AFC Notes: Vilma, Gronkowski, Manziel, Bills

Joe Philbin and Dennis Allen are among several coaches who have a lot riding on the 2014 season, writes Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today. While the “hot seat” label may be premature, the Dolphins would surely like to see improvement both off-the-field (in the wake of the Jonathan Martin scandal) and on it, with quarterback Ryan Tannehill potentially taking another step forward. The Raiders, meanwhile, used their ample cap space to infuse their roster with veterans, and the team’s leadership obviously hopes Allen can improve upon 2013’s 4-12 record.

More from around the AFC:

  • Free agent linebacker Jonathan Vilma reached out to the Dolphins, but Miami was not interested in adding the veteran, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Vilma played only 12 snaps in 2013 following a knee injury.
  • Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is reportedly “progressing well” following his January surgery to repair his torn ACL and MCL, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Herald.
  • Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan worked with Robert Griffin III in Washington, and he believes RG3 and new Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel have some common traits, per Jim Corbett of USA Today. “Johnny and Robert are very similar,” said Shanahan. “They’re both talented guys who can make plays with their legs. But there comes a time in the NFL when they’re going to keep you in the pocket, and you’re going to have to have that ability to make the throws with your arm and mind. And Johnny, just like Robert, has that arm talent and intelligence to do that.”
  • While Jerry Hughes won’t have a problem finding a role in new Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s scheme, fellow pass-rusher Manny Lawson might, writes’s Mike Rodak. Lawson spent most of last season close to the line of scrimmage as a stand-up linebacker, and that position simply doesn’t exist in Schwartz’s defense.
  • Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb is happy with the development of 2013 first-round safety Matt Elam, according to Matt Zenitz of the Carroll County Times. “From last year to this year, I see a big jump with his leadership, with him controlling the back end and just being that safety controlling the calls,” said Webb. “I just really like where I see him going.”
  • The Broncos’ defensive line is heavy on both depth and competition, writes Jeff Legwold of, and improved line play will be essential if Denver hopes to create opportunities for edge rushers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware.
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