AFC East: Greg Ellis
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Ol' whatshisname had a great game Sunday for the Miami Dolphins.
|Doug Benc/Getty Images|
|CFL import Cameron Wake made his presence felt in Sunday’s game against Buffalo.|
The Penn State linebacker once known as Derek Wake who disappeared for a few years to make a name for himself in the Canadian Football League as Cameron Wake recorded three sacks in a 38-10 laugher over the Buffalo Bills in Land Shark Stadium.
Sunday was Wake's second NFL appearance after being a healthy scratch the first two games. With reigning AFC sacks leader Joey Porter sidelined by a hamstring injury, Wake was an eye-opener.
A lot of fine pass-rushers never had three sacks in a regular-season game, including Willie McGinest and Greg Ellis.
Most of the coverage in South Florida focused -- and rightfully so -- on second-year quarterback Chad Henne, who made his first NFL start.
But Wake deserves a little more attention here for making his presence felt. He'd been waiting since he left Penn State in 2005.
"I have been waiting a long time," Wake said. "This is a long road, to finally get in there and get my first sack the NFL. It was tough at times, but finally to get out there and get it done and at the same getting a win, you couldn’t ask much more."
Dolfans were wondering their team had been hoodwinked by what Wake accomplished in the CFL. He played two seasons for the BC Lions and piled up 39 sacks.
Those skills were on display Sunday against a Bills offensive line that was weak and overwhelmed. But what Wake accomplished is what's supposed to happen against a hurting team, and he did it.
"Kid showed what he got," said Dolphins outside linebacker and active NFL sacks leader Jason Taylor. "He does things. I have been around a long time [and he] does things that amaze me.
"It is those young, fresh legs, good cartilage in his knees, all that good stuff. Me and Joey will always joke, watching tape. You'll see Cameron dip underneath somebody, kind of get pushed around. He will spin around and pop off the ground. We always look at each other and say ‘That is those good knees, the good cartilage.’
"He does things that Joey and I can't do right now. I think we have a few things he can't do either."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
New York Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis claimed they have the blueprint for getting New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady off his game:
Get inside Brady's kitchen and start ratting some pots and pans.
"Everybody knows that's the formula, to get him off his block, try and move him around and get people in his face," Ellis told reporters Thursday. "If you don't, he'll go 100 percent on you.
"So you just try and get as much pressure on him as you can. Their line knows that every team is going in with that mind-set of trying to get after Brady. Their line has done a great job of keeping guys off of him, especially on the drives when they really need it."
The Buffalo Bills sacked Brady once on Monday night. Brady overcame a wobbly start by firing two touchdown passes in the final 2:06 to beat the Bills 25-24 in Gillette Stadium.
The Jets were all over Houston Texans quarterback Matt Shaub in their season opener. The Jets registered two sacks and eight quarterback hits. Linebacker Bart Scott had three of them. The Jets made six tackles for losses. The Texans gained more than 18 yards on just three of their six possessions.
Ellis didn't play in Houston. The talented pass-rusher was serving a one-game suspension for being busted with marijuana. He will be chasing Brady on Sunday.
"His brain," Ellis replied, when asked what sets Brady apart. "He's really smart like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, those types of guys. They're really not going to mess up that often.
"You've really got to force them into bad decisions. If you mess up on D, he will capitalize on it. He will make every throw. [Brady is] very confident in his approach, mind-set, attitude, everything."
The rest of the AFC East won't be thrilled about this.
In Oakland, he played defensive end. He projects as an outside linebacker for the Patriots' 3-4 defense.
Burgess is a two-time Pro Bowler who was unhappy with his contract. He became expendable when the Raiders signed Greg Ellis, whom the Dallas Cowboys had released and also was presumed headed to the Patriots. So was Jason Taylor. So was Julius Peppers.
But they landed Burgess. He played only 10 games last year and recorded 3.5 sacks, his lowest output in four years. He led the NFL with 16 sacks in 2005 and added 11 more the next year.
The move makes the Patriots more versatile and scarier on defense.
Jason Taylor? Signed.
Greg Ellis? Signed.
Julius Peppers? Signed.
The list of pass-rushers linked to the New England Patriots looks thinner than Manute Bol in a girdle.
Peppers finally signed his one-year franchise tender Wednesday for the Carolina Panthers. On a conference call, Panthers general manager Marty Hurney told reporters this isn't the first step to a sign-and-trade deal. Hurney said they intend to keep Peppers.
"We want Julius Peppers here," Hurney said. "This one-year contract was signed with the intention of him coming to training camp on Aug. 2 with the Carolina Panthers."
NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas breaks down why Peppers probably will remain a Panther.
But speculation was rampant before the draft that the Patriots were on the verge of trading for Peppers. It sounded like a formality. Peppers had announced his desire to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. The Patriots happen to be a 3-4 team and haven't brought in a proven veteran to replace Mike Vrabel.
The Patriots aren't convinced. Owner Robert Kraft twice made public statements that Taylor had a Gillette Stadium locker waiting for him, and the Dallas Morning News reported last week the Patriots offered Ellis a contract.
So what big names are left to wonder about?
Oakland Raiders defensive end Derrick Burgess is the most notable possibility. The two-time Pro Bowler doesn't like his contract. He has skipped voluntary workouts. He showed up for mandatory minicamp but sat out with a tummy ache.
Ellis, who the Raiders signed to a three-year deal nine days ago, has been playing in Burgess' spot at left defensive end.
Greg Ellis needs a job.
The New England Patriots need a pass-rusher.
Is this an obvious fit, or what?
"That makes perfect sense," said Michael Lombardi, a former NFL personnel executive and columnist for the National Football Post. "An outside pass-rusher is the one area they haven't really addressed."
The Dallas Cowboys released Ellis on Tuesday. He started every game at outside linebacker last year, recording 55 tackles and eight sacks. Ellis made the Pro Bowl two years ago. In 11 seasons as a Cowboys defensive end and outside linebacker he amassed 77 sacks.
"I think they would like to add that dimension," Lombardi said. "They might be so good on offense, their outside rushers won't need to worry about the run as much. They have to find a way to improve their nickel pass rush."
Ellis, on the downside of this career, will turn 34 in August. But the Patriots have had success rejuvenating older players. They were interested in signing Jason Taylor, who will be 35 in September and is coming off a lackluster season.
"Based on last year, the Cowboys getting rid of [Ellis] would make me concerned," Lombardi said. "Work him out to see where he is health-wise.
"They're going to explore every available player who can rush the passer. I don't know that for a fact, but I would suspect they have to."
Calvin Watkins of FanHouse.com reports Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Greg Ellis is on the trade block because he's entering the final year of his contract. Watkins also writes the Cowboys have identified the Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals as the top potential trade partners.
Ellis was used mostly on passing downs. He recorded eight sacks, 12 quarterback pressures and 55 tackles. He also had an interception and recovered a fumble.
The Miami Dolphins might have been a potential landing pad for Ellis had they not signed Taylor last week. Ellis played for Dolphins football operations boss Bill Parcells in Dallas.
The Patriots traded outside linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs and haven't brought in any additional help. Fourth-year pro Pierre Woods is the likely replacement if the Patriots don't find help elsewhere.