AFC East: Mickey Shuler

PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills released guard Chris Scott and tight end Mickey Shuler on Saturday, one day after players reported to St. John Fisher College for training camp.

Scott, 25, was signed by the Bills off the Tennessee Titans' practice squad late last season. Listed at 6-foot-4, 360 pounds, Scott was in the mix to replace Andy Levitre at left guard.

"It's just unfortunate in this profession that we have expectations of coaches coming in, and we didn't feel that Chris fulfilled his expectation to us, his teammates, or the coaches. So we let him go," head coach Doug Marrone said Saturday.

Shuler, a seventh-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2010, was claimed off waivers from the Oakland Raiders in May.

The Bills placed offensive lineman Chris Hairston, who missed time during offseason workouts with an injury, on the active/physically unable to perform list on Tuesday. After holding their conditioning test on Saturday morning, Marrone said he didn't anticipate adding players to that list.

"We're just waiting on clearance from the doctors [on Hairston]," he said. "But really everyone else is full go, which is exciting."

Saturday's moves bring the Bills roster to 85 players. Teams are allowed up to 90 players on the roster during training camp, but general manager Doug Whaley said there are no immediate plans to have a full squad.

"We look at it as, a couple years ago, we came into camp with 80 [players]. We're going to leave it at [85 players], but we'll constantly be evaluating any free agents out there," Whaley said. "But this gives us some flexibility by leaving it at that, without having to cut somebody if we see someone out there who we think can help us."
Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson breaks down the tight ends of each AFC East team. Today: Miami Dolphins.

Anthony Fasano might not be the most dynamic tight end in the league, but he is a very underrated all-around player. He battled several injuries for much of the 2010 season, but his toughness was obvious and he was quite productive. Blocking is his forte -- and he is among the best blocking tight ends in football. But Fasano also is a good receiving option. He won’t stretch the field or make a lot of big plays, but he is reliable in the middle of the field and near the goal line.

Mickey Shuler was the only other Dolphins tight end to record a catch in 2010. But Shuler lacks the power to play every down and isn’t dynamic enough to create mismatches in coverage. Jeron Mastrud, Joey Haynos and Dedrick Epps also are in the equation, as is sixth-round pick Charles Clay. Mastrud needs a ton of work as a blocker, but his height and athleticism are reasonably intriguing. But still, Mustrud doesn’t play the game with enough leverage. Haynos also is very tall, but he is heavier and far more physical than Mastrud. Haynos isn’t a playmaker at all as a receiver. Epps is a young player who could develop. Epps has upside and might just surprise. Clay is a jack-of-all-trades who might have a tough time finding a niche in the NFL. But Clay does have some upside as a receiver.

Miami would be wise to consider signing a backup tight end for Fasano. Actually, adding a tight end to the current crop would be a good move for every team in this division with the exception of New England.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.

Ranking the AFC East's tight ends

March, 29, 2011
3/29/11
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To play off ESPN.com's positional Power Rankings, I've broken down the AFC East's best tight ends.

Here's how I slot them:
  1. Dustin Keller, New York Jets
  2. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
  3. Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots
  4. Anthony Fasano, Miami Dolphins
  5. Alge Crumpler, New England Patriots
  6. Jeff Cumberland, New York Jets
  7. David Martin, Buffalo Bills
  8. Jonathan Stupar, Buffalo Bills
  9. Mickey Shuler, Miami Dolphins

The first five are obvious. Keller is the most dangerous tight end in the division. I ranked him sixth in the NFL on my ballot.

But if Gronkowski and Hernandez didn't have to share touches, then one of them might surpass Keller. Gronkowski and Hernandez combined for 87 catches, 1,109 yards and 16 touchdowns.

ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer thought Gronkowski was snubbed from the overall top 10 list and called him "a dominant blocker in-line ... almost like another tackle" and said "he will be the premier tight end in the NFL in the next few years."

Fasano is next in the AFC East with 39 receptions for 528 yards and four touchdowns, but the stats plummet after that. Crumpler is next because of his blocking skills and knowledge he can make the play if the Patriots depended on it.

From there, I sorted them based on speculation.

Cumberland, an undrafted rookie, was deactivated for 15 games. But I saw enough of the physical specimen in training camp and the preseason to imagine him contributing more to the Bills than Martin (seven receptions, one touchdown) or Stupar (12 receptions, no TDs).

AFC East links: A QB for the Bills?

February, 14, 2011
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Buffalo Bills

Using their first-round draft pick on a quarterback remains a possibility for the Bills.

General manager Buddy Nix is one of 24 people being inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame.

Miami Dolphins

Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino was part of a news conference announcing that the WWE's WrestleMania 28 will be held in Miami.

Tight end Mickey Shuler Jr., who starred at Penn State, has found a home with the Dolphins.

New England Patriots

How the Patriots deal with Matt Light and Logan Mankins will dictate how they handle the rest of their offseason business.

New England came in at No. 1 in Rick Gosselin's annual special-teams rankings.

New York Jets

In case you missed it, coach Rex Ryan has already set the bar high for next season.

The New York Post's Steve Serby sat down with former Jets center and NFL Players Association president Kevin Mawae.

Speed Dial: Was the Jets' season a failure?

January, 24, 2011
1/24/11
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Now that the New York Jets' season has concluded, the time seemed appropriate for a "Speed Dial."

