NFL Nation: 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."
The San Diego Chargers received terrible news Tuesday in their second day of organized non-contact drills.

The team announced 2012 first-round pick Melvin Ingram has a torn ACL.

The Chargers were counting on Ingram to provide a strong pass rush. He had a slow start to his rookie season, but he showed promise late. The team saw veteran edge rushers Shaun Phillips and Antwan Barnes leave in free agency.

Ingram was expected to be the primary pass-rusher from the edge. Defensive linemen Kendall Reyes and Corey Liuget provide good pass-rush burst from the line, but the Chargers need an outside presence. Former first-round pick Larry English in on the roster, but he has shown he can’t be counted on. The Chargers drafted Tourek Williams in the late rounds last month. His route to the field may be expedited with Ingram’s injuries.

I’d think the Chargers would seriously consider pursuing veteran Dwight Freeney. He was in Indianapolis with new San Diego general manager Tom Telesco. Veteran John Abraham is also out there.

With Ingram out for the year, the Chargers will have to find help somewhere.

This will be a tough setback for a young player. His career will certainly be salvageable, but it will be such a waste to lose his second NFL season in May.

In other AFC West news:
  • The Chiefs claimed offensive lineman Matt Reynolds from the Eagles and cornerback Buddy Jackson from the Giants. Reynolds was coached by new Kansas City coach Andy Reid last season.
  • The Bills claimed tight end Mickey Shuler. He was cut by the Raiders.

Ranking the AFC East's tight ends

March, 29, 2011
To play off'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).

Wrap-up: Lions 34, Dolphins 27

December, 26, 2010
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
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
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
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
On the occasion of Jahvid Best's breakout game Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles -- he became the first rookie in NFL history to finish a game with at least 75 rushing yards, 150 receiving yards and three touchdowns in one game -- I think it's time to start formally tracking the intra-division trade that brought him to the Detroit Lions.

As you recall, the Lions traded into the first round to select Best. In exchange for the No. 30 overall pick, they gave the Minnesota Vikings the No. 34 overall pick and a seventh-rounder (No. 214 overall). The teams also swapped fourth-round picks, with the Vikings moving up to No. 100 overall and the Lions moving back to No. 128 overall.

Like the Lions, the Vikings had a definite need at running back. The Lions sought out Best, and the Vikings tacitly passed him up. Instead, they filled that hole by trading up in the second round to draft Toby Gerhart at No. 51 overall.

I realize some of this is an apples-to-oranges comparison because Gerhart technically wasn't a part of this trade. But in the end, both teams needed a running back. One landed Best and the other ended up with Gerhart and some better/extra picks.

Regardless, I still think it's worth watching whether Gerhart proves to be a productive consolation and if the other pieces the Vikings landed -- most notably cornerback Chris Cook (No. 34) and defensive end Everson Griffen (No. 100) make the trade worthwhile.

The charts below show what the five players involved in this trade, along with Gerhart, have done in the first two games of the season. We'll keep an eye on this dynamic throughout the year and update when appropriate.

Minnesota Vikings cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
Check here for a full list of Minnesota's roster moves.

Biggest surprise: Veteran receiver Javon Walker had a difficult task: proving he was back to his playmaking self after three years of relative inactivity. Two touchdowns in two preseason games suggested he was on his way, but ultimately the Vikings weren't willing to risk a roster spot -- and, because he is a vested veteran, guarantee his base salary for the season. If nothing else, Walker seemed likely to make the team as a No. 5 receiver. But the move leaves the Vikings with four receivers on their 53-man roster. For me, it was also a minor surprise that the Vikings apparently will keep cornerback Cedric Griffin on the active roster, rather than place him on the physically unable to perform list. Griffin hasn't practiced since the end of last season because of a knee injury, but he must be close to returning. For now, he counts against their 53-man limit. Finally, the Vikings kept rookie Mickey Shuler among four tight ends. But that could be an attempt to pass him through waivers on a delayed basis for the purposes of getting him on the practice squad.

No-brainers: Kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd didn't have a touchback until the fourth preseason game, and his roster spot was simply too valuable. The only reason to keep a kickoff specialist is if he consistently puts the ball into the end zone. Lloyd didn't do that, and give some credit to the Vikings for eating the $200,000 bonus they gave him this spring. No sense throwing good money after bad. Ryan Longwell isn't the NFL's leading kickoff man, but he is good enough to prevent the Vikings from forcing this issue.

What's next: You have to assume the Vikings will add a cornerback, either through waivers or via trade. Cutting DeAndre Wright and Marcus Sherels leaves the team with three healthy cornerbacks. It's almost mandatory that the Vikings find at least one more. Walker's departure makes you wonder if the Vikings have another receiver targeted, but it's also possible they will keep four until Sidney Rice returns at midseason. Finally, Friday's trade of Darius Reynaud to the New York Giants means the Vikings need to identify a punt returner.
NFC Big Question: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Who got the better end of the intra-division draft swap between Minnesota and Detroit?

There are several elements to consider here. First is the raw exchange. Minnesota gave Detroit two picks: No. 30 and No. 128 overall. The Lions sent the No. 34, the No. 100 and the No. 214.

Nick Doan/Icon SMIIn their intra-division trade with the Vikings, the Lions were able to draft running back Jahvid Best.

Based on this trade value chart, which has its flaws, the exchange was almost identical: The Lions received 664 total points in exchange for 666.8 points.

Second: the players taken in those slots. Detroit used No. 30 on tailback Jahvid Best and No. 128 on offensive tackle Jason Fox. Minnesota drafted cornerback Chris Cook at No. 34, defensive end Everson Griffen at No. 100 and tight end Mickey Shuler at No. 214. I would suggest Detroit got the best player of that group. Best is most likely to make immediate and long-term impact.

The third element is the big picture. Both the Vikings and Lions entered the draft with needs at running back. Minnesota wanted someone to replace Chester Taylor as Adrian Peterson's backup and the primary third-down back. The Lions needed depth with starter Kevin Smith rehabilitating a serious knee injury. The Vikings addressed their need by trading their third-round pick to move up 11 spots in the second round and draft tailback Toby Gerhart.

So at the end of the draft, the Vikings used two draft picks to acquire Gerhart as their backup running back, just as the Lions gave up an additional pick and fourth-round positioning to get Best. Minnesota also added one player it probably wouldn't have otherwise drafted had the trade not occurred: Griffen, who was considered a high fourth-round value. The Lions, meanwhile, had one player they likely wouldn't have had the opportunity to draft in Best.

(For now, I'm considering Shuler's spot to be marginal given its location.)

Some of you have objected to this line of thinking, but I believe this is one of the ways you have to consider this trade. Would you rather have Gerhart and Griffen or Best alone?

The Vikings gained a bit more volume in this trade, but the Lions got the "Best" player. That leaves me siding with the Lions.