FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- This will be a process, as it always is. Very little is decided after four days of training camp.

But for those curious of some New Englad Patriots first impressions, there's only one place to start -- the defense.

We entered training camp with the thought that the team's evolving D was the key to the team's Super Bowl hopes. The first four practices have reinforced that line of thinking. Assuming relatively good health, it's fair to say this defense has the chance to be one of Bill Belichick's best, and it starts at the cornerback position.

Darrelle Revis (5-foot-11, 198 pounds) and Brandon Browner (6-4, 221) have been creating havoc for quarterback Tom Brady, who has been frustrated at times, such as Saturday when he had two passes intended for receiver Julian Edelman intercepted by Revis.

Specific to Revis, one of the things that stands out is how he's seldom in bad position. Belichick has already noted his instincts (comparing him to Rodney Harrison in that area), as there have been times when Revis is breaking on a route before the receiver has done so. At the line of scrimmage, his punch has jarred receivers. His footwork is especially fluid with little wasted movement. His ball skills are obviously solid, too.

In the words of Belichick, I'd say Revis "is similar but different" to when we watched receiver Randy Moss in 2007 training camp. It just looks different -- everything is on a much higher level than you're used to seeing.

Meanwhile, Browner has brought a Harrison-type physical presence to the practice field. On Sunday, he de-cleated rookie running back James White in an 11-on-11 running drill, White landing on his backside as the crowd of 13,000-plus roared along with Browner himself. Longtime Patriots followers might recall how Harrison was buzzing around the field in his first training camp with the team in 2003, his hard-hitting style right on the line between the desired edge/intensity and putting valuable teammates in the cross hairs of friendly fire. That's what we've seen from Browner, who if teamed with Revis could help transform a Patriots' D which ranked 26th in the NFL on third down last season.

So these are some first impressions, passed along with a cautious touch.

We want to relay what we see, while at the time, keeping things in the appropriate context. After all, it has been only four practices.
Examining the New England Patriots' roster:

Not reading too much into Garoppolo's handful of interceptions in the early days of camp. Mallett, as expected at this point, looks like he has the edge for the No. 2 job.


Bolden, who has struggled at times early in camp with ball security and catching the ball, still sticks because of his important role on special teams.


When the pads came on Saturday for the first time, the hard-charging Develin was part of some of the biggest collisions as he brings an edge to the offense.


We went light with just two tight ends in the initial projection but add Williams in this time because we're somewhat intrigued with his potential as a "move" option in the two-tight-ends package.


The top four are solidified, and then it comes down to LaFell ($3 million signing bonus) and Boyce (2013 fourth-round pick). Does the team have enough room to keep both?


There's a long way to go, but in this projection, Stork (fourth round, Florida State) beats out incumbent Ryan Wendell for the starting job at center.


There is always a surprise cut, and 33-year-old Tommy Kelly, coming off a torn ACL that limited him to four games last season, would qualify as one in this projection.


With White and Hull potentially serving as core special teamers, it could threaten 2013 seventh-round pick Steve Beauharnais' place on the roster.


Because Browner is suspended for the first four regular-season games, he won't count against the initial 53-man roster limit. But he is included here because he is obviously a significant part of the team's overall planning for the 2014 season.


Veteran Patrick Chung could always come back during the season in the event of injury. With rookie Jemea Thomas (sixth round, Georgia Tech) sustaining an undisclosed injury on the first day of training camp, he is edged out in this scenario by Wilson, who also contributes on special teams.


One of the under-the-radar training camp competitions is at snapper, where incumbent Aiken is being challenged by rookie Tyler Ott of Harvard.
Examining the Miami Dolphins’ roster:


I'm still not seeing much in this third-quarterback race between Devlin and undrafted rookie Brock Jensen. It's possible Miami could only keep two quarterbacks, but I'm staying with three for now.


Moreno started camp on the physically unable to perform list, so other players are getting a chance. This week I added the rookie Williams, who is showing flashes in camp and continues to be one of my top sleepers.


This is a deep group with a lot of competition. It could be really close between Williams and Armon Binns. But Williams can return kicks, which helps.


New this week is Sims on the 53-man roster over rookie Arthur Lynch, who is practice-squad eligible.


Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey is missing from this list because he's on the PUP and won't count on the 53-man roster. The Dolphins are still searching for the right starting five, with Smith now starting at center.

Dion Jordan's four-game suspension opens the door for rookie seventh-round pick Fede to make the team. This is one of the deepest areas of the team.


