AFC East Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Jets

     

Bills

Last year was Bills RB LeSean McCoy‘s worst season ever from a statistical standpoint. McCoy rushed for 514 yards on a 3.2 YPC clip with only three touchdowns. This offseason, the Bills responded by making major additions to the position, signing Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon in free agency and drafting Devin Singletary in the third round. McCoy, however, remains undaunted. 

“I’m excited,” McCoy said via NFL Media’s Mike Silver. “I’m a guy whose back’s against the wall — how are you gonna respond? There’s only two ways: You can crumble, or come out fighting. It’s as simple as that.”

McCoy’s struggles in 2018 came as he hit the dreaded age-30 cliff for running backs. However, the now 31-year-old veteran insists his struggles last year were due to other reasons than his body beginning to fail him. 

“I feel good,” McCoy said. “I think I’m different, you know? I hang around a lot of running backs — retired dudes that I came in with, guys older than me. And they have all these injuries and they’re all (broken down). I don’t play like that. My style is unique. I don’t have any issues on my body, injuries. I don’t take a lot of shots. I don’t take a lot of hits. So I think I’m unique.”

McCoy’s new teammate Gore is proof turning 30 isn’t an automatic death knell for a running back. Gore is still running strong at the age of 36 and has rushed for more than 5,700 yards since his 30th birthday.  

“Sometimes I might say something jokingly about age — he doesn’t like that,” McCoy said. “He gets mad at me. He says, ‘Man, if you think like that, that’s what’s gonna happen. You say stuff like this, it’s gonna happen. Nah, man, you’re young right now.’ “

  • Gore said he feels like he’ll be able to contribute on the field, not just off it: “I feel good. I’m not just here to be a ‘locker-room guy’; I’m here to run. I have no doubt that I can still get it done.”
  • Silver notes the Bills will place a heavy emphasis on the preseason to sort out their running back room.
  • McCoy is due $6.175 million in salary which could be saved with a trade or release, however, the Bills have maintained he’s still their lead back in 2019. 

Dolphins

  • According to NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo, Dolphins OT Laremy Tunsil was a big advocate for Miami signing DT Robert Nkemdiche
  • The two were teammates in college together at Ole Miss and were both selected in the first round in 2016. 

Jets

Jets RB Ty Montgomery played wide receiver in college at Stanford but transitioned to running back during his time with the Packers. Despite some streaks of success, things ultimately didn’t work out for Montgomery in Green Bay and he was traded last year. Now in New York, Montgomery says he finally feels like he’s with a coach who understands how to use him. 

“He’s not really struggling with are you a running back or are you a receiver?” Montgomery said via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “When we have conversations, he just says, ‘You’re a football player. I know what you can do as a route runner and I know what you can do running the ball.’ He doesn’t seem to be trying to figure out whether I’m a running back or you’re a receiver. I feel like a true hybrid in this offense.”

For his part, Gase has been thrilled at being able to bring Montgomery in on a one-year, $895,000 contract. Despite the presence of Le’Veon Bell, Montgomery has shown he’ll have a significant role this year for the Jets as a change of pace at running back and a weapon both out wide and in the slot at wide receiver.

“It was a surprising deal when he came in here,” Gase said. “I was surprised he wasn’t signed yet. The fact that we had a shot at him coming here and when we got him signed, the wheels started turning on offense as far as all right, what are we going to do? How are we going to use these guys? What’s it going to look like? So, we’re experimenting with all that stuff. His versatility and his flexibility and his knowledge . . . and he’s extremely smart. So, we put a lot on his plate and he’s able to play a lot of different roles for us.”

  • According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Jets C Ryan Kalil‘s deal includes a $3 million signing bonus, a $2.4 million non-guaranteed base salary and a $3.4 million roster bonus. 
  • The Athletic’s Zach Berman identifies Eagles WR Mack Hollins or an offensive lineman as players Jets GM Joe Douglas would be interested in claiming if they were to be made available during cutdowns by his former team.

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