AFC East: Todd Haley
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports former Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley will not join the Jets as a passing game coordinator. Haley recently met with the Jets to see if he can assist Sparano, who was named offensive coordinator.
Pursuing Haley made sense. Sparano's experience is tied more with the offensive line and the running game. Haley could have helped New York quarterback Mark Sanchez develop, as well as the passing attack.
But the brunt of that now falls on Sparano, who has had mixed results with quarterbacks as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Former second-round pick Chad Henne never reached his potential in Miami under Sparano. However, Matt Moore came off the bench this past season and put up career numbers.
Bills coach Chan Gailey admitted that it felt good to rout the Chiefs and coach Todd Haley, who fired Gailey as offensive coordinator 13 days before the 2009 season.
Fred Jackson has established himself as Buffalo's feature back.
The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero takes a look at Miami's running back situation entering the season opener.
Coordinator Brian Daboll gets his chance to prove he's the right man to lead Miami's offense.
Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel provides five key matchups for Miami's game against New England.
The Dolphins have chosen to wear their aqua uniforms for tonight's season opener against the Patriots.
New England Patriots
New England's defensive facelift will be on display against Miami.
Tom Brady is champing at the bit, ready to win another championship.
The Boston Herald's Ian R. Rapoport provides five things to watch in tonight's game against the Dolphins.
New York Jets
Steve Serby of the New York Post says the Jets have become the true America's Team.
Jets offensive tackle Wayne Hunter had his hands full blocking Dallas' DeMarcus Ware.
A blocked punt by the Jets turned the momentum against Dallas.
What it means: One game does not make a season. But, come on folks, the Kansas City Chiefs can’t be feeling good after this one. To allow the Buffalo Bills to come in and ruin opening day like this is stunning, and, frankly, it’s inexcusable. Remember last year’s opener when the Chiefs played with spunk and outworked the Chargers? It started a special season. What will this stinker be the start of? After a poor preseason, the Chiefs played like a team that was unprepared for the regular season on Sunday. It was outworked and outplayed and it was sloppy and ineffective. Add anything else you like. It was just plain bad and the Chiefs.
Trending: It all started with the reported Jonathan Baldwin-Thomas Jones fight. Until the reported fight in late August, all was fairly solid for the Chiefs. They started slow, but they were healthy and all was good. Then, the bout occurred and Baldwin hasn’t practiced since with a thumb injury. It started a flurry of bad news for the Chiefs. Free-agent pickup, linebacker Brandon Siler, was soon lost for the year with a torn Achilles. Then, standout tight end Tony Moeaki was lost for the season with a torn ACL in his knee. Then the Chiefs went 0-4 in the preseason and now this horrible performance in the opener.
What’s really scary: Going into this game, no one expected the Bills’ offense to be a juggernaut and no one will likely expect it to be after this game. But the Bills rammed it down the Chiefs’ throats. The Chiefs couldn’t do anything defensively against the pass or the run. Kansas City won 10 games last year because the defense was stout. It was awful Sunday.
What's next: The Chiefs have to go to Detroit and play the improved and dangerous Detroit Lions before playing at San Diego in Week 3. Yes, Todd Haley’s crew must get it in gear, pronto.
Fans, players and coaches voted him the AFC's starter for the Pro Bowl.
But the NFL Alumni Association didn't view Brady as the NFL's best quarterback in 2010.
Alumni membership voted San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to their annual all-star team.
I can't argue with the credentials of the voters, at least.
The all-stars were selected by simple majority of NFL Alumni. Miami Dolphins consultant Bill Parcells compiled the list of nominees, three at each general position.
The AFC East sent two teams to the playoffs, but couldn't get anybody honored by the NFL alumni. Provincial nominees were Brady, New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller, Dolphins offensive lineman Jake Long and outside linebacker Cameron Wake and Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Kyle Williams.
Parcells did not list Brady among his three candidates for Player of the Year, meaning the star quarterback couldn't be elected for that award. Parcells also didn't include Bill Belichick among his top coach candidates. Parcells' former defensive coordinator was the landslide winner of the AP's 2010 Coach of the Year Award.
