Jeremy Gallon takes ribbing in stride

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Wide receiver Jeremy Gallon finally had the chance to silence heckling from his teammates with his return to practice Monday for the first time at training camp.

“Hearing all the jokes they’ve been saying because you’ve been out for so long ... it was fun just getting back out there with your teammates,” Gallon said in the locker room before heading out to Tuesday’s practice.

For the seventh-round draft choice (244th overall) out of the University of Michigan, it’s all about getting back to football again after being sidelined with an undisclosed ailment. Gallon knows he faces an uphill climb.

“Just trying to learn as much as I can learn and make the team,” he said. “And to do everything I can do for my teammates.”

At 5-foot-8, Gallon's physical profile is closer to the likes of Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, two players he feels he can learn a lot from.

“They are one of the best in the game at doing what they do,” Gallon said. “Just learning what they know and feeding off of them. Getting everything I can get from them and applying that to myself. I think it could do great things for me just following great leaders like that. Who wouldn’t want to?”

While at the University of Michigan, Gallon set a school record for receiving yards during his senior season (1,373) and also set the Big Ten conference record for receiving yards in a single game (369). Gallon lit up defenses with sharp routes, speed over the top and impressive vertical jumps for a player of his stature.

He also heavily contributed to Michigan’s special teams as a punt and kick returner, especially early on in his collegiate career.

“I’m working for it,” Gallon said about being a contributor in the return game for the Patriots. “I have to come in and make the team first and show the coaches I can do it and have everybody put their trust in me.”

As for adjusting to the big scene of the NFL, Gallon is used to the large crowds that gathered on Saturday’s at Michigan Stadium, also known as “The Big House.”

“I mean, the crowd doesn’t matter to me," he said, laughing. "It’s all about the team.”


Bills Camp Report: Day 31

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Buffalo Bills training camp:
  • Sammy Watkins returned to practice in pads, although his participation was very limited. He took part in warm-up drills and stretching and then watched the remainder of practice from the sidelines. Watkins said afterwards that he could have practiced and could play in a game, but coach Doug Marrone took a more cautious route when speaking about Watkins' status for Saturday. The key is having Watkins healthy for the season opener, not the remainder of the preseason.
  • Marrone and quarterback EJ Manuel said after practice that it was more of a regular season-style practice. While there isn't likely much game planning for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Bills' first-team offense ran against a "scout team" defense that included mostly third-team defensive backs. It wasn't too surprising, then, that Manuel went 15-for-15 in full-team drills. Here's how his completions broke down: Marquise Goodwin (4), Scott Chandler (3), Robert Woods (2), Mike Williams (2), Fred Jackson (2), C.J. Spiller (1), and T.J. Graham (1). His second-to-last throw was a deep ball down the left sideline to Graham, while one of his completions to Goodwin and both of Williams' catches were more downfield throws. The rest were flares, hooks, and shorter crossing patterns.
  • Given it was a "regular season" practice, it wasn't surprising that Manuel took the first 11 snaps of team drills, followed by eight snaps from Jeff Tuel. That's an indication that Tuel could be the first backup after Manuel comes off the field Saturday. Overall, Manuel took 29 snaps, Tuel took 26, and Thad Lewis took one set of nine. After Lewis' rocky outing last weekend, it's not a stretch to say he's fallen behind Tuel in the race to be the No. 2 quarterback, which could put his roster spot on uneven footing.
  • Couple of roster moves from the Bills on Tuesday, as they waived wide receiver Kevin Elliott and offensive lineman Edawn Coughman to bring their roster to 88 players. It's likely the case of the Bills wanting to give both players a chance to hook on with another team before the end of the preseason. They were a notch above the inexperienced players on the bottom of the roster but not within range of making the 53-man roster.
  • Not practicing Tuesday: linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (knee), Mario Butler (ankle), Jonathan Meeks (neck), and Bobby Felder (groin). In addition, tight end Tony Moeaki seemed to be limited in team drills as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
  • The Bills will practice again Wednesday morning before wrapping up training camp Thursday afternoon.

