Around the AFC East: Week 6 Pregame

AFC East Week 6 game previews. Buffalo Bills QB Kelly Holcomb is getting support of the Bills veterans. The Miami Dolphins apparently are content with Gus Frerotte under center. The New York Jets should have signed Patriots kicker Robbie Gould. Instead they spent a high draft pick on Mike Nugent who has had difficulty adjusting. Gould now has the starting job for the Bears. Get more inside info in Week 6 Around the AFC East pregame edition.

Around the AFC East: Week 6 Pregame
By Staff

Jets :: Dolphins :: Patriots


Veteran quarterback Kelly Holcomb, who is expected to get his second start on Sunday when the Bills host the New York Jets, is a big believer in distributing the football.

That's music to the ears of Buffalo's tight ends and running backs, who hardly felt a part of the game when first-year starter J.P. Losman was under center.

In four starts under Losman, the Bills' tight ends and running backs caught 14 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. In Holcomb's one start and two brief relief appearances, those players have caught nine passes for 48 yards. And more are to come.

"Every player on the field is important," Holcomb said. "I think that's what we tried to do the other day (vs. Miami), get everybody involved. We got Eric (Moulds) and Lee (Evans) involved, which we hadn't been able to do so far, and getting Mark (Campbell) and Willis (McGahee) some catches, the more you can do as an offense, the better off you'll be."

Wide receiver Moulds caught his first TD pass of the season against the Dolphins and Evans had a 49-yard reception to set up a touchdown. Beyond that, tight end Campbell, who hadn't caught a pass in two games, matched his season total with three for 15. Fullback Daimon Shelton had a 15-yard reception to set up a field goal.

On several occasions, Holcomb looked off deep routes that were called to hit his outlets and keep the chains moving. That's exactly what the coaches want. And even though Losman did find those looks, he often failed to deliver the ball accurately.

"A couple times we did call plays downfield but they had it covered pretty good," Holcomb said. "There's no use wasting a throw. I'm going to check it down if there's nothing there."

Said Campbell, a huge target at 6-6: "It's just a matter of taking what they give you, going through the progression, not being greedy, chipping away at them. That's how we won time of possession and it got us into good third-down situations.

"As for myself, it's nice to get a couple balls. It makes you feel more involved, you have a better flow for the game, and it definitely makes the game more fun."


--QB Kelly Holcomb is expected to earn his second start on Sunday against the New York Jets. Coach Mike Mularkey wouldn't name his starter ahead of time, but it's extremely unlikely he'd bench Holcomb and go back to a struggling J.P. Losman after a win and facing a division opponent with an aggressive defense like the Jets.

--WR Roscoe Parrish, the club's top draft pick who broke his right wrist in training camp on Aug. 10, caught more passes in practice and has an outside shot at playing Sunday. It will come down to a game-time decision.

--DT Tim Anderson will start the rest of the season in place of Ron Edwards, who underwent shoulder surgery and was placed on injured reserve.

--G Chris Villarrial, who missed last week's game with an intestinal condition and went to the hospital, is feeling better and is expected to play Sunday against the Jets.

--T Mike Williams, who has missed three starts with an ankle sprain, is back practicing and will start Sunday against the Jets. He is no longer listed on the team's injury report.

--SS Coy Wire, a key reserve and special teams player, is practicing after missing two games with a thigh bruise. He will play Sunday against the Jets.


Gus Frerotte is currently in no danger of losing his starting position, but that may change if the Dolphins quarterback doesn't do a better job of limiting his mistakes in the red zone.

Three of Frerotte's six interceptions this season have resulted in touchbacks, including one errant pass intended for wide receiver Marty Booker that was snared by Buffalo cornerback Terrence McGee in last Sunday's 20-14 loss to the Bills.

"I threw it and you've got to move on," said Frerotte, who was intercepted two other times in a 21-of-33 outing against Buffalo. "I would throw it a lot earlier and put it only where Book can get it, maybe high and outside. If it's incomplete, it's incomplete and we move on. When you're in the heat of the moment and you're trying to fit one in, sometimes it's not the greatest thing to do."