The NFL Alumni awards for 2010:
- Quarterback: Philip Rivers, Chargers
- Running back: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
- Wide receiver: Roddy White, Falcons
- Tight end: Jason Witten, Cowboys
- Offensive line: Josh Sitton, Packers
- Defensive lineman: Ndamukong Suh, Lions
- Linebacker: Patrick Willis, 49ers
- Defensive back: Aqib Talib, Buccaneers
- Special teams: Devin Hester, Bears
- Spirit Award: Felix Jones, Cowboys
- Coach of the Year: Todd Haley, Chiefs
- Player of the Year: Troy Polamalu, Steelers
ESPN "First Take" resident disputant Skip Bayless and Chris Broussard discuss whether New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick deserved to win the Associated Press 2010 Coach of the Year Award -- and who might've been snubbed.
While Belichick had the benefit of Brady at quarterback, the Patriots went through a transitional phase both offensively and defensively. They traded Randy Moss, dealt with Logan Mankins' long contract holdout, endured injuries that would rattle other teams, and successfully infused several young players into key roles.
The Patriots dominated the regular season. They led the NFL in scoring and ranked eighth in points allowed. They broke the NFL record for fewest turnovers in a season with 10.
Belichick, who also oversees New England's personnel, operated without any coordinators in 2010.
While the honor went to the best candidate, I was surprised to learn Belichick won in a landslide. He received 30 of the 50 votes cast. The award often is given to a coach who has dramatically improved his team. The Patriots were expected to be good in 2010, while there were a few who turned losers into playoff teams -- or came darn close.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers second-year coach Raheem Morris was a distant second with 11.5 votes. Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley was third with 4.5 votes. Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons, Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles, Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears and Steve Spagnuolo of the St. Louis Rams each received one vote.
To guess who will win, we safely can eliminate three-quarters of the AFC East.
Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano won a single home game and nearly lost his job while owner Stephen Ross flirted with then-Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh right after the season.
AP's voting panel couldn't have been too impressed by a coach who spoke presumptively about the Super Bowl for months then entered the postseason as a sixth seed.
Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey was downright fantastic in keeping his team from total implosion. The Bills began the year 0-8, but Gailey somehow kept them stoked enough to win four games and scare some playoff teams, taking the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers into overtime.
So that leaves us with one legitimate AFC East contender for coach of the year.
Bill Belichick coached the New England Patriots to 14 wins, most in the NFL. Sure, they were one and done in the playoffs, but all the votes were cast by then.
Belichick's season was incredible when you consider what he had to navigate as a coach and personnel overlord.
He overhauled the Patriots' offense, relying less on the spread and more on multiple tight ends. He handled the Logan Mankins holdout. Belichick made the decision to trade Randy Moss after two games and swing a deal to bring aboard Deion Branch. All the while, Brady was masterful.
Belichick also dealt with losing his best cornerback, Leigh Bodden, before the season began. At times, the Patriots started four rookies on defense, putting Devin McCourty on the opposition's top receivers. McCourty went to the Pro Bowl.
As much as Belichick deserves the award (I would have voted for him if I had a ballot), I doubt he'll win it because the Patriots were expected to be good, and the honor usually goes to a coach who guides his club to a dramatic improvement.
Chiefs coach Todd Haley, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith would fall into that category. Each went from out of the playoffs in 2009 to a division title. So did Pete Carroll with the Seattle Seahawks, but he's not winning it.
Belichick has claimed the AP award twice: 2003 (Patriots went from 9-7 and out of the playoffs to 14-2) and 2007 (Patriots went 16-0).
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Peyton Manning in Lucas Oil Stadium, Tom Brady in Gillette Stadium and Ben Roethlisberger at Heinz Field.
And if he makes it through still alive and advances to the Super Bowl, then Bill Belichick, Lovie Smith, Todd Haley or anybody else who wins a 2010 Coach of the Year Award ought to ship it on over to One Jets Drive.
The sixth-seeded Jets can accomplish a rarity if they defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday for the AFC Championship. Wild-card teams have reached the Super Bowl before, but only one team ever has knocked off the first, second and third seeds to do it.
The 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers were the first, but the quarterbacks they faced in those playoffs were Carson Palmer, Manning and Jake Plummer. Not exactly a Murderer's Row.
Manning, Brady and Roethlisberger have won six Super Bowls and played in eight. They have a combined 32-17 postseason record.
