Team: New York Giants

East Notes: Bills Sale, Branch, DRC, Jackson

Bids for the Bills franchise are due in about two weeks, a source tells John Wawrow of the Associated Press. Morgan Stanley, the bank supervising the sale of the team, hopes to have a new owner in place by October, and as of now, Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula is considered the favorite to land Buffalo’s club. Former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly recently turned down an offer from rocker Jon Bon Jovi to join forces, while entrepreneur Donald Trump and former Sabres owner Tom Golisano are also among the contenders to purchase the team.

More from the NFL’s East divisions:

  • The Bills signed Alan Branch to a contract extension last December, but they might already be looking to rid themselves of the defensive tackle. Mike Rodak of ESPN.com looks at how a release of Branch would affect Buffalo’s cap.
  • As Steve Serby of the New York Post details, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie almost chose to sign with the Jets rather than the Giants during the offseason. In hindsight, it seems as though the Jets should have pressed harder for Rodgers-Cromartie, as their secondary has struggled during camp and the preseason.
  • DeSean Jackson‘s failure to get separation against press-man coverage last season has been cited among the reasons why he was released by the Eagles. Now that referees intend to crack down on illegal defensive holding this season, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer wonders if Jackson, and other less physical receivers, will benefit from the rule change.
  • Guard Dallas Thomas is among the Dolphins whose stock is falling, writes James Walker of ESPN.com. Thomas was beat several times by Gerald McCoy in Miami’s last preseason game, and it looks like free agent signee Shelley Smith might be able to regain his spot among the starters in place of Thomas.

NFC East Notes: Coughlin, Henery, Redskins, Minter

The Giants‘ offense was sloppy in 2013, with Eli Manning struggling with turnovers early in the season. The team was unable to get on track in time to salvage a playoff run, and it ultimately cost offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride his job. The team hired Ben McAdoo to pick up the pieces and turn the offense around, but the team has been unable to do so as of yet. Head coach Tom Coughlin is unhappy with the progress being made on that side of the ball, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

“It’s obvious, I think we got to work on a lot of things,’’ Coughlin said. “We got to basically work on everything. Last night we didn’t run it, we certainly didn’t throw the ball with any consistency, we don’t have people that are definitely running open, our protection does break down from time to time and we don’t react well under pressure when we do realize there has to be a hot or a sight adjust involved and just getting the ball out of the quarterback’s hand and trying to accomplish a positive play in the face of the pressure.’’

Here are some other notes from around the NFC East:

  • Eagles‘ kicker Alex Henery seems to be winning the position competition, writes Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Despite his struggles in 2013 and this preseason, he has been the only kicker to see action during the team’s two preseason games. Head coach Chip Kelly also noted that Henery has been very good in practice during pressure situations.
  • The Eagles have a number of preseason storylines that are becoming clearer as the preseason progresses. Dave Spadaro of PhiladelphiaEagles.com updates a few storylines, including the ongoing injury situation, the progression of the offense in Kelly’s second season, and some recent roster moves.
  • Final roster cuts are approaching, and the Redskins have a number of players on the bubble of making the team. Rich Tandler and Tarik El Bashir take a look at a few defensive players fighting for the last few spots. They both agree that outside linebacker Rob Jackson and safety Bacarri Rambo will both make the team, while cornerback Richard Crawford will fall short of making the team.
  • Cowboys‘ defensive tackle Zach Minter made an impression in his first preseason game, writes Brandon George of DallasNews.com. Playing against the Ravens on Saturday after being signed on Thursday, Minter had four tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble. That performance could help to earn him a spot on a defense that is in need of talent.

