Patriots Gronkowski has ankle surgery

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had arthroscopic surgery on his ankle Friday, according to to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The recovery time is somewhere in the 10 week period.

Gronkowski suffered the injury in the AFC Championship against the Baltimore Ravens. Bernard Pollard made the tackle after a Gronkowski reception and Gronk’s ankle was caught underneath him as they both fell to the ground. Pollard has been bad news for the Patriots as he has been part of the season ending injury to Tom Brady back in 2008. In addition, he was on the field for the play where Wes Welker tore his ACL and missed the 2009 playoffs.

This is more news that will affect Gronkowski. After claiming to be 100 percent in the Super Bowl, he turned out to be a major non factor catching only 2 passes for 26 yards. After the game he was seen dancing and jumping up and down during the Patriots post Super Bowl party.

Now comes word of surgery for Gronkowski after he stated that wouldn’t be necessary. Patriots fans cannot be happy with either bit of information. But, at least their owner seems to be ok with it.

“He’s a young single guy. I’m not sure that Rob … I think he does everything, and then some, that he’s asked to do as it relates to the locker room, the football field, the weight room. And he brings huge time, energy and passion to that.” Kraft stated.

He continued saying, “As 21- and 22-year-old guys grow up and mature, different things happen. He hasn’t broken any laws, he doesn’t do anything else. I think it’s hard to place value judgments on things that are personally right for different people.”

I bet this is just a cover. With his wife passing this year, this season meant more to him than most people know.

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Chad OchoCinco Changes Name Again

You won’t be seeing this name on his jersey anymore. According to a report from TMZ.com, Chad OchoCinco is changing his last name back to Johnson. This is because he plans on marrying his “Basketball Wives” fiancee Evelyn Lozada in July in Florida.  You can see the report here. He plans to legally change his last name back to Johnson so Evelyn doesn’t have to take that last name when they tie the knot. Can you blame her?

The real issue for OchoCinco is whether or not he has a team to play for next season. After having only 15 receptions for 276 yards and a TD with the Patriots, he probably won’t be on their roster next season. The question is whether someone else thinks he still has enough left in the tank to be a real contributor.

I think a team who needs another piece to their offense would be a nice destination for OchoCinco (Johnson). He still can be somewhat of a deep threat and if he is figured into an offense, he could bring some coverage his way. Plus, he showed everyone he can mature and play a full season without being stupid.

Texans anyone? They would sure be a good fit in my opinion.

2012 NFL Mock Draft

It’s that time of the year folks. Time for my 2012 NFL Mock Draft. I’ll break it down for you right here. I know the website has been down for a while, but it’s back. So let’s do this! Let me know what you think.

For more of my thoughts on the draft and other sports topics, follow me on twitter @JasonDavis223.

1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

The easiest pick in the draft. I’m very high on Robert Griffin III, but he’s not as polished as Luck. The Colts will move on from Peyton Manning and what better way than to land your next franchise QB for the next ten years.

2. St. Louis Rams: Matt Kilil, OT, USC

I believe Bradford has had the same misfortune that Matthew Stafford has been through. He isn’t getting protection and therefore getting hurt and his production is suffering. The Rams need to build up the offensive line and hope that Stafford can build off of his rookie campaign.

3. Minnesota Vikings: Reily Reiff, T, Iowa

The Vikings have some pieces offensively to really step up heading into next season. They need to protect their QB first in order to let his WR develop down field. This is where Reiff steps in. He will be able to help protect Ponder and also allow Peterson more chances to step up in the running game.

4. Cleveland Browns: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

I think the Browns aren’t smoke-screening anyone. They want RGIII, and who can blame them. I believe the Redskins will make a strong push to trade for this pick and the Dolphins as well, but in the end RGIII is a Brown. Move on from Colt McCoy and build around a new franchise QB. Teams that miss out on Manning will attempt for a trade, but I think the Browns realize the potential RGIII has.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Ronde Barber cannot play this game forever and there is no one else respectable at corner on that team. Claiborne went under the radar at LSU this season because of Tyrann Mathieu but he is a big impact player. He will greatly improve the Bucs 30th ranked total defense.