This group remains the same, but needs more production.


Miami's cornerbacks have a mix of youth and experience. Staying healthy will be key.


Coverage will be a big question with this group. Physicality and athleticism are not questions.


You can pencil in this trio for the regular season right now.

New York Jets' projected roster

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
Examining the New York Jets' roster:


As expected, Smith is getting about 75 percent of the first-team reps, so there's no controversy here. We had rookie Tajh Boyd over Simms in the previous projection, but the early days of training camp have shown that Boyd isn't ready to take the job just yet. He has some redeeming qualities, but he's rough around the edges.


It's status quo in the backfield. Johnson still isn't 100 percent, but he's getting there and looks good. This is one of the Jets' deepest areas. Daryl Richardson and Alex Green have shown flashes in camp, but they'll need to do more than that to crack this group.


No changes here, either. Rex Ryan called this his deepest receiving corps since he became the coach, but deepest doesn't mean best. They're still looking for someone not named Decker to separate from the pack. Clyde Gates is challenging the top seven, sixth-round pick Quincy Enunwa (hip injury) is not.


This group has been uninspiring so far. Amaro has good days and bad days, which can be expected of a rookie. Chris Pantale, who spent last season on the practice squad, is pushing for that third spot. Sudfeld isn't a lock by any means.


Colon (knee) began camp on the physically unable to perform list, but he should be cleared soon to return. His absence is allowing Aboushi to work with the starting unit, impressing the coaches. Dozier, a fourth-round pick, has caught some eyes as he attempts to play guard for the first time.


If the Jets had this much talent at a few more positions, they'd be a legitimate Super Bowl contender.


The addition of Babin, signed last week to a two-year contract, changes things because he will have a significant role as a situational pass-rusher. In this projection, we're dropping Jermaine Cunningham to make room for Babin, although Barnes (knee), still not cleared to practice, could be in jeopardy. The unheralded Troy Davis also is making a push. Tough decisions ahead.


Milliner says he's the best cornerback in football. Huh? He's not even the best in the division (see: Darrelle Revis). All the Jets want is the Milliner from last December and they'll be happy. Patterson might not be Revis or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but he's off to a sneaky good start.


They've been using a three-man rotation with Landry, Pryor and Allen. The Jets like Allen's upside and want to give him as many quality reps as possible. Keep an eye on former practice-squadder Rontez Miles; he's fearless and hits like a truck. If he excels on special teams, he could push Jarrett for the fourth spot.


All set here.

Buffalo Bills' projected roster

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
Examining the Buffalo Bills' roster:


No changes here. Tuel and Lewis are battling for the No. 2 quarterback job, but I still think the Bills will keep three quarterbacks this season.

No changes here. Jackson was banged up in practice last week but is back in action. The Bills are giving Brown and Dixon plenty of reps and they add valuable depth to the backfield.


No changes here. Evan Rodriguez is a tough cut after he finished last season on the 53-man roster, but the added depth at running back -- including a burly runner in Dixon -- lessens the need to keep two fullbacks.


No changes here. T.J. Graham has been inconsistent through the first week of camp and will need a strong preseason -- and then some help -- to make the cut. Hogan has practiced well and is in very good position to make the final roster.


No changes. The Bills have been hit with injuries at this position early in camp, with Moeaki, Chandler, and Chris Gragg sidelined by the end of Sunday's practice. We have the same group making the cut, though. No room for Gragg as a fourth option.


This position group continues to be in flux. Glenn's status is up in the air as he remains on the non-football illness list. That has thrust Henderson into a starting role at left tackle and puts him back in the mix after he was left off our last projection. Ditto for Erik Pears, who is holding onto his starting right tackle job. Kouandjio and Richardson look to be more developmental pieces right now.


We're keeping an extra offensive lineman in this latest projection, so Corbin Bryant misses the cut here.


No changes here. Undrafted rookie Jimmy Gaines looks to be making a push, but we'll need to see more before he makes the cut on this projection.


No changes here. This is a deep group with plenty of talent.


No changes here. Plenty of youth here but not a lot of experience. Depth is an issue.


Moorman has punted well so far in camp, so we'll keep him over Jake Dombrowski after going the opposite way with our first projection. There will be five preseason games for the punter battle to play out. With needs elsewhere on the roster, Dustin Hopkins doesn't make the cut as a kickoff specialist.

