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Tim Graham's Mailbag: Bills Redux

Everything you need to know about Buffalo from ESPN blogger TIm Graham: -Nick, a Dolfan based in Montreal, wants to know which is least likely to occur: The New England Patriots miss the playoffs, or the Buffalo Bills make the playoffs. I've gone on record with predictions -- as everything looks on paper in June; whatever that's worth -- that the Patriots will go to the playoffs and the Bills will finish last in the AFC East. But I think there's a greater possibility the Dolphins edge past the Patriots again than the Bills rebound from a 0-6 divisional record to make the playoffs with five jumbled offensive line positions. Can the Bills make the playoffs? Sure. I covered the 1-15 Dolphins. I've seen stranger things. But the last time I checked, Buffalo didn't hire Bill Parcells or make any corrections to their infrastructure. It's the same team plus Terrell Owens, a decent center, a backup running back and some rookies -- but minus a Pro Bowl left tackle. That doesn't add up for me. -Jesse from Facebook asks what kind of action Bills running back Dominic Rhodes will get once Marshawn Lynch returns from his suspension. I'm eager to see how the Bills plan on using all three backs. Unless NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reduces the suspension on appeal, Lynch will miss the first three games of the season because of repeated bad behavior. The Bills, however, said they intended to add a veteran back all along. So that suggests they have plans to use three somehow, whereas Xavier Omon's six carries were the only ones by a running back other than Lynch or Fred Jackson. They brought in Fred Taylor, Kevin Jones and DeShaun Foster before signing Rhodes. The Bills clearly weren't looking for depth alone. Based on those names, they wanted production. Lynch averaged 15.6 carries and 2.9 receptions a game last year. Jackson averaged 8.1 carries and 2.3 catches. If all of them are active on Sunday, then Rhodes might get only two or three attempts and a couple passes thrown his way. -Shane in East Bay, Calif., contends the Bills have top-five running backs, top-five receiving corps and an improved offensive line. He can't understand why the so-called experts "are sleeping on the Bills' offense." The Bills have impressive depth at the skill positions, but let's not get kooky. They added Rhodes to a backfield that ranked 14th in rushing last year, and they traded away their best run blocker: Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters. I do agree the Owens signing gives them a dangerous receiving crew, but will Trent Edwards be able to distribute the ball? I think he can if his blockers withstand, but that O-line has more question marks than Matthew Lesko's suit, and Edwards has a poor track record when it comes to injuries. So I don't think observers are sleeping on the Bills' offense. We're waiting to be shown something. -Brandon from San Diego would like me to list my "fantasy studs, duds and sleepers" from the AFC East. Bills Studs: Lee Evans, Marshawn Lynch -Ryan in Howell, N.J., asks who I think has the AFC East's best secondary and how I would rate all of the starting cornerbacks. Darrelle Revis Will Allen Leigh Bodden Terrence McGee Lito Sheppard Leodis McKelvin Shawn Springs Eric Green -James in Rochester, N.Y., inquires about Buffalo's possible interest in Michael Vick and asks if Tim Tebow will be considered more valuable to NFL teams because of the Wildcat. A Bills source told me in May they were not remotely interested in Vick. The team's opinion might have changed since then, but I highly doubt it. As for Tebow, the Wildcat phenomenon might be the best thing that ever happened to him. Football draftniks have wondered for a couple years if Tebow could play in the NFL, but quarterback versatility is prized appreciably more than it was when he won the Heisman Trophy. Many see his future at H-back, but he'll have a better shot at quarterback because of the Wildcat.

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