East Notes: Eagles, Cousins, Branch

Although there was a great deal of cyberspace dedicated to the Jets this morning, there are also a few relevant notes to pass along from some of the league’s other east division teams. Let’s have a look:

  • Despite Eagles kicker Alex Henery‘s missed 47-yard field goal attempt in last night’s preseason game, Kelly affirmed that Henery is in no immediate danger of losing his job to Carey Spear, tweets Mosher.
  • In reference to the Eagles‘ kicking competition, Kelly stated, “It’s clear in our mind Alex is number one over Carey.” Henery has performed well in training camp, but as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets, if Kelly is convinced that Henery is the guy–and apparently he is, since Spear has not even had a kick in a preseason game–why is Spear still on the roster?
  • In a separate piece, McLane notes that Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry got a few reps with the starters on Friday against the Patriots and that he acquitted himself well. McLane believes that, despite speculation that Curry may be traded since he is not a perfect fit in Philadelphia’s defensive scheme, the Eagles are unlikely to deal the player who may be the team’s best pass rusher, particularly since they did little to address their pass rushing group in the offseason.
  • Jordan Raanan of NJ.com writes that the Giants‘ offensive line did nothing to assuage concerns during its lackluster showing against the Colts on Saturday night.
  • Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes that one of the few bright spots for the Giants yesterday was the performance of tight end Adrien Robinson.
  • Mike Jones of the Washington Post writes that Redskins backup quarterback Kirk Cousins has continued to be a “good soldier” as he awaits an opportunity to start in the NFL. Cousins, of course, was the subject of trade rumors this offseason and will probably get a legitimate chance to establish himself as a starter at some point in his career.
  • James Walker of ESPN.com writes that Dolphins guard Dallas Thomas is now on the hot seat after his weak performance against the Buccaneers on Saturday.
  • Two Bills players who were seemingly roster locks several months ago–Thad Lewis and Alan Branch–are now in danger of being cut, tweets Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Rodak elaborates in a separate post.

 

NFC Notes: Pead, Holmes, Giants, Sam

As the NFL preseason rolls on with a handful of Saturday night games in progress, let’s check out a few weekend items from around the NFC….

  • Rams coach Jeff Fisher told reporters, including Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link), that the team believes running back Isaiah Pead tore his ACL today and will be lost for the 2014 season.
  • Concerns about his foot and his attitude kept Santonio Holmes on the free agent market until mid-August. However, the veteran wideout officially signed with the Bears today, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes Holmes could flourish in Marc Trestman‘s offense in Chicago, assuming he’s healthy. The club will be seeking a third receiver behind Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, after seeing Marquess Wilson suffer a clavicle injury.
  • For years, the Giants have been trying different cornerbacks and safeties in the nickel back role, but after they went out and signed Walter Thurmond this offseason, they may have finally found an answer at the position, writes Newsday’s Tom Rock.
  • Rams rookie Michael Sam recorded his first sack in today’s preseason game against the Packers, but undrafted defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks, who may be vying with Sam for a single roster spot, had a big game as well, as Gary Mihoces of USA Today details.

NFC East Notes: Benn, Helu, Garrett, Giants

Eagles‘ wideout Arrelious Benn was far from guaranteed a roster spot, but he is working as hard as possible to make the team, writes Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com. Benn showed that he can contribute on special teams by blocking a punt in their preseason game against the Patriots. He also caught a touchdown in the game, on a ball that was intended for another receiver but came loose in the air as Ifeanyi Momah fell to the ground in the end zone.

Here are some other notes from around the NFC East:

  • Cowboys‘ head coach Jason Garrett has been a popular choice to the question of first coach to be fired in 2014, but Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com doesn’t see owner Jerry Jones pulling the trigger during the season. Despite being listed with 2/1 odds according to Bovada, Archer believes the team is more likely to ride out the season with Garrett without a potential successor.
  • Redskins‘ running backs have struggled in pass protection drills, with Roy Helu, Lache Seastruck, and starter Alfred Morris each having their own problems, writes John Keim of ESPN.com. The drill is supposed to favor the defense, however, and Helu still has the edge on the role of third-down back. “It’s a somewhat superficial drill,” Helu said. “But it’s a harder drill than game situations. The first thing we have to do is be physical because it’s one-on-one and second we are going to win with technique.” 
  • The Giants had a lot of problems with their quarterback play in 2013, but there is currently a competition going on for the backup spot on the team, writes Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. Curtis Painter will take the backup reps this week, after Ryan Nassib was given them previously.

