Inside The Bills

Another NT off the market

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2010 – 6:47 pm

Nose tackles are always in high demand with so many 3-4 teams in the NFL. Even one widely considered on the downside of his career was signed less than a week into the free agent period.

Denver has reportedly signed San Diego free agent NT Jamal Williams to a three-year contract. That according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who says it’s worth $16M with $7M guaranteed.

Williams is the second big addition for the Broncos defensive line in free agency today. Earlier in the day they signed 3-4 DE Jarvis Green, a Patriots free agent. They also signed former Bills DL Justin Bannan, who was a free agent of the Ravens a couple of days ago.

Even NT Jason Ferguson, who is facing an 8 game suspension re-signed with Miami.

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Dolphins lose key DL for season

Posted by Chris Brown on November 23, 2009 – 4:26 pm

As feared, the Miami Dolphins lost a critical starter on their defensive line for the season. Head coach Tony Sparano confirmed it in his Monday press conference.

“Jason Ferguson suffered a quad injury and is out for the season,” said Sparano.

Paul Soliai is Ferguson’s backup at the all important nose tackle position, but he’s not expected to man the role by himself. Sparano intends to use a rotation in games.

“I would hope that Paul Soliai is ready to go and Paul Soliai would have to step in there and play,” Sparano said. “Now the last time that happened, the guy played pretty good. I would hope that is where we are. We will see as the week goes on, but just like Ferguson and Soliai, one person can’t play the person the whole time. You need to have some people moving in and out. So we will have some people moving in and out. It is not any different…. We lost a heck of a player and another captain and those types of things. It is happening every place you look around the league right now. That is what happens. It is Week 12. These guys understand and we have prepared for these things so we will be prepared.”

Miami is still reeling from the season ending Lisfranc foot injury suffered by Ronnie Brown in last Thursday night’s game. Being down two impact players certainly hurts, but the MASH unit Bills aren’t going to exactly feel sorry for them. Soliai is a big body, but not the performer that Ferguson is in the middle of that Dolphins 3-4 front. Randy Starks is expected to rotate in from his end position to spell Soliai at times.

Hopefully it leads to more success for Buffalo’s struggling ground game, which hasn’t totaled 100 rushing yards since the Week 6 overtime win over the Jets.

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Miami NT Ferguson questionable for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2008 – 9:38 pm

Miami’s most important run defender, veteran NT Jason Ferguson was able to practice fully on Friday as he tries to recover from an oblique muscle injury suffered last Sunday. He was unable to practice Wednesday and Thursday. By the sound of head coach Tony Sparano’s description, he’s likely a game time decision.

“He was back out there today and he had a good day, so we’ll see,” said Sparano. “A lot of it depends largely on how he feels, tomorrow, when he gets back in here. But we did get some work done with him today and he went through the whole practice.”

If he can’t go it will be Randy Starks starting in his place, with rookie Lionel Dotson and 2nd year man Paul Soliai rotating in. No Ferguson would be a big loss for the Dolphins run front.

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Miami injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2008 – 7:57 pm

For the second straight day NT Jason Ferguson did not practice. Taking reps in his place with the first unit was Randy Starks who has played more DE in Miami’s 3-4 front. Paul Soliai, Ferguson’s backup on the depth chart, ran with the second unit.

CB Michael Lehan as we blogged earlier in the day did not finish practice after suffering a hamstring injury. More on his status for Sunday will be known Friday.

And reserve RB Casey Cramer participated on a limited basis Thursday.

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Dolphins subpackage corner hurt

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2008 – 5:11 pm

At today’s practice Dolphins subpackage CB Michael Lehan appeared to have suffered a hamstring injury according to the Palm Beach Post. It happened during team drills at practice.

If he can’t go on Sunday the Dolphins will have just three healthy corners on the roster in Will Allen, Andre Goodman and Nathan Jones. They do have five safeties, but according to the report Miami has been on the lookout for cornerback help.

The Dolphins just re-signed Tyrone Culver, but he’s a safety by trade. He replaced the released Chris Crocker.

