Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC East [Print without images]

Saturday, June 6, 2009
AFC East mailbag dropped at your doorstep


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Before we dip into this week's mailbag, I want to invite everybody with a hankering for time-squandering shenanigans and the promptest AFC East blog updates to connect with me on Facebook.

My page fires off alerts to everything I write as soon as it's posted on ESPN.com. We do those top-five lists and stage impromptu chats at all hours. Best time to catch me is after midnight (as evidenced by my moonlight tan), but I'm on here and there throughout the day.

Now to this week's surprisingly light satchel.

Garrett from New Jersey is incredulous ESPN.com listed the New York Jets at 20th in our recent power rankings. He asks "What do the Jets need to do before opening day to be considered a playoff contender?" He also can't figure out how they could drop from last year's final ranking of 17th.

Three spots isn't exactly precipitous. Yes, the Jets added some weapons on defense, but they haven't named a quarterback yet and haven't replaced Laveranues Coles. As to the second issue raised, here's what the Jets must do to be considered a playoff contender for a preseason poll: Rent a time machine and dial it back to the Bill Parcells era. They were the third-best team in the division last year. If they play well, they'll move up.


Josh from Toronto is curious how bulking up to 230 pounds will impact Buffalo Bills back Marshawn Lynch's running style.

Lynch, who was listed at 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds last year, seems skeptical he can keep the added weight on once training camp practices commence in the August heat at St. John Fisher College. But he contends he is carrying this weight well and doesn't feel any more sluggish than before. If he can maintain the weight, then would-be tacklers probably will have a tougher time getting to sleep on Saturday nights this fall.


Jeff on Long Island would like to know how CFL pass-rushing phenom Cameron Wake has looked so far with the Miami Dolphins.

Everybody's eagerly awaiting the start of training camp to know for sure. Dolphins outside linebacker Joey Porter has been on the field with Wake and can't even venture an opinion yet.

"It's kind of hard to judge guys right now when we're really not doing nothing," Porter told me Tuesday. "We're running around in jerseys. Right now, he's just trying to soak in the defense, so he can't really show us the player that he is.

"He's shown us he's an athlete -- by far. You can just see that. But I think you'll get more a feel for the guy once we put the pads on and actually play football."


Ryan from Howell, N.J., wants to know why rookie Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez wears a brace on his left knee.

It's more precautionary than anything else. Sanchez hasn't had any serious work done, but he has endured a couple of injuries to his left knee. He dislocated his kneecap before his last season at Southern California and suffered a bone bruise in October.


Steve from Parts Unknown thinks I'm a fraud because in Friday's chat, when I talked about Ted Ginn being the only legitimate candidate to emerge as Miami's No. 1 receiver, I failed to consider Brandon London, a receiver "everyone who watches the Dolphins practice raves about."

I covered the Dolphins as a beat reporter since before Brandon London was acquired. I've watched London work out scores of times and have spoken with dozens of others who've seen plenty. Never once have I heard somebody rave about him. He was a special-teamer last year who caught three passes -- the only three passes of his career. If London beats out Ginn in training camp to be Chad Pennington's top target, I will eat my shoes.


Mr. Anonymous in Lake Mary, Fla., wonders how New England Patriots receiver Brandon Tate is recovering from his torn ACL and how they plan to use the rookie from the University of North Carolina.

We don't really know how Tate is progressing. He hasn't been glimpsed at during the organized team activities that have been open to the media. Tate could end up on the PUP list at the start of camp. I'm sure Tate's return skills played a role in the Patriots being interested in him, but they can afford to be cautious with his recovery.


Rick in Boulder City, Nev., thinks the Bills need to find a way to get Roscoe Parrish on the field more.

I agree that Parrish is an underutilized talent, but whose snaps would he get? The Bills are rather stacked at receiver. Parrish belongs in the slot, but Josh Reed is better. Parrish also is one of the more dangerous punt returners in the league, but the Bills have Leodis McKelvin for that. That's why Buffalo put Parrish on the trade block.

"I would say that everybody on our football team would like a bigger role that doesn't have a big role already," Bills coach Dick Jauron said Friday when asked about Parrish. "They all compete for it, and he's competing.

"He had a couple really nice days in our OTAs. He just needs to continue to do it and fit into the scheme and understand what we're doing and how we're doing it. He's done a nice job so far. He'll certainly be a challenger for more playing time, and then we'll see where it goes. We're happy that he's been here, and we're really happy that he's with us."