Absence of Patriots' Wright puts onus on Wilfork

Posted Jan. 01, 2011 @ 5:28 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

Following are some whispers we've been hearing from around the AFC East:

• Patriots DL Mike Wright has not played since sustaining a concussion in Week 11. He is still the team leader with his 5½ sacks, and since he hasn't been put on injured reserve yet, there is still a chance he could return for the postseason. While the team has not lost since he's been out and Vince Wilfork has had another Pro Bowl season, it'd be nice for Wright to be able to give Wilfork a spell. Wright is a much better pass rusher, and ideally Wilfork wouldn't be playing as many snaps.

• CB Darrelle Revis, C Nick Mangold and OLT D'Brickashaw Ferguson were all named to the AFC Pro Bowl team, but many felt that the most deserving Jet was not invited to Hawaii. Brad Smith leads the AFC in kickoff-return yards and has the best average of any returner in the league with more than 25 runbacks. He's also brought back two kicks for touchdowns, but he was left off the AFC roster as the kick returner in favor of Titans rookie Marc Mariani.

• The Dolphins have to be pleased with the production they have gotten out of rookie OLB Koa Misi. There were concerns about his ability to get to the quarterback coming out of college, and Miami still might want a better threat there for next season to complement Cameron Wake, but Misi has found a way to record 4½ sacks in his rookie campaign while also recovering two fumbles.

• Two rookies who started to make an impact at the end of the season — WR Naaman Roosevelt and OLB Arthur Moats — should emerge as big-time players for the Bills in 2011, according to SS Donte Whitner. "Naaman is a local product from here in Buffalo; he's a very hard worker. He's not the biggest guy, he's not the fastest guy, but he has really good hands and he's a really smart guy — he knows the system, so I look for him to play a pivotal role on this team next year," Whitner said. "And Arthur Moats, he's been able to put some pressure on the quarterback, get to the QB, get some turnovers for us and he's been very enthused about everything. So as he gets more games under his belt, you'll see him blow up on the defensive side of the ball."