Commentary

Plugging the holes: AFC East

Biggest remaining questions for the Bills, Dolphins, Patriots and Jets

Originally Published: August 4, 2011
By Sean McCormick | Football Outsiders
Plaxico BurressAP Photo/Julio CortezThe Jets have a No. 1 receiver, but can Plaxico Burress be a solid No. 2 option?

Note: This is the first of an eight-part series, going division by division through the NFL.

One effect of the lockout is that teams don't have as good a feel for their roster as they would in normal years. No one has conducted OTAs, rookies haven't had a chance to study the playbooks or meet with position coaches and because free agency was pushed back until after the lockout, many teams don't know what their rosters will look like, even as they begin training camp. So without further ado, let's look biggest remaining question for all four teams in the AFC East.


Buffalo Bills: Who is going to play right tackle?

There was simply no way the Bills were going to be able to adequately address all their holes in the space of a single offseason, and to their credit, they haven't thrown lots of money around trying to. Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't a long-term solution at quarterback -- he may not even be a short-term solution -- but there were no surefire prospects worth burning a top-five draft pick on, and the free agent pickings were slim, particularly if you didn't want to give away the farm for Kevin Kolb.

Instead of getting cute at the top of the draft, the Bills took Marcell Dareus, a massive, scheme-versatile defensive tackle who should immediately upgrade a defensive line that was 32nd in adjusted line yards. Dareus is no Nick Fairley, but he does bring some pass rush, and his ability to tie up blockers will allow linebackers and defensive backs to come free on blitzes. Paul Posluszny briefly left a hole when he signed with Jacksonville, but free agent Nick Barnett quickly filled it.

The right tackle spot, however, isn't a hole but a canyon, and it doesn't look like Buffalo has done enough to address it. The Bills were 30th in adjusted line yards on runs off right tackle, but that doesn't begin to tell the tale.