Jets Camp Report: Day 4

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New York Jets training camp:
  • The Jets received a scare when rookie tight end Jace Amaro went down with a knee injury and wasn't able to finish practice, but the word from the team is that he's fine and will be ready for Tuesday's practice. Proving the "Next-Man-Up" philosophy is alive and well, Zach Sudfeld capitalized on the extra reps, delivering a strong practice. He finished with a team-high three receptions in team drills, showing speed and separation ability. This tight end situation could get interesting. Quite frankly, Sudfeld has outplayed them all, including incumbemt Jeff Cumberland, who has been relatively quiet after reporting late to camp.
  • No surprise here, as right guard Willie Colon was activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list. The big fella didn't do a whole lot in practice -- he stayed out of team drills -- but the plan is to ease him back gradually. It's important to build chemistry with new right tackle Breno Giacomini, whom they signed from the Seattle Seahawks. Remember, Colon missed the entire offseason, so he hasn't had any time to practice alongside Giacomini. They both have a history of being penalty prone, so continuity is imperative. They got some time together in positional drills, but nothing extensive.
  • One day after Geno Smith said he expects to be a top-five quarterback and Dee Milliner proclaimed himself the best cornerback in the league, linebacker Calvin Pace told the New York Daily News they have the best defense. Enough already. It's July.
  • Rookie quarterback Tajh Boyd is a former college star with a lot of charisma and the ability to throw a nice deep ball, but he struggles with short and intermediate throws. Sound familiar? Boyd's head is spinning as he attempts to learn a new offense, so that could explain some of his Tebow-esque throws. It'll be interesting to gauge his progress as the summer progresses. With every rep by Boyd, Matt Simms gets closer to nailing down the No. 3 job.
  • Rush linebacker Quinton Coples delivered another solid practice. Rex Ryan said Coples' last two practices were "off the charts," noting how it's "interesting" that Coples perked up once veteran Jason Babin arrived in camp. Hmm, very interesting, indeed. It's called competition, players pushing players, and somewhere general manager John Idzik is smiling.

Bills Camp Report: Day 8

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Buffalo Bills training camp:
  • Sunday's practice was long and physical. Up until this point in camp, we've seen the Bills hone their passing game in 7-on-7 drills, even in full pads. Sunday saw a heavy dose of 11-on-11 work, including one stint at the goal line with live tackling. The 2 hour, 52 minute-practice was the longest of training camp to this point. They've gone five straight practices in full pads and will practice again Monday before a day off. Some teams have just start camp, but the Bills are deep into theirs.
  • What we're seeing emerge is two different "versions" of the Bills' offense. One is an up-tempo, shotgun-style offense with option elements and a lot of speed. This when we'll see C.J. Spiller, Marquise Goodwin, and Chris Hogan on the field. But there's another side of the offense that saw plenty of action Sunday. That's a "heavier" set with EJ Manuel under center, Lee Smith at tight end, Anthony Dixon and Frank Summers in the backfield, and Mike Williams at receiver. It's not just a goal line package; it's a physical unit that the Bills have used in a variety of situations. It has a similar physical makeup to the Steelers' teams of the mid-2000s when Doug Whaley was coming up through the ranks as a scout.
  • The Bills offensive line had a better day in protection than their nightmare Saturday night. "We don’t necessarily game plan for our own defense, obviously it’s still practice, but they got the best of us yesterday with some different looks and things like that," Manuel said after Sunday's practice. "We went back and worked on the protection aspect of things so we could protect the pocket a little better and each one of those guys did a better job today." The Bills focused more on first and second downs and the running game Sunday, which gave the defense less opportunity for sacks. Still, the blocking was better. We counted only two sacks in 11-on-11 work.
  • Sammy Watkins continues to put on a show. His latest act was a catch down the left sideline when he stopped on his route and reached over the cornerback to haul in the pass. He made it look smooth. I might compare it to a basketball player who is a natural finisher under the rim, finding the right bounce or angle to get the ball in the hoop. Watkins has excellent concentration and can adjust his body and pluck the ball out of the air.
  • Doug Marrone confirmed Sunday that the Bills' offense has made the red zone a point of emphasis and are holding an extra red zone period after practice, as we noted Saturday night. Sunday's results were better than what we saw last week. Manuel found Williams three times for touchdowns while Robert Woods and Chris Hogan also snagged passes for scores. It was a considerable improvement.
  • Cornerback Leodis McKelvin hasn't participated in 11-on-11 team drills for the last three practices. He's coming off hip surgery and the Bills still want to ease him back in. Corey Graham has been taking first-team reps in his place.
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The New York Jets' meandering search to replace cornerback Antonio Cromartie included flirtations with Vontae Davis (a rejection) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who had the audacity to take an offer from the New York Giants. Despite some pro-Darrelle Revis sentiment in the organization, the Jets decided not to pursue Revis 2.0. In the end, they made Dimitri Patterson their Big Free-Agent Cornerback.