6. Washington Redskins: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

The Redskins will get a new QB one way or another this offseason. Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn or even a trade for RGIII. Then, they want a franchise WR to get with it. Enter Blackmon. He is a physical freak and the best WR on the board by far. It will help their offense improve drastically from last year.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Mularkey inherits a young QB that I believe he can greatly improve. Getting some more help at CB will be crucial. If they don’t re-sign Mathis, they will be really short in the CB position. Kirkpatrick is really phyiscal and be a great tackler in the open field.

8. Carolina Panthers: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Coples is a top pass rusher that will help the Panthers pass rush. Getting to the QB quicker will allow their cornerbacks to make plays in the secondary. Coples is one of the top DE in the game and the rush on DE will start with this pick.

9. Miami Dolphins: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina

The Dolphins look as though they are making a switch to a 4-3 defensive scheme. They only have Cameron Wake as a legitimate pass rusher. Ingram can line up as the DE and rush off the tackle and help in the run stopping attack as well.

10. Buffalo Bills: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

I’m a bigger fan of Ingram than Upshaw but I have no other choice at this selection. Without a legitimate WR or CB, Upshaw is the last choice out there. He is a solid LB but I just don’t think he has the greatest pass rushing skills. He is slow in his pass rush which can be a concern. On the other hand, he is great against the run, so that will help immensely. Overall, if this is the pick, I’ll be moderately happy with it. He is an SEC player from Alabama so I know the talent is there, I just wish I would have seen a little more in college.

11. Seattle Seahawks: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Richardson fits into this Seahawk team very well. Even if Lynch comes back after free agency, those two can be one of the top running back tandem’s in the league. Lynch’s power and physical running style combined with Richardson’s speed and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield will be lethal. Plus, it will take some pressure off of Tarvaris Jackson.

12. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

Kuechly is the inside linebacker the Chiefs have been looking for. He can either pair up with Derrick Johnson in a 3-4 scheme or Johnson can move to OLB and Kuechly can line up as the 4-3 ILB. This is one of the best value picks in the draft. Kuechly is a tackling monster and has great instincts in pass coverage. I would love him on the Bills, but with Sheppard already in place as the ILB in their 4-3, that selection wouldn’t make much sense. Great job by the Chiefs.

13. Arizona Cardinals: David DeCastro, G, Stanford

The Cardinals still have good offensive weapons in Fitzgerald, Heap, Doucet and Beanie Wells. They need to give Kolb time to develop under a new system. He needs time in the pocket as well. Drafting DeCastro will give Kolb protection and help with the running game as well.

14. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

The Cowboys need major help in the secondary but offensive line is something they can’t forget about. Martin here can help to protect Romo’s blindside just as he did for Andrew Luck. Giving Romo more time in the pocket will allow him to be even more improved then he was last season.

15. Philadelphia Eagles: Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State

Even if they lose Desean Jackson, the Eagles still have one of the most high powered offenses in the league. They just need to work on their issues with turnovers. So, they need to focus on their defense. The wide nine defense worked well with Jason Babin and Trent Cole who combined for 29 total sacks. The issue is up the middle with the inside linebackers. Since the ends line up so far outside, it leaves the middle of the field pretty open. They need linebackers who can penetrate and make tackles to prevent long plays. Burfict is that guy. He’s a strong linebacker with good instincts against the run. Does a great job of locating the football and would greatly improve the Eagles defense.

