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AFC East Roundup: Preseason Week 1

Some early takeaways from the first week of preseason

Week 1 of the NFL preseason has come and gone, giving us a first on-field glance at the teams in the AFC East. Since it was just the start of preseason, the majority of starters around the league didn’t play. As such, our takeaways come with a grain of salt, and a lot of focus on teams’ rosters as a whole.

For the Buffalo Bills, their game against the Indianapolis Colts provided a look at their pair of rookie cornerbacks against unfamiliar competition. Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford faced the Colts’ starting receiving core for the entire first quarter and a drive to start the second quarter. They played fantastic, each coming up with big stops by breaking up passes and never allowing the Colts’ passing game to get going early on. This was a great sign for the defense with Tre’Davious White still rehabbing his torn ACL. Something else worthy of mention is that rookie punter Matt Araiza hit a bomb of a punt with a net of 62 yards and provided solid holds for kicker Tyler Bass, including the game winner as time expired.

The talk of the offseason for the New England Patriots has been who the play caller would be for Mac Jones after the team lost Josh McDaniels. Those hoping for an answer going into their Week 1 game were still left looking. Mac Jones did not play and while Brian Hoyer was in the game, Matt Patricia was calling the plays. However, when Bailey Zappe was in the game, Joe Judge was calling the shots—further adding confusion. A bright spot for the team was receiver Kristian Wilkerson who had a solid game with eight catches for 99 yards.

A starting quarterback who did play in the first preseason game was Zach Wilson of the New York Jets. The results: Fans were left holding their breath after Wilson left the game with a knee injury. On the bright side, the MRI revealed that nothing was torn and that Wilson would be out for two to four weeks, which leaves Week 1 of the regular season in the hands of Joe Flacco if Wilson can’t suit up. The last thing anyone wants to see in the preseason are injuries to star players. Luckily the Jets were able to avoid a serious blow as their rebuild continues.

Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniels got his coaching career off with a preseason victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A lot of the starters for the Dolphins didn’t play, so we’ll have to wait for the debut of Tyreek Hill in a Dolphins uniform. There wasn’t a whole lot of flash to this game but something fans can take away is that All-Pro kicker Jason Sanders is already in regular-season form. Sanders connected on all four of his kicks including a 54-yarder.