The response from Jets Nation?

A collective groan.


Patterson understands the sentiment, but he has a message for the skeptics: I'm just as good as the big names.

"Fans like high profiles. I don't have a high profile, but my film is legit," he said during a break at training camp. "When the season comes, I'll show everyone why I've been in the league so long.

"Vontae and all those guys, they were first-round picks," Patterson continued. "That's all cool, but as far as ability and responsibility, are they asked to do more than I've been asked to do over nine years? No. Have they been more productive on the perimeter? No, that's not the case at all. My tape shows that it's just a matter of me coming out and showing fans, 'Hey, let me show you.'"

The Jets have an interesting pair of cornerbacks. Dee Milliner thinks he's the best in the NFL (child, please) and Patterson, with his sixth team in 10 years, believe he was one of the biggest steals in free agency. The Jets signed him for one year, $3 million. If they turn out to be right, they will have their best cornerback tandem since 2011, when it was Revis and Cromartie.

Patterson said he has no intention of tainting the Jets' reputation at corner.

"There's a lot of scrutiny at this position because you had Revis and Cromartie," he said. "They were consistently competitive, year-in, year-out, with those guys at corner, so there's a standard that has been set. That's what the fans are accustomed to, so it's only natural to be concerned. My message to them is, don't be concerned."

Patterson is one confident dude for someone who hasn't played much in recent years due to injuries. In fact, he's missed 32 games the last three seasons (the last two with the Miami Dolphins), but he believes in his ability and he believes he's an ideal fit in the Jets' man-to-man scheme.

"Jets fans aren't familiar with me -- they don't have game tape -- so they have to trust that John Idzik and Rex (Ryan) did their due diligence, researching me," Patterson said. "If my résumé said, 'Cover-2, zone corner,' I wouldn't be here."

To get a complete evaluation of Patterson, the Jets had to study his pre-2012 tape. They see a savvy corner with elite ball skills and versatility, capable of playing outside or in the slot. Opposing scouts say he's much better in the slot, that it might be a stretch to play him on the perimeter.

"The guy understands the game and he understands the big picture, and you don't find a lot of guys like that," secondary coach Tim McDonald said.

Ryan said they didn't sign Patterson because he was the last man standing in the free-agent pool, claiming he was on their radar from the outset. Idzik probably didn't want to spend money on a big name, so he took the cheaper route -- a one-year stop gap and a draft pick (Dexter McDougle in the third round). It's risky, considering all the top quarterbacks they face in the first two months of the season. If the Jets get torched, oh, boy, the decision makers will get criticized.

Don't worry, Patterson said.

"I'll show the fans," he said.

Julian Edelman: 'I love returning punts'

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With youth in the Patriots' receiving corps and some other injuries in 2013, wide receiver Julian Edelman emerged as quarterback Tom Brady's go-to guy. While Edelman will continue to have a major role in the passing game, he also wants to keep contributing in another part of the game -- return punts.

The Patriots' special teams drills focused on the punt-return during Sunday's practice in full pads and Edelman broke free down the right sideline on one return.

"That's a part of the game [punt return] that gave me an opportunity to make this team," Edelman said. "I love returning punts. I want to do that and if they ask me to do that, I'm going to do it."

Wide receiver Danny Amendola and undrafted rookie running back Roy Finch of Oklahoma also took reps in the return game. Finch had one bobble but still managed to haul in the Ryan Allen punt.

Finch's process of learning punt returns reminded Edelman of his early days with Patriots.

"You guys remember when I was a rookie bobbling the ball around everywhere and getting booed by the crowd," Edelman said of one training camp practice. "But he's just got to get some experience, repetition."

This recollection of how much work it takes to be an effective punt returner fuels Edelman's desire to hone his craft.

"You got to work on catching punts, finding the tip of the ball -- if it turns over, if it doesn't -- what foot punter it is, the trajectory of the punt, what return you have -- if it's a return, if it's not a return -- the situation in the game," Edelman said. "All that stuff. It comes with experience. I still have to try in practice every day to improve what I have to do because it's a craft. If you don't do it every day, it will slip away."

