the team's official website, about the changes in store for the Jets' offense this season.

Final Word: AFC East

September, 28, 2012
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NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Here are five nuggets of knowledge about Week 4:

[+] EnlargeKarlos Dansby
Steve Mitchell/US PresswireDolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby is amped up to play his former team, the Cardinals, on Sunday.
Dansby homecoming: It has been two years since the Miami Dolphins outbid the Arizona Cardinals in free agency for linebacker Karlos Dansby. Miami needed an impact player and signed Dansby, a former Cardinal, to a $43 million contract in 2010. Dansby will play his former team for the first time Sunday when Miami travels to Arizona. The Cardinals (3-0) are one of the surprise teams in the NFL. The Dolphins (1-2) are rebuilding and trying to avoid a two-game losing streak. Dansby is hyped for his homecoming and called this a "must-win" game for Miami.

Tannehill's accuracy: One of the underlying struggles in Miami's offense has been the lack of accuracy from rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The No. 8 pick was a 62.5 percent career passer in college. However, Tannehill has been off the mark in his first three NFL starts. Tannehill is completing just 52.9 percent of his passes, which included a 16-for-36 (44.4 percent) performance in Sunday's overtime loss to the New York Jets. Sometimes drops play a factor. But Tannehill also rushes his reads and stares down his receivers too often, which is typical for a rookie. Miami needs its quarterback to get better in those areas to take the next step.

Williams vs. Brady: The Buffalo Bills gave former Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams $100 million in free agency for games like Sunday's. Buffalo needs a big performance from Williams pressuring Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to pull off the upset at home. Williams is coming off his best game of the season, against the Cleveland Browns in Week 3. He recorded four tackles and 1.5 sacks. Williams had been mostly quiet until that point. Buffalo's defensive line appears to have a favorable matchup against New England. Brady already has been sacked seven times in three games.

Ridley's dry spell: New England starting running back Stevan Ridley started the season hot with 125 yards rushing in Week 1. But since then, Ridley has just 108 yards rushing the past two weeks. Ridley's opportunities are down, but so are his yards per carry. Ridley averaged just 3.5 yards per rush in losses to the Cardinals and Ravens. The second-year player needs to get back to his Week 1 form.

Run over: What has happened to the Jets' run defense? This was a group expected to be a top-five defense. Yet, through three games, teams are running through New York's front seven with unexpected ease. The Jets are 28th against the run, allowing 148.7 rushing yards per game. Their run defense will face another stern test Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. Tailback Frank Gore has rushed for 264 yards and averages 5.9 yards per carry.

The Buffalo Bills dare to dream

October, 9, 2011
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Fred JacksonKevin Hoffman/US PresswireFred Jackson had a productive day against the Eagles with 111 yards and a score.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" blasted throughout Ralph Wilson Stadium in the final minutes of the Bills' 31-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The song was a fitting tribute to Buffalo's surprising start to the 2011 season.

The no-name Bills are 4-1 and first in the AFC East. The uber-talented and high-powered "Dream Team" Eagles are 1-4 and have a slim chance to make the postseason.

Who would have thought?

"We were a home [under]dog today at 3-1 against a 1-3 team," Bills center Eric Wood said. "You don't put a lot of stock into it. But you know it, you talk about it, and it ticks you off. But keep picking us to lose. We like it. It helps keep the chip on our shoulder. We don't need to be the media darling that we were two weeks ago before we lost."

Memo to NFL media and fans: It's time to take these Bills seriously.

Stop punishing Buffalo for past mistakes. Forget about last year's 0-8 start and 4-12 season. This season's Bills are young, scrappy, fearless and fun to watch. Most importantly, this season's Bills have staying power and are a legitimate threat for the playoffs in the AFC.

Buffalo still has a long way to go to become elite. For starters, it must improve a porous defense that has allowed 450-plus yards in each of the past four games. But you can lump the Bills in with the "very good" of the NFL. And in this topsy-turvy league, that's a position a lot of teams wish they were in after five games -- including the desperate Eagles.