Dolphins coach Nick Saban wants Frerotte to remember that in Sunday's game at Tampa Bay.

"You have to make good choices and decisions about when you do it, and you can't force things," said Saban, who chose Frerotte as his starter ahead of A.J. Feeley at the end of the preseason. "You can't make something happen that is not there.

"It is no different than forcing bad shots in basketball. Sometimes they play zone and you are a 3-point shooter and you get a lot of good shots. Sometimes when they play man-to-man, they take the 3-point shooters away and the guy in the paint scores the points. It is like that in football, too."


--LB Junior Seau (calf/Achilles' tendon) returned to practice Thursday and is expected to start Sunday against Tampa Bay despite still being listed as questionable.

--CB Eddie Jackson (hamstring) missed Thursday's practice and is listed as questionable against Tampa Bay. If he's sufficiently recovered, Jackson is only expected to play on special teams and will cede his nickel cornerback role to Reggie Howard.

--CB Reggie Howard is expected to reassume his role as nickel cornerback against Tampa Bay with Eddie Jackson (hamstring) ailing. Howard had gotten demoted from the starting lineup down to dime cornerback in the span of two games.

--CB Kiwaukee Thomas may get his first snaps on defense this season against Tampa Bay with nickel cornerback Eddie Jackson (hamstring) ailing. Thomas was activated for the first time last Sunday and played on special teams in a 20-14 loss to Buffalo.

--WR David Boston (knee) practiced for a second consecutive day Thursday but it's uncertain whether he will be declared inactive for a second consecutive game. Boston isn't listed on Miami's injury report.


The Jets used a second-round pick - their first pick in this year's draft - on kicker Mike Nugent. The idea was by drafting a quality, nerves-of-steel, ice-in-his-veins kicker, they'd be solving their field goal problems for the next decade.

Yet Nugent has struggled on kickoffs and is just 4-of-7 on field goal attempts after missing from 40 and 48 yards out last week against the Bucs.

With the impression that his young kicker is pressing too hard, coach Herman Edwards sought out Nugent earlier this week in practice.

"It wasn't a long conversation, it was basically how I felt about him and what type of player he was going to be in this league," said Edwards, who came down to practice early knowing he could be alone on the field with Nugent. "I left it at that. It was good. He was fine. It was a matter of me getting to him."

Edwards doesn't do too many one-on-ones with kickers but felt the need to seek out Nugent. It was a meeting that left the rookie with a new sense of confidence about him.

"He has such a great mindset and he puts it out to everybody, especially when you're a younger guy and with a lot of new people," said Nugent, still adjusting to his new surroundings. "Just the confidence he has in everybody, I think he shows that very consistently."

Nugent said when he felt normal while missing the 40-yard attempt but did think he was putting pressure on himself when he missed the second attempt, from 48 yards. Nugent, however, said he wasn't putting pressure on himself based on where he was drafted.

"I think that once you get out on the field, everybody is on the same playing field," Nugent said. "As long as everyone can go out and do their job, that kind of takes care of itself."


--LB Eric Barton did not practice Thursday and will not play on Sunday against the Bills. He was listed as questionable earlier in the week with a high ankle sprain and was downgraded Thursday.

--FB B.J. Askew practiced all week after missing the last two games with ligament damage in his ankle. While listed as questionable, Askew probably won't be ready to return until next week or later.

--RB Curtis Martin (knee) returned to practice Thursday after skipping Wednesday. While the knee continues to bother Martin, he is expected to get a bulk of the carries Sunday against the Bills, with some work going to backup Cedric Houston.

--RB Cedric Houston has a thyroid condition that affected him during training camp under control and is ready to assume the backup role behind Curtis Martin. He could get a handful of carries this week in Buffalo.

--DT Dewayne Robertson returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday with a sore knee. He is expected to start against the Bills Sunday.

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