Bills need LeSean McCoy running on all cylinders Training camp preview: The AFC East
During his first season in Buffalo, running back LeSean McCoy wasn’t right physically. He just didn’t have the same explosiveness he had with the Philadelphia Eagles.
McCoy was more productive last season. There just aren’t many NFL runners who possess McCoy’s combination of vision, cutback ability and speed through the hole.
The challenge for the Bills is to maximize McCoy’s potential in helping them return to the postseason for the first time since after the 1999 season. That’s a 17-year playoff drought — the league’s longest current streak.
We look at the AFC East heading into training camp, in order of predicted finish:
New England Patriots
Training camp location: Foxborough, Massachusetts
Report dates: Rookies, July 24; veterans, July 26
Look out for this guy: Trading for wide receiver Brandin Cooks was a big part of New England’s sensational offseason. The Super Bowl champions moved to bolster the roster on both sides of the ball, and Cooks should make a huge impact on offense. The speedy wideout adds a long-missing element to New England’s passing game.
Camp watch: Defensive lineman Trey Flowers had a great Super Bowl, recording 2½ sacks. Entering his third year, Flowers hopes to build on his postseason. He possesses the potential to become a consistent pass-rushing force.
Training camp location: Davie, Florida
Report dates: Rookies, July 20; veterans, July 26
Look out for this guy: As a leader on the Miami Dolphins’ defense and in the community, safety Michael Thomas has been impressive on and off the field. Thomas, who’s committed to helping those less fortunate than him, is among the players who have improved the culture of Miami’s locker room. He’s also coming off his best overall season.
Camp watch: Former defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, who’s now head coach of the Denver Broncos, was only with Miami for the 2016 season. But Dolphins players responded to Joseph’s leadership, helping the team qualify for the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons. Will the group succeed without Joseph?
Training camp location: Pittsford, New York
Report dates: Rookies and veterans, July 26
Look out for this guy: Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is only beginning his third season as a starter. He has shown more than enough to retain the Buffalo Bills’ No. 1 job, despite dealing with coaching changes. The Bills, however, haven’t made a long-term commitment to Taylor.
Camp watch: Taylor will be under the microscope now more than ever. With a new regime in place, he’ll have to prove himself to another coaching staff. If Taylor starts slowly and struggles in camp, his grip on the position could loosen entering the season.
New York Jets
Training camp location: Florham Park, New Jersey
Report dates: Rookies and veterans, July 28.
Look out for, well … There’s only one way to describe the New York Jets: A hot mess. Their roster appears to be downright awful. On the positive side for Jets fans, the team seems well-positioned to compete for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft. Of course, that’s not necessarily good news for head coach Todd Bowles.
Camp watch: What’s the worst position group on the Jets? Although there are many options from which to choose, quarterback is a safe pick. Josh McCown? Christian Hackenberg? Seriously? But Colin Kaepernick isn’t good enough to have a job. Right.
NEXT: AFC North