Jets Camp Report: Day 27

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- A daily review of the hot topics from New York Jets training camp:
  • Rookie wide receiver Shaq Evans was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after having surgery to repair a torn labrum, ending his season. No surprise. On Wednesday, rookie cornerback Dexter McDougle will have season-ending knee surgery. He, too, will be put on IR. This means the Jets will have two less players to cut by Tuesday, when rosters must be pared from 90 to 75. Tough week for the Jets' draft picks. Wide receiver Jalen Saunders is scheduled to address the media Wednesday, an opportunity to clarify the mysterious "medical event" that apparently caused his car accident last week. Rex Ryan hasn't provided any details, except to say it was "an isolated incident" and not due to a pre-existing condition. Saunders is out indefinitely.
  • Cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who returned to practice on a limited basis, said he hopes to play Friday night against the New York Giants. He said there's "no doubt" he will play the season opener. Patterson, who spent more than a week on the sideline with various leg ailments, talks a good game. Asked about the beleaguered secondary, a lighting rod for criticism, he said, "It's OK. That's the good thing about professional sports. You have the opportunity to go out and shut people up." Patterson is one of the reasons why the secondary is taking so much heat. Let's just say he wasn't a popular free-agent signing. That, coupled with his inactivity, has put him under the microscope.
  • Speaking of cornerbacks, Antonio Allen received a mixed review from Ryan on his debut at the position. From a technique standpoint, there was good and bad, but it was a great learning experience, according to Ryan. The experiment continues, Allen lined up with the starters in practice.
  • Geno Smith will start against the Giants. In other news, Woody Johnson is rich.
  • Ryan dismissed comments by Cincinnati Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander, who said he was surprised the Jets were blitzing so much late in last week's game. Ryan said the bigger surprise should've been that he didn't blitz much at all early in the game. He said he relied on "coverage" schemes as a way to test his unproven secondary. He added, "I don't know why they'd be shocked (by the blitzing), but it doesn't matter. I don't worry about their team. We're just trying to focus on our team and what's best for us."
  • The new practice-squad rules, announced Tuesday by the NFL, could have an impact on the Jets' quarterback depth chart. Under the new rules, Matt Simms (active for 16 games last season) is practice-squad eligible. Previously, a player who had earned one or more accrued seasons wouldn't have been eligible unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club’s 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons. Now, the Jets might be more apt to keep only two quarterbacks, knowing they could re-sign Simms to the practice squad, assuming he clears waivers. Ryan said he's not married to keeping three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Sheldon Richardson grew up in St. Louis, seven minutes from riot-torn Ferguson, Missouri. He watches the news on TV and sees places he once frequented, burning to the ground. The entire situation triggers mixed emotions. He's troubled by the horrific scenes, but at the same time he understands the groundswell because, he said, he has been the victim of racial profiling.

"I mean, it's sad to see," the New York Jets' defensive tackle told on Tuesday. "I don't want to say it's necessary, because it's not, but sometimes ... you know, I know the St. Louis police people. Some good, some bad. There's just a lot of ... it's just a lot, a lot to deal with.

"I don't want to pick sides or nothing like that, but it's crazy. I've seen both sides of it. I've seen my folk act a certain way and I've seen the police get beside themselves with their badges. I've seen both sides of it.

"I've been racially profiled before and all that, just being young and in a car and in an area I'm not supposed to be in. In high school, you don't know too much about the law. If they don't have a reason to pull you out of the car, you don't have to get out of the car. I came across some good guys, too. I was speeding and they wouldn't give me a ticket.

"Like I said, I play both sides of the fence. It's dangerous and all that, people telling me the police officer [Darren Wilson] might end up getting off free. I hope that doesn't happen."

Wilson allegedly shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, fueling riots in the streets.

Richardson's ultimate hope is that "it dies down." His parents still live in St. Louis and he has friends all over the city, he said.

"Pretty serious, man," he said. "Just keeping the faith, praying, hoping my family is OK and hoping those protestors are doing just that -- protesting and not trying to loot or nothing like that. I don't know too much. Whatever CNN has on is pretty much what I'm getting."
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Speaking to reporters for the first time since May, Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus said he has not yet spoken with the NFL about a possible suspension following two arrests this offseason.

"When I talk with them, when I hear with them, that’s when I’ll have a better understanding with what’s going on," Dareus said.

Dareus was arrested May 5 in Alabama on two felony drug possession charges. In July, he entered a pre-trial intervention program that could lead to those charges being dropped.

Additionally, Dareus was arrested May 30 in Hamburg, New York, after an alleged street race with teammate Jerry Hughes. He turned down a plea deal for misdemeanor charges and is next scheduled to appear in Hamburg Town Court on Sept. 9.

A spokesperson for the Bills said Dareus was unable to answer "legal" questions Tuesday.

