Burress: Sanchez had a shoulder problem in 2011

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Burress: Sanchez had a shoulder problem in 2011

Last season Mark Sanchez didn't always look like a young, up-and-coming quarterback who became more comfortable with time running the Jets' offense. And Plaxico Burress says he may know why.

He definitely has enough arm, said the free-agent wideout in an interview with WFAN radio. He was battling some injuries last year, shoulder-wise that a lot of people didnt know about . . . different things like that. But I think he really turned a corner.

Sanchez wasn't ever listed on an injury report with shoulder problems, but he did land on the injury list with a neck issue in Weeks 15 and 16.

From Pro Football Talk:
Any injury may have explained his lack of production downfield, as he completed just five passes all season longer than 21 yards.Or, maybe Burress just continues to talk to try to keep himself in the public eye in hopes of getting on an NFL roster.

Assuming Sanchez is now healthy, the biggest obstacles he'll face this season are learning a new Tony Sparano-led offense while performing well enough to keep fans from calling for Tim Tebow to be the team's starter at the first sign of trouble.

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Patriots DT Branch wins appeal of four-game suspension

Patriots DT Branch wins appeal of four-game suspension

FOXBORO -- Alan Branch knew he had a good case, otherwise he wouldn't have appealed. It was just a question of when that appeal might be heard. 

As of Wednesday, the Patriots defensive tackle hadnt heard anything as it related to the appeal of his four-game suspension. But by Saturday morning, according to Field Yates of ESPN, Branch had won the appeal and been cleared of the league's ban. 

Branch's agent later confirmed the news on Twitter.

Word of Branch's punishment, which stemmed from what was reported as a positive marijuana test, became public when reported by ESPN on Nov. 21. Per the league's substance abuse policy, appeal hearings are typically scheduled for the fourth Tuesday after a player has been informed of his penalty. The policy notes that it is possible for appeals to be heard on another date should the two sides be able to work out different schedule, but Branch was not optimistic that would be the case earlier this week. 

Good news came quickly, though. 

Had Branch been forced to miss any time, it would have docked the Patriots arguably their top interior defensive lineman. Branch has started every game, and he leads all Patriots defensive tackles with 457 snaps played. 

The Patriots recently waived running back DJ Foster and signed defensive tackle Darius Kilgo, seemingly as a way to build some depth on the roster if Branch had been suspended. 

By having his four-game suspension wiped away not only are the Patriots saved from having to deal without one of their top players in the trenches, but Branch saved himself a relatively hefty financial penalty.

A four-game ban would have cost him nearly $300,000 in base salary as well as four game-day bonuses adding to $100,000. He also stood to lose as much as $750,000 in season-long playing-time incentives. In all, had the suspension stood, it could have cost him about $1.1 million. Patriots salary-cap expert Miguel Benzan goes into more detail about the potential financial impact of Branch's suspension here

Thankfully for Branch, he doesn't have to worry about that any longer. With this situation in the rear view, he can now focus on helping the Patriots win games during the stretch run of the regular season and into the playoffs.