Also NT Jason Ferguson did not practice again today as he did just agility drills on the sidelines at practice. Randy Starks went with the starting unit, while Paul Soliai worked with the second team at NT.

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Dolphins plan if no Ferguson

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2008 – 2:32 pm

If NT Jason Ferguson cannot play for Miami on Sunday, here’s Tony Sparano’s contingency plan.

“We’ll see what happens,” said Sparano. “It’ll be Paul (Soliai), it’ll be (Randy) Starks, (Lionel) Dotson.  There will be some people moving in and out of there.”

The Dolphins training staff has worked a lot on getting Soliai’s weight down. At 6’4″ 355 he’s dropped some weight already according to Sparano. 

“Paul is getting better and better as a nose.  He has been progressively getting better and better and I think has done some nice things that way.  He had a ways to go when we came in here from a physical standpoint.  He was really too heavy at the time, we needed to get some weight off of him.  We got 40 or 50, almost 45 pounds Paul is down right now.  He’s moving better, his stamina is better, strength is better, all of those things that make you a good nose guard in there.  I think he’s really gotten a lot better that way.  Now it was just a reps thing.  We got him quite a few reps during the preseason.  It’s just been in the regular season now.  He’s been maybe 10 plays somewhere in there, it just depends on the game.  If we’re playing a team where we’re in ‘Nickel’ and we’re in ‘Sub’ defense a lot, neither he or (Jason) Ferguson are out there a whole lot in those situations.  It’s kind of the trickle down deal and he doesn’t get as many plays.”

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No Ferguson would mean good things for Lynch and run game

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2008 – 2:13 pm

Miami is ranked a very respectable 12th against the run this season, which is three spots better than Buffalo. The Bills run game issues on offense are well known, but the task could get a bit easier if Dolphins NT Jason Ferguson can’t go Sunday, due to an oblique muscle strain suffered last Sunday.

According to the Miami Herald, it’s not looking good for the veteran defensive lineman to play Sunday. His backup as we’ve mentioned here is Paul Soliai, a 2nd-year plugger out of Utah. Soliai is massive (6’4″ 355), but nowhere near the player that Ferguson is. Stay tuned.

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Dolphins injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2008 – 9:21 pm

Starting NT Jason Ferguson did not practice Wednesday with an oblique muscle strain. It happened in last week’s game. If he can’t play it would be a big loss for Miami. Paul Soliai is Ferguson’s backup. Randy Starks played NT last week after Ferguson got hurt because Soliai was suspended by the team last week for violation of team rules.

RB Casey Cramer was limited with an ankle injury.

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Dolphins injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2008 – 3:27 pm

Miami could be without starting NT Jason Ferguson Sunday. He suffered a rib/hip/oblique muscle injury last Sunday against Baltimore.

“We’re just going to go through it right now, but he’s just really sore right now,” said Dolphins coach Tony Sparano Monday. “We’ll see what happens. He’s just going to be day-to-day.”

His possible replacements are Randy Starks and Paul Soliai, but neither are the same player as Ferguson. Starks is a bit undersized for the nose and Soliai is a plugger, but not as athletic as Ferguson.

Starks filled the void last week against the Ravens partly because Soliai was inactive after violating team rules. Sparano thought Starks did pretty well.

“Starks really, I thought, did an admirable job in there,” said Sparano. “He really did. I thought, obviously, he didn’t get a ton of work during the week that way for it, but he has had work in there, and I thought he did a nice job; Randy did, of running to the football and playing. One of his first plays there was a tackle for loss in the backfield, that type of stuff. Where you struggle when you’re not a nose in this deal is the fundamental part of it and I think that’s probably where most of Randy’s minuses occurred were just fundamentals. Where you’re putting your hands and maybe giving up a soft shoulder one way or the other. But I thought he played physical in there and did a nice job.”

Sparano said Starks hasn’t had enough work at NT which is why he struggled with some of the fundamentals at that position. Sparano also said if they’re without Ferguson it will not prompt them to switch to a 4-3 front instead of a 3-4.

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