Dareus failed his conditioning test upon reporting to training camp last month.

“With that whole issue, it wasn’t anything about the physical. It was just more mental for me," he said. "It was just a hurdle I had to get over. Mentally I got over it, got over everything else, so it was just when I did the conditioning test two days later -- I don’t know, getting in shape, finishing the conditioning test -- it was just a million things for me.

"And I got over it, moving forward, just ready to put everything I have into what we’re trying to do here.”
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Wide receiver David Nelson summed up the reality of the New York Jets' quarterback situation.

"When the coaches say, 'First-group offense,' we know who's walking in the huddle," Nelson said Tuesday. "It's not somthing that needs to be said. He's the guy and we're moving forward."

He, of course, is Geno Smith. Barring an injury, he will be the Jets' opening-day quarterback, but the team isn't willing to anoint him just yet. Rex Ryan confirmed the obvious, saying Smith will start Friday night against the New York Giants, but he didn't want to make a commitment beyond then.

"When we think it's the right time, we'll tell you," said Ryan, who was peppered with questions.

Smith is expected to play two-plus quarters with the starters, meaning he will end the preseason with about 5 1/2 quarters with the first team. (Traditionally, Ryan doesn't play starters in the preseason finale.) So far, Michael Vick has played only one series with the starters. Do the math.

Why haven't the Jets made the announcement? A couple of reasons. John Idzik's mantra is competition, and he probably believes it would contradict his philosophy if they were to declare a winner at quarterback before the most important preseason game -- even though we all know it's a faux competition.

Secondly, there's the injury factor. Without using the word "injury" -- hey, the man is superstitious -- Ryan alluded to that as the reason for holding off. When asked what could happen that would affect his decision, he said, "I don't even want to think of the negative thing or whatever. Let's just let it play out. I'd rather not answer that question because there's an obvious scenario that I don't like to think about."

Can't blame him. After all, Ryan lost Mark Sanchez to a season-ending shoulder injury last preseason against the Giants.

The coach acknowledged that the third preseason game is the closest thing to the real thing, and that his starters usually end up starting the season. But he stopped short of saying the words everyone in the building, from the players to the cafeteria staff, expects to hear: Geno is our starter.

"I'm not going to name it right now, no matter how many times you ask me," he said. "Somebody fire another one at me. 'I'm going to get it out of him.' No, you're not. I've given in to you guys before. I'm not giving in on this one."
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills took the Ice Bucket Challenge as a full team following Tuesday's practice, accepting a challenge from the New England Patriots last week.

Bills CEO Russ Brandon then turned the tables on ESPN NFL host Chris Berman.

"Nobody circles the wagons like Chris Berman," Brandon said.

PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins (ribs) returned to practice Tuesday, taking part in individual drills before watching the remainder of practice from the sideline.

It was an apparent step forward for Watkins, who was in pads Tuesday after spending part of Monday's practice on an exercise bike.

"I'm fine, I could go out there and practice if I need to," Watkins said after Tuesday's practice. "But the thing is doing it without pain, but I could play a full game right now. It's just being safe."

Coach Doug Marrone did not indicate whether Watkins will play in Saturday's preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"Obviously he wasn't fully cleared today," Marrone said. "I appreciate the player saying that, but I'm going to watch the tape and see what we see. We'll go from there. That's normally what we do with anyone."

Watkins said it was an "awkward hit" from Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier in last Saturday's preseason loss that led to him exiting the game with what the team initially called a rib contusion. He deferred his status for the Buccaneers game to Marrone.

"I don't know if I'm going to miss the game or not," Watkins said. "I might play and I might not, that's up to the coach."

C.J. Spiller latest on ESPN Top 100

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
PM ET is ranking NFL players and counting them down (follow on Twitter @ESPNNFL) from No. 100 to No. 1 on both offense and defense, 10 per day for 10 days. The top 10 on both sides of the ball will be revealed Friday, Aug. 29.

The rankings were based off votes from 90 ESPN NFL experts.

After linebacker Brandon Spikes was unveiled as the No. 98 overall player on defense Monday, another Buffalo Bills player made the cut Tuesday. Running back C.J. Spiller was ranked No. 89 on offense.

It's a bit of a drop for Spiller, who came in at No. 58 last season. His total yards dropped from 1,703 in 2012 to 1,118 last season, although part of that was tied to his early-season ankle injury.

