Around the AFC East: Regular Season Countdown

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Here’s a quick look around some of the news and notes in the AFC East.

Buffalo Bills — Jairus Byrd finally signed his franchise tender, making Mike Pettine’s defense that much better.  E.J. Manuel has started the rehab process from his knee procedure and is in the mix still to start the season.  USC’s Robert Woods, a second rounder for the Bills, is expected to start the season at the 2nd spot.  Rookie phenom Kiki Alonso (LB) got some rest last week due to a bad shoulder.  If there is any good news for AFC East defenses, it might be that the young guns in the Bills receiving corps might not get added help from Da’Rick Rogers, who has struggled adjusting to the NFL game and might not make the team.

Miami Dolphins — Bad news for former Jet, Dustin Keller, who is out for the season due to a cheap hit from rookie DJ Swearinger.  The news about Keller might mean that Brandon Gibson will see an increase in targets this year due to his “stranglehold” on the 3rd receiver spot.  Lamar Miller was looking like he was the shoo-in for the starting RB spot, but a preseason fumble might have shaken Joe Philbin’s faith in him at least for the present.  Tannehill has looked efficient so far and his chemistry seems to be getting better with Mike Wallace.

New England PatriotsAll is well in Tom Brady knee-land.  Amendola missed practice, but it’s not a big deal.  Tebow’s spot with the team could depend on Gronk’s recovery timeframe, who apparently is on schedule for a mid-September return … the Jets might be cutting it close.  Could Shane Vereen duplicate some of Hernandez’s former role with the team?  Peter King thinks so.  UDFA WR Kenbrell Thompkins seems to be outplaying second rounder Aaron Dobson.