In the past, Edelman has been an elite punt returner -- cutting and juking his way through punt coverage units. Though last season, when he averaged 10.7 yards per return, Edelman was forced to call more fair catches (23) than in other seasons.

"When you get 10 yards that's your goal and when guys are working together you get a little more which is great," Edelman said about the importance of punt returns. "But our number one job on that unit is to get the ball in the offense's hand and make the right decision."
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills can't catch a break at tight end.

Already down Tony Moeaki (hamstring) and Chris Gragg (heat-related symptoms), top Bills tight end Scott Chandler left Sunday's practice early with a groin injury. He did not return.

There isn't an immediate prognosis on Chandler's injury. He was the team's leading receiver last season, catching 53 passes for 655 yards.

Moeaki is expected to miss "significant" time with his injury, while Gragg is expected back by next week. The Bills signed 270-pound Dominique Jones on Saturday to add another player to the mix, and Jones received plenty of reps in Sunday's practice after Chandler left.

In fact, the Bills were down to just Jones and burly blocking tight end Lee Smith by the end of Sunday's practice, so fullback Evan Rodriguez took a few snaps at tight end in a 7-on-7 drill late in the session.

"I don't really get concerned too much about the injury aspect of it," coach Doug Marrone said. "In a way, I look at it as we're going to try to put some different people in there without having to go out and bring another person in."

Sunday's full pads practice spanned 2 hours and 52 minutes, the longest of training camp so far. Marrone said the loss of Chandler plus the afternoon heat caused the offense to slow down and take more time between reps.

The Bills also lost wide receiver Kevin Elliott to concussion-like symptoms during Sunday's practice.

Gragg, Moeaki, and undrafted safety Kenny Ladler (hamstring) watched practice from the sideline.

Observations from Patriots camp: Day 4

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Observations from the New England Patriots' fourth practice of training camp, which was held in full pads and was cut about 10-15 minutes short because of heavy rains and the threat of lightning:

Legion of Boom moment with Browner: The play that had many buzzing came when cornerback Brandon Browner de-cleated rookie running back James White in an 11-on-11 running drill, with the crunching pads and thud of White hitting the deck audible to the 10,000-plus in attendance. Browner, who at 6-foot-4 and 221 pounds took pride in being part of the Seattle Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” secondary, then looked to the sky and roared. On the play, White had attempted to bounce outside to the left side, where Browner was awaiting him with the strong run force. In a credit to White, he held on to the football.

Backup quarterbacks deliver a few gems: Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo had two of the offensive highlights, both coming in 11-on-11 drills. Mallett delivered a beautiful deep ball down the left sideline to streaking receiver Josh Boyce, who had raced past Browner. It can be a challenge to get the ball over the rangy Browner, but Mallett dropped it in the bucket and Boyce caught it in stride for what would have been a touchdown. Prior to that play, Garoppolo had a sweet 15-yard pass to tight end D.J. Williams along the right sideline, arcing it over 6-foot-6 defensive end Michael Buchanan, who was in coverage. Great touch by Garoppolo.

Rookie TE Jones makes his presence felt: Undrafted tight end Justin Jones is an intriguing prospect at 6-foot-8 and 275 pounds, and undrafted linebacker Cameron Gordon (6-3, 240) had the difficult matchup of going up against him in 1-on-1 tackling drills. Jones, who later caught a touchdown from Garoppolo in goal-line drills, ran right over Gordon in an impressive effort.

Who’s winning 1-on-1s? There was one set of pass-rush drills in the practice, with a total of 15 repetitions. Defensive end Chandler Jones stayed on a hot streak and appeared to get the best of left tackle Nate Solder on the opening rep, with Vince Wilfork digging in and powering into left guard Logan Mankins and pushing him back on the next rep. That’s the type of rush we’ve been looking forward to seeing from Wilfork as he continues to gain comfort in coming back from a ruptured Achilles, as he showed some notable explosion from the lower-leg area. ... Center Ryan Wendell, scrappy as always, angled off defensive tackle Marcus Forston. ... There was a heavy collision between right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and veteran defensive end Will Smith that looked like a stalemate. ... Guard Josh Kline stayed hot by standing his ground against defensive tackle Joe Vellano, while rookie center Bryan Stork stood up Forston. We look forward to seeing how Stork (three strong reps in the drill over two days) fares against some higher-level competition. ... Some improvement from rookie right guard Jon Halapio, who had his best rep of camp (on L.T. Tuipulotu) before he was pushed back into the pocket by Sealver Siliga. ... One thing that caught the eye was third-year defensive end Jake Bequette using a nice spin move to record a victory over right tackle Cameron Fleming. Bequette, from our view, most often tries to win with a speed rush to the outside, so the spin was an effective change-up. ... Fleming later had what looked like a nice rep on defensive end Michael Buchanan, using a strong punch to push him out wide, likely behind where the quarterback would have dropped. ... Guard Dan Connolly (against Chris Jones) and reserve offensive linemen Jordan Devey (over Eathyn Manumaleuna), Braxston Cave (over Tuipulotu) and Chris Barker (over Zach Moore) all held their ground on a day in which the offensive line was better than it was Saturday.