16. New York Jets: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

The Jets have had issues stopping the run every since they lost a powerful defensive tackle. Brockers is the best defensive tackle on the board and weighs 306 lbs. He does a great job of plugging holes and it allows for LB’s to come up and makes plays stopping the run. After being in a great defense at LSU, he should have no problem fitting in with the Jets.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (from OAK): Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

The Bengals nailed last year’s draft with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. They will look for that same success in this draft. Dennard has great cover skills and will look to replace Jonathan Joseph and become a tandem with Leon Hall. The Bengals have turned their defense around in the last year and this pick should help. Another year with Dalton behind center will help the Bengals improve as well.

18. San Diego Chargers: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

Fleener is the best tight end in the draft. The Chargers realize that Gates is moving up their in age, but also see the potential of Fleener and Gates in the passing game. Looking at the Patriots passing attack of Hernandez and Gronkowski, the Chargers could pair these guys up with Floyd and maybe even Vincent Jackson if he resigns. That would be one of the most elite passing attacks in the game.

19. Chicago Bears: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Cutler finally emerged as a top passing threat last season before his injury. He managed to be successful with Earl Bennett and Roy Williams. Enter a real deep threat. Floyd would provide the Bears the speed to stretch the field and allow Hester to work underneath while Bennett can be the possession WR on the team. This pick will improve Cutler even more.

20. Tennessee Titans: Devon Still, DT, Penn State

The Titans were ranked 24th against the run last season and really need a tackle to penetrate the backfield. Still is their guy. He can fill up force double coverage and allow for other lineman to push the pocket. At Penn State, he was really good against stopping the run, a characteristic that will help shore up the Titans defense.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

With Cedric Benson aging, Miller is a great second pick in the first round. Adding another offensive threat can push the Bengals to be a contender in the AFC North. Miller doesn’t provide much of a receiver threat out of the backfield, but that is what Bernard Scott is for.

22. Cleveland Browns: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC

Perry will allow the Browns to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. They already have a solid core at the cornerback position and now they need to allow them to make plays. Once the pressure amps up on the quarterbacks, there were be quicker throws and more of a chance for turnovers. Perry can stand up as a LB or help the defensive line as an end.

23. Detroit Lions: Mark Barron, S, Alabama

The Lions are a team that I believe can make real big steps in 2012. They have stars in many positions. Players are also coming back from injuries. The one weak link is at safety, and this is where Barron steps in. He is a playermaker who can step right in and start from day one. The guy is a ball hawk as well. During two seasons at Alabama he totaled 10 INT. Solid player.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

This is a major pick for the Steelers. With Hampton most likely being a cap casualty, the Steelers need a true 3-4 DT. Poe fits that perfectly. Weighing 345 pounds, Poe can provide the Steelers with a body that will occupy blockers in the middle of the field. While this defense is getting older, it still has a few good years left and improving the defensive line will help. I believe the Steelers will use the money they are saving from Hampton, if they dump him, and help bring back the offensive line who are pending free agents.

25. Denver Broncos: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

If the Broncos believe in Tim Tebow, which I believe they should, they need to surround him with talent. Demaryius Thomas is a start, and I think they will look for someone in free agency, but Tebow uses tight ends as a key to his offense. Look what he did with Aaron Hernandez at Florida. Dante Rosario was used a lot this year, but he isn’t the answer. Allen is a big, tall, tight end that can spread the field and give Tebow another threat to move the ball downfield.

26. Houston Texans: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

The Texans need another WR threat on their team. Johnson has had some injury issues and when he isn’t around, the offense isn’t as close to being as good. Wright gives them a serious deep threat that can really spread the field. Pair him with Johnson and you give defenses a matchup nightmare. Not to mention the fact you still need to stack the box in order to stop Arian Foster.

27. New England Patriots: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

Everyone noticed the Giants pass rush against the Patriots in the Super Bowl. It is time for the Patriots to land a pass rusher. Mercilus can get after the quarterback and apply much needed pressure against the offense. He can also lineup as a 3-4 OLB which could help the Patriots as well.

28. Green Bay Packers: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

Branch provides great value at this pick. He can help the Packers gain a pass rush with just their front four. It will also allow for Matthews and company to get better chances at the quarterback since Raji and Branch can clog up many of the blockers on the offensive line.

