AFC Notes: Dolphins, Grimes, Gordon, Hali, Ford, Stanley, Pats Injuries

The Dolphins season has taken a dive in recent weeks. After starting the year 4-2, the team has lost control of the final AFC Wild Card spot, losing their past three games by a combined 67 points, thanks to blowout defeats at the hands of the Ravens and Panthers. However, while their reliance on Jay Cutler and midseason trade of Jay Ajayi have’t helped, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald opines that the secondary has been one of the major reasons why the Dolphins are not in position to be playoff contenders, particularly in regards to loss of Brent Grimes when the franchise opted to cut him before the 2016 season.

Beasley explains that the front office decided to move on from the veteran cornerback because his age, salary, 2015 performance and even his wife’s antics, but in hindsight the team misses Grimes’ steady contributions. The 34 year-old corner will face his former team for the first time since they let him walk this Sunday. Since his release, the Dolphins have failed to rectify the position with the likes of Byron Maxwell, Tony Lippett, Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley. While Howard and Tankersley are still young, both aren’t guys you can lean on during a playoff run. In comparison, Grimes has played more like a middle of the pack corner this season , grading out as the 60th best corner in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Still, in Beasley’s opinion the way the team has handled their defensive back situation has been a dud all around over the past few years.

  • Josh Gordon is back at the Browns practice facility and he has made a positive impression on head coach Hue Jackson, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link). Ulrich passes along that the second-year Cleveland head coach has stated that the wideout has been “involved” and is a “pleasure to be around”. The Browns reporter also states that Jackson expects the talented reciever to be back on the practice field on November 20. Still just 26 years old, Gordon last played for the team in 2014, and has since been suspended from the league for multiple drug violations. The former high supplemental draft pick will be a restricted free agent in 2018, so he needs to make the most of every opportunity to impress the coaching staff if he wants a real chance to continue his playing career.
  • The Chiefs will be without two key pass rushers when they travel to New Jersey to take on the Giants this Sunday. Both Dee Ford and Tamba Hali have been ruled out for the contest, according to Adam Teicher of ESPN.com (Twitter link). This is particularly interesting development in the case of Hali because the team took the cautious approach to resting him by putting him on the PUP before the start of the regular season. However, he remains on the sideline despite being placed back on the active roster. Kansas City will lean on Frank Zombo with these pass rush specialists unavailable. Getting to the quarterback has been an issue for the team, as the Chiefs currently rank in the bottom half of the league in terms of sacks, racking up just a combined 19.0 through ten weeks.
  • The Ravens have already lost their best offensive lineman for the year in Marshal Yanda and have another troubling injury situation unfolding regarding left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Even after a bye, the second-year lineman is doubtful to play with a concussion, tweets Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Obviously, all concussions should be taken seriously, but his absence should be a concern considering that Baltimore has really had to shakeup their protection for Joe Flacco with the injuries to Yanda and second-year guard Alex Lewis. James Hurst would likely get the start in place of Stanley, which is a significant downgrade for a team that is looking to gain momentum in securing the final AFC wild card spot over the last seven weeks of the regular season.
  • The Patriots will be without two starting offensive lineman of their own when they travel to Mexico City to take on the Raiders on Sunday afternoon. Both center David Andrews (illness) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle) have been ruled out, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Backup lineman Ted Karras got some snaps at center during last week’s blowout of the Broncos and the team has reserve tackles in Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle who could fill in at right tackle. Bill Belichick and co. will also be without Chris Hogan and special teams ace Matt Slater, so the team has to overcome more than just new surroundings to get out of Mexico with their eighth win of the year.

 

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