AFC burning personnel questions
Positional debates critical to each team's '07 success
Posted: Friday May 11, 2007 2:24PM; Updated: Saturday May 12, 2007 1:19AM
How can the Bills survive the loss of LBs London Fletcher-Baker and Takeo Spikes?
They will actually be better defensively. Fletcher-Baker and Spikes were good players during their tenure in Buffalo, but both were on the downside of their careers and not great fits in Dick Jauron's Cover Two defense. The youthful trio of Paul Posluszny, Keith Ellison and Angelo Crowell will make some mistakes early on, but have the skills to develop into solid contributors.
Did the Dolphins made the right move by taking Ted Ginn Jr. over Brady Quinn?
Yes. The Dolphins' offense desperately needed a playmaker at receiver. Cam Cameron is building his offense around running back Ronnie Brown and Chris Chambers, but they needed a vertical threat for balance. Once Ginn is at 100 percent, he'll keep teams from loading up the box against Brown on early downs. When you factor in Ginn's return skills, the Dolphins' pick makes sense.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Can Tom Brady keep his new receivers happy?
Yes. The Patriots have always had balanced distribution in the passing game in the Brady era and that should continue. Randy Moss has always been viewed as a lead receiver and will be the primary target in the passing game. Donte Stallworth and Wes Welker have been second and third receivers throughout their careers, but neither has caught over 70 balls in a season. Stallworth played in Joe Horn's shadow in New Orleans before moving on to Philadelphia -- where he was not a true No. 1 -- last season and Welker emerged as a dependable third receiver in his three seasons in Miami. Kelly Washington is the wild card in the mix, but he was the fourth receiver in the Bengals offense and only had 10 receptions last season. While Moss' numbers will come down from his career averages, the production of the other receivers should stay at the same level.
NEW YORK JETS
Do the Jets have a bona fide pass rusher to make their 3-4 defense dominant?
No. Despite making a playoff push last season, the Jets defense needs to improve its ability to get after the quarterback. The Jets lack a pure pass rusher off the edge and have to manufacture their rush with exotic pressure schemes. Bryan Thomas led the team with 8.5 sacks last season, but most of his production came during a five-game stretch near the end of the year. By not addressing OLB or DE in the draft or free agency, the team is gambling that Thomas can duplicate that production. The odds are against him, considering he only had 6.5 sacks in his four seasons prior to 2006.
1 of 3