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AFC East holiday mailbag

Happy Memorial Day to everyone in our AFC East community. I hope you’re having a good time with family and eating good food.

While you’re enjoying the day, let’s take a quick peek in our AFC East mailbag.

Ken from Montreal writes: Can Mario Williams get is head straight and become the great defensive player the Buffalo Bills thought they had?

James Walker: This isn’t Buffalo’s biggest concern, Ken. But it should be on the Bills’ radar. Williams is in the second year of a $100 million contract, and he needs to be more consistently dominant. His final sack numbers (10.5) were solid, but he got most of his sacks in six or seven games last year. In the other games, Williams was a non-factor due to injuries and poor play. The latest lawsuit with his ex-fiancĂ© had some troubling details, but Williams told the Bills that he’s fine.

Andrew from Charlotte, NC, writes: I saw Buffalo move Aaron Williams to safety. Do you think he is a good fit there? He would have to play SS and Byrd will be FS?

Walker: It’s too early to say if it’s a good fit. But it reminds me of what happened to Devin McCourty with the New England Patriots in 2011 and 2012. McCourty played well at corner early but could never duplicate that success afterwards. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick began experimenting with McCourty at safety because he is a good athlete. Williams is similar. He showed flashes at corner early but didn’t seem to make enough strides or stay healthy. The Bills have a big need at safety and Williams has the size and athleticism to give it a try.

Jake from Baltimore writes: Quinton Coples is being moved to OLB. He is too heavy now and needs to lose a few. But aside from that, what kind of success could the Jets expect there?

Walker: Coples was finally getting it late in the year. I worry that a position change will stunt his growth, but an outside rusher is what the team needs. Coples will struggle in pass coverage. It’s not natural for him to guard tight ends and slot receivers. But I expect Jets head coach Rex Ryan to use Coples’ strengths and blitz him more often than not. This is something to keep an eye on in training camp and the preseason.

Douglas Maguire from Honolulu, HI, writes: I am very concerned about the Miami Dolphins left tackle position. Do you think Jonathan Martin has what it takes to play at the level needed for the Dolphins to be serious playoff contenders?

Walker: We examined this last week in our “Show and Prove” post. Martin is part of our 2013 group in the AFC East who really need to step up. I like what I see from Martin so far. He’s done a lot of work in the weight room and has added noticeable bulk in his arms and shoulders. Increasing strength is very important for Martin. But I don’t expect the same level of play the Dolphins had when Jake Long was healthy.

Jason from Vancouver, WA, writes: What do you expect from running back LeGarrette Blount in New England this season?

Walker: Blount will have to fight for his opportunities. He showed potential in Tampa Bay but fell out of favor with the new coaching staff last year. This is a good chance for Blount. Stevan Ridley is the feature back and Shane Vereen is the third-down threat. There doesn't appear to be a big role for Blount unless an injury occurs. I expect the Patriots to use Blount in short-yardage and perhaps the red zone, which could provide some value to fantasy football players out there.