AFC East Blog
Patriots.com writer John Rooke suggests Tom Brady doesn't have to be an offensive playmaking leader, but that to be effective he just has to manage the game writing, "It is over-simplifying things, but literally all Brady needs to do...to still be terrific...is get the ball in the hands of the playmakers at the right time. Should the offensive line regain some similar form from a few seasons ago and give Brady the time, this offense can be as dynamic and as dangerous as you find in the NFL this season." Rooke goes on to say the offense will be in prime shape if Ridley can hold on to the ball, and Amendola and Gronk can stay healthy. With a healthy Gronk and mastermind coach Bill Belichick calling plays, all signs are pointing up for New England heading into training camp.
Gronkowski will be ready for the start of camp, and will not be placed on the PUP list, acccording to ProFootballTalk.com. Gronkowski has been recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season. Previously there had been some concern that the Patriots would hold their top TE out of early camp activities, but that will not be the case. Gronkowski said recently he expects to play all 16 games this year, which would be his first full season since 2011.
Jets running back Chris Johnson has received medical clearance following offseason knee surgery, and according to head coach Rex Ryan, he looked every part of 100 percent on Wednesday. Ryan said Johnson was "flying" through his mandatory conditioning run earlier in the day. The Jets will hold their first full-team practice Thursday.
Johnson had his knee scoped in January to fix a torn meniscus he tore in Week 3 of last season. However, he still played every game and gained more than 1,400 yards from scrimmage. Johnson was sidelined for all of OTAs and minicamp. With the Jets, he'll enter into a timeshare with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell, a condition that Johnson doesn't think will be necessary.
The Buffalo Bills opened training camp yesterday, and already first-rounder Sammy Watkins is impressing fans and teammates with his ability, including second-year QB E.J. Manuel. "I don't know if you saw him out there, on a slant, stop on a dime," Manuel said after the workout. "The kid is special. I have thought that way since 2010." Watkins was widely considered the top receiving prospect in the 2014 draft following the combine, where he displayed 4.43 speed and a 34-inch vertical.
David Lee, the quarterback coach of the New York Jets states, "We're not playing yet -- we're not in the stadium yet, people aren't in the stands -- but Geno is a strongly improved player at this point." The sophomore QB is coming off a less-than-stellar rookie rookie campaign where he threw for 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. With the Jets signing of Michael Vick in the offseason, Smith has a reason to keep improving and developing as a player. Sources within the organization state that Smith is taking a leadership role within the team, something that he had not done as a rookie.
Aaron Dobson is still suffering from a foot injury suffered last year which required surgery in the offseason. Depending on how much longer it takes for him to heal up, he could miss all of training camp which starts for the Patriots on July 23rd. Being 6'3 with 4.4 speed, Dobson put up a 37/519/4 line his rookie season and was expected to make a sophomore leap.
Dobson, when healthy, has a chance to do big things in New England's offense. He is expected to be their WR3 option behind Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. With Amendola not being able to stay healthy, Dobson will have plenty of opportunities to shine. He is a sneaky WR3 candidate and is ranked WR55 in FFToolbox rankings.
Bills rookie wide receiver isn't faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive. And he won't try to be; he's just going to do his job.
"With our offense, we've got a lot of explosive guys, so for me it's just about coming in right away and trying to make plays," Watkins said over the weekend. "Don't try and be Superman, but play my role and everything will work out."
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is probably going to spend part of training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. But once the regular season begins, Gronkowski thinks he will be active from September through December.
"I'm planning on playing the whole season this year," Gronkowski said Friday. "... I'm always antsy to get back on the field, no matter when it is. I just want to play football. I love playing the game."
Bills wide receiver Mike Williams missed some time during OTAs and minicamp because his surgically repaired hamstring was still an issue. No longer, Williams said Saturday.
"I'm fully ready to go. I trained this whole offseason. There was really no offseason for me. I kinda had to get my leg better. I had to get back to feeling like Mike again, like my mom always tells me.
"At the start of camp, just did the conditioning test and I feel real good. I feel great. I feel I got an A-plus, if there was a grade for it. I feel I'm ready to go."
Williams was acquired from the Buccaneers for a sixth-round pick in April. He played just six games last year due to that torn hamstring.
If Stevan Ridley can hold on to the ball, the Patriots have a nice one-two punch in their backfield with him and Shane Vereen. However, the Pats may turn their running game it a three-punch combo.
Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston posted a "Bold Predictions" column on Saturday. One of those predictions centered on fourth-round rookie running back James White. Reiss said that White will make an "early impact" to the tune of playing more than 20 percent of the snaps this season.
"White had a solid spring minicamp 'season', and his combination of production as a rusher and receiver appears to be an ideal fit for a Patriots offense that values a diverse skill set," Reiss wrote.