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Training Camp Primer: AFC East

Sam Spiegelman breaks down all the major storylines in the AFC East as NFL training camps get underway.

Tom Brady Danny Amendola
Tom Brady Danny Amendola

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Veterans report to NFL training camps as early as Saturday, and by the week’s end every team will be back to the business of football.

XN Sports will be previewing each division prior to the start of training camp to give the major storylines for each of the 32 NFL teams as they begin their camps.

Here’s the XN Sports Training Camp Primer for the AFC East:

Buffalo Bills

How will this wide receiver corps shape up? Since the Bills invested so much into trading up for Sammy Watkins, he’ll likely be a Week 1 starter. Can Robert Woods emerge opposite him? After dealing for Mike Williams, he is reportedly not a lock to even make the roster.

Is C.J. Spiller the starter? Does that spell a decline in touches for the veteran Fred Jackson? What’s in store for Bryce Brown, who the Bills acquired from Philadelphia?

What will E.J. Manuel show in Year 2? The front office increased the talent around him, now it’s up to the sophomore to impress.

Who replaces Kiko Alonso? One of the most unheralded defensive players in the NFL, Alonso was the runner-up for the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Will Preston Brown step up as their weak-side linebacker in the mix?

Marcell Dareus may be suspended to the start the season after getting arrested for possession of marijuana. It’s potentially a major loss for a very good, young defensive line. Stefan Charles is listed behind him on the depth chart.

Miami Dolphins

Is this the year Lamar Miller comes into his own? The team signed Knowshon Moreno in free agency, but all accounts indicate the veteran back is out of shape and may not even make the roster.

Mike Wallace was said to be on the trade block prior to the draft, but now the wideout may be bound for a breakout year. He’s reportedly been lining up all over field, and it seems as if the team is trying to find ways to get Wallace involved.

Is Charles Clay the next hybrid tight end? Last year he totaled 759 receiving yards and six touchdowns, and was a solid third weapon for Ryan Tannehill.

Bill Lazor is bringing the Chip Kelly offense to Miami — a fast-paced, high number of plays style. What does that do for Tannehill, Wallace, and Miller?

New England Patriots

Which one of the young receivers step up? Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson each showed flashes last year. Can Amendola become a consistent factor?

How’s the health of Rob Gronkowski? Will he participate fully in camp? Can he be ready for Week 1?

Can Stevan Ridley return to being the starter after a maddening case of fumbleitis last season? Along with Shane Vereen, the playoff version of New England looked like the team of old, revolving around a power run game.

How’s the health of Darrelle Revis? He’s the newest member of a revamped secondary with a lot to prove. Along with fellow newcomer Brandon Browner and  incumbent Devin McCourty, the secondary should be better than last year’s when the Pats relied heavily on Aqib Talib.

Vince Wilfork is coming off a torn Achilles’ and Jerod Mayo is returning from a torn pectoral. A healthy Wilfork and Mayo will now team up with Chandler Jones, Ra’Shede Hageman, and Jamie Collins in the front seven — is this the best core of defenders the Pats have had in a while?

New York Jets

It’s Geno Smith vs. Michael Vick, but Smith is expected to receive 75 percent of the first-team reps. If Smith can win the starting job outright, can it increase his confidence after rocky rookie campaign?

Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory — can they revamp the Jets rushing attack? The thunder-lightning approach very much resembles that of Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson, the last time the Jets made the playoffs.

Dee Milliner, Dimitri Patterson, Kyle Wilson form a very young group of corners, maybe the most questionable group Rex Ryan has ever had. Can Milliner become his new Revis?

Can Calvin Pryor evolve into an elite safety? The first-round pick fits the mold of an Ed Reed in Ryan’s D. How effective will he be right away?

Is this Stephen Hill‘s last chance to salvage his job? The team signed Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley is the slot receiver. Will rookies Jalen Saunders and Shaquelle Evans push Hill to be the No. 2 wideout?

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