AFC East: Jarvis Green
One of the most magnificent highlights in NFL history was David Tyree's miraculous ball-on-helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII. The play, which began with a sack-defying Eli Manning scramble, propelled the New York Giants to the title and left the New England Patriots one game shy of an undefeated season.
ESPN.com has put together "Inside a Moment in Time" to revisit Tyree's catch. Patriots fans might feel as nauseous as Thomas when they check out the feature, but the feature is an impressive look back at history.
Editors and reporters began the process in June. They spoke with 12 players and one official involved in the play. It's broken into two photos, Manning's scramble and Tyree's catch.
Patriots defenders Richard Seymour, Jarvis Green, Mike Vrabel and Thomas recall what was going through their minds at the time of the first snapshot, as do Manning and Giants linemen David Diehl, Kareem McKenzie, Rich Seubert and Shaun O'Hara.
Patriots defensive backs Rodney Harrison and James Sanders and back judge Scott Helverson share their on-the-spot memories of Tyree's catch.
The package also includes:
- A comprehensive photo gallery of the play.
- NFL editor Sheldon Spencer's feature story on how the play changed Tyree's life.
- ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton's top 10 plays in Super Bowl history.
- A click-and-drag survey for you to rank the greatest Super Bowl plays.
- Another "Inside a Moment in Time" of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison's 100-yard touchdown return in Super Bowl XLIII.
- A debate over which play was better, Harrison's or Tyree's, with senior writer Greg Garber and ESPNewYork.com columnist Ian O'Connor as litigants.
Biggest surprise: Outside linebacker Derrick Burgess kept the Patriots waiting while he contemplated retirement at the start of training camp. The Patriots probably helped push him back toward a pensive mood when they dropped the two-time Pro Bowler. The Patriots have pass-rush concerns, and Burgess tied for second with five sacks last year. The development of second-round draft choice Jermaine Cunningham certainly played a role in New England's decision. Also notable that second-year offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger was dropped despite the Patriots' interior issues and the fact they aggressively drafted him from Penn State in the fourth round last year. The Patriots traded cornerback Ellis Hobbs for a pair of fifth-round picks and then turned those assets into the fourth-round pick they used on Ohrnberger. He dressed for only three games last year.
No-brainers: The Patriots chose to keep five running backs, which is what they did last year. Fred Taylor, Kevin Faulk, Sammy Morris, Laurence Maroney and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. With safety Brandon McGowan placed on injured reserve with a chest injury, they made a nice trade with the Kansas City Chiefs and old friend Scott Pioli for safety Jarrad Page.
What's next: Bill Belichick never stops tweaking, particularly at the bottom of the roster. So this list of 53 probably will change before opening day. The Patriots, in need of support at defensive end, could bring back Jarvis Green, cut by the Denver Broncos on Saturday. Green played all eight of his NFL seasons with the Patriots and started 13 games at left end before signing with the Broncos as a free agent. Right defensive end Ty Warren is out for the year with a hip injury. The Patriots also released veteran defensive end Damione Lewis on Friday.
Now that we've gone through offseason workouts, minicamps, training camps and three preseason games, let's take a look at each AFC East need and determine whether it was addressed.
1. Outside linebacker: At the time of Horton's analysis, he didn't know Aaron Schobel would retire. Schobel would have been Buffalo's best pass-rusher in its new 3-4 defense. The Bills signed free agent Reggie Torbor and are hoping a group that also includes Chris Kelsay, Chris Ellis and Aaron Maybin will suffice. Need addressed? No.
2. Left tackle: The Bills chose to stick with Demetrius Bell. The Bills still haven't drafted a tackle earlier than the fifth round since 2002. Of the two they did draft, fifth-rounder Ed Wang is hurt and seventh-rounder Kyle Calloway already has been released. The Bills did sign Oakland Raiders free agent Cornell Green to play right tackle. Need addressed? No.
3. Quarterback: The Bills did next to nothing at quarterback, drafting long-term project Levi Brown in the seventh round and letting Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm shoot it out. Edwards won a not-so-open competition. Need addressed? No.
1. Wide receiver: Did the Dolphins address this need? Hmmm ... Let's see ... Oh, wait. That's right. They traded for Brandon Marshall, who has recorded triple-digit receptions in three straight seasons. Marshall was one of the most enormous transactions of the offseason. Need addressed? Yes.
