- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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Unfortunately for each of the Patriots' division rivals, Week 2 in the preseason resulted in a critical injury to a player on their respective rosters.
The Bills announced earlier Sunday that rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel -- who some believed to be the presumptive Week 1 starter -- had successful surgery on his knee, a procedure that will keep him out for the remainder of the preseason. That could put his opening day in jeopardy, and may result in the Patriots facing off against Kevin Kolb, the veteran signed by Buffalo this offseason.
Meanwhile in New York, ESPNNewYork.com is reporting that outside linebacker Quinton Coples has a hairline fracture in his ankle that could cost him between three and four weeks. The injury was suffered Saturday night, meaning a possible return could coincide with the Week 2 matchup. Coples, the team's first-round pick last season, has worked as a stand-up outside linebacker this training camp, as the team is hoping to utilize his length to set the edge and also boost its pass rush.
Finally, the Dolphins, who the Patriots don't play until Week 8, suffered a big blow in the passing game, as ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter is reporting that tight end Dustin Keller will miss the season due to a knee injury. Keller, a former Jet, has performed well against the Patriots in his career, averaging four catches and nearly 51 yards per game against them. The Dolphins were hoping he would provide stability for second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and Keller has been regarded as one of the team's stars of training camp.
In starting the regular season against the Buffalo Bills and then the New York Jets, the Patriots have a chance to get off on the right foot in the AFC East.