AFC Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Patriots

     

Bills

Bills GM Brandon Beane has put a lot of work into rebuilding the Bills over the past two seasons and the results have been promising with two playoff appearances. However, there’s still a hump to get over and that hump is the New England Patriots. The Bills have gotten a lot of hype as the team to unseat the Patriots from their throne atop the AFC East but they still have to actually do it, which Beane is happy to point out. 

“Hopefully, we’re still trending up,” Beane said via ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques. “We haven’t won the division, and to me, that’s the goal we have to do, because we need to host playoff games here in Orchard Park, and the only way we get a chance to do that is if we win the division. We haven’t been able to take down the Patriots yet — nobody has since we’ve been here. That’s still the team we’re chasing. We don’t play them until the middle of the season, but I’m sure the Jets and the Dolphins are thinking the same thing. That’s our goal, that’s our focus. We’ve got to try to compete and win the AFC East.”

  • Per WGR 550’s Sal Capaccio, Beane said they were happy to be able to finalize the extension for CB Tre’Davious White before the start of the season: “Negotiations are never easy. It took us a little time….just happy we got it done before the season to take that off his shoulders and just play free.”
  • Bills LB Matt Milano is another player the team would like to lock up long-term: “We love Matt Milano. He’s definitely in our plans. Again, we’ll see if we can work something out with him, but we’d love to have him long term.” (Joe Buscaglia)
  • Beane called the possibility of cutting DE Trent Murphy “more media and fan talk” than something the team actually considered. (Louis-Jacques)
  • Beane told reporters there’s no signing imminent after bringing in RB Lamar Miller for a visit: “It’s exploratory and a long way to go before we know if we’d add him to our roster.” (Chris Brown)
  • Beane mentioned they didn’t want to cut bait on a draft pick like fifth-round QB Jake Fromm without seeing him play: “I’d hate to release him and never see him play in a game.” (Louis-Jacques)
  • He added it’s no sure thing sixth-round WR Isaiah Hodgins (shoulder) comes off injured reserve this season as he could end up needing surgery. (Buscaglia)
  • Bills CB Levi Wallace (hamstring, CB Josh Norman (hamstring) and DE Mario Addison (knee) all practiced Monday. (Buscaglia)
  • Bills C Mitch Morse highlighted OL Ryan Bates as a player who’s had a strong camp. (Louis-Jacques)
  • The Bills are bringing in three kickers for trouts, including Ramiz Ahmed, Matthew McCrane, and Tristan Vizcaino. (Albert Breer)

Dolphins

  • Per ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe, Dolphins HC Brian Flores confirmed QB Ryan Fitzpatrick would open the season as Miami’s starter: “This isn’t groundbreaking news, but Fitz is going to be the starter. A year like this with no OTAs, no minicamp, modified training camp, we felt like that would be the best decision for the team. He’s done a good job through the course of training camp, and he’ll be out there.”
  • Flores said CB Xavien Howard has made progress but the team will take the long-term view when deciding when he returns to the lineup. (Wolfe)

Jets

  • Per the Athletic’s Connor Hughes, Jets GM Joe Douglas said it was an “excruciating conversation” with C Jonotthan Harrison to let him know he was being released. 
  • However, Douglas said the Jets did not “close the door” on Harrison returning at some point. 
  • Douglas told reporters he and HC Adam Gase are on the same page about the team this year: “Adam and I shared that vision of what we wanted this team to look like. I feel like we’ve been on the same page getting the right type of people… I think you’re starting to see that come to fruition this camp.” (Manish Mehta)
  • Douglas claimed he was “not bound (by) any restrictions when it comes to ownership” as far as the Jets’ spending in free agency this year. (Mehta)
  • However, Mehta says Douglas specifically, as well as others in the front office, has told people the opposite, that they had a tight budget from ownership this offseason. 

Patriots

Offseason surgery is becoming a yearly ritual for Patriots RB Sony Michel. This year it was his foot and this year it actually kept him out for much of training camp while he recuperated on the PUP. But Michel was able to get in some practices toward the end and says he’s as ready as possible for Week 1. 

“I would say I am in the best position possible right now to be able to go into Game One and be able to perform as best as I can,” Michel said via WEEI.com. “The coaching staff, the training staff has done a great job preparing me for this opportunity. All I can do is go out there and give it all I have.”

  • The Patriots pulled an unusual move of not keeping any kickers on the active roster but signing both Nick Folk and fifth-round rookie Justin Rohrwasser to the practice squad: “[Folk’s] done a good job, hit the ball well. Justin has as well. Certainly there’s a big experience gap here, but that’s not uncommon either … Fortunately, we have two players at that position that I’d say are NFL quality.” (Mike Reiss)
  • Patriots QB Cam Newton noted he hasn’t had a wily veteran presence at wide receiver like Julian Edelman since he played with Steve Smith his first few seasons: “I see guys like Julian, I can say I’ve never had a receiver like that, outside of like Steve Smith; a person who was a veteran and understood what it took. Everybody else was pretty much a young guy who you had to mold and shape.” (Reiss)
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