NFC East Links: Brent, Foles, Giants

The latest out of the NFC East..

  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones “has heard nothing” from the NFL pertaining to a possible Josh Brent reinstatement, according to Charean Williams of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram (Twitter link). Brent was set to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at the beginning of August and discuss his re-entry to the league. About 65% of PFR readers believed that Brent, whose driving under the influence led to the tragic death of teammate Jerry Brown, should not be able to play in the NFL again.
  • Bruce Carter is the Cowboys’ presumptive starter at weakside linebacker, but as Todd Archer of ESPN.com writes, Rolando McClain is pushing for more playing time on Dallas’ front seven. McClain has been working as the starter at middle linebacker, with Justin Durant shifting to the “Will” position, meaning Carter is having to fight for snaps.
  • In a piece for ESPN Insider (subscription required), Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus points to the Eagles as one of five teams that could contend for the Super Bowl with improved quarterback play. Despite his excellent counting stats, Nick Foles finished with just a +7.4 grade from PFF.
  • David Molk, a Chargers sixth-round pick in 2012, is working as the backup to Eagles center Jason Kelce, and the former Michigan Wolverine feels he’s the perfect fit for Chip Kelly’s up-tempo scheme. “Frankly, as far as this offensive line and [how] this offense is built … this is what I am made for,” Molk told Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com. “Smaller, quicker, faster guy who’s strong, uses good balance. This is what my tools are made for.”
  • Giants general manager Jerry Reese was succinct when discussing his team’s 2014 hopes with Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks. “There are two guys on our team that have to play really well and it’s Eli Manning and Jason Pierre-Paul,” said Reese. “If those guys play well, I think we’ve got a chance to be really good.”

East Notes: Jets, Bills, Spiller, McClain, Giants

There’s no quarterback controversy in Cortland, New York, and that makes the Jets rather happy, writes Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. Guard Willie Colon admitted that the Geno Smith-Mark Sanchez talk made things “tense” for Gang Green last season, but Michael Vick has helped the club avoid that tension by declaring that he’s only there to be the backup to Smith. “Mike is a leader and a motivator, and he supports Geno,” Colon said. “Geno understands he’s the guy. We all believe in him.” More from the AFC and NFC East..

  • Bills GM Doug Whaley shot down speculation of running back C.J. Spiller being on the trade block but, then again, he took a similar tone regarding trade rumors surrounding wide receiver Steve Johnson after last season, writes Tim Graham of The Buffalo News. When asked about a possible Johnson trade at the wrap-up conference, Whaley said he was “amazed” and “taken aback by the question.” The wide receiver was traded in May.
  • An educated source once involved in the Bills sales process tells Tim Graham of the Buffalo News (on Twitter) that the team is “[Terry] Pegula‘s to lose” and Bon Jovi group is “unfocused and disorganized.” That same source says the Bills will be in Western New York “for a very, very long time whether they get a new stadium or not” (link).
  • Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain says that he’s over the animosity that once existed between him and Raiders coach Dennis Allen, writes David Moore of the Dallas News. “We’re both grown men,’’ said McClain, who hopes to push Justin Durant for the starting job at middle linebacker in Dallas. “At the end of the day, things get hot. But, I mean, we’re both grown men and we respect each other.”
  • Safety Antrel Rolle likes the look of the Giants‘ rebuilt secondary, which includes newcomers Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond, writes Bob Glauber of Newsday. “I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen thus far,” Rolle said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of areas to clean up and fine-tune, cut down on a lot of penalties, especially in the defensive backfield. But overall, I think we’ve been doing a great job of keeping a team out of the end zone, which is always our No. 1 priority. So far, so good.”

