Words with Frenz AFC East Mailbag, August 17 Edition

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Words with Frenz AFC East Mailbag, August 17 Edition

The AFC East is loaded to the teeth with storylines. How do I know this? By the time I had begun soliciting questions for the mailbag, a few of them had already been answered.

That will happen when morning speculation over the destination of running back Jeff Demps turns into breaking news just hours later.

No matter. Let's get to the questions that are actually worth answering.

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Good point, Chad, but I don't think Philbin's precedent was "get in trouble and get cut from the team." 

As I noted when it first went down, there were a few reasons for cutting Chad Johnson. He wasn't learning the playbook. He was representing the organization in a bad way. He wasn't fitting with the tenor of the team. That is the standard Philbin set by cutting Johnson—get on board and produce on the field, or your crap nonsense won't be tolerated.

Johnson headbutting his wife gave Philbin a definite event which he could point to as the proverbial straw that broke the Dolphins' back.

Well, Arjuna, up until this morning I might have had no clue.

But at this point, the Patriots should at least give Demps a shot there. 

Who knows if it will actually be successful, but with world-class speed on the field, it only makes sense. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though, as Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe reminds us that the Patriots' track record with track stars is not worthy of a medal. Besides, Demps has yet to even suit up, so let's not pencil him in as their starting kick returner just yet.

Pro Football Reference.
They've given a lot of different people a shot back there: Donte' Stallworth, Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead and even Aaron Hernandez have taken reps at kick returner. So clearly, they don't have an answer back there yet.

I see where you're going with that, Nick, but I'm not so ready to say that's the case.

While handling Jared Allen would be a huge accomplishment (at least in the preseason sense of the words "huge accomplishment"), it's important to remember that minute-to-minute evaluations can be dangerous this time of year. Training camp and the preseason are four weeks long for a reason; teams should be evaluating players based on the whole body of work, not just one performance.

But if Cordy Glenn keeps Allen from getting blind-side pressure, that should at least instill confidence in his ability to contend with top-end talent, and would further validate the Bills for taking him in the second round (not that many doubted them, anyway).

Got room for one more.

Thanks, man. Also, major thanks for avoiding two-part tweets. Huge pet peeve of mine, especially for mailbags.

Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Right now, wide receivers Jeremy Ebert and Jesse Holley are the odd men out at wide receiver. The final roster spot seems to be coming down to Donte' Stallworth and Deion Branch.

We've heard Bill Belichick talk about how much he likes Stallworth's growth as a person, and recently he talked about Stallworth's solid camp and the speed he brings to the field, but the keys for those third, fourth and fifth wide receivers will be reliability in key situations. That is a trait which Branch has exhibited time and time again, and Tom Brady has the trust to throw to him in those situations, too.

If the season began today, Branch would make more sense on the roster, but the Patriots are trying to give Stallworth every opportunity to make the roster by giving him chances returning kicks. With the addition of running back Jeff Demps, though, that could put Stallworth's spot in jeopardy.

He would be a good fit for the Jets as yet another speedy receiver, one who has a bit more polish to his game than some of the Jets' other receivers. His presence on the outside would provide a solid veteran complement to the similar skill set but larger frame of rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill.

Stallworth would be an interesting fit for offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who loves possession receivers who can catch short passes. But again, that's all if he ends up being cut from the Patriots.

Thanks for the questions, gang! Any more questions can be directed to my Twitter.

Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates.

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