29. Baltimore Ravens: Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

The Ravens need to start to find a replacement for Ray Lewis who only has a few years left in him. Hightower is the perfect fit for this type of play. He plays a very physical game and can really lay a hit against the opponent. Other than suffering a bad knee injury in 2010, there are no major knocks against Hightower.

30. San Francisco 49ers: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

The WR core on the 49ers in downright awful. They need to help Alex Smith move the ball down the field. Vernon Davis cannot do it all. Adding a WR like Jeffery will move the coverage around giving Morgan and Davis more looks in the flat. Also, it will allow Frank Gore to have bigger games for the 49ers.

31. New England Patriots: Fletcher Cox, DE/DT, Mississippi State

The Patriots don’t need to address their offense via the draft. They can find a WR in free agency. So, another defensive lineman will only improve their team. Cox can lineup at the tackle position or the defensive end. The Patriots love hybrid players that can play a variety of positions. This is another player who will help stop the run for the Patriots.

32. New York Giants: Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

The Giants may be losing a few key members of their defense. Most of those players are defensive lineman or linebackers. Brown can slide in at either position and keep the Giants on a Super Bowl level on defense.

Same Day, Same Goal

It was August 18, 2009 when Brett Farve announced that he would become a part of the Minnesota Vikings with a 2 year, 25 million dollar deal. Once Brett Farve signed that contract, he would go on to have his best season ever at the age of 40! Yes, I said 40. Farve threw for 4,202 yards and 33 touchdowns while only throwing 7 interceptions.

Then, while watching from the sidelines as the New Orleans Saints beat his Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship, the Farve Watch began again. Would he come back to get his Vikings to the Super Bowl? Would his ankle be able to take another year of playing? Or, would he call it quits while on top of his game? Those were the main questions surrounding the 2010 NFL Offseason.

Throughout the offseason people close to Farve comment and analysts try to decide what he will do. Everyone knows Farve will come back again, right? Well, maybe not.

August rolls around news breaks that Farve will retire for good. Can this really be it? Another teary goodbye from the NFL and Farve will hang up his cleats for good this time. Not so fast. It turns out the reports were false and Farve never told anyone he was retiring, he just needed more time to think.

Finally, August 18th 2010 rolls again and who do we see at Vikings training camp. No 4. Farve is back.  The day before a few top captains of the Minnesota Vikings went to see Brett Farve and to convince him to come back. It worked. That competitive fight in him wants to win one more time before he calls it quits and he couldn’t pick a better team to try with.

Well, Vikings fans, your prayers have been answered. But, it looks like this will be it.

Win or lose, Favre said that this will be the last time he holds a welcome back press conference, believe it or not.

“I can promise you this: Not that I have ever set out as a goal to play 20 years, it’s 20 years and I’m done. This is the last year of my contract. I’m sure a lot of people are like, ‘Yes!” Favre said, pumping his fist.

Then, of course, he hesitated.

“Did I just say that?” he said with a grin. “I do believe it now. I do. I’m going to fall apart sometime.”

While Brett Farve has said this before, many around him believe this will be it, no matter what. Until then, it will be another great year watching him play.

Maybe someday people will see the day Farve calls its quits, and actually means it.

Joique Bell’s Time to Shine

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Everybody knows preseason football is an opportunity to show themselves to their coaching staff and others . Sometimes though rookies are blocked by certain stars players  of the organization. That is where Joique Bell fits in. He was signed the day after the draft by the Buffalo Bills after finishing his senior season at Wayne State University where he compiled 2,084 yards and 29 touchdowns last season. He also caught 23 passes for 293 yards and three TDs.

