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AFC East issues ahead of the 2014 NFL season

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With the start of the football coming ever closer now seems like the perfect time to highlight the key questions hanging over the teams in the AFC East.

How will the Jets running game set up?

In the Bills and the Jets, the AFC East two of the most run heavy teams in the NFL. Whilst the Bills seem to be fairly settled into a running back by committee approach sharing carries between Jackson and Spiller, the Jets running back situation (like the Jets QB position) up in the air.

Chris Ivory showed flashes of RB1 talent last season as he took 182 carries for 833 yards at an average of 4.6 yards per rush, but the Jets never seemed comfortable anointing him as the go to guy. This impression has been given further weight in the offseason with the addition of star veteran running back Chris Johnson.

Despite what the man himself thinks, Johnson will never be a 2,000 yard rushing back again, but he has never made less than 1000 yards in his career.

The odds are that Ivory and Johnson will split touches but how will it work. Will Ivory take most of the carries and be used to soften up defenses before the Jets unleash Johnson for one of his breakout runs? Or will it be more of a 50-50 split?

EJ Manuel?

Is EJ Manuel an honest too goodness franchise level NFL quarterback? Manuel's second season in the league should answer this question for us.

One thing is for certain the Bills must hope the answer is yes. The Bills franchise has invested a first round pick in Manuel last year and invested two first round picks in getting him Sammy Watkins. The stand out wide receiver of 2014's wide receiver rich draft class.

If Manuel turns out to be the real thing then the Bills are legitimate playoff contenders. If he isn't then the Bills are in trouble.

Rob Gronkowski's fitness?

If Gronkowski gets back to full fitness anything like the player he was pre-injury then Jimmy Graham is the only other NFL tight end that can compete with him.

A fit and healthy Gronkowski transforms the Patriots passing attack making the New England outfit into legitimate Superbowl contenders. If Gronkowski isn't fit and healthy however and the Patriots will likely have to scrap to make it to the playoffs.

How good is Revis?

Minus the injuries the issue with Darrelle Revis is similar to the issue with Gronkowski. Have the Patriots signing the Revis that dominated at the cornerback position for the New York Jets or have they signed the Revis that was so underwhelming for the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers?

Should Revis be able to establish his “no fly zone” in New England then the Patriots could have a secondary to rival the best in the league. If Revis isn't the player he once was then Aqib Talib could be a massive loss.

Knowing how the Patriots get the most out of their players it seems likely that the defensive scheme will play to Revis's strengths and the former-Jet and Buccaneer player will shine.

Will Lazor make a great Offensive Co-ordinator?

Bill Lazor has studied under some of the NFL's smartest offensive minds like Chip Kelly, Joe Gibbs, Mike Holmgren and Dan Reeves. Can he take what he learnt from those guys and replicate it in Miami though?

Lazor certainly has some challenges ahead of him. He needs to nail down whether Moreno or Miller is going to be the starting running back. He needs to rebuild the Dolphins offense without Mike Pouncey. He needs to get Ryan Tannehill back to throwing passes instead of avoiding blitzing defenders and he needs to work out how to get the most out of expensive wide receiver talent Mike Wallace.

What ever happens with Lazor and Miami it is going to be interesting.

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Buffalo Bills
New York Jets
New England Patriots
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