Extra Points: Giants, Bryant, Cowboys

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is leading a new-look Giants secondary but he believes that the gelling process won’t be too arduous, writes George Willis of the New York Post. “When you’ve got a whole bunch of older guys, it can (come quickly) because you’ve been around the league and you understand the game,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “When you’re young it takes time. But with Walt coming over, with me and Antrel having already been here with Prince and Steve, I think it’s been smooth.” More from around the NFL..

  • Former Ravens outside linebacker D.J. Bryant tried out for the Titans today, a league source tells Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Bryant, who spent last season on injured reserve with a torn ACL, wasn’t immediately signed to a contract. The athletic 6’3″, 240-pound linebacker who was an All-Colonial Athletic Conference selection as a defensive end at James Madison.
  • A scout who studied new Cowboys cornerback Justin Green described him as someone who is “tough, physical, and competes,” tweets Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Green, the source added, has above average movement skills and is a back-end guy with special teams value.” In short, Dallas will still miss Orlando Scandrick, but Green can be a solid depth pickup.
  • New Browns quarterback Rex Grossman is happy to be reunited with long-time offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, writes Tom Reed of The Plain Dealer. “I just want to help this team win, no matter if it’s going out there playing or helping or just being somebody they can rely on that can go in the game and play or whatever it is,” said Grossman, who will be charged with breaking down the offensive system to his younger teammates.
  • The CFL’s Montreal Alouettes officially announced that Jeff Garcia has been named the team’s quarterbacks coach.

NFC East Notes: Scandrick, Giants, Redskins

In the wake of the four-game suspension handed out to his client, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick, agent Ron Slavin of BTI Sports Advisors issued a statement suggesting that if the proposed agreement related to HGH testing had been instituted by now, it would significantly reduce the number of PED suspensions (Twitter link via Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports). A number of drugs that currently fall under the PED umbrella would instead be tested under the substance abuse policy under that proposal, and first-time substance-abuse violations typically result in counselling and treatment rather than immediate suspensions.

Let’s round up a few more items on Scandrick and on some other NFC East clubs and players….

  • Scandrick’s positive test came as a result of the recreational drug MDMA being found in his system following a vacation to Mexico, a source tells Ed Werder of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Jay Glazer of FOX Sports adds (via Twitter) that MDMA on its own should be subject to the substance abuse policy, but the drug can sometimes be laced with amphetamines, which likely resulted in the PED classification.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap notes that the timing of the suspension was actually somewhat fortuitous for Scandrick, since he restructured his contract with the Cowboys in the offseason to reduce his base salary. By converting a portion of his 2014 salary to a signing bonus, Scandrick will only lose out on about $847K in salary, rather than around $1.55MM.
  • With David Wilson forced into retirement and Andre Brown back on the free agent market, a reunion between Brown and the Giants may seem logical, but Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets that the Giants seem comfortable with the running backs on their roster, and don’t appear to have interest in Brown at this point.
  • Redskins GM Bruce Allen confirmed today to reporters, including Jason Reid of the Washington Post (Twitter link), that his team only has about $2MM in cap space. Cap-clearing moves will likely be necessary for the club before the start of the regular season, writes Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com.
  • Mike Jones of the Washington Post fields a few Redskins-related questions in his latest mailbag.

Texans Release Andre Brown

The Texans have released running back Andre Brown, reports ProFootballTalk.com (via Twitter).The former Giants draft pick signed with Houston in April and was hoping to earn a backup role behind Arian Foster. However, that seemed unlikely when he didn’t play a single snap during the team’s first preseason game.

Brown was selected in the fourth-round of the 2009 draft, but he didn’t make a big impact until 2012. He ran for 385 yards on only 73 carries that season, but he also scored eight touchdowns. He appeared in eight games last season, compiling 492 yards and three scores.

The 27-year-old has battled injury problems throughout his career. He broke his fibula in 2012, forcing him to miss the final six games. A preseason leg injury in 2013 kept him out of the lineup until mid-November. He also tore an ACL during his rookie season.

Brown briefly spoke to ESPN’s Josina Anderson about the release (via Twitter): “It is what it is. That is the life of the business. I have no idea.”