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Top Developments in the AFC East

Ethan NemkovichContributor IIAugust 6, 2011

Top Developments in the AFC East

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    The AFC East is perennially one of the toughest divisions to win in football.

    The renewal of the Jets-Patriots rivalry is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the bad blood that is boiling between these competitive rivals.

    This offseason some new blood and big name acquisitions have been thrown into the mix with the likes of Plaxico Burress, Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco and Reggie Bush, just to name a few.  

    Let's analyze which moves during the offseason are the ones that will put the teams in this division over the edge. 

Honorable Mention: Rex Ryan's New Tat'

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    Maybe it's because Rex Ryan was looking to fill a void left by the departure of Braylon Edwards. The explanation behind the tattoo is that it mean's "Believe in yourself."  

    Sexy Rexy definitely has no problem doing just that, as has been well documented through his first couple of seasons with the New York Jets.

    What's next? Will Bill Belichick get a Mike Tyson facial tattoo a la Stu in the Hangover? As a side note, this honorable mention just so happened to barely beat out Mark Sanchez dating Hayden Panettiere by a foot.

Buffalo Bills Add Marcel Dareus

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    While this move may not bring an AFC East title to the Bills' doorstep in the immediate future, it does make their defense very formidable.  

    Factor in the acquisition of Nick Barnett and the return of the always potentially dangerous Shawne Merriman, and the defensive side of the ball is vastly improved in Buffalo.  

    Dareus is listed at 6'3", 343 lbs., and he should do a nice job plugging up the middle. He will aptly fill the very large void that the Bills have been searching to fill since the departure of Ted Washington.  

Jason Taylor Is BACK...in Miami

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    I wonder if the Dolphins can talk Zach Thomas into coming out of retirement?  

    Jason Taylor brings his 132.5 sacks back to where it all started in Miami. Tom Brady and Matt Light just can't seem to get rid of this guy, as he has caused them many nightmares over the years.

    It's a smart move on the Dolphins' part, as it improves their pass rush while giving the quality veteran leadership.  

Patriots Land Albert Haynesworth

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    Make room for Big Al.  

    The good news is he passed his conditioning test. The better news for Patriots fans this year is that early on in training camp Bill Belichick is showing a lot of 4-3 fronts. This means Haynesworth and big Vince Wilfork will be side by side.

    I like this move for two reasons. 1) Even if he isn't the one to get the quarterback, he causes a lot disruption that will lead to pocket pressure. 2) The Patriots had a tough time stopping big backs last year like Peyton Hillis and the Packers John Kuhn.  

    You'd have a tough time getting a Mack truck through Haynesworth and Wilfork. 

The Dolphins Sign Reggie Bush

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    Don't let the ex-Kardashian fool you, this guy is a difference maker.  

    The Saints were a very stagnant team in his absence last year. If anyone knows how to take an under performing Saints running back who had not met his collegiate expectations (see Ricky Williams) and turn him into a superstar, it's the Dolphins.  

    He has always wanted to be the featured back, as he was in his days with the lackluster Matt Lienart and LenDale White at USC. Here in South Beach he will get his chance.  

    He can run and catch the ball with play breaking ability and will be the face of the new version Wildcat offense. But most of all, he will greatly benefit from...

The Dolphins Offensive Line

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    The way to a great football team is through their offensive line. Just look at the players the Patriots have churned out through the years: Stephen Neal, Matt Light, Joe Andruzzi, Logan Mankins etc...

    Even with the return of Light and Mankins, the most impressive line in the AFC East may belong to the Miami Dolphins. They added first-round draft pick Michael Pouncey out of Florida to a cast whose credits include newly acquired T Marc Colombo of the Dallas Cowboys, T Jake Long, G Joey Incognito and G Vernon Carey.

     It is a huge and talented line.

    If Pouncey performs at the level his brother played at with the Steelers last year, Chad Henne & Co. should have a field day in South Beach..  

Plaxico Burress Is Back!

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    It pains me to say this, but I love Plax.  

    Before his legal issues got the best of him, he was having a career year with 12 TD receptions in 2007. I think he won't miss a beat, much like the formerly incarcerated Michael Vick.  

    At 6' 5", 232 lbs., he is a force to be reckoned with on the outside and will quite ably fill the shoes of the departed Braylon Edwards.  

    This should prove to be a great acquisition for the Jets, assuming that he can stay out of trouble and doesn't shoot himself in the foot...  

They Call Him Ochocinco

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    Make no mistake about it, Chad Ochocinco is loving life right now. And once the season starts, I'm sure that Patriots fans and players will be as well.

    Ochocinco is fitting in nicely with the Patriots early on in camp, and he seems to have a good chemistry with Tom Brady. In five receiver sets with Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Danny Woodhead and Aaron Hernandez, defensive coordinators around the league are going to lose sleep figuring out how to cover these guys.  

    Unlike Randy Moss before him, Ochocinco is a great route runner with excellent foot work, and he has all the makings of being a great Patriots receiver.

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