Around the AFC East: Week One

The New England Patriots played the Oakland Raiders to kickoff the 2005 NFL season while the rest of the league sat and watched. With three additional days to prepare for their matchups on opening weekend. The Buffalo Bills are preparing for the Houston Texans, the New Yok Jets take on the high-octane Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins host the revamped Denver Broncos.

PHOTO: New York Jets running back Curtis Martin celebrates his second touchdown against the Houston Texans during the fourth quarter Sunday, Dec. 5, 2004 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Martin rushed for 134 yards as the Jets beat the Texans, 29-7. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Around the AFC East
By Staff

Jets :: Dolphins :: Patriots


The Buffalo Bills are confident that new quarterback J.P. Losman has the physical tools to succeed in the NFL. But does he possess the emotional makeup?

During the spring and through summer training camp, Losman's temper got the better of him on several occasions when he didn't perform up to his high standards. During one practice, he let out an expletive in full earshot of a group of young fans, then picked up a referee's flag and threw it in frustration after an incomplete pass. He later apologized to the kids.

Heading into Sunday's regular-season opener against Houston at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Losman said he must work on reining in his excitement and become more focused.

"That's something I've been dealing with my whole career," he said. "Coaches in college saying, 'Just focus, focus. Calm down. Relax. You're not some running back. You're not a linebacker. You're a quarterback and you need to stay focused and calm in the huddle.'

"All of those things I've been working on since high school, really. And I got that in college and I'm 10 times better now in the NFL. It just has to carry over now to an actual game-like circumstance that means something."

Coach Mike Mularkey has walked a fine line between toning Losman down without taking away the passion that has made him a successful quarterback in the past.

"He's fired up for preseason games and I'm sure he'll be excited," Mularkey said. "But I think once you get into the flow, even veterans, those first couple plays your heart is pumping, but once you get into the flow, it's natural."


  • CB Nate Clements remains probable for the Houston game Sunday with an undisclosed shoulder injury. He is taking fewer reps in practice this week and avoiding any kind of contact. The Bills need his presence against Texans Pro Bowl wideout Andre Johnson.

  • G Chris Villarrial, who suffered a sprained ankle in practice Wednesday, should play in Sunday's opener against Houston but will be less than 100 percent. Much of the Bills running game goes to his side.

  • RB Willis McGahee averaged only 3.3 yards per rush during the preseason on a team-high 38 carries. He's hoping his new-look line featuring new starters Mike Gandy and Bennie Anderson on the left side can open some space for him against Houston Sunday. Taking away a 16-yard run, McGahee gained 12 yards on 10 carries running left in a preseason loss to the Chicago Bears.

  • LB Angelo Crowell, a key reserve, is nursing a sore groin and remains questionable for the Houston opener. His absence will hurt the club's special teams coverage.

  • TE Mark Campbell, coming off ACL surgery, made it through all of training camp without a setback but failed to catch a single pass. The Bills are counting on their TEs to provide a quick option for young QB J.P. Losman but little rhythm was developed over the summer in that regard.


The Dolphins may be without the services of punter Matt Turk for Sunday's regular-season opener against Denver. Turk aggravated a groin injury during Wednesday's practice, an injury that had forced him to miss the team's final two preseason games. Turk didn't practice Thursday and was downgraded on the team's injury report from probable to questionable.

If Turk can't play, the Dolphins are expected to promote Donnie Jones from their practice squad. Jones, who played for Seattle last season, averaged 45.2 yards on 21 punts during the preseason. But Jones failed to beat out Turk, who set a franchise record last season with 98 punts. Turk tied for the AFC lead in punts inside the 20-yard line with 29 and tied for fourth in net average at 37.2 yards.

Newly named backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels would likely replace Turk as the holder on field goal and extra point attempts. Compounding the problem if Turk couldn't play, the Dolphins are fielding a new long snapper in rookie John Denney, who beat out nine-year veteran Ed Perry for a spot during the preseason. Dolphins coach Nick Saban said Olindo Mare took some snaps punting during Thursday's practice. Mare has an average of 42.9 yards on nine career attempts but hasn't punted in a game since 1999.


  • P Matt Turk didn't practice Thursday and was downgraded from probable to questionable for Sunday's game against Denver because of a strained groin.

  • P Donnie Jones could be promoted from the developmental squad for Sunday's game against Denver to fill in for Matt Turk, who missed Thursday's practice after aggravating a groin injury.

  • WR Derrius Thompson was released from injured reserve Thursday after reaching an injury settlement. Thompson was placed on injured reserve last Thursday with a hamstring injury.

  • LB Junior Seau (calf) practiced Wednesday and Thursday is expected to play against Denver. Seau is listed as probable on Miami's injury report.

  • CB Travis Daniels practiced Wednesday and Thursday and is expected to play against Denver. Daniels, who is Miami's nickel cornerback, is listed as probable on Miami's injury report.

  • DE Bryan McNeal was added to Miami's developmental squad. McNeal has spent time the past two seasons with Denver and Tampa Bay.

  • DE Matt Walters was released from injured reserve Wednesday after reaching an injury settlement over a shoulder ailment he developed in the preseason.


Asked to predict how much he would play in Sunday's season opener, Pro Bowl defensive end John Abraham half-jokingly gave a range of between one and 50 plays. Even after holding out of training camp while refusing to sign his one-year tender as the Jets' franchise players - a battle he lost - Abraham knows he's in good enough shape to get in on at least one play.

Yet since Abraham hasn't taken a real hit in practice since last year and didn't take part in any of the team's off-season conditioning, the number of plays that will follow is still a mystery. All Abraham knows is that he's not holding back Sunday in Kansas City.

"I'm going to be smart but I still have to play how I play or I'm not going to be effective like I am," Abraham said. "It's hard to prevent an injury because you really don't know when you're going to get injured. I can walk into the next room and get injured, so I'm going to go out and play the same way I've been playing."

The good news for the Jets is that Bryan Thomas has continued to play well, especially against the run. In fact, Thomas has done so well against the run since subbing for Abraham for the past several games of the season that he may be working himself into a platoon situation with Abraham, who will be used as a pass-rushing specialist for at least the early part of the season.

Coach Herman Edwards said it would be great if Abraham made it through 40 plays against the Chiefs but won't be holding him to a specific number.

"(He) looks great right now. He hadn't played a snap," Edwards said. "We'll find out. Hopefully, we can get in passing situations he can help us because he can do some things to rush the quarterback no doubt about that."


  • FB B.J. Askew will get work this season in short-yardage situations. The Jets have designed a package of plays with him in mind. He could split the snaps with incumbent Jerald Sowell and eventually take over the job.

  • CB Lamont Reid was waived just days after being claimed off waivers from the Cardinals.

  • T Scott Gragg, signed on Tuesday, is already practicing and will dress Sunday against the Chiefs.

  • G Isaac Snell, listed on the depth chart as a tackle, was waived but may be brought back to the practice squad. The Jets are thin on the offensive line, with just two reserve players.

  • TE Doug Jolley couldn't beat out Chris Baker for the starting job and has ended up in the doghouse after expressing his frustration to reporters and talking about a closed door meeting with coordinator Mike Heimerdinger.

You can find the original article or others like it on

Or talk about it in the Forums


Patriots Insider Top Stories