2. Free safety: The Dolphins drafted Reshad Jones in the fifth round, but sophomore Chris Clemons has held down the position admirably. It won't be tough to outplay last year's starter, Gibril Wilson. Need addressed? Yes.
3. Nose tackle: The situation actually got worse and worse after Horton formed his analysis. Jason Ferguson was suspended eight games for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. The Dolphins re-signed Ferguson, but then he retired. The Dolphins didn't draft a nose tackle, choosing to convert defensive end Randy Starks instead. Starks is undersized for a traditional 3-4 nose tackle, but Dolphins coach Tony Sparano has claimed Starks' speed has upgraded the position. Need addressed? Yes.
New England Patriots
1. Outside linebacker: Horton wrote "This defense must generate pass-rush pressure from its outside linebackers, but the Pats are devoid of playmakers and have virtually no depth at this position." They've gotten shallower with the release of Adalius Thomas, who started their playoff game. Tully Banta-Cain and Derrick Burgess are back and penciled in as the starters. The Patriots drafted pass-rusher Jermaine Cunningham 53rd overall, but he has been too hurt to get on the practice field. Need addressed? No.
2. Wide receiver: Wes Welker was looking at a potentially long rehab at the time Horton wrote his offseason preview. Randy Moss' age also was a concern. But Welker's recovery has been quick. Moss has looked phenomenal. Emerging youngsters Julian Edelman, Brandon Tate and third-round draft pick Taylor Price should be more than enough. Need addressed? Yes.
3. Defensive end: Little did Horton know how badly the Patriots would need help here. Left end Ty Warren is done for the year because of a hip injury. Right end Jarvis Green split for the Denver Broncos. The Patriots signed free agent Gerard Warren and have moved last year's super reserve, Mike Wright, into the starting lineup. Need addressed? No.
New York Jets
1. Defensive end: Horton's concern was with the age of incumbents Shaun Ellis and Marques Douglas. Ellis is back. Douglas was a free agent who departed for the Dolphins. The Jets didn't draft any defensive linemen and didn't sign any notable free agents there. They did move Vernon Gholston from outside linebacker to defensive end. Need addressed? No.
2. Safety: Compared to the Jets' banner acquisitions, Brodney Pool was a blip. The Cleveland Browns gave up on him because of recurring concussions, but the Jets' medical staff found his problem was related to migraine headaches. He's a multifaceted safety with a nose for the ball, interception four passes in 10 games last year. Need addressed? Yes.
3. Wide receiver: The Jets practically stole Santonio Holmes from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a fifth-round draft choice. Holmes was the MVP of Super Bowl XLIII and was coming off a 1,248-yard season. But character issues, underscored by a four-game suspension to start the season, made him a bargain. Need addressed? Yes.
But it's always good to hear what a new player has to say, and Boston Herald reporter Karen Guregian caught up with Lewis to get his thoughts about learning the Patriots' defense and picking up the nuances of the defensive end role Jarvis Green played for eight years. Green signed a free-agent contract with the Denver Broncos.
"At the end of the day, it's still football," Lewis said.
Lewis, 32, spent the past four years with the Carolina Panthers after five with the St. Louis Rams. He had been a reserve for most of his career before starting 31 games at right defensive tackle over the past two seasons
"I talked to some guys I played with over the years who have made the transition from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense," Lewis told Guregian. "I asked about the differences. They told me what they felt was the difference. They actually said it would be an easier transition going from a 4-3 to a 3-4 than vice versa.
"The game is so much faster in a 4-3 as a lineman than it is in a 3-4. They just said it's a matter of being patient, and I'd be fine."
On Tuesday, they finalized a four-year contract for cornerback Leigh Bodden and formally announced they'd re-signed nose tackle Vince Wilfork and right guard Stephen Neal. They previously re-signed outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain.
New England did lose a player. The Denver Broncos signed defensive end Jarvis Green to a four-year contract. Green was a key reserve and pass-rush specialist who'll be remembered for his 2.5 sacks of Peyton Manning in the 2003 AFC Championship Game.
The Patriots' re-signings so far are indicative of a strong organization. They're bringing back their players, keeping them financially happy and not necessarily chasing around other unrestricted free agents.
But ESPN analyst and former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi believes they need to make a greater effort to look outside the organization to upgrade their roster and keep up with the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.
"These moves had to be completed," Bruschi said in a video segment for ESPNBoston.com. "However, they need help."