Most teams would love a player on their team that possesses quick speed and can catch the ball out of the backfield. But, here’s the problem. Bell is behind Fred Jackson, Marshawn Lynch and first round pick C.J. Spiller. How would Bell even be able to show his talent when he would only see reps against the 3rd stringers late in the game? Well, here is how. In yesterday’s preseason game Fred Jackson suffered an hand injury and will miss at least the remaining three preseason games. On the following drive, Marshawn Lynch injured his ankle and the severity of that is unknown. That means, after C.J Spiller sees time, Bell will likely see a majority of carries and show the Bills coaches exactly what he can do.

If Bell can show flashes of speed and quickness like he did yesterday, (28 yard touchdown run) then the Bills would have no choice but to keep him on their team throughout the season. Yes, carrying four running backs is not normal but with Spiller split out as a wideout at times and an injury to Fred Jackson that might keep him out through the beginning of the season, there is no reason not to think an impressive few games by Bell will help him make the team.

There once was a man in the same shoes as Bell, and his name was Fred Jackson. Once he had his chance, he rushed for 1,062 yards.

Imagine the possibilities with Joique Bell, who seems faster than Fred Jackson.

Bills heading in right direction

The Buffalo Bills are moving in free agency. After a few visits from Jimmy Kennedy and Wade Smith, the Bills have officially signed two players. Former Broncos inside linebacker Andra Davis and defensive lineman Dwan Edwards both signed with the Buffalo Bills earlier today.

The first signing was Andra Davis. He will compete with Paul Pozluszny and Kawita Mitchell. Davis has always been an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense so maybe Mitchell will move to outside with Aaron Maybin. Davis will be the veteran leader on the linebacker squad due to his experience with a 3-4 defense. Also, he is one of the best tackling linebackers and preventing the running back from gaining extra yards. Aaron Schatz from Football Outsiders, agrees. ”Davis actually led all inside/middle linebackers by making his average run tackle after the ballcarrier gained just 2.0 yards. He’s the proverbial steady-but-not-spectacular player who does his job.” The Davis signing will provide depth at the LB position along with Ellison, Maybin, Poz and Mitchell.

Along withe Davis, the Bills also signed former Ravens defensive lineman Dwan Edwards. He was one of the top free agents available but teams were unsure if he would be able to play a full season due to a neck injury he suffered in 2008 when he missed the whole season. Edwards says he is ready to go full throttle. “I don’t have any issues,” Edwards said. ”I’ve been cleared to play by the doctor that did my surgery. I saw the spine guy here today, Dr. Cappuccino and he said everything looked good. Different doctors are going to have different opinions on what they see, but so far so good here.” Edwards seems ready to go and as a blue-collar player with great character, he should greatly help the Bills defense. Edwards should line up as a defensive end with Aaron Schobel and Spencer Johnson but he could play nose tackle if the Bills need him too, weighing 315 pounds. It will help the Bills greatly to have a guy who is versatile and play any position on the defensive line.

Finally, Chan Gailey announced today that there will be an open competition at the QB position this year. He also noted that the Bills will add a QB to the mix whether it will be a free agent, through a trade or through the draft. Currently the Bills have Brian Brohm, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards as quarterbacks. It will be interesting to see who else they bring in and how the competition pans out.

The Bills have addressed their defensive needs as they transition to 3-4 which means they may look to the offensive side of the ball come draft time.

Only time will tell.

Bills Release T.O

We all saw this coming. T.O will not be offered a contract by the Buffalo Bills. 

T.O was brought here for two reasons. One, to help the Buffalo Bills attract fans while helping them sell tickets. Second, T.O had no other team with interest in him due to his reputation of a team distraction. He had to come to Buffalo, to prove he could last the season without causing trouble. He did all that and more.

Now, he has a choice to make besides where to sign next. When he came here, mayor Byron Brown gave T.O the key to the city. T.O had to accomplish two things though. First, he had to score ten touchdowns during the season. Second, he had to lead the Bills to the playoffs. He did neither. Now, will he return the key of the city? Who knows.

In related news the Bills will not offer contracts to Josh Reed or Ryan Denney. Seems as though big changes will occur this season at One Bills Drive.