"That's a pretty strong task when you mention guys like that," said Tom Flores, who coached the first wild-card champions, the 1980 Oakland Raiders, in Super Bowl history. "They've been there before. They've experienced being in big games before and winning big games before.
"You're going against the best. There's no unknowns there."
In addition to the superstar opposing quarterbacks, the Jets are venturing into some of the most difficult venues in any sport.
Flores got past an impressive group of quarterbacks for his first Super Bowl (he won another two years later as a division champ): Ken Stabler, MVP Brian Sipe and future Hall of Famer Dan Fouts.
But that lineup isn't as tough as what the Jets are facing. Flores sees Sunday's game being less intimidating than their showdown against the Patriots.
"Their biggest hurdle was in New England," Flores said. "That was almost impossible to beat them there."
Unfortunately for Ryan, awards like coach of the year are based on regular-season results.
He led the Jets to a 11-5 record, but they faded down the homestretch. Their lopsided 45-3 loss to the Patriots in Week 13 followed the next week by an ugly home loss to the Miami Dolphins erased any chance of Ryan winning honors.
But if Ryan can navigate this rugged playoff stretch and make it to the Super Bowl, then we'll know who really deserves to be considered the best.
"Well, I can say this: It's not easy," Ryan said. "I don't know who's next. [Terry] Bradshaw?
"Clearly, we have a ton of work to do to pull this off. But we think we're the men for the job, and we're going to find out Sunday."
How much elite talent would Parcells say he gathered?
It would be difficult to ask Parcells that question because he almost never agrees to interview requests these days.
But we can discover what Parcells thinks by reviewing the finalists for NFL Alumni Player of the Year Awards. Parcells alone selected the finalists, three in each major positional group on offense and defense plus three for all special-teams.
Parcells selected Dolphins left tackle Jake Long as one of his offensive linemen and Dolphins edge rusher Cameron Wake as one of his linebackers.
Also from the AFC East were New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller and Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Kyle Williams.
Parcells, however, did not list Brady among his three candidates for player of the year, opting instead to nominate San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews.
Another surprise is that Parcells didn't choose Bill Belichick, his former defensive coordinator, as a coach of the year candidate. Parcells went with Todd Haley, whom he interviewed for the Dolphins job Tony Sparano took in 2008, Lovie Smith and Mike Smith.
Former players will determine the awards from the names Parcells nominated. Winners will be reveled Feb. 4.
The AFC East is well represented, with three of their four experts backing up Sports Illustrated's declaration that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has had an MVP first half.
MVP: Tom Brady
Offensive player: Tom Brady
Defensive player: Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson
Head coach: Steve Spagnuolo
Rookie: Sam Bradford and Ndamukong Suh
Team: Patriots and Giants
MVP: Peyton Manning and Tom Brady
Offensive player: Peyton Manning
Defensive player: James Harrison
Head coach: Bill Belichick
Rookie: Sam Bradford and Ndamukong Suh
Team: No choice, but says Patriots, Ravens, Steelers and Jets are best four teams in the NFL.
MVP: Aaron Rodgers
Offensive player: Philip Rivers
Defensive player: Clay Matthews
Head coach: Todd Haley
Rookie: Sam Bradford
MVP: Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers
Head coach: Todd Haley
Rookie: Ndamukong Suh
But his brother-in-law and former longtime Miami Dolphins teammate apparently had no problem switching allegiances.
"We had been talking to the Jets as well, and we had the option of waiting even until after the draft or before training camp," Rosenhaus said. "But the truth of the matter is Zach was excited about the chance."
Thomas, like Taylor, spent last season in the NFC East after more than a decade as a fixture on the Dolphins' defense. They combined for 13 Pro Bowls while playing together.
Taylor is waiting to sign. He probably won't have a new employer until after the NFL draft in two weeks, but it almost certainly won't be the Jets based on what he had to say last week.
"It'd be very, very, very difficult. Very difficult," Taylor said at a youth football camp. "But at the end of the day, if you can't find a job anywhere else and the Jets call, I guess you've got to retire or go play.
"The Jets are the Jets. I've had a lot of history saying bad things about Jets fans. The fireman hat guy [Fireman Ed], and all of the people in New York that are Jets fans are not the ones that are working on Wall Street. I've said all of those things. So I've got to leave it at that."
