AFC East: Robert Malone

The New England Patriots worked out six players on Tuesday, including five specialists and offensive tackle R.J. Mattes, who has previously spent time with the team, according to a league source.

The team worked out two punters, Robert Malone and Shawn Powell, kicker Jose Carlos Maltos and two long-snappers, Jeremy Cain and Brian Jennings.

It's not uncommon for teams to use their bye week as a time to keep track of their "emergency list" players, which may be the motivation behind bringing in some of the players who worked out.

Powell and Malone have AFC East ties, as they were released by the Bills and Jets, respectively, earlier this season. Cain is a UMass graduate who has been with numerous NFL teams, while Jennings spent 13 seasons with the 49ers. Carlos Maltos, a native of Mexico, spent part of this past offseason with the Saints.

Mattes has had multiple tenures with the Patriots after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of North Carolina State in May. He was most recently released by the team from injured reserve on Aug. 24, though his workout suggests he has recovered from the injury.

Tebow one of Westhoff's favorites

September, 6, 2012
To Mike Westhoff, Tim Tebow invokes memories of Dan Marino.

No, not as a quarterback. But in terms of what the Jets special teams coach sees from Tebow as a person, not just on the football field.

"To me he's one of those guys that takes what he does and does it 100 percent and doesn't ask anything else out of it," Westhoff said on Thursday. "He's one of those guys that you hoped what he would be off the field, he is in my opinion; (seeing him) in my meetings. I used to say that about Dan. What you would hope (for)."

As Westhoff has worked with Tebow to implement him into the special teams packages, the coach is very complimentary of the quarterback, saying he enjoys being around his new pupil. Westhoff knows Marino from his time coaching with the Dolphins.

"Tim's one of my favorite guys. I go back my whole career and there are certain individuals that you just really like but then I also have this tremendous respect for him," Westhoff said. "I watch how hard he works, how hard he studies, I've never heard him make an excuse. Ever. Not even an inkling of one. I know him actually personally really well and I don't always get to do that."

Tebow will be used in punt packages and Westhoff said he could be an additional weapon for the unit in terms of fakes. Tebow will serve as the fullback in the punt formation and Westhoff said opponents will need to know he is.

Westhoff praised Tebow for being able to make a mistake and then be the first to get right back in there. He added Tebow is appreciative of people recognizing what he's been able to accomplish and he hasn't seen Tebow change despite the popularity.

"I just can't say enough about him. The things that I like. I really enjoy being around him," Westhoff said. "He's one of my favorite guys. I have so much respect for how he plays the game and how he works and how he prepares."

THE CHANGE: A strong workout by Robert Malone and inconsistency by T.J. Conley led to the latter being waived on Tuesday. Malone will be the starter Sunday against Buffalo.

"One of the things I was disappointed in was a level of consistency," Westhoff said of Conley. "The variance in performance at different levels is very normal but the highs and then the lows, the depth between those two I wasn't satisfied with and I was trying to see if we couldn't get that better and get more consistent."

The Jets had their eyes on Malone as they thought of signing him in the offseason. They hoped Malone wouldn't stick with San Diego during training camp, and after he failed to make the final roster, the Jets worked him out. He impressed them by hitting the ceiling five times with his punts and they made the switch.

"I like the upside of this young man," Westhoff said. "We want to give him an opportunity."

Morning take: Marino on Tannehill

September, 5, 2012
Here are the most interesting stories Wednesday in the AFC East:
  • Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino reflects on his rookie year and what that could mean for Ryan Tannehill.
Morning take: Not even Marino played in Week 1 as a rookie, which is what Tannehill will do Sunday. Even the best quarterbacks go through some growing pains and Tannehill will be no different.
Morning take: I'm not sure what the Patriots are doing with their makeshift offensive line. Some players are banged up and we're still not sure if Brian Waters will return. But New England seems willing to go into Week 1 with eight players up front and no injuries.
  • The New York Jets switched punters Tuesday, signing Robert Malone before their Week 1 game against Buffalo.
Morning take: The Jets never seemed too comfortable with their kicking situation this offseason. Malone might get plenty of chances to prove himself with the way New York’s offense performed in the preseason.
Morning take: The Bills didn’t get much respect from the AP or Buffalo still has a lot to prove after not making the playoffs since 1999.