Punt returns the focus on special teams: A specific segment of special teams is worked on in each practice, and today was punt return. Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Roy Finch were the returners. It seemed like a good day for second-year punter Ryan Allen, who was crushing the ball (the wind might have helped a bit).

Offense does well on the goal line: While the defense has had the upper hand at practice, which is often the case for most NFL teams at this time, the Patriots’ offense fared well in end-of-practice goal-line drills. We counted three touchdowns (two passing, one running) in four attempts, the lone stop coming when undrafted running back Stephen Houston (Indiana) was stopped short of the goal line on a run to the left side.

Cleaning out the notebook: Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui and rookie linebacker Taylor McCuller got into a minor shoving match at the end of a tackling drill, with Hoomanawanui taking exception to McCuller’s overly aggressive approach after the play was over. ... Penalty laps were taken by linebackers Steve Beauharnais and Cameron Gordon (for offsides), as well as Garoppolo and Stork (fumbled snap). ... Reserve offensive lineman Chris Barker, who was on the 53-man roster throughout last season and is competing for a roster spot this year, got some repetitions at left tackle. ... Receiver Brandon LaFell, whose inconsistent hands have drawn notice, had a one-handed catch while working on pass routes (no defense). Undrafted Wilson Van Hooser also had a nice one-handed catch (followed up by a drop). ... Kenbrell Thompkins had another dropped pass after dropping two on Saturday. ... Bill Belichick spent a portion of the practice speaking with assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi, who has been a consistent presence at practice. ... Running back Brandon Bolden and Garoppolo had a miscommunication on a handoff in half-line running drills, and Bolden also had the ball ripped away from him at one point in ball-stripping drills. ... In a light moment during warm-up stretching and running, Wilfork tugged on the back of Tom Brady's jersey to give Mallett a head start as Brady and Mallett continued a playful competition on who is the fastest quarterback. ... Cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted Mallett, who was looking for Van Hooser. ... With heavy rain ending practice early, many of the receivers stayed behind to work on catching wet footballs.

Who returned: The only new players at practice were receivers Cole Stanford (No. 14) and Brian Tyms (No. 84), who were signed Sunday. To make room on the roster, the Patriots waived injured receiver Greg Orton.

New absences: None.

Who else didn’t practice: Receiver Aaron Dobson (foot/PUP), special teams captain Matthew Slater (unknown/PUP), linebacker Deontae Skinner (non-football injury list), cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder/PUP), offensive tackle Chris Martin (non-football injury list), defensive lineman Dominique Easley (non-football injury list), receiver Jeremy Gallon (unknown/PUP), defensive back Jemea Thomas (unknown, only practiced Day 1) and cornerback Daxton Swanson (practiced the first two days).

Notable injuries/health-related incidents: Thompkins, who required some attention late in Saturday’s practice, participated in full and didn’t appear to have any issues. ... Hoomanawanui walked off with members of the athletic training staff after the practice, but it didn’t seem to be anything too serious.

Who’s talking with the media: Edelman, running back Stevan Ridley and fullback James Develin were players drawing the largest media crowds, with Ridley conducting his interview while seated. Safeties Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung and rookies Jon Halapio and Justin Jones also drew some attention. The interviews took place in a tunnel underneath Gillette Stadium because of the rain.