"We got talent, too," Bills safety George Wilson (11 tackles, one interception) said defiantly. "We don't back down from any challenge."

Buffalo didn’t go Frank Gore on the Eagles. But the Bills’ offensive players were not shy to admit that they believed they would have their way with Philadelphia’s struggling defense. The Eagles were ranked No. 30 against the run entering Week 5.

The Bills were correct. Buffalo running back Fred Jackson shredded Philadelphia’s soft front seven for 111 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. The Eagles were blown off the ball and their tackling was horrendous. According to ESPN’s Stats and Information, 59 of Jackson’s 111 yards came after contact. Buffalo ran the ball 35 times and passed 27 times, the second time Buffalo’s offense has run more than it has passed this season.

“We knew that with the running game we’d be able to move the ball,” said Jackson, who also had 85 receiving yards. “We felt like we were bigger and more physical at the line. So we felt like we’d be able to move them off the ball.”

Buffalo’s early success on offense put a lot of pressure on the Eagles, and Philadelphia cracked by making poor decisions. The Eagles tried (and failed) at an onside kick to start the second half. Vick forced the ball into tight spots and threw a career-worst four interceptions. The mistakes added up and, by the start of the fourth quarter, Buffalo held a 31-14 lead.

Philadelphia went into full desperation mode and tried to orchestrate a comeback. But Buffalo, which blew a 14-point second-half lead in Week 4 against the Bengals, learned from last week’s mistakes and held on. After that loss, Buffalo heard all week about how it was a fluke team and couldn’t bounce back against the talented Eagles.

“If we had Tom Brady or a big-name guy, we wouldn’t be so easy to write off,” Wood said. “But we got some talented players and we got a great quarterback to go behind now. We like our chances.”

How far can these no-name Bills go this season? If they play like they did Sunday, Buffalo will make the playoffs.

"This is a different season, a different era and a different team," Nelson said. "We know how to win games and we're continuing to come out and surprising people. But we're not surprising ourselves."

Report: Second-rounder gets Lynch

April, 13, 2010
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According to a report by Yahoo! Sports writer Charles Robinson, the Buffalo Bills haven't been actively trying to move running back Marshawn Lynch, but they'll entertain offers and are open to trading Lynch for a package that includes a second-round pick.

Marshawn Lynch
Rick Stewart/Getty ImagesIn three seasons with the Bills, Marshawn Lynch has rushed for 2,601 yards, but he has run into trouble away from the field.
Yeah, good luck with that.

A second-round pick?

Robinson, citing an unnamed sources, reports the Seattle Seahawks have had internal discussions about making a play for Lynch.

Lynch has the potential to be elite. That's why the Bills drafted him 12th overall three years ago. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first two seasons and made a Pro Bowl.

But Lynch, much like Santonio Holmes, is one misstep away from a long suspension. Lynch began last season with a three-game suspension for repeated misbehavior. He was involved in a hit-and-run incident in Buffalo and made a plea deal on gun charges in California. He has been accused of other transgressions, too.

A second-round pick for a player with Lynch's rap sheet seems expensive. The Scouts Inc. draft board projects Cal's Jahvid Best and Ole Miss' Dexter McCluster as second-round picks in this year's draft.

Talented running backs aren't that difficult to discover. Lynch eventually lost his starting job to Fred Jackson, a Division III product who wasn't drafted at all.

Here's a list of running backs who have been drafted in the third round: Shonn Greene, Frank Gore, Steve Slaton and Jamaal Charles. In the fourth round: Marion Barber, Brandon Jacobs and Darren Sproles.

If you'll allow me to mix up positions, the New York Jets acquired Holmes for a fifth-round choice. There's a belief the Denver Broncos will accept a high second-round pick for Brandon Marshall.

Buffalo might very well pull the trigger on a Lynch trade, but if the front office can finagle a second-round draft pick out of another team, then it will be a substantial coup.

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