AFC East: Kellen Winslow Jr.

Links: Traits that shaped Doug Marrone

July, 15, 2013
7/15/13
12:25
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Buffalo Bills

Buffalo had three players in the Pro Bowl last season. The team's website asks, who will get the nod this year?

Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News profiles new Bills coach Doug Marrone. Self-confidence, drive and a willingness to question authority are traits that have helped shape Marrone’s football career, Gaughan writes.

The Bills and star safety Jairus Byrd have no contract talks scheduled for Monday, the deadline for franchised players to sign long-term deals, a source close to the talks told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Miami Dolphins

Running back Lamar Miller is impressing his peers this summer during workouts in North Miami Beach, writes Marc Sessler of NFL.com. "He's the fastest running back I've ever seen," Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew said.

The team's website previews the Dolphins' running backs.

A Dolphins spokesman said the team isn't commenting on center Mike Pouncey sporting a "Free Hernandez" hat, an apparent reference for his former University of Florida teammate, Aaron Hernandez, who is facing a murger charge.

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald addresses a possible deal for fullback Vonta Leach.

New England Patriots

The team's website continues its countdown of 13 questions for 2013. The latest topic -- the quarterback position, specifically as it relates to Tim Tebow.

The Patriots have taken some risks on players thought to have questions in character. That's hurting the team now, Christopher L. Gasper of the Boston Globe writes.

Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com updates the New England roster.

SI.com's Peter King includes a section on the lessons he takes away from Hernandez's murder charge.

New York Jets

If the Jets struggle in 2013 and coach Rex Ryan is let go, he shouldn't worry about future employment, Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News writes. The TV networks should be pushing for Ryan's services.

Tight end Kellen Winslow Jr.'s goal for 2013: 100 catches for the Jets.

Remember Strat-O-Matic baseball? Ben Shpigel of the New York Times writes that Rex Ryan was a big fan back in the day.

In an exclusive interview with the New York Post, fifth-round pick Oday Aboushi — a Brooklyn native who is believed to be the first Palestinian-American ever drafted by an NFL team — adamantly denied charges leveled by a conservative website last week that Aboushi is anti-Semitic and uses social media to endorse what they consider Palestinian terrorist groups.

According to New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, his wide receivers could barely catch a cold in this week’s minicamp.

Is anyone surprised by this revelation?

Ryan is coming to the realization of what most people outside the Jets already knew: the offense is a train wreck.

There are too many holes on that side of the football. The quarterback competition has been lukewarm at best, there are off-the-field issues with Mike Goodson at running back, and the wide receivers are either banged up (Santonio Holmes) or experiencing butter fingers in practice (Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley).

Let's be frank: New York's offense desperately lacks playmakers. The Jets better fix it ASAP if they want to score enough points to be competitive this season. Two ideas I can think of off the top of the my head would be to add former Pro Bowl tight end Kellen Winslow, who had a terrific tryout this week, as well as former Jets receiver Braylon Edwards. These are two proven playmakers who will make life easier for quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith.

Ryan is in a must-win situation in 2013. Waiting on Holmes (foot) to get healthy or for Hill to come around are dangerous propositions for New York’s head coach. Hill, in particular, is a raw prospect with a lot of measurables. Yet he struggled with drops, injuries and adjusting to the NFL last season. It’s fair to give a rookie a pass, but so far it’s been more of the same for Hill in Year 2.

New offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is a solid coach. His schemes have worked in the past, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the proper personnel. Right now, the Jets are running thin on offensive talent in what amounts to a rebuilding year. However, New York can do a little more this offseason to at least avoid a weekly embarrassment on offense in the fall.

AFC East Offseason Stock Watch

June, 13, 2013
6/13/13
2:00
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Minicamps are in full swing this week.

Let’s take a look at whose stock is rising and falling in the AFC East.

Falling

1. Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills safety: Buffalo's Pro Bowl safety was a no-show this week for mandatory minicamp. That certainly does not help his standing with the team and its coaching staff. Byrd was not fined because he has yet to sign his one-year franchise tag. He’s holding out for a long-term extension and both sides have until later this summer to work something out. Byrd is a very good player and deserving of an extension. But I’m not sure skipping the entire offseason is the best way to go about it.

