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Sunday, August 10, 2008
AFC East mailbag: Favre junk mail tossed


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Here it is, as promised: your non-Favre mailbag.

Granted, the trade of the legendary quarterback to the New York Jets will ripple through the AFC East and couldn't be avoided when discussing how his presence will affect the Buffalo Bills' playoff chances or Chad Pennington's release.

But from this point downward, you won't read his name.

Enjoy the respite.

Dylan in Bardonia, N.Y., writes: After watching the Jets, which of the WRs do you think will make the team? Also, who looks like the favorite to start at CB across from Darrelle Revis and at safety?

Tim Graham: The top five receivers I've seen are (in order) Jerricho Cotchery, Laveranues Coles, Chansi Stuckey, Brad Smith and Wallace Wright.

It looks like Justin Miller has the edge in the CB battle opposite Revis, but Dwight Lowery has played well. Kerry Rhodes will be the free safety, while Eric Smith is ahead of Abram Elam in the strong safety battle.


Vinnie from Parts Unknown writes: What chance does S John Lynch have to become a Patriot. He would like to go with a strong contender. Hell, he even looks like a Patriot.

Tim Graham: The Patriots are trying to get younger, not get a vanload of guys together for the Early Bird Special. Besides, the Patriots already have Rodney Harrison and James Sanders, who is injured but they really like him. Sanders took the job from Eugene Wilson. Young Brandon Meriweather has been filling in admirably for Sanders.


Ryan in Port St. Lucie, Fla., writes: I love Davone Bess as a receiver for the Dolphins. Barring a Terry Glenn pickup, who are the favorites to make the team at WR? I've been hearing Derek Hagan, Ernest Wilford and Ted Ginn are locks, with Greg Camarillo and David Kircus making up the second tier.

Tim Graham: Bess has been sensational in some practices, and just OK in others. The three guarantees are Wilford, Ginn and Hagan. After that, the competition could go down to the final cuts. Kircus and Camarillo are bigger than the 5-foot-10 Bess and line up on multiple special-teams units.


Matt in Rochester, N.Y., writes: What are the chances that Bills T Jason Peters will hold out through the entire preseason and maybe into the regular season?

Tim Graham: This showdown could get ugly. I don't know how resolute the Peters camp is because they've been silent. But I do know the Bills plan to dig in their heels. The front office doesn't want to set a precedent for rewarding players who go MIA. For example, they are renegotiating WR Lee Evans' contract. He came to camp.


Craig in Halifax, Nova Scotia, writes: Dolphins fan since I was 10. Just was wondering if you thought Chad Pennington was a good signing and who they should release. I think it should be John Beck myself, even though I hate giving up on him so early.

Tim Graham: I think the Dolphins have identified Chad Henne as their QB of the future but don't think he's ready yet. Pennington, known for his great character, should bridge the gap and serve as a wise mentor for the rookie. Beck has had a disappointing camp and is a link to the previous administration. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets axed.


Frank in Tampa writes: What are the prospects of the Jets defense this year?

Tim Graham: They should be significantly better than last year. The Jets gave up 134 rushing yards and 197 passing yards a game. Not miserable, but not good. The addition of NT Kris Jenkins will help the run defense considerably. If new OLB Calvin Pace can create some havoc like he did last year with Arizona, that will be a huge addition. Revis and Rhodes are future stars.


Bill Floos in Wadsworth, Ohio, writes: I am confused as to why your colleagues don't respect you enough to invite you to participate in the "Experts vs. Jocks" fantasy mock draft?

Tim Graham: Management couldn't decide if I should be an expert, a jock, a versus or just mocked.


Mr. Anonymous in St. Augustine, Fla., writes: Do you think the Patriots will go 16-0? Who do you think will win the AFC South this season?

Tim Graham: I think the Patriots will go 12-4 or somewhere thereabouts. As for the AFC South, I like the Indianapolis Colts, but just barely over the Jacksonville Jaguars.


