AFC East: On the radar 7110

On the radar: Backup QBs

July, 1, 2010
7/01/10
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A player, coach or issue that should be on your radar as training camp approaches.

All four AFC East clubs have uncertainties at backup quarterback. Three of them might head into training camp not knowing who theirs will be.

[+] EnlargeChad Pennington
AP Photo/J Pat CarterChad Pennington gives the Dolphins a veteran backup should Chad Henne struggle.
Let's take a look at each team's situation.

Buffalo Bills: Head coach Chan Gailey said he knows how his depth chart will look when camp opens at the end of the month, but the competition will remain wide open among Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm. That makes the second- and third-string quarterbacks mysteries, too. The backup probably won't be too far removed from his shot to get on the field. If the Bills don't want to expose fourth quarterback Levi Brown to waivers so they can put him on their practice squad, one of the others could get cut.

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins have two issues at backup QB. They will have a difficult decision to make unless they keep four quarterbacks or switch Pat White to another position. White, the 44th overall pick last year, hasn't developed. The presence of Tyler Thigpen, a former Kansas City Chiefs starter, probably will force a move. Respected veteran Chad Pennington is considered the third-stringer while he continues his recovery from shoulder surgery. But if something goes wrong with starter Chad Henne, it's hard to imagine coach Tony Sparano opting for Thigpen or White ahead of Pennington.

New England Patriots: Undrafted sophomore Brian Hoyer is back as Tom Brady's primary backup, but coach Bill Belichick has been restless with his QB reserves in recent years. Belichick dumped third-round pick Kevin O'Connell last summer, a year after drafting him. Even if Hoyer's role is safe, Patriots fans can't be too confident with the idea of him taking over in the event Brady gets hurt.

New York Jets: What a muddled mess this is. Few expect Kellen Clemens to remain with the club. The Jets have been interested in signing veteran free agent Mark Brunell and recently kicked the tires on the Michelin Man, JaMarcus Russell. The Jets kept four quarterbacks last year because they snagged O'Connell off waivers from the Patriots and weren't ready to part with Erik Ainge. I doubt they waste the roster spot again this year.

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