2014 Bills ESPN NFL Rank results:
LB Brandon Spikes -- No. 98 (defense)
RB C.J. Spiller -- No. 89 (offense)

2013 Bills ESPN NFL Rank results:
DT Marcell Dareus -- No. 100 (defense)
DT Kyle Williams -- No. 82 (defense)
WR Stevie Johnson -- No. 76 (offense)
RB C.J. Spiller -- No. 58 (offense)
DE Mario Williams -- No. 38 (defense)
S Jairus Byrd -- No. 26 (defense)

Miami Dolphins Stock Watch

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
The Miami Dolphins are halfway through their preseason, and we’ve seen both good and bad.

Here is a look at whose stock is rising and falling in Miami:


1. Dallas Thomas, guard: Thomas earned his way into the starting lineup with a strong spring and summer in Dolphins camp. But he erased many of those good vibes with an awful outing Saturday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Thomas was manhandled by Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy in Miami’s 20-14 win. Thomas allowed a sack, a tackle for loss, another hit on the quarterback and had a false start. Thomas has yet to start a regular season game and now has major questions if he’s ready to handle the grind of a 16-game season. Other competition for Thomas’ position include rookie third-round pick Billy Turner and veteran free-agent guard Shelley Smith.

2. Running game: Two weeks into the preseason, it’s still unknown if Miami has improved its 26th-ranked running game from a year ago under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. The Dolphins are getting little push up front and running backs are being hit early near the line of scrimmage. Miami starting running back Lamar Miller finished with 3 yards on three carries against Tampa Bay. The Dolphins as a team had minus-5 rushing yards at intermission when starters and key reserves were in the game. Miami’s passing game is having success this preseason. But if opponents eventually figure out the Dolphins can’t run effectively, that will make Miami very predictable and easier to stop on offense.

3. Secondary’s tackling: Miami’s secondary, in general, is not a concern. However, the poor display of tackling raised some eyebrows and particularly caught the attention of Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. Starting safeties Jimmy Wilson and Louis Delmas both displayed poor tackling on Saturday. Some of it was due to poor fundamentals and some due to overaggressiveness. Delmas said after the game that Miami’s defense will have a chip on its shoulder. This group must shake the tackling rust before the regular season.


1. Matt Moore, backup quarterback: Give Moore a lot of credit. Last week, the Dolphins shook things up by adding competition (Brady Quinn) for the No. 2 quarterback job. Moore, who suffered from a shoulder injury most of training camp, didn’t seem all that thrilled by the addition. But Moore responded like a true professional by going out and having a strong preseason game against Tampa Bay. Moore led a pair of scoring drives and was 13-of-19 passing for 158 yards with one touchdown. Moore virtually solidified the No. 2 quarterback job behind starter Ryan Tannehill with one preseason outing.

2. Receiver depth: Something has to give at receiver for Miami. The depth has this position has shown up constantly during training camp, and we also saw it in the Dolphins’ second preseason game. Backup receivers Brandon Gibson, Jarvis Landry, Rishard Matthews, Damian Williams and Armon Binns combined for 11 receptions Saturday night. Not everyone in this group will make the team. The Dolphins might want to consider trading one of these backup receivers in order to gain depth at a weaker position. Wide receiver should not be an issue for Miami this season.

3. Terrence Fede, defensive end: Fede makes this list for the second week in a row. He continues to flash to the point where I believe the rookie seventh-round pick will make Miami’s 53-man roster. Fede recorded two tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss against the Buccaneers. He also is showing his worth on special teams as an athletic big man who can run the field. The motor and athleticism are there. If Fede can get his technique down, he could develop into a contributor.
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- As roster cut-down dates approach, one consideration when cutting ties with veteran players is their contracts.

The Buffalo Bills signed defensive tackle Alan Branch to a three-year extension last December, but he appears to be on the roster bubble as the preseason winds down. Branch skipped voluntary OTAs and then failed the conditioning test to begin training camp. He has played sparingly in the preseason, lining up late in the game alongside much younger players.

If the Bills were to release Branch, they essentially would be throwing away the $3.1 million signing bonus they paid him in December. However, that would be the extent of their financial hit from Branch.