Dolphins Camp Report: Day 3

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
DAVIE, Fla. – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Miami Dolphins training camp:
  • It was the first day in pads, and I really liked what I saw from Dolphins rookie receiver Jarvis Landry, who had his best practice of training camp thus far. Landry, Miami’s second-round pick, had a plethora of quality catches in team drills. His two most impressive were a long touchdown down the seam from quarterback Ryan Tannehill and an impressive snag over the middle for a first down on a tough throw by backup quarterback Matt Moore. Landry isn’t the fastest receiver or the best athlete. But he is reliable, runs good routes and has great hands.
  • The play of the day goes to former first-round pick and backup defensive end Dion Jordan. He made a very athletic play Saturday during team drills to intercept a screen attempt from Tannehill and take it to the house. It was the type of flash the Dolphins hope to see more of from their 2013 No. 3 overall pick. But Miami will have to wait as Jordan was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
  • In fact, it was another so-so day for Tannehill, who continues to experience growing pains learning a new offense. Tannehill made some nice throws, such as his touchdown pass to Landry and a connection over the middle to receiver Mike Wallace for a 25-plus yard gain. But Tannehill also made some questionable decisions in team drills that would look bad in a game situation. Tannehill’s errant screen pass to Jordan was his worst play, but the quarterback also nearly threw another interception to cornerback Jamar Taylor and suffered at least two would-be sacks. At some point, things need to click for Tannehill, who enters an important third season.
  • On the injury front, Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey (hip) and running back Knowshon Moreno (knee) worked on the side with trainers, as expected. Slot receiver Brandon Gibson took part in his first padded practice since last year’s knee surgery but he didn’t finish the session. His status will be monitored throughout camp.
  • Dolphins starting running back Lamar Miller had a good day with several nice runs. Miller looks like a decent fit for Miami’s new offense and has taken advantage of spread situations. The Dolphins asked Miller to get a little bigger in the offseason to help with durability and pass protection. “I want to say he weighed in at 221 or something like that,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin explained. “He looks good, he looks stronger than he’s ever been, and I don’t think he’s sacrificed any speed whatsoever.”

Up next, the Dolphins will have their first day off of training camp on Monday. Miami will next take the field on Tuesday.
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Takeaways from Sunday at New York Jets training camp:

Tight end down: This wasn't a particularly sharp practice, and it took a bad turn in a 7-on-7 drill when promising tight end Jace Amaro hurt his right knee and sat out for the remainder of the practice with a big ice wrap on his knee. The Jets have big plans for their second-round pick, and losing him for any length of time would be a blow.

Good news/bad news: Despite tweeting late Saturday night that he's "fine," rookie safety Calvin Pryor sat out, one day after suffering a head injury. In fact, Pryor didn't even make it out to the practice field. The Jets have yet to reveal whether their first-round pick has suffered a concussion or not. Monday is a mandatory day off for the team, so Pryor will have at least two days of rest.

Guard Willie Colon (knee) was activated from the physically unable to perform list and participated in practice on a limited basis. He took part in positional drills but stayed out of team drills. Brian Winters worked at right guard, with Oday Aboushi at left guard. It'll be interesting to see how they rotate them once Colon is back to 100 percent.

QB update: Neither Geno Smith nor Michael Vick was that sharp. There were some pass-protection issues, so Smith and Vick did more scrambling than usual. As expected, Smith received the vast majority of the first-team reps, 15 to Vick's four. Smith was only 4-for-10, Vick was 4-for-7. There were some bright spots in a red-zone drill, as Smith tossed two short touchdowns, one to Amaro and the other to Chris Johnson. Vick had a scoring throw to Zach Sudfeld. Neither quarterback had a turnover. That's called a silver lining, folks.

Drops and penalties: Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg couldn't have been thrilled with this practice. Stephen Hill, Shaq Evans and Jeremy Kerley dropped passes, and there were several penalties. The players did more push-ups than a platoon of Marines. At one point, Rex Ryan gathered the team for a brief meeting in the middle of the field. After that, they ran a few more plays.

CJ's back: After sitting out Saturday's contact drills, Johnson practiced fully, as expected. That's the plan: Every third day will be an off/limited day. The Jets are taking it easy with Johnson, seven months removed from knee surgery.

Medical report: Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (hip), a sixth-round pick, remained on the sideline. ... Linebacker Tim Fugger (ankle) and rookie defensive end Zach Thompson (shoulder) sat out again.

Odds and ends: Safety Josh Bush made an interception in a 7-on-7 drill but dropped one in team drills. ... Seventh-round linebacker Trevor Reilly pancaked tight end Colin Anderson in a blitz pick-up drill. ... Wide receiver David Nelson and Dimitri Patterson exchanged heated words after a play. ... Another rough practice for rookie quarterback Tajh Boyd. ... The Jets have a mandatory day off Monday. They need it.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The first week of training camp is a time of immense optimism in the NFL. Every team is undefeated and believes it is worthy of the playoffs. Teams highlight strengths, not weaknesses, until the games matter in the regular season.