Patriots owner Robert Kraft told Boston sports radio station WEEI on Tuesday they've reached terms with free-agent Jets defensive end Marques Murrell, but that's a depth signing. Murrell has zero NFL starts in three seasons. Various outlets have reported the Patriots are close to signing St. Louis Rams tight end Daniel Fells.
That's not the type of help Bruschi was referring to.
"Who is going to play outside linebacker for them, especially if Adalius Thomas is no longer a member of this team?" Bruschi asked. "If Wes Welker's rehabilitation takes longer than expected, they need another receiver.
"These are areas that have to be addressed via free agency. They've been very quiet up to this point. Re-signing their players is important, but they need help. They need to get off the fence and start signing some players to be competitive in this AFC East because the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins are getting better with every signing that they make."
Potential unrestricted free agents: DE Ryan Denney, LB Chris Draft, DB Todd Johnson, G Seth McKinney, WR Terrell Owens, WR Josh Reed, S Bryan Scott, G Kendall Simmons, LB Josh Stamer.
Potential restricted free agents: LB Keith Ellison, QB Gibran Hamdan, G Richie Incognito, TE Joe Klopfenstein, TE Derek Schouman, T Jonathan Scott, S George Wilson, CB Ashton Youboty.
Franchise player: None.
What to expect: The Bills are in a rebuilding mode and shouldn't be in too much of a hurry to sign their free agents. In fact, they took the unusual step of publicly announcing they wouldn't offer Owens, Reed or Denney contracts. The most attractive players are Incognito and Wilson. Most of the rest were bit players and injury replacements.
Potential unrestricted free agents: NT Jason Ferguson, CB Nate Jones, QB Chad Pennington, OLB Jason Taylor.
Potential restricted free agents: RB Ronnie Brown, TE Anthony Fasano, OLB Quentin Moses.
Franchise player: None.
What to expect: The Dolphins have a tough decision to make on Ferguson. He'll turn 36 during the 2010 season and is coming off a serious quadriceps injury. Without him, however, the Dolphins have a massive void in their 3-4 defense at a position that's difficult to replace. Pennington, Jones and Taylor all could be gone.
New England Patriots
Potential unrestricted free agents: OLB Tully Banta-Cain, CB Leigh Bodden, OLB Derrick Burgess, RB Kevin Faulk, DE Jarvis Green, P Chris Hanson, G Stephen Neal, ILB Junior Seau, TE Benjamin Watson.
Potential restricted free agents: K Stephen Gostkowski, G Logan Mankins, OLB Pierre Woods.
Franchise player: NT Vince Wilfork.
What to expect: Several starters are about to go up for bids, and the Patriots can't keep them all. Expect Faulk to be re-signed without much fuss. Neal, Bodden and Banta-Cain comprise a group they'd have trouble replacing. All three could fetch offers the Patriots would rather not match. Don't count on Watson coming back.
New York Jets
Potential unrestricted free agents: LS James Dearth, DE Marques Douglas, K Jay Feely, LB Ryan Fowler, TE Ben Hartsock, LB Larry Izzo, FB Tony Richardson.
Potential restricted free agents: QB Kellen Clemens, CB Drew Coleman, WR Braylon Edwards, DT Howard Green, T Wayne Hunter, WR Brad Smith, S Eric Smith, RB Leon Washington.
Franchise player: None.
What to expect: As a "final eight" team, the Jets have to window shop until one of their UFAs sign elsewhere. General manager Mike Tannenbaum is creative. Don't be surprised if the Jets use trades to upgrade. The key restricted free agent to monitor will be Washington, who received a second-round tender. His agent has been tweeting alarms the Pro Bowler could sign an offer sheet and dare the Jets to match.
ESPNBoston.com chieftain Mike Reiss reports Green would be open to re-signing with the Patriots but not before he fields whatever offers may come his way.
"Definitely this year I'm going to experience the market," Green said. "I think for any player in their NFL career they need to experience that, and this will be my first time. I had the chance five years ago but I re-signed with the team. So this has been different for me, and it's been cool not being obligated to anyone but my family, my wife and kids."
Green started a career-high 12 games this season. His sack production has gone down significantly. He registered 14 sacks in 2006-07, but has only three the past two seasons. He had one sack in 2009.
Reiss notes there could be interest in Green because of former coaches scattered around the AFC. Former Patriots defensive coordinators Eric Mangini and Romeo Crennel could pursue him for their new teams.
Green told Reiss he underwent five surgical procedures since last offseason: two on an elbow, one on a wrist and one on each knee.