Here is how his contract is structured:

2014 season:
Base salary: $1.8 million ($875k guaranteed for injury only)
Signing bonus proration: $775,000
Workout bonus: $100,000

2015 season:
Base salary: $1.7 million
Signing bonus proraton: $775,000
Roster bonus: $250,000 (if on roster fifth day of league year)
Workout bonus: $100,000

2016 season:
Base salary: $1.9 million
Signing bonus proration: $775,000
Roster bonus: $250,000 (if on roster fifth day of league year)
Workout bonus: $100,000

If Branch is released before Week 1, his base salaries from 2014-2016 would all vanish, as would his workout bonuses (since he wasn't at the facility this offseason, he likely did not receive that bonus). His roster bonuses in 2015 and 2016 would also be null.

The only charge against the Bills' cap this season would be his $775,000 signing bonus proration. Since the release would fall after June 1, his 2015 and 2016 signing bonus prorations would count against the 2015 cap, so the Bills would have $1.55 million in "dead money" next season.

Overall, the Bills would free up $1.9 million against their cap this season by releasing Branch.'s NFLRank project is in the process of being unveiled, and with players 81-90 in the spotlight on Tuesday, it's a chance to highlight New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones.

The Patriots' top draft choice from 2012 checks in at No. 85.

The arrow has been pointing up on Jones, who totaled six quarterback sacks as a rookie and followed up with 11.5 last season while playing a team-high 98 percent of the snaps. With cornerback Darrelle Revis joining the Patriots in a revamped secondary that has been clinging to receivers in training camp, one thought is that the player who could benefit most is Jones.

With a little extra time to get to the quarterback, could 15 or more sacks be in his future?

The personable Syracuse alumnus almost always deflects such a focus on personal statistics, but he has detailed how he tailored his offseason training to building more lower-body strength. The 6-foot-5 and long-armed Jones, who recently said that he's closer to 266 pounds than his listed 260, wanted to make his body more proportional to aid his pass-rushing and run-stopping skills.

"Without your legs, you're not anything," he said. "Stronger legs definitely generates more power and more speed."

That speed has actually shown up in a different area in training camp, as Jones has been dropping a bit more in coverage as part of outside linebacker responsibilities in the 3-4 alignment. On one play in joint practices last week against the Eagles, for example, Jones was chasing a running back down the left sideline.

"I really enjoy it. It shows a little versatility," Jones said of his coverage duties, while adding that playing 3-4 outside linebacker is similar to 4-3 defensive end, which has been his primary role in his first two NFL seasons.

But make no mistake, it's the pass rush where Jones' greatest value lies with the Patriots, and that isn't changing. Jones recently said that he feels he's grown in that area to the point that he now reacts to the way an offensive tackle blocks him and adjusts accordingly, instead of picking a move pre-snap and sticking with it.

We should get a chance to see a few more of those moves this season. As Jones moves up the NFL ranks, garnering more recognition, the trickle-down effect of Revis' arrival in New England could help him enter the ranks of the NFL's top pass-rushers.

Bills Camp Report: Day 30

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Buffalo Bills training camp:
  • Day 30? Wow. The NFL's longest training camp rolled on with a night practice Monday. The biggest news was the absence of wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who rode an exercise bike at one point during practice and watched from the sidelines later. Before practice, Bills coach Doug Marrone did not reveal the results of X-rays on Watkins' ribs and declined to give a timetable on his return. While the team officially said Watkins had a "rib contusion" after Saturday's game, they are now simply calling it a "rib injury."
  • There was plenty of shifting on the offensive line as left tackle Cordy Glenn returned to team drills for the first time. That had a trickle-down effect on the rest of the line, with Seantrel Henderson moving to first-team right tackle and Erik Pears moving to right guard. In our view, that puts the Bills' best five offensive linemen on the field. Kraig Urbik, who started at right guard last season, was the second-team center, flanked by Doug Legursky and Cyril Richardson at guard. That could lead to a battle between Urbik and Legursky to crack the 53-man roster.
  • More shifting came in the secondary. Leodis McKelvin participated in team drills, lining up across from Stephon Gilmore in what will be the Bills' opening-day look. Nickell Robey remained the slot cornerback, with Corey Graham moving to safety. The Bills tried different combinations at safety, mixing Aaron Williams with Graham, Duke Williams, and Da'Norris Searcy. The Bills said in the spring that Graham could see time at safety and it may finally be coming to fruition.
  • Marcell Dareus did not take part in team drills Monday. In his place, the Bills used a combination of Landon Cohen, Corbin Bryant, and Stefan Charles. They're likely looking for the best options to back up Dareus and Kyle Williams. It's possible that the Bills keep all three of those reserve options on the roster, although they could choose two of the three and move on from the third. As for Dareus, Marrone briefly came over to the sideline later in practice to talk to Dareus, prodding at his left elbow as if it were injured. Something to monitor.
  • On the heels of his 77 percent completion rate in Thursday's practice, EJ Manuel topped it with an 81 percent night Monday. He went 17-for-21 in team drills, completing four passes to Fred Jackson, four to Robert Woods, three to C.J. Spiller, and one to Mike Williams. Nothing was too deep -- it was a heavy dose of short hooks and flare passes to the running backs -- but his accuracy was on point and he didn't throw any interceptions. It was a good night of practice for Manuel, without Watkins.
  • The Bills will be back on the practice field Tuesday afternoon. They'll practice again Wednesday and Thursday before breaking camp.

