AFC East: Gibran Hamdan

AFC East: Free-agency primer

March, 4, 2010
3/04/10
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Buffalo Bills

Potential unrestricted free agents: DE Ryan Denney, LB Chris Draft, DB Todd Johnson, G Seth McKinney, WR Terrell Owens, WR Josh Reed, S Bryan Scott, G Kendall Simmons, LB Josh Stamer.

Potential restricted free agents: LB Keith Ellison, QB Gibran Hamdan, G Richie Incognito, TE Joe Klopfenstein, TE Derek Schouman, T Jonathan Scott, S George Wilson, CB Ashton Youboty.

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: The Bills are in a rebuilding mode and shouldn't be in too much of a hurry to sign their free agents. In fact, they took the unusual step of publicly announcing they wouldn't offer Owens, Reed or Denney contracts. The most attractive players are Incognito and Wilson. Most of the rest were bit players and injury replacements.

Miami Dolphins

Potential unrestricted free agents: NT Jason Ferguson, CB Nate Jones, QB Chad Pennington, OLB Jason Taylor.

Potential restricted free agents: RB Ronnie Brown, TE Anthony Fasano, OLB Quentin Moses.

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: The Dolphins have a tough decision to make on Ferguson. He'll turn 36 during the 2010 season and is coming off a serious quadriceps injury. Without him, however, the Dolphins have a massive void in their 3-4 defense at a position that's difficult to replace. Pennington, Jones and Taylor all could be gone.

New England Patriots

Potential unrestricted free agents: OLB Tully Banta-Cain, CB Leigh Bodden, OLB Derrick Burgess, RB Kevin Faulk, DE Jarvis Green, P Chris Hanson, G Stephen Neal, ILB Junior Seau, TE Benjamin Watson.

Potential restricted free agents: K Stephen Gostkowski, G Logan Mankins, OLB Pierre Woods.

Franchise player: NT Vince Wilfork.

What to expect: Several starters are about to go up for bids, and the Patriots can't keep them all. Expect Faulk to be re-signed without much fuss. Neal, Bodden and Banta-Cain comprise a group they'd have trouble replacing. All three could fetch offers the Patriots would rather not match. Don't count on Watson coming back.

New York Jets

Potential unrestricted free agents: LS James Dearth, DE Marques Douglas, K Jay Feely, LB Ryan Fowler, TE Ben Hartsock, LB Larry Izzo, FB Tony Richardson.

Potential restricted free agents: QB Kellen Clemens, CB Drew Coleman, WR Braylon Edwards, DT Howard Green, T Wayne Hunter, WR Brad Smith, S Eric Smith, RB Leon Washington.

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: As a "final eight" team, the Jets have to window shop until one of their UFAs sign elsewhere. General manager Mike Tannenbaum is creative. Don't be surprised if the Jets use trades to upgrade. The key restricted free agent to monitor will be Washington, who received a second-round tender. His agent has been tweeting alarms the Pro Bowler could sign an offer sheet and dare the Jets to match.

Uncapped year affects 19 from AFC East

December, 31, 2009
12/31/09
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An uncapped year in 2010 would affect 212 players who ordinarily would have become unrestricted free agents, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

Players can't become unrestricted free agents in an uncapped year unless they have six years of NFL experience. The usual minimum is four years.

NFC South dean Pat Yasinskas obtained the list, which includes 19 from the AFC East. The New York Jets have the most with eight.

Buffalo Bills

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Why the Bills signed Brian Brohm

November, 19, 2009
11/19/09
11:43
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Brian Brohm will wear No. 4 for the Buffalo Bills.

[+] EnlargeBrian Brohm
Joe Murphy/Getty ImagesBrian Brohm, a former second-round pick, never rose above third string with Green Bay.
Think he could have worn that jersey for the Green Bay Packers?

Actually, Packers fans couldn't see Brohm wearing any jersey for them on Sundays, but the Bills are going to give the 2008 second-round draft pick a hard look.

The Bills released third quarterback Gibran Hamdan and signed Brohm to a two-year contract, but Bills fans shouldn't get too excited.

Despite a prolific career at Louisville and his lofty draft position -- taken 56th overall, one spot ahead of Miami Dolphins starter Chad Henne -- Brohm hasn't been any higher than third on the Packers' depth chart. The Packers waived him in September. No other team claimed him, allowing the Packers to sign him to their taxi squad.

Brohm already wears the bust label, but what does Buffalo see in him?

The move reminded me of a conversation I had with Bill Belichick at New England Patriots camp -- coincidentally enough, mere seconds after he walked off the practice field with Mike Shanahan, whom the Bills are interested in hiring as their next head coach.

Belichick that day explained his philosophy on backup quarterbacks, saying there are two kinds: veterans who can hold down the position until your starter comes back and prospects you're grooming for the future.

The Bills, after deciding to demote Trent Edwards in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick, didn't seem to have either of those types. Hamdan is a veteran journeyman with no real shot at being an NFL starter.

"If you're trying to get your backup guy to eventually be your starter or be able to go in and win for you, and you draft a young player like [Matt] Cassel, you know he's not ready that first year," Belichick said. "But you hope in time you can get him ready.

"That's the problem with a young quarterback. It takes a little bit of time to develop them. The problem with the old quarterback is it's a year-to-year proposition.

"It's a combination of how far you really think you'll be able to go with that player and if you feel he's keeping it warm until you had your starter back -- but then you're looking for someone else."

Brohm gives the Bills the longer-range prospect they were lacking and the hope they no longer see when they consider Edwards' future.

Owens in, Hardy out for Bills

November, 15, 2009
11/15/09
12:31
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Terrell Owens missed two days of practice with a hip injury, but he will start Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field.

The Bills on Wednesday activated James Hardy from the physically unable to perform list but have scratched him for the game. They cut running back Xavier Omon to make room for Hardy, leaving themselves with only two running backs (Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson) who carry the ball.

Here are the inactives from both teams:

Buffalo Bills
Tennessee Titans

Brady, Manning are NFL's top double agents

November, 12, 2009
11/12/09
4:03
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Nobody relies on the double formation more than Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

ESPN Stats & Information tracks every snap and notes the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts favor the formation -- single back, two receivers to each side -- more than any other NFL team.
[+] EnlargeTom Brady
t: Greg M. Cooper/US PresswireTom Brady and the Patriots operate out of the double formation 49 percent of the time.


A standard look from the double formation would be a wideout and slot receiver to one side and the tight end and a wideout to the other side.

The Patriots have operated out of the double formation 268 times, or 49 percent of their 552 plays from scrimmage. They're averaging 6.4 yards a play.

The Colts have gone double an NFL-high 354 times on 47 fewer snaps, or 70 percent of the time. They have amassed 2,323 yards out of double, an average of 6.6 yards per play.

But Indy's average doesn't lead the league. The Dallas Cowboys have averaged 9.1 yards on their 144 plays in the double formation. The San Diego Chargers have averaged 7.5 yards on their 104 plays.

The Arizona Cardinals are a distant third with 189 plays out of the double formation.

I was in the Buffalo Bills' locker room on Wednesday, so I stopped by backup quarterback Gibran Hamdan's stall to get his take on why the double formation suits Brady and Manning.

The Patriots visit the Colts on Sunday night in Lucas Oil Stadium.

"It's about being blessed enough to keep a system in place for a long period of time," Hamdan said. "They've built a whole package around the formation."

Hamdan, who took part in the NFL's Broadcast Boot Camp over the summer, has a bright future as an analyst. He's one of those guys who makes you feel smarter for speaking with him.

"You can ask a lot of quarterbacks, and they feel good about certain formations," Hamdan said. "The key to it is those two guys like it. They know the intricacies of that formation, and they've seen pretty much everything a defense can do to them.

"Once you've seen all the looks, now you're just letting the players' ability to take over. Then you get into a feel and a rapport between the quarterback and receiver that happens when you play for a long period of time and run a formation like double over and over and over."

Hamdan noted the Bills' double formation often has Lee Evans split out and slot receiver Josh Reed to the left, with tight end Derek Fine and receiver Terrell Owens on the right.

New England's version might have Randy Moss and Wes Welker on the weak side, Chris Baker and Sam Aiken on the strong side.

"There's versatility," Hamdan said. "You can create things on both sides of the field, so symmetry definitely creates a versatility that maybe a three-by-one formation would lack."

It also comes down to precision. Hamdan pointed out neither team offers much variety out of the double formation.

"Turn on their film," Hamdan said. "They're not running that many plays out of that formation. They just know what they're doing and execute it."

In case you were curious what formations are popular with the other AFC East teams, the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets rank third and fifth in most plays out of a backfield set (two running backs). The Dolphins have used two backs on 48 percent of their snaps. The Jets have done so on 47 percent.

The Dolphins, of course, lead the league in Wildcat (any player other than a quarterback takes the snap). They've made 76 Wildcat attempts, more than three times as often as the next team on the list, the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Bills most frequently operate out of a trips formation (single back with three receivers to one side). They've run it 191 times, third-most in the NFL. They also rank 11th in the double formation with 160 plays.

The Patriots have run an empty set (only a quarterback in the backfield) 45 times, three fewer than the league-leading Houston Texans.

Parrish dresses, likely won't play for Bills

October, 25, 2009
10/25/09
4:04
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Here's an interesting twist.

Unlike last week, the Buffalo Bills will let return man Roscoe Parrish dress for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers in Bank of America Stadium.

But Parrish has been designated as the emergency quarterback.

That means Parrish, the NFL's top punt returner the past two years, won't be able to enter the game as a receiver or return man until the fourth quarter, or else starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and backup Gibran Hamdan will be disqualified from returning to the game.

The Bills have scratched usual starting quarterback Trent Edwards because of a concussion suffered last week against the New York Jets.

Here are the inactives for both teams:

Buffalo Bills
Carolina Panthers

Good afternoon from Bills-Jets at Meadowlands

October, 18, 2009
10/18/09
3:14
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The flags are flapping hard on a dank afternoon at the Meadowlands.

New York Jets will try to get back to their winning ways against the reeling Buffalo Bills at 4:15 p.m.

The Jets have lost two straight and are tied for last in the NFL with four sacks. The Bills are 1-4 and going with a starting offensive line that has a combined 47 NFL starts.

The inactive list was just released. Jets receiver Jerricho Cotchery and cornerback Donald Strickland will not dress.

Erstwhile running back Danny Woodhead was summoned from the practice squad and will play at receiver. Woodhead also has been named one of Rex Ryan's revolving captains for the game along with center Nick Mangold, receiver David Clowney, cornerback Darrelle Revis and former Bills safety Jim Leonhard.

The most notable inactive player for the Bills is punt returner Roscoe Parrish. Running back Fred Jackson will handle the return duties.

Here are all of the scratches:

Buffalo Bills
New York Jets

Joey Porter among Bills-Dolphins inactives

October, 4, 2009
10/04/09
3:42
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham


Inactives from Sunday afternoon's AFC East matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins in Land Shark Stadium:

Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins

Salutations from Orchard Park, N.Y.

September, 27, 2009
9/27/09
3:09
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The flags are flapping at Ralph Wilson Stadium, but the rain has held off since the grounds crew peeled tarps off the field around noon.

Conditions shouldn't hamper New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees much at all for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills. Skies are overcast, and temperatures will be in the low 70s.

The locals were hoping the steady rain that fell Saturday night and early Sunday morning might bog down the Saints' aerial assault, but the only detriment appears on the inactive list. Out are receiver Lance Moore and running back Mike Bell.

No major surprises on the Bills' inactive list.

New Orleans Saints
Buffalo Bills

Bills-Patriots inactives

September, 14, 2009
9/14/09
6:08
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Inactives for the Monday night opener between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots in Gillette Stadium:

Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots

Observations from Bills-Lions preseason finale

September, 3, 2009
9/03/09
10:21
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Some random thoughts from Thursday night's preseason finale in Ralph Wilson Stadium, where the Detroit Lions beat the Buffalo Bills 17-6.

The Bills' first-team offense didn't play, ensuring it finishes the preseason without a touchdown. The first-unit offensive line went a few series, but none of the skill players did. Trent Edwards, Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson, Terrell Owens and Lee Evans all got the night off.

For the record, the Bills' first unit played 16 series. It ran 78 plays for 269 net yards. The possessions ended in nine punts, three interceptions, two fumbles, one field goal and halftime.

Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson looked like Montana and Rice. Of course, it must be noted the Bills opened with their second-string defense. But it sure was fun to watch Johnson perform. He had two catches for 46 yards and had a 34-yard touchdown nullified by a holding call.

The Bills' second-team defense showed flashes against the Lions' first-team offense. Rookie pass-rusher Aaron Maybin got to Stafford for a strip sack the Bills recovered. Defensive tackle John McCargo also notched a sack in the first quarter. Reggie Corner intercepted Stafford on the opening play of the second quarter.

Rookie guards Eric Wood and Andy Levitre played the entire first half. The rest of the starting line came out a few series earlier, but head coach Dick Jauron wanted the newbies to get as many game reps as possible. Before they exited, left tackle Langston Walker was flagged for holding and center Geoff Hangartner committed a false start.

Steve Johnson shook off a rough start to make a couple of sensational plays. Johnson dropped a pass and was whistled for a false start in the first half. But he played most of the game and became Gibran Hamdan's favorite target in the second half. Johnson made a pair of phenomenal catches for 27 and 33 yards despite tight coverage in the third quarter.

Rough night for tight ends Derek Schouman and Jonathan Stupar. Schouman fumbled the ball on consecutive receptions in the first quarter. He gathered the first one himself, but lost the second. Stupar dropped two passes in the first half.

Rookie defensive back Ellis Lankster is fun to watch. The seventh-round draft pick keeps standing out. He made some mental mistakes, but there's a crackle about him. The stat team credited Lankster with three tackles, including one for a 1-yard loss. He had a 23-yard punt return.

The Bills' punt return team burnt by another fake. In the Hall of Fame Game, the Tennessee Titans ran a brilliant fake that sprung punter A.J. Trapasso for a 40-yard touchdown. The Lions ripped off a 20-yarder at the end of the third quarter Thursday night.

AFC East backup quarterback breakdown

September, 1, 2009
9/01/09
12:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham



More: Chadiha: The plan | Scouts: Rating QBs | Rank 'em | Clayton: Next Cassel?


Buffalo Bills:
If Trent Edwards is unavailable, their situation is standard operating procedure. The only track record Edwards has established is that he gets hurt every year. Shoulder, foot, wrist, concussion, groin: They've all caused Edwards to miss games either at Stanford or for the Bills. To back him up, the Bills signed free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick, a clear No. 2 with game experience. Fitzpatrick has 15 NFL starts, including a dozen last year for the Cincinnati Bengals. Fitzpatrick appeared deficient early in training camp, but he perked up in preseason games, completing 39 of 54 passes for 381 yards and one touchdown with an interception. Gibran Hamdan should be the third-string quarterback again this year.


Miami Dolphins:
If Chad Pennington is unavailable, their situation is uneasy. Before Pennington arrived a week into camp last year, rookie Chad Henne was pushing to be the starter straight out of Michigan. He was holding his own against Josh McCown and John Beck and had the front office excited. Enthusiasm has been muted somewhat this year. Henne still is considered the club's future quarterback, but he has struggled in practices and exhibitions. He has completed 19 of 35 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. Speedy rookie Pat White, a second-round pick out of West Virginia, has seemed mostly uncomfortable in an NFL setting. He was drafted in part because of his Wildcat skills, but his arm has been unimpressive.


New England Patriots:
If Tom Brady is unavailable, their situation is tenuous for now. Two days ago, the Patriots waived Kevin O'Connell, the player many expected to be their primary backup. It was a curious move. The Patriots spent a third-round draft pick on O'Connell last year. He entered his rookie season as the third quarterback, but handled the No. 2 duties for Matt Cassel after Brady went down with a knee injury on opening day. In training camp, the Patriots cut Matt Gutierrez and signed free agent Andrew Walter, formerly of the Oakland Raiders. The Patriots are said to be on the lookout for another veteran, but the depth chart for now features Brady, Walter and undrafted rookie Brian Hoyer.


New York Jets:
If Mark Sanchez is unavailable, their situation is more manageable than most. The Jets are the only AFC East club with a backup quarterback who lost an open competition for the No. 1 job. The Jets should be at least a little comfortable knowing their insurance policy at least had a shot -- OK, maybe not a great shot -- to win the gig. Kellen Clemens has been undistinguished in the opportunities he has been given since the Jets drafted him in the second round out of Oregon in 2006. He started eight games in his second season. He completed 52 percent of his passes, threw five touchdowns and 10 interceptions and finished with a 60.9 passer rating. One of the real surprises since camp opened has been the play of sophomore Erik Ainge. He will be the third quarterback, but showed signs of life after a worthless rookie season that included a suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. In the preseason, Ainge is 18-of-32 for 275 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

Live football about to start in steamy Canton

August, 9, 2009
8/09/09
7:14
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

CANTON, Ohio -- Stifling is the best word I can come up with.

The Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans broke a sweat just thinking about playing tonight's Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at Fawcett Stadium.

Temperatures reached the mid-90s this afternoon in Northeast Ohio. While the heat has eased a tad as shadows have gotten longer, it's still a sauna here.

Both teams are on the field, showing off their AFL throwback uniforms. The Bills are in their white-on-white duds and white helmets with the red buffalo. The Titans are honoring their origins in Houston Oilers gear. They're wearing blue jerseys, white pants and blue helmets with the derrick.

Only things missing are kickers in single-bar facemasks.

Here are a few pregame notes and storylines to follow for tonight's game:

  • Terrell Owens will be making his Bills debut. Don't expect him to play long, though.
  • The Bills will operate their no-huddle offense against a live opponent for the first time.
  • New left tackle Langston Walker will get to face right end Kyle Vanden Bosch.
  • Gibran Hamdan, not Ryan Fitzpatrick, is listed as the No. 2 quarterback on Buffalo's pregame depth chart.
  • Marshawn Lynch, who will be suspended for the first three games, is listed as the starting running back.
  • Rookie guards Eric Wood and Andy Levitre are in the starting lineup.
  • Bills cornerback Reggie Corner is a Canton native and played high school games at Fawcett Stadium.

Camp confidential: T.O. can't cure all Bills ills

July, 30, 2009
7/30/09
1:00
PM ET
 
  Icon SMI
  Terrell Owens, the celebrity headliner on the first day of training camp, serves as a distraction from the numerous issues facing the Bills.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- On the first day of Buffalo Bills training camp, fans pressed their torsos up against the metal railing at St. John Fisher College to get the best possible look at a local attraction that, for the past few months, has been surpassed only by Niagara Falls.

Camp Confidential: AFC East
• Bills: Thurs., July 30
• Jets: Sat., Aug. 1
• Patriots: Wed., Aug. 5
• Dolphins: Sun., Aug. 16

For the first time since he signed in March, fans were able to behold the wonders of Terrell Owens in a Bills uniform. His every move was cheered. Each time he touched the ball -- even during casual warmup tosses on the sideline -- drew applause. They pleaded for autographs. They barked out chants, supplementing a popular refrain: "Let's go, Buf-fa-lo! Let's go, T.O.!"

The other 70 or so players were rendered afterthoughts. Owens, on the first day of camp, WAS the Buffalo Bills. He hadn't scored a touchdown, caught a pass, run a route or said something inflammatory yet. Owens, running around in chrome-bottomed Nike cleats, was all that existed.

And for the rest of the Bills, that should be a pleasant distraction.

Fantasy Football: 32 Questions
Christopher Harris looks at the possibility that Trent Edwards could have a breakout season with T.O. in the fold. Story

The future Hall of Famer has diverted so much attention from myriad question marks surrounding his team.

The Bills have gone nine straight years without a playoff appearance. They went 0-6 against the AFC East last year. They have an injury-prone quarterback. Their miscreant Pro Bowl running back has been suspended the first three games. The fans generally loathe head coach Dick Jauron. The offensive line has been rearranged more than Tex Cobb's face. Rookie defensive end Aaron Maybin, the 11th overall pick, probably won't sign a contract any time soon.

Still, this year's season-ticket base will be the largest since Buffalo's Super Bowl years. The Bills have been able to market perennial hope, and this year's dreams are hitched to Owens, a player who makes the team nationally relevant for the first time since Doug Flutie was around.

But let's look deeper than the obvious storyline from Bills camp. Owens can't possibly fix everything.

Key questions

 
  Joe Robbins/Getty Images
  Langston Walker's transition from right tackle to left could be a key to the offensive line's performance.

1. How will the Bills' reconstituted offensive line perform?

In the afternoon practice on the first day of training camp, Buffalo's offensive linemen conducted drills 10 feet in front of the railing that separated the most boisterous fans from the field. The throng gazed right past the most important players on the team so they could gawk at Owens and yell to him about how good his new toasted-oats cereal product is.

Buffalo will be as successful this year as its offensive line will allow.

The Bills had no choice but to trade Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, who held out right up until the regular-season opener last year. They were convinced the still-disgruntled Peters would boycott the team into the season, maybe miss several games, to make his point again. They dealt their best player to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Rather than look for veteran help to replace Peters, the Bills flopped right tackle Langston Walker, a career right tackle of no particular acclaim, to the left side. Right guard Brad Butler slid to right tackle. They signed Geoff Hangartner to play center. They drafted Eric Wood in the first round and Andy Levitre in the second round to be their guards.

All five linemen projected to start on opening day will be in different positions than last year, when they gave up the fifth-most sacks in the NFL.

2. Will the pass rush be significantly better this year?

Only three teams had fewer than Buffao's 28 sacks last year.

The Bills selected Maybin to bolster its anemic pass rush. Many were skeptical he would make an immediate impact because he was a one-year starter at Penn State who entered the draft a year early. His chances of being a significant contributor are lessening with each day he's not under contract.

But the main character here is two-time Pro Bowl end Aaron Schobel
. He played in only five games last year because of a foot injury. Schobel collected 26 sacks in 2005 and 2006, but dropped to 6.5 sacks in 2007 and 1.5 in his limited time last year.

3. What kind of impact will the no-huddle offense make?

 
  John David Mercer/US Presswire
  Early on, Trent Edwards has looked good directing Buffalo's new no-huddle offense.

If the first few days of training camp were any indication, the Bills' offense will be fun to watch -- win or lose. To maximize their weaponry both at receiver and in the backfield and perhaps mitigate the line's limitations, offensive coordinator Turk Schonert, a former Sam Wyche pupil, has gone no-huddle.

The Bills' first-team defense has had trouble keeping Owens and Lee Evans from getting behind them. Trent Edwards, criticized for his inability or unwillingness to go deep, has been hurling rainbows that are going for touchdowns.

Some close to the team, however, aren't convinced the Bills will use it throughout a game. The belief is that they'll start out in the no-huddle and use it as long as it works. If defenses don't cave in the first half, the conservative-minded Jauron might be prone to get more conventional.

Market watch

  Jackson

Fred Jackson sounds like an everyman name. But there's a decent chance you'll know who he is, especially if you're a fantasy football enthusiast, a few weeks into the season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended running back Marshawn Lynch for the first three games. That will cede backfield duties to Jackson and Dominic Rhodes.

Jackson emerged from football oblivion. Undrafted out of Division III Coe College, he went to the arena bush leagues, then to NFL Europa and the Bills' practice squad. He has become one of the NFL's most underrated backs. He rushed for 571 yards last year with a 5.0 average, racking up 136 yards in place of an injured Lynch in the season finale. He caught 37 passes for 317 yards.

Newcomer to watch

Is there anybody else to consider other than Owens? We don't need to discuss the obvious, so let's pick the next in line.

Wood, a dominant center at Louisville, was drafted with the top pick the Bills received from the Eagles in the Peters trade. He will be learning a new position, but is confident it will be an easier transition from center to guard than any other position-to-position switch on the line.

Observation deck

Some consider the Bills a dark horse in the AFC East. They have the offensive firepower to make some noise, but have they improved enough to overcome their 0-6 division record last year? The Bills have gone 7-9 each season since Jauron arrived. It's foreseeable they could go 7-9 a fourth year in a row, but be much better than they've been. … Bills fans should hope second-year cornerback Leodis McKelvin is keeping his early camp performances in perspective. He has been getting flambéed by Owens and Evans on deep balls and getting his ankles broken by Owens' post-catch cuts on the underneath stuff. McKelvin's confidence probably is bruised, but he's squaring up against two of the game's best every day. … Edwards hasn't been able to stay healthy through his first two NFL seasons, which puts an emphasis on the backup. The Bills signed Cincinnati Bengals reserve Ryan Fitzpatrick to fill that role, but the Harvard grad has struggled. The no-huddle offense hums under Edwards, but when Fitzpatrick takes over, passes frequently don't find their mark. Third quarterback Gibran Hamdan has a chance to make a push for the No. 2 job. … The Bills are one of the NFL's deepest teams at receiver, but a rash of seemingly minor injuries has them trying out even more receivers. Steve Johnson, James Hardy, Felton Huggins and P.K. Sam have been sidelined. … The Demetrius Bell project continues to evolve. The son of former NBA great Karl Malone, drafted out of Northwestern State in the seventh round last year, didn't play a down last year. He has been seeing a healthy amount of reps at second-team left tackle and guard.

Around the AFC East: Jets star a camp no-show

July, 30, 2009
7/30/09
12:19
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

New York Jets

Buffalo Bills

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

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