Taylor would appear to have more attractive options than his wife's brother did. Taylor could land with the New England Patriots, a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
The Chiefs went 2-14 last year, but Rosenhaus ticked off a number of reasons Thomas was interested: new general manager Scott Pioli, new head coach Todd Haley, new quarterback Matt Cassel and the fact Thomas likely will be the starter.
"Zach really likes the opportunity in that defense," Rosenhaus said. "They play a 3-4. He's going to get a chance to start inside. He's going to be 36 years old in September. To have an opportunity to start for a quality franchise, you can't turn that own."
New England Patriots
- Boston Globe reporters Christopher L. Gasper and Shira Springer cite an unnamed medical source who says Tom Brady is running, throwing and on schedule for the 2009 opener.
- Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy is fed up with the kissy-face quarterback's less-than-manly antics.
- Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes about Tuesday's hiring of Floyd Reese as senior football advisor.
- Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe reports Cardinals linebacker Victor Hobson almost returned to the Patriots in December, but passed.
- Bruce Smith would like some company when he gets inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, writes Associated Press reporter John Wawrow.
- USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt notes at least one Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker misses the Joey Porter sideshow at the Super Bowl.
- Palm Beach Post reporter Edgar Thompson thinks the Bill Parcells coaching tree soon will gain a Todd Haley branch.
New York Jets
Grant from Mobile, Ala., recently wrote into the AFC East mailbag:
Hey Tim, Enjoy your work. Seeing that Anquan Boldin's relationship continues to be rocky with the Cards (he didn't even celebrate with his team after they advanced to their first Super Bowl in 60+ years), how can the FINS sweep in and get the game-breaker at WR they desperately need? What would it take to get him? The 25th pick?? Am I dreaming here? Thanks.
Thanks for dropping a line, Grant. You're not alone in your curiosity about the dangerous Arizona Cardinals receiver.
Boldin to the Dolphins has been speculated on message boards and sports radio for months.
His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has fueled some of the discussions by dropping not-so-subtle hints Boldin would love to play for the Dolphins, but mostly Boldin wants out of Arizona and Miami is a convenient reference because the Dolphins have a need, Boldin is from Pahokee, Fla., and Rosenhaus works out of Miami.
Boldin has groused about his contract (two years left on a $22.75 million deal), blasted his head coach, requested a trade and twice declared he would never re-sign with the Cardinals.
But my NFC West colleague, Mike Sando, has written several times this season it would be unwise for the Cardinals to trade him.
As for Boldin's sideline explosion with Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley, keep this in mind: Whatever Haley really thinks of Boldin already has been absorbed by Dolphins football operations boss Bill Parcells.
Haley considers Parcells his mentor. When Parcells was head coach of the New York Jets, Haley was his wide receivers coach. In Parcells' last two seasons as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Haley was his passing game coordinator (future Dolphins coach Tony Sparano was the running game coordinator).
So Parcells and Haley were forced to cope with diva Terrell Owens together in 2006.
See where I'm going with this?
Parcells had designs on luring Haley from the Cardinals when assembling the coaching staff last year. He did add Haley's father, Dick Haley, to the Dolphins front office as a player personnel analyst. Dick Haley was the Pittsburgh Steelers' player personnel director from 1971 to 1991, winning four Super Bowls.
Parcells certainly would trust whatever Todd Haley thinks, and his opinion of Boldin might not be all that flattering. For all of Boldin's abilities, Haley hasn't been calling his number much in the postseason: Six catches for 106 yards in two games, with 71 of those yards coming on his lone touchdown.
Haley on Monday was saying all the right things about his public blow-up with Boldin. Haley was diplomatic. He chalked it up as two passionate competitors disagreeing in the heat of battle.
But Parcells is not a big fan of drama. Even though the Dolphins won the AFC East, they still are in the rebuilding stages as an organization.
A player like Boldin might not be the best fit from a chemistry standpoint.
But the Dolphins lacked a difference-maker at receiver. Boldin showed a warrior's heart by missing only two games after suffering a facial injury in Week 4 against the Jets. Boldin finished with 89 catches for 1,038 yards and 11 touchdowns.
I don't believe a Boldin-to-Miami trade will happen. He's a valuable contributor to a team that just won the NFC title, and the Dolphins might not be interested anyway.
But if Boldin keeps trying to force his way out of Arizona and the discord becomes insurmountable, anything is possible.