Jets camp report: Day 26

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- A daily review of the hot topics from New York Jets training camp:
  • The Quinton Coples-Jason Babin situation at "rush" linebacker -- sharing first-team reps -- is similar to the quarterback position. The Jets went into the offseason wanting to give Geno Smith every opportunity to be the starter, but they signed a cagey, old vet -- Michael Vick -- for insurance and some competition. It's the same deal with Coples and Babin, except they can both play because it's linebacker. Believe me, once the Jets get a look at Babin on first and second down, they'll have Coples back in his regular role. As one opposing scout said of Babin, "He's not real good versus the run at the point of attack."
  • Wide receiver Eric Decker (quadriceps) returned to practice on a limited basis, which is good news for the offense. This is a big week for Decker, Geno Smith and the passing game, as they prepare for the all-important third preseason game. Last week was a lost week. Now, Decker and Smith are in catch-up mode, trying to sharpen their timing as the regular season draws closer.
  • After an impressive debut, rookie safety Calvin Pryor got more work with the starters than usual. Basically, he rotated with Jaiquawn Jarrett in the spot alongside Dawan Landry. It's only a matter of time before Pryor claims the starting job. I say throw him out there with the starters Friday night against the New York Giants. What do they have to lose?
  • There wasn't much Jets-Giants chatter in the locker room, although Smith did have this to say about the annual preseason contest: "We all know about that Snoopy Trophy and we want to win every single game." Sorry, but I have to laugh whenever a player refers to the Snoopy Trophy.
  • It was good to see Jalen Saunders back on the practice field, albeit in a spectator role. The rookie wide receiver still hasn't been cleared to return after his one-car accident last Friday, which left him in a hospital for two nights. The Jets haven't commented on the "medical event" (from the police report) that caused the accident. Saunders soon will have an opportunity to provide clarity; he's expected to address the media Tuesday or Wednesday.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets open the regular season in 20 days. They're confident injured cornerback Dimitri Patterson will be ready to go. There's less certainty with fellow corner Dee Milliner, who suffered a high-ankle sprain eight days ago.

"We feel confident that it's healing nicely," Ryan said without providing a timetable on Milliner's anticipated return.

Milliner experienced significant swelling after the injury, the team said, which is alarming because there is often a minimum degree of swelling with a high-ankle sprain. This probably means it's a moderate (Grade 2) sprain, according to Dr. David Chao, a former NFL team physician.

"A moderate high-ankle sprain puts the first regular-season game in jeopardy," Chao said.

Chao was speaking of high-ankle sprains in general, noting that he hasn't examined Milliner or his test results. But he said the rule of thumb for a grade-2 sprain is four to six weeks. The initial hope for the Jets was three to four weeks.

Ryan was optimistic about Patterson's return. Like Milliner, Patterson didn't play last Saturday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. He's nursing calf, quadriceps and ankle injuries. He's not the most durable player, having missed 33 games over the previous three seasons. Patterson practiced Monday on a limited basis, which was more than he did last week.

"I hope he'll be ready. I'd think he will," Ryan said. "I don't think any of (his injuries) are of the severe variety, but they've been able to keep him out of action, so we'll see. This is just a little step back. Hopefully, he'll do more (Tuesday)."

The Jets' beleaguered secondary, shredded by Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, needs reinforcements. They lined up Monday with the same starting lineup they had in Cincinnati -- Antonio Allen and Ellis Lankster at cornerback, with Dawan Landry and Jaiquawn Jarrett. Ryan came to the defense of oft-criticized nickel back Kyle Wilson, who allowed a 43-yard touchdown against the Bengals. Ryan said Wilson was supposed to have deep help on the play, but could've played the ball better in the air.

"I expect this will be his finest year," Ryan said of Wilson.