The same goes for Miami Dolphins third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is thinking big this upcoming season. Tannehill has lofty goals for himself and the Dolphins in 2014.

"We want to play deep into January and February," Tannehill said. "And that’s our goal at this point, is to go out, win the division and then play the playoffs from there. There is a big season ahead of us and I think anything less than that is not up to our standards."

Tannehill must set the tone for Miami. The previously mild-mannered quarterback is starting to be more vocal and make his presence felt. Tannehill is showing more emotion. This summer he screamed at a pair of receivers for making mistakes in practice, which is something the Miami media hadn’t previously seen.

The Dolphins are learning a new offensive under first-year coordinator Bill Lazor. Tannehill has to be an extension of Lazor on the field.

“One thing he has been doing, I tell people all of the time that he’s been a lot more vocal, taking a lot more control over this offense and over the team in general,” Dolphins tight end Charles Clay said. “You can see it in times like that, but he’s maturing a lot.”

It’s also clear the Dolphins are 100 percent behind Tannehill. He is just 15-17 as a starter and Miami averaged just 19.8 points per game last season.

But Tannehill has received universal praise from his teammates, who believe Tannehill is due for a breakout season. The quickest way for Miami to improve is for Tannehill to take the next step. The Dolphins have talented pieces in other positions and consistent quarterback play would take the team to a new level.

“I definitely think he has it,” Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace said of Tannehill. “The thing I love about Ryan is his composure. I don’t think he ever gets rattled. I’ve never seen it, personally. He’s good at coming back like it [a mistake] never happened and that’s what we need from our quarterback.”

Bills Camp Report: Day 7

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Buffalo Bills training camp:
  • The Bills held Fred Jackson out of Saturday night's practice as he recovers from a lower leg injury. It's not considered serious and he isn't expected to miss much time. On the other hand, tight end Tony Moeaki is expected to miss "significant" time with a hamstring injury, according to coach Doug Marrone. It shouldn't keep Moeaki out for all of training camp, but the feeling is that his return might take a few weeks. With Chris Gragg still working his way back -- he was hospitalized for heat-related symptoms earlier this week -- the Bills signed tight end Dominique Jones on Saturday. The Bills waived offensive lineman Mark Asper to make room. Jones is a hefty 270 pounds and is built like a fullback. He's a different style player than Moeaki or Gragg.
  • We documented the offensive line's struggles in Saturday night's third-down drill earlier, but the issues weren't relegated to that portion of practice. When the offense reconvened for 11-on-11 work later, the results weren't much better. EJ Manuel's first series included a handoff to Anthony Dixon, a sack, a scramble, a pass batted down and an option run that ended in Manuel being stopped in the backfield by safety Da'Norris Searcy. His next set of reps started with a sack, then continued with a handoff, a completion to Marquise Goodwin, another handoff, and a throwaway on a rollout. It wasn't pretty, and all the blame can't go on the offensive line. There were a few plays in which I believed Manuel could have gotten rid of the ball and driven it downfield instead of waiting, tucking and running.
  • Saturday night featured the first live tackling drill of training camp. The 11-on-11 session featured a heavy dose of the running game, with Ronnie Wingo and Bryce Brown taking the majority of the carries. Wingo ran hard Saturday night. He has an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster but could get a heavy dose of touches in the preseason. Meanwhile, cornerback Ron Brooks and wide receiver Robert Woods collided on a pass route in the live tackling drill, with Brooks staying down on the field for several moments. He later returned to practice.
  • Undrafted rookie linebacker Jimmy Gaines received some first-team reps in team drills in place of Nigel Bradham, who stepped in with the second team for some parts of the drill. Gaines made his presence known on one play, diving to break up a Manuel pass to Brown in the flat. The Bills are trying to piece things together after losing Alonso for the season, and Gaines is the latest player in the mix. The favorite, and the most experienced of the bunch, remains Bradham.
  • For the second consecutive night, the Bills pushed practice a little longer -- to about 2 hours and 45 minutes -- and added a 7-on-7 red-zone drill at the end. Manuel received four reps, with the following results: a touchdown catch by Sammy Watkins (first down), a scramble to the pylon (second down), a catch by Woods out of bounds (third down), and scramble to the pylon with a defensive penalty (first down). Thad Lewis then stepped in for another four snaps, missing Kevin Elliott on two passes before connecting with Marcus Easley and Brown for back-to-back touchdowns. Given the Bills' struggles in the red zone last season, that phase of the game seems to appropriately be a point of emphasis this training camp.