AN AFC PREVIEW – AFC East
1. New England Patriots – The Patriots departed from their philosophy of bottom feeding and went hog wild in free agency, signing five players and trading for dangerous slot receiver Wes Welker within 11 days after free agency began. Then they struck again on April 29 with a draft day trade that brought mercurial but oft-marvelous wide receiver Randy Moss in. Will these additions lead to a return to the Super Bowl after a two-year absence?...
2. New York Jets – Belichick acolyte Eric Mangini not only stabilized the Jets in his first season as head coach but revitalized them. Now he’ll try to improve on a 10-6 season with a team whose rebuilding is not yet complete and which is facing the fifth roughest schedule in the NFL.
3. Buffalo Bills – The Bills lost five games by seven points or fewer and were better at the end of the season than when it began, which is giving them hope.
That hope revolves around the continued improvement of young quarterback J.P. Losman and the arrival of first round draft choice Marshawn Lynch, who replaces departed and always disgruntled running back Willis McGahee.
4. Miami Dolphins – Nick Saban abandoned ship for good reason. Miami’s proud defense is well coordinated by Dom Capers and has been one of the best for years but those years are part of the problem. It is among the oldest in football and that looms as a telling problem....
The worse news is that Green will play behind a rebuilt line that may not return one starter to his position of a year ago and even if it does the group does not appear to be a strong one. Key here will be the adjustment of Vernon Carey, who moves from right tackle to left tackle to protect Green’s blind side. That’s not what you want to hear if you’re an aging quarterback coming off a terrible concussion.