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AFC East Whispers

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By PFW staff

We've been hearing the following whispers around the AFC East:

• The Jets have a well-known one-two punch at running back but also have a strong platoon at fullback. Starter Tony Richardson is as solid as ever, and rookie John "The Terminator" Conner has impressed coaches with his blocking ability and effort on special teams. The two fullbacks don't rotate every drive, but each player sees a good amount of playing time with the first-team offense.

• After releasing Trent Edwards and trading Marshawn Lynch, are the Bills looking to make more moves? They'd like to, but they have little to offer in terms of talent. The only place where they have a surplus of elite players is in the secondary, but in a division with three teams in the top 15 in average yards per pass play, trading away good cornerbacks and safeties isn't the smartest way to build a roster.

• The linebacking corps is starting to come into focus with rookie ILB Brandon Spikes and rookie OLB Jermaine Cunningham consistently starting. OLB Rob Ninkovich, who had two interceptions and a sack in Week Four, told PFW about the rookies: "Spikes is a great run stopper. He is strong, big and physical and likes to hit. Cunningham is a big guy, too, with great skills on the edge. He can get after the QB and stop the run. Those guys will get better and better the more experience they get on the field."

• With their next three games against Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati — all teams with good quarterbacks — we may have seen a preview of how the Dolphins will handle them on defense. They had just two defensive linemen on the field on passing downs in their Week Four game against the Patriots, dropping as many as eight players into coverage at times, and being selective with their blitzes. One daily observer called it a "smart approach," and with its success against New England, we could see it again.


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