"I went through a lot of stuff, and the first thing you understand as a football player is that nobody plays 100 percent. There is no such thing," Green said. "But can I say that I ever felt like I was in my time? Here and there.
"After I came back from my knee surgery during the season, I felt pretty good for two to three games, but I still had my complications, the aftershocks of all my surgeries. So it feels good to have a full offseason obligated to healing up, getting back. I feel very blessed to walk away this year with no injuries."
Bruschi sat down on the "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" to talk about Patriots coach Bill Belichick's controversial move.
"I really couldn't put any rhyme or reason to why he would do that," Brushi said. "Of course, yes, he got a 2011 first-round draft pick. But what I think that move did was sort of sacrifice the immediate success of the team to the future of the team."
The Patriots won the AFC East, but the Baltimore Ravens bounced them convincingly Sunday. The Ravens rushed for 234 yards.
"The constant double teams coming down on the defensive ends, Jarvis Green and Mike Wright, all the movement that they were getting, that's sort of where Seymour would have been," Bruschi said. "His presence might've made a difference.
"Within that game they actually moved Vince Wilfork from nose and over to the end position because they were having so many problems over there.
"Would those adjustments need to have been made is Seymour was there? These are the questions that are being pondered in New England right now."
Bruschi also talked about his former head coach, Pete Carroll, returning to the NFL (Bruschi is a big fan of Carroll's) and came close to predicting a New York Jets victory over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
"I believe in what the Jets are doing and how they're running the ball, how [offensive coordinator Brian] Schottenheimer has tempered down what they're asking of [Mark] Sanchez," Bruschi said.
"You've got respect a coaching staff that realizes 'This is who we are. These are strengths we have to play to.' "
Action should be plenty heated when the rivals kick off at 4:15 p.m. The Patriots want to avenge that Week 2 loss at the Meadowlands and are coming off a foul-tasting defeat to the Indianapolis Colts. The Jets need a victory to salvage their drain-circling season.
The Patriots have some interesting inactives. Left tackle Matt Light remains out, but right guard Stephen Neal will join him because of the head injury he suffered in Indy. Running back Sammy Morris will be held out again after speculation he would play.
Most notably scratched for the Jets is outside linebacker Vernon Gholston, the sixth overall pick in last year's draft. Gholston has been benched for two straight games.
All of Sunday's inactives are below:
New York Jets
- Quarterback Kevin O'Connell (third quarterback)
- Quarterback Erik Ainge
- Guard Matt Slauson
- Defensive end Ropati Pitoitua
- Linebacker Vernon Gholston
- Linebacker Ryan Fowler
- Linebacker Kenwin Cummings
- Cornerback Justin Miller
The inactives lists are circulating through the Lucas Oil Stadium press box, and the big news is that the Patriots have scratched left end Ty Warren, who had been listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Right end Jarvis Green was an expected scratch.
Two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Matt Light, who returned to practice this week, is out again. Rookie Sebastian Vollmer should get his fourth straight start and will have the pleasure of fending off Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney.
A name not on the inactive list is rookie receiver Julian Edelman. He missed the past two games with a broken forearm.
The complete this of inactives:
New England Patriots
- Running back Sammy Morris
- Running back Fred Taylor
- Guard Rich Ohrnberger
- Tackle Matt Light
- Defensive end Ty Warren
- Defensive end Jarvis Green
- Linebacker Eric Alexander
- Cornerback Shawn Springs
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- No surprises on the inactive list for Sunday's game between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots in Gillette Stadium.
- Quarterback Tyler Thigpen
- Running back Kory Sheets
- Receiver Patrick Turner
- Tackle Andrew Gardner
- Tackle Lydon Murtha
- Nose tackle Jason Ferguson
- Inside linebacker Channing Crowder
- Outside linebacker Quentin Moses
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- What a gorgeous Sunday at Gillette Stadium. The forecast is for a high temperature of 63 degrees and the skies couldn't be bluer, so clear that I still could see the moon when I walked toward the stadium at 10 a.m.
The forecast for Sunday's only AFC East game -- the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets are on their byes -- appears about as crystalline.
The New England Patriots originally were installed as heavy favorites to beat the Miami Dolphins, and the matchup has gotten easier for the division leaders. The Dolphins on Saturday downgraded two of their better defensive players, underappreciated nose tackle Jason Ferguson and inside linebacker Channing Crowder.