2. Geno Smith, New York Jets quarterback: The highly-touted second-round pick has not created any separation with struggling incumbent quarterback Mark Sanchez, and that’s a bad thing. New York’s lukewarm quarterback competition this offseason hasn’t done much to inspire hope for the Jets this year. Smith is struggling with the difficult transition from a wide-open spread offense at West Virginia to a precise West Coast scheme in New York. Sanchez will enter training camp as the favorite, and if the season started today, Sanchez probably would be the starter. But the good news for Smith is the season doesn’t start for another three months.

[+] EnlargeKellen Winslow
AP Photo/Bill KostrounKellen Winslow caught 75 passes in 2011 with Tampa Bay, his last full season.
3. Miami Dolphins fullbacks: The Dolphins spent more than $200 million in contracts this offseason and $117 million in guaranteed contracts. However, the team is still looking to upgrade certain positions. It’s not good news for fullbacks Charles Clay and Jorvorskie Lane when Miami is exploring other options. The Dolphins claimed talented but troubled fullback Evan Rodriguez off waivers this week and also hosted a visit this week with Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin tried to put a good face on the fullback situation by saying it’s difficult to evaluate the position this time of year. But the actions of the front office speaks louder than words.

Rising

1. Kellen Winslow Jr., free-agent tight end: The Jets are desperate for playmakers, and first-year general manager John Idzik made a smart move to bring Winslow in for a three-day tryout at minicamp. By all accounts, Winslow looked impressive in practices and made an impact with the Jets this week. New York needs someone who can get open and make plays in its new West Coast offense. Winslow is a former Pro Bowler who caught 75 receptions in his last full season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011. The Jets don’t have much at tight end or wide receiver and would be smart to sign Winslow to their roster.

2. Brandon Gibson, Dolphins receiver: About a month ago when organized team activities began, Gibson looked like a receiver unsure of himself and his role as a slot receiver. But several weeks later, Gibson looks smooth and confident. Due to need, Gibson is playing inside full-time for the first time in his career after Miami traded Davone Bess to the Cleveland Browns. He made numerous explosive plays this week in Miami’s minicamp, displaying good hands and good routes. Gibson had a solid week, which should provide momentum heading into training camp.

3. EJ Manuel, Bills quarterback: Manuel had a tall task of beating out two veteran quarterbacks in training camp. But the Bills did the No. 16 overall pick in April’s draft a small favor by getting rid of Tarvaris Jackson this week. Buffalo’s quarterback competition is now a two-man race between Manuel and Kevin Kolb. The rookie is still the underdog, but Manuel’s percentages for playing at some point this year just went up.
Here are the most interesting stories Wednesday in the AFC East: Morning take: New York is very thin at tight end after losing former starter Dustin Keller in free agency. Winslow has been a playmaker his entire career, and it would make a lot of sense for New York to sign him to a struggling offense.
Morning take: This is promising because Buffalo’s defense wasn’t very good last year. Stopping the run will be most important, because that is where the Bills mainly struggled in 2012.
Morning take: Miami lost a lot of leaders in free agency, such as Reggie Bush, Jake Long and Karlos Dansby. Someone internally must step up and Wallace should be one of those players.
Morning take: Unless Tebow plans on playing another position, I don’t see how he could contribute at quarterback. Tom Brady should not come out the game for any reason other than injury, and if that happens second stringer Ryan Mallett is still a better option.

Video: Kellen Winslow talks about Patriots

September, 20, 2012
9/20/12
5:50
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Newly signed tight end Kellen Winslow talks to the media about joining the Patriots.
The New England Patriots were not going to stop using dual-tight end sets. They love the formation too much. In fact, the Patriots looked lost without it Sunday in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

That is why it was good move for the reigning AFC champs to sign the best tight end on the market: Kellen Winslow Jr. A source tells the AFC East blog Tuesday morning that New England has agreed to a one-year contract with the former Pro Bowler.

Winslow brings many of the same skills the Patriots lost with injured tight end Aaron Hernandez, who will be out a few weeks with an ankle injury. Winslow is athletic with very good hands. He's averaged 73 receptions and 792.3 yards the past three seasons.

The Patriots did not want to shelve a large portion of their offensive playbook until Hernandez returned. Winslow can fill that void and allow quarterback Tom Brady to run the successful two-tight end sets that led New England to the Super Bowl last season. The Patriots' offense struggled without the formation on Sunday and didn't score a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter.

New England has enough issues on its plate. The pass protection is inconsistent. Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker is mysteriously losing playing time and the team is .500 with a tough upcoming stretch against the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos.

The addition of Winslow plugs a hole on offense and gives New England one less thing to worry about.

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