The Afghan from Parts Unknown writes: Would you agree that things bode well for Bills QB Trent Edwards' future with the ability to watch three veteran players twice a season? Pennington is the model of security, [Jets QB name deleted to comply] the model of daring, Brady the model of, well, perfection.

Tim Graham: Great name. I had no idea pro wrestlers read my blog. I don't think having three established veteran QBs will impact Edwards' future, per se. QBs are so busy going over game plans and chalk talk on the sidelines to really soak in what the opposing offense is doing. And with so much film available, if Edwards wanted to learn from the greats he could do that regardless of what division they're in.

The real winners will be AFC East fans. The division got a whole lot more interesting the past few days.


Derek in Finesville, N.J., writes: Your blog entry on Andre Tippett being a better all around player than Lawrence Taylor was the worst piece of garbage I have read in eight years of internet surfing. Just a disgusting piece of garbage that didn't deserve to be posted. One idiot offensive lineman says that because Tippett put his hand on the ground he was a better all around player than LT is just foolish. There will never be another LT, just like there will always be an Andre Tippett on just about every NFL roster, year in and year out. It's a sad day for anyone looking for accurate reporting on the NFL and its history.

Tim Graham: My opinion is that Lawrence Taylor is the greatest football player of all-time, Derek. But my blog was about what Joe DeLamielleure thought about Andre Tippett. To dismiss a Hall of Famer as an "idiot offensive lineman" for saying he thought Tippett was better doesn't reflect well on you. Then you add "there will always be an Andre Tippett on just about every NFL roster, year in and year out?" I'm at a loss.


Joe in Akron, Ohio, writes: Regarding your camp report on the Miami Dolphins, I had to go through it three times to check. I didn't see a single mention of RB Ronnie Brown. Isn't that the biggest question facing the Dolphins this year? The guy was one of the best running backs in the league when he was on the field. Coming off an ACL injury, I think he is the most intriguing guy right now on that roster. I'm not trying to be critical, because I like your work. I just don't see how you completely omitted him.

Tim Graham: Brown is an important part of the team, but I don't think he's the biggest question mark. My feeling is that Ricky Williams should compensate enough until Brown can fully recover and didn't see Brown's return as that big of a concern. Brown has been getting plenty of reps through camp and looks decent. But I at least should have mentioned that. Sorry for the omission.


Mr. Anonymous in Buffalo writes: Do you think the Bills will finish second in the AFC East with the Jets acquisition of [name deleted to comply]?

Tim Graham: I'm ruling this a Bills question, not a [name deleted to comply] question. I think the Bills clearly were the second-best team in the AFC East last year. I'm going to waffle with my answer right now because I want to see how quickly that new guy with the Jets absorbs his playbook over the final three preseason games.


Brent in Se
attle writes:
We know the Patriots are going to win their division. But how about the Bills? Do you see them as a potential playoff contender?

Tim Graham: I've gone on record as saying the Bills will make the playoffs this year, but that was before the Jets acquired a certain player who shall not be referred to by name.


Andres in Costa Rica writes: Who do you think will start at LB for the Pats? Junior Seau coming back? Victor Hobson getting cut? What do you know about Takeo Spikes situation? Any chance he is playing this season?

Tim Graham: I think the Patriots are set at LB, although Seau is a wild card. If Bill Belichick isn't totally comfortable he can always pick up the phone. But getting younger on defense was a point of emphasis. Rookie Jerod Mayo looked pretty good in the preseason opener.


Craig in Miami writes: Please help me out. How does Andre Tippett make it into the HOF, and Rickey Jackson, who has been on the ballot for the past eight years, not even make it to the final vote? Jackson played four more years, made one more Pro Bowl, had 36 more sacks (eight unofficial), had more fumble recoveries and Jackson actually won a Super Bowl ring. Please explain why Jackson has been snubbed so far.

Tim Graham: I can't explain it other than Jackson just needs to wait his turn. I agree that Jackson deserves to be in, but be patient.