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AFC Whispers

Broncos expecting quick recovery by WR Thomas

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By PFW staff

• Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas was not placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list, meaning the team believes he can contribute in the first six weeks of the season. Thomas tore his Achilles tendon in February, and it was thought for much of the offseason he would miss a good portion of the 2011 campaign. However, he has rehabbed quickly, and the former first-round pick could make a big impact in the team's passing game, if healthy.

• The Chiefs' schedule features matchups with Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers (twice). It was because of that the team kept 10 defensive backs on their initial 53-man roster. Chiefs coaches are now hoping the unit will have enough depth and flexibility to mix-and-match against opponents, depending on the matchup.

• One of the more entertaining competitions in Titans camp has been for the starting CB spot opposite RCB Cortland Finnegan. Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner are both promising, young cornerbacks who had good camps, but McCourty won the starting job because of his size and physicality, the way we hear it. Verner will still see plenty of time on the field in the nickel sub package, with Finnegan sliding into the slot and Verner matching up with receivers on the outside.

• Texans rookie LOLB Brooks Reed has been impressive during camp, but we hear he won't be taking the starting job from Connor Barwin any time soon. "Barwin is too smart and does everything too well," said a daily team observer. Don't be surprised when coordinator Wade Phillips finds ways to get both 'backers on the field at the same time, though, as ROLB Mario Williams will sometimes put his hand down and rush from the DE position on passing downs.

• The Jets cut WR Patrick Turner and then signed him to their practice squad, even though the team's No. 5 receiver, Logan Payne, could miss 6-8 weeks with a dislocated wrist. Payne remained on the roster, not injured reserve, and we hear he was a great special-teams cover player during training camp, an area the team needed to fill after losing Brad Smith to the Bills in free agency. Turner, a former third-round pick, doesn't have the special-teams prowess that Payne has. Since Payne was on the practice squad last year and knows the system, he even took reps at the No. 4 receiver spot at times ahead of Jeremy Kerley. Head coach Rex Ryan did mention how most teams have four active receivers on game day but didn't rule out bringing in another body.

• There isn't a lot of experience at wide receiver on the Bills behind Stevie Johnson and Roscoe Parrish, especially after the team traded Lee Evans. They did bring in Ruvell Martin, and the veteran made the 53-man roster over Buster Davis, who was an early addition in camp. "(Martin) did a great job of picking up the offense quickly. He caught the ball when we threw it to him, and he did well on special teams. It was a good combination to have, coming in on short notice," said head coach Chan Gailey. Martin had seven catches for 158 yards and a score in five games for the Seahawks last season.

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