AFC East: Le Kevin Smith
The NFL's two biggest offseason trades were facilitated through old associates.
New England Patriots overlord Bill Belichick didn't hesitate to swing a trade with former player personnel man Scott Pioli, sending quarterback Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs in February.
The New York Jets dealt with their freshly fired coach, Eric Mangini, in the blockbuster draft-day trade that landed quarterback Mark Sanchez with the fifth overall pick. The trade reunited Mangini with three of his former players.
On Monday, Belichick bartered with another ex-Patriot on a smaller-scale swap.
Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, the former Patriots offensive coordinator, knew enough about defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith to acquire him and a seventh-round draft choice for a fifth-round pick.
Belichick explained trades with coworkers-turned-opponents often are easier to make.
"It's a situation where they know the player," Belichick said at his Monday news briefing. "When you trade for somebody, you want to know what you're getting. So I'm sure that's part of it for them.
"We've been on the other end of that, too, and that's important. But I certainly have a high level of trust with both Scott and Josh."
"There's no real 'It's got to be this team or that team,' " Belichick said. "You just never know where those opportunities are going to be, and you never know who's going to be interested in working with you.
"So we try to keep all the doors open other than just probably one or two teams I doubt we'd be having a lot of trade talks with."
Such as the teams within in the division -- and perhaps wherever Mangini's working.
- Palm Beach Post reporter Brian Biggane lays out to the top storylines for Monday night's preseason opener.
- South Florida Sun-Sentinel columnist Ethan J. Skolnick writes the Dolphins defense intends to make the leap from good to great in 2009.
- Miami Herald reporter David J. Neal writes coach Tony Sparano is more interested in consistency than stellar practice play.
- Sun-Sentinel reporter Mike Berardino catches up with rookie linebacker J.D. Folsom, a late-round pick who's starting to feel comfortable.
- How do we know rookie cornerback Ellis Lankster had a big game Saturday night? Three local publications decided it was time to tell us who he is: Buffalo News, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and Niagara Gazette.
- Buffalo News columnist Bob DiCesare wonders if the Bills will open the season with Roscoe Parrish on their roster.
- Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun writes the Bills' postseason hopes hinge on Trent Edwards proving this season there's no doubt he's the franchise quarterback.
- Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com reports the Patriots received a fifth-round draft choice from the Denver Broncos for defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith and a seventh-round pick.
- Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe breaks down the deal.
- Boston Globe reporter Christopher L. Gasper writes linebacker Tedy Bruschi's "absence from training camp is a reminder that he won't be the heart and soul of the Patriots' defense much longer."
- Boston Herald reporter Karen Guregian takes a look at how Joey Galloway is assimilating the Patriots' offense.
- Benjamin Watson's role as the top tight end is in jeopardy, Dan Darcy writes for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
New York Jets
- Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times compares the atmospheric change at Jets camp from Eric Mangini to Rex Ryan.
- Newark Star-Ledger reporter Dave Hutchinson checks in with outside linebacker Calvin Pace about making the most of preseason snaps.
- Bergen Record reporter J.P. Pelzman writes about David Clowney's progression as an NFL receiver.
DAVIE, Fla. -- How's this for refreshing?
The Miami Dolphins just passed out their first injury report of 2008, and there's not a single name on it. Nary a player, even though we know some are battling various bumps and bruises.
So perhaps it's an act of defiance, a way of telling the New York Jets, "Buckle up, boys, because we're lining up."
The Jets, meanwhile, list WR David Clowney (shoulder) as out. Limited in practice Wednesday were DB David Barrett (shoulder), WR Laveranues Coles (thigh), DE Shaun Ellis (hand), WR Marcus Henry (calf), DB Justin Miller (foot) and RT Damien Woody (shoulder).
The Patriots, infamous for their injury report Tom Brady foolery, had four players who didn't practice: WR Sam Aiken (knee), OL Dan Connolly (knee), DL Le Kevin Smith (knee), TE Ben Watson (knee). OL Russ Hochstein (groin) was limited. Brady was listed as participating fully, but he was labeled as having right shoulder and foot injuries.