I called a few notable former Jets from my Rolodex to get their opinions on this question:

Given all the splashy offseason acquisitions and brash talk from the Jets about winning it all, should their season be considered a failure because they didn't reach the Super Bowl?

Don Maynard, Jets receiver (1963-72), Super Bowl III champ and Pro Football Hall of Famer:
"Any time, to me, you get into the playoffs and they had the record they had, they certainly ought to call it a success. Any time you win more than you lose, I would think that would be a success for sure. You figure there's 32 teams, and you're playing all of them to some degree and finished ahead of 28 of 'em. I know they had me on the edge of my seat.
"When you think back years ago to the Minnesota Vikings and they went to the Super Bowl around four times and lost, a lot of people called it a failure. I said 'Well, to go to the Super Bowl and win second place, that's great.' It depends on who's commenting on the situation."

Richard Caster, Jets receiver and tight end (1970-77), three-time Pro Bowler and loser of back-to-back AFC Championship Games with the Houston Oilers in 1978 and '79 seasons:
"I look at it as a continued process that should be interpreted as successful. Any time a team can equal or do better than the previous year at this level, they've maintained what they had and got better in specific areas. It was a successful season that moved the team forward. If they hadn't gotten to the playoffs, it would have been a failure.
"The team can be a little disappointing at times. There were games in the year where you kind of look at them and think 'Oh, boy. Same old Jets.' In some situations where they should be really excelling, they didn't live up to it, particularly against Miami and Green Bay.
"But, overall, I can live with this as a fan. The team improved their record. There were only four teams still playing over the weekend. Of course, next year, you really have to get over the hump."

Mickey Shuler, Jets tight end (1978-89) and two-time Pro Bowler:
"Success is that you improved. You can't all win the Super Bowl, but if you keep getting closer and closer, you believe the odds are in your favor to make it all the way eventually. If you watch the teams that win consistently -- and I think the Jets are doing that -- you get more guys buying into the system and the concepts and winning. When that happens you keep moving forward, and you have guys playing for each other, and the pieces fit into the puzzle.

"If you're a player on [the current Jets roster], you'll be upset in two weeks when you watch the Super Bowl. You'll be upset at the first minicamp. It'll always be in the back of your mind until you play again.

"That's the only thing I regret about my career: I never had a chance to be in a Super Bowl. I can still remember when we lost the championship game to the Dolphins [1982 season]. That was, I don't know, 30 years ago. It's always going to be there. While you're playing you tend to think 'Let's not repeat that' as a mindset, but when you're done playing and you think about it, it makes you sick."

Wrap-up: Lions 34, Dolphins 27

December, 26, 2010
12/26/10
5:35
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The Detroit Lions defeated the Miami Dolphins 34-27 in Sun Life Stadium.

What it means: The Dolphins blew a 10-point lead with about five minutes left in the game and lost to the feeblest road team of the past three years. The Dolphins finished the season 1-7 at home, tying the worst record in franchise history.

Home finale: Such a humiliating defeat to punctuate such a humiliating home schedule might mean the end for head coach Tony Sparano. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross predicted his team would reach the Super Bowl this year, indicating where his head was after offseason acquisitions such as receiver Brandon Marshall and inside linebacker Karlos Dansby. ... Running backs Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown might have walked off the field for the last time as Dolphins. Williams rushed 14 times for a game-high 71 yards. Brown had 12 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown.

Davone intervention: The football gods giveth, and they taketh away. With 31 seconds left in the first half, Dolphins receiver Davone Bess caught a touchdown pass that went through the hands of Lions defensive back Tye Hill. But earlier in the game, Bess fumbled on a punt return that set up a Lions field goal, and with a little more than two minutes left in a tie game, Bess fell down on a route, allowing Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy to intercept Chad Henne and return it 30 yards for the winning score.

Offensive implosion: The Dolphins amassed 425 yards and held the ball for nearly 15 minutes more than the Lions. Henne had a decent game until crunch time. The Dolphins led by 10 points with about five minutes left, but Henne threw his only two interceptions on third down in Dolphins territory inside the final four minutes. The first allowed the Lions to kick a game-tying field goal. The second left Sparano shaking his head.

Fins firsts: Popular fullback Lousaka Polite, who is virtually automatic in converting short-yardage third downs, finally scored his first NFL rushing touchdown in his seventh season. Mickey Shuler Jr., son of the former New York Jets tight end, caught his first NFL pass, a 28-yarder to set up a field goal.

What's next: The Dolphins will have the chance to punctuate their disappointing campaign with a victory against the New England Patriots in Gillette Stadium.

Marshall active for Dolphins versus Jets

December, 12, 2010
12/12/10
3:02
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Miami Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall is back in the lineup Sunday and will play against the New York Jets. Here are the inactives at the Meadowlands:

Miami Dolphins
New York Jets

Dolphins at Ravens inactives

November, 7, 2010
11/07/10
11:52
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BALTIMORE -- Inactives for Sunday's game between the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens in M&T Bank Stadium:

Miami Dolphins
Baltimore Ravens

Jets at Dolphins inactives

September, 26, 2010
9/26/10
7:47
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MIAMI -- here are the inactives for Sunday night's game between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins in Sun Life Stadium:

New York Jets
Miami Dolphins

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