AFC East Notes: Patriots, Fitzpatrick, Smith, Misi

About a year ago,’s Mike Reiss focused on Tom Brady‘s praise for unheralded Patriots running back Dion Lewis. The career journeyman’s pass-catching skills were clear, but the running back was also commended for his ability to take “a teaching point that was covered in morning meetings…and [execute it] on the field.”

We all know how that experiment ended up working. Lewis compiled 622 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns in seven games.

Today, Reiss decided to highlight some “under-the-radar” OTA participants who could play a significant role on this year’s squad. Among the candidates were cornerback V’Angelo Bentley (who adds versatility via the return game), receiver DeAndre Carter (played on last season’s practice squad), running back D.J. Foster (undrafted free agent received personal phone called from Bill Belichick to join team), and cornerback Jonathan Jones (most guaranteed money among undrafted players).

While the Patriots determine whether they’ve landed on any hidden gems, let’s see what else is happening around the AFC East…

  • We have conflicting reports as to whether Brandon Marshall‘s absence from Jets OTAs is related to the team’s contract talks (or lack thereof) with Ryan Fitzpatrick. One source tells Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) that there is “no story” with regards to Marshall not being in practice with his teammates. Eric Decker, however, is reportedly staying home to make a statement about his feelings on the Fitzpatrick situation.
  • Jets quarterback Geno Smith says that he is OK with his teammates voicing their support for Fitzpatrick, as Brian Costello of the New York Post writes. “When I’m out there on the field no matter who I’m with my job is to score points,” he said. “I have the utmost confidence in my abilities and myself. When the time comes when I’m out there, I’ll go out there and perform. As of right now, it’s about what we’re doing here and taking care of business.”
  • Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi was detained (but not arrested) by police following a fight outside a Fort Lauderdale nightclub on Sunday morning, according to a police report obtained by the Miami Sun-Sentinel. The report also indicated that the 29-year-old attempted to “flee a police officer” following the altercation. Misi could be in line for a team suspension, and it’s notable that the organization disciplined former defensive end Derrick Shelby following a fight outside the same club.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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