Referee Mike Carey's crew will call the game. Perhaps we'll see if there's anything to Dolphins outside linebacker Joey Porter's contention Patriots quarterback Tom Brady benefits from a special set of rules. Carey has called only one roughing the passer penalty all year, so he doesn't seem too liberal. Any borderline call will be scrutinized.
I'll post the official inactives a little later, but we already have a good head start.
In addition to Dolphins third quarterback Tyler Thigpen, Ferguson and Crowder, we already know these players are out for the Patriots: running backs Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor, receiver Julian Edelman, left tackle Matt Light and defensive lineman Jarvis Green.
The New England Patriots' chances of victory over the Miami Dolphins have improved even more.
The Dolphins have downgraded underrated nose tackle Jason Ferguson and inside linebacker Channing Crowder from doubtful to out for Sunday's game Gillette Stadium.
A battered, inexperienced defense generally isn't the blueprint to beat Tom Brady.
A significant amount of experience has vanished from Miami's defense the past two weeks. Top cornerback Will Allen went down with a season-ending knee injury in Week 7, forcing the Dolphins to start two rookie cornerbacks (Sean Smith and Vontae Davis).
In last week's victory over the New York Jets, the Dolphins took it a step further and granted safety Chris Clemons his first NFL start in place of Gibril Wilson. That gave the Dolphins a secondary comprised of three-quarters rookies.
Miami will miss Ferguson the most. He's not a star nose tackle like Kris Jenkins for the Jets or Vince Wilfork for the Patriots, but he's in their mold. Ferguson anchors the Dolphins' 3-4 defense and is a solid run-stopper who can occupy multiple blockers.
Backup defensive tackle Paul Soliai, who was in coach Tony Sparano's doghouse over weight issues and a general lack of commitment last year, is coming off the best game of his career. Soliai was credited with six tackles, a pass deflection and the forced fumble Jason Taylor returned for a touchdown against the Jets.
Soliai will need to be a force again to compensate for Ferguson.
Crowder will miss his second straight game with a shoulder injury. Reggie Torbor should start again.
Crowder's absence doesn't mean as much to the Dolphins as the casual fan might think. His mouth has made him more relevant than his play this season. He's a decent tackler but has zero sacks, zero passes defensed and zero forced fumbles.
Plus, the dropoff to Torbor isn't that considerable. The season the New York Giants won the Super Bowl, Torbor started their final five regular-season games and all four in the postseason, including that gargantuan upset to deny the Patriots a perfect season.
The Patriots, however, have their share of injuries. They've already ruled out left tackle Matt Light, running backs Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor, receiver Julian Edelman and defensive end Jarvis Green.
Posted by ESPN.com staff
- With the Bills opening training camp early this year, it looks likely that first-round pick Aaron Maybin will be a holdout.
- Sal Maiorana of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle came up with 10 questions the Bills need to answer during training camp.
- Greg Bishop of The Fifth Down blog sat down with Ricky Williams and talked about his time away from football, his drug use and his approach to being healthy.
- Single-game tickets for 2009 regular-season home games go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m.
- Defensive end Jarvis Green denied a report that he said this would be his last year with New England. Green told Christopher L. Gasper of the Boston Globe that he would like to retire as a Patriot.
- Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe takes a look at the Patriots' safeties.
- Though Tom Brady's left knee appears to be 100 percent, it's unclear whether he's completely recovered mentally from his injury -- and that may be the toughest part.
New York Jets
- Coach Rex Ryan named Vernon Gholston, a 2008 first-rounder who had a disappointing rookie season, as a starting linebacker in place of the suspended Calvin Pace.
- The Detroit News listed Gholston as one of five players who have a lot to prove in 2009.
- With a rookie head coach and possibly a rookie starting quarterback, some observers predict the Jets to have a down year. But Brian Burke, a guest blogger for The Fifth Down, tells Jets fans to take heart: Preseason predictions are worthless -- and he has the stats to back it up.
- A strong assurance that Tom Brady's surgically repaired left knee must be fine, or the Patriots wouldn't have made the trade.
- Exhilaration over suddenly having about $19 million to spend in the early stages of the free-agency period.
Two of the ways they can spend it immediately are by signing more free agents or extending contracts of players already on their roster.
A lot of talent still is available on the open market. I hesitate to cobble together a list of the more prominent players still out there because it probably will be outdated within minutes.
Feel free to share your ideas of who you think the Patriots should sign. Enter those names in the comments section below.
Here are some of the Patriots who are entering the final year of their contracts: