AFC East: NFL Roster Analysis 2010

New England Patriots cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
9/04/10
7:28
PM ET
Check here for a full list of roster moves.

Biggest surprise: Outside linebacker Derrick Burgess kept the Patriots waiting while he contemplated retirement at the start of training camp. The Patriots probably helped push him back toward a pensive mood when they dropped the two-time Pro Bowler. The Patriots have pass-rush concerns, and Burgess tied for second with five sacks last year. The development of second-round draft choice Jermaine Cunningham certainly played a role in New England's decision. Also notable that second-year offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger was dropped despite the Patriots' interior issues and the fact they aggressively drafted him from Penn State in the fourth round last year. The Patriots traded cornerback Ellis Hobbs for a pair of fifth-round picks and then turned those assets into the fourth-round pick they used on Ohrnberger. He dressed for only three games last year.

No-brainers: The Patriots chose to keep five running backs, which is what they did last year. Fred Taylor, Kevin Faulk, Sammy Morris, Laurence Maroney and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. With safety Brandon McGowan placed on injured reserve with a chest injury, they made a nice trade with the Kansas City Chiefs and old friend Scott Pioli for safety Jarrad Page.

What's next: Bill Belichick never stops tweaking, particularly at the bottom of the roster. So this list of 53 probably will change before opening day. The Patriots, in need of support at defensive end, could bring back Jarvis Green, cut by the Denver Broncos on Saturday. Green played all eight of his NFL seasons with the Patriots and started 13 games at left end before signing with the Broncos as a free agent. Right defensive end Ty Warren is out for the year with a hip injury. The Patriots also released veteran defensive end Damione Lewis on Friday.

Miami Dolphins cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
9/04/10
6:41
PM ET
Check here for a full list of roster moves.

Biggest surprise: The Dolphins' decision to release tight end David Martin isn't surprising on account of his ability, but because of the depth chart. Joey Haynos is out with a foot injury, leaving incumbent starter Anthony Fasano and the unconvincing John Nalbone. The Dolphins also cut guard Donald Thomas, who was good enough to be their opening-day starter as a rookie in 2008 and again last year. Thomas played all 16 games last year and started 12. But the Dolphins have been trying to find the correct combination for the interior offensive line since Bill Parcells arrived at the end of the 2007 season. They signed free agents Richie Incognito and Cory Procter, drafted John Jerry in the third round and just traded for Pat McQuistan from the Dallas Cowboys. Thomas couldn't beat out any of them.

No-brainers: Based on 2008 draft status, it's notable that the Dolphins already have given up on quarterback Pat White (second round) and receiver Patrick Turner (third round). But they didn't belong. Neither of them ever showed they belonged in the NFL. White was drafted to enhance the Wildcat package, but he couldn't throw. Turner was deactivated for all but two games last year and was outplayed by undrafted rookies this summer.

What's next: Miami has no glaring needs, but they could stand to improve at a number of positions. General manager Jeff Ireland will be scavenging for what he call "acorns" that have fallen out of other teams' trees. Areas to look at will be the pass rush and, as always, interior O-line.

New York Jets cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
9/04/10
6:25
PM ET
Check here for a full list of roster moves.

Biggest surprise: The Jets' roster was about as set as you could get heading into training camp. Only a couple reserve roles and special-teams spots were available. So there weren't any surprises, unless you want to count the development from earlier in the week. Backup quarterback Kellen Clemens avoided being released by restructuring his contract to remain on the roster behind Mark Sanchez and Mark Brunell. That meant the Jets cut Kevin O'Connell, which wasn't a surprise regardless of what Clemens did.

No-brainers: With the Jets keeping two fullbacks (Tony Richardson, John Conner) on the 53-man roster, there was no room for Jason Davis despite a strong summer. Linebacker Brashton Satele never got on the field, resulting in the memorable "Hard Knocks" quote from special teams coach Mike Westhoff: "Let him open up his freakin' pizza shop in the Bronx and leave me alone."

What's next: Aside from convincing cornerback Darrelle Revis to end his holdout and figuring out who they'll dump once receiver Santonio Holmes' four-game suspension is up, there's not much to address. General manager Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Rex Ryan will comb the waiver wire to see if they can improve the bottom of the roster. They also could bring back receiver Laveranues Coles after the season opener to avoid guaranteeing his salary for the year.

Buffalo Bills cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
9/04/10
5:21
PM ET
Check here for a full list of roster moves.

Biggest surprise: Many believed the Bills could keep an extra running back, either veteran Chad Simpson or undrafted rookie Joique Bell, because Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson have been banged up. Simpson and Bell had strong summers, but the Bills cut them both. It's also notable the Bills have given up on 2008 second-round pick James Hardy. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound target never looked as good in action as he did in a uniform. He had injury problems, missing almost all of last year while recovering from a knee injury. He had sports hernia surgery in the offseason. Undrafted rookies outperformed him in camp.

No-brainers: There was no reason to keep rookie quarterback Levi Brown on the 53-man roster. He was drafted in the seventh round out of Troy as a long-term project. He's a safe bet to clear waivers and be added to the practice squad, but if another team snags him, no big loss. The move means the Bills likely will keep backups Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm, each of whom started for them last year.

What's next: On a team that hasn't made the playoffs in 10 years, few positions should be safe. That fact is emphasized by the number of undrafted rookies who made the squad. Bills general manager Buddy Nix will monitor the waiver wire and scrutinize all the veterans who've been dumped into the free-agent pool to see if there are any fits. The Bills will try to improve their offensive line depth and defensive front seven, especially.

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