MIAMI (AP) Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross says he won’t force his players to stand for the national anthem Frostee Rucker Jersey , even though he believes kneeling is a counterproductive way to promote social justice.
ORCHARD PARK Graham Gano Jersey , N.Y. (AP) LeSean McCoy can’t recall ever taking this long to find the end zone.
It didn’t happen during his previous eight NFL seasons. And not in college at Pittsburgh, where he scored 36 times in 25 games.
”Never. Even Little League,” the Bills running back said as Buffalo (3-2) comes out of its bye week to host Tampa Bay (2-3) on Sunday.
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”It’s time for myself to get rolling,” McCoy said. ”I look forward to this week, having a big game. It’s about time, you know.”
The Bills top offensive threat has been held off the score sheet through five games – McCoy’s longest drought to start a season. And his drought is actually six games long, dating to last season, to match the worst stretch of his career set in 2014, McCoy’s final season with the Eagles.
Just as worrisome are his rushing numbers. Though he has 189 yards receiving on a team-leading 27 catches Charles Johnson Jersey , McCoy’s combined for just 169 yards rushing in his past four games after gaining 110 in a season-opening 21-12 win over the New York Jets.
This is not what the 29-year-old expected out of himself last summer when dismissing questions whether he was slowing down with age.
”I feel good. I feel the same. I feel young. I feel about 25,” said McCoy, who led the NFL in yards rushing at that exact age in 2013.
In his defense, the Bills lack of a deep passing threat and an injury-depleted group of receivers has made it easier for opponents to crowd the line of scrimmage to key on stopping McCoy.
McCoy is encouraged after spending time over the Bills break analyzing what’s not worked. He’s re-focusing on fundamentals and being patient in reading where the holes might open.
”We run the ball, that’s what we do,” McCoy said of a Bills offense that’s led the league in rushing the past two years. ”Myself, I make big plays. That’s what I do. It’s been long enough.”
Thought the Buccaneers pass defense is among the NFL’s most porous, it has been spotty against the run.
In his debut with the Cardinals last week, Adrian Peterson had 134 yards rushing and scored twice in Arizona’s 38-33 win over the Bucs.
The defense should get a boost with starting linebacker Kwon Alexander expected to return after missing four games with a hamstring injury.
”I’m ready to get back and hit somebody Andrew Norwell Jersey ,” Alexander said. ”I’ve only got one tackle on the season, so I’ve got to get my stats back up.”
Another plus for the Bucs is their high-powered offense will be run by starter Jameis Winston, who has been cleared to play after spraining his throwing shoulder on the opening drive against Arizona.
Some things to watch out for as Tampa Bay makes just its second trip to Buffalo in team history:
THE MATCHUP: The Bills are coming off their bye week with a chance of getting off to a 4-2 or better start for the fourth time during a 17-season playoff drought – the longest active streak in North America’s four major pro sports.
The Bucs look to rebound from two losses, including a 19-14 defeat to New England in which Nick Folk, since placed on injured reserve, missed three field-goal attempts.
BANGED-UP BILLS: Starting tight end Charles Clay (left knee) won’t play, and starting receiver Jordan Matthews’ status is uncertain while returning to practice this week since breaking his right thumb. The two account for 30 of 85 receptions and 420 of the team’s 910 yards receiving.
SANS SACKS: With a league-worst six sacks, the Bucs haven’t had one from a defensive end since Noah Spence had the team’s only quarterback sack in a season-opening win over Chicago. That’s a big reason the team ranks 31st in pass defense, allowing 302 yards per game.
”Those numbers are not nearly what they need to be Daryl Williams Jersey ,” coordinator Mike Smith said. ”We’ve got to get it turned around because if we don’t, it’s going to be more of the same.”
BACK TO BACKUP: Winston’s return means journeyman backup Ryan Fitzpatrick won’t get a chance to start against one of his former teams.
Last week, Fitzpatrick joined Gus Frerotte, Chris Chandler and Vinny Testaverde as the only NFL players to throw TD passes for seven different teams.
”It’s definitely a badge of honor for me,” Fitzpatrick said, after going 22 of 32 for 290 yards with three touchdowns.
He then broke into a laugh, when noting he also threw two interceptions.
”I definitely have the record for seven teams and an interception with each team as well,” Fitzpatrick said. ”So I take pride in both of those.”
BEEN THERE: The Bucs’ aren’t concerned with their slow start a year after rallying from a 3-5 record to finish 9-7 for their first winning season since 2010.
”We aren’t going to act like we haven’t been here before,” receiver Mike Evans said. ”Hopefully Mario Addison Jersey , it won’t have to get to that, but I think we need to start winning ASAP.”
AP Sports Writer Fred Goodall in Tampa, Florida, contributed to this report.
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Ross’ comments Tuesday in a statement released by the Dolphins came after the New York Daily News reported that he said all of the team’s players will stand for the anthem in 2018. Ross was in New York on Monday to be honored by the Jackie Robinson Foundation and receive its ROBIE Lifetime Achievement Award.
”I have no intention of forcing our players to stand during the anthem, and I regret that my comments have been misconstrued,” Ross said in his statement.
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”I’ve shared my opinion with all our players: I’m passionate about the cause of social justice Jared Veldheer Jersey , and I feel that kneeling is an ineffective tactic that alienates more people than it enlists.”
Colin Kaepernick started the NFL anthem movement when he was with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016 to protest racial inequality and police brutality. President Donald Trump has criticized the movement, saying it’s disrespectful to service members.
”I know our players care about the military and law enforcement too,” Ross said in his statement Tyvon Branch Jersey , ”because I’ve seen the same players who are fighting for social justice engaging positively with law enforcement and the military. I care passionately that the message of social justice resonates far and wide, and I will continue to support and fund efforts for those who fight for equality for all.”
Dolphins players Julius Thomas, Michael Thomas and Kenny Stills knelt during the anthem before games last season. At one point coach Adam Gase established a team rule requiring players either to stand for the anthem or stay in the tunnel.
When protesting players told Gase waiting in the tunnel was interfering with their game preparation J. J. Nelson Jersey , he relaxed the rule and allowed them to resume their sideline kneeling.
Stills was the Dolphins’ nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which honors involvement in the community and performance on the field. He’s expected to be back with Miami with 2018, but Julius Thomas and Michael Thomas are less likely to return.
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