BY NICK ST. DENIS
With Fred Jackson signing an extension with the Bills, the Patriots signing Joseph Addai and the Jets and Dolphins acquiring running backs midway through the draft, each team in the AFC East has it's own bit of drama in the backfield.
Bills: While Jackson put together a stellar first half of the 2011 season, second-year tailback C.J. Spiller gained at least 100 total yards in four of the last five games with three rushing touchdowns and two receiving scores in that span. If Jackson wasn't extended, Spiller would've likely gotten every opportunity this offseason to earn the No. 1 tailback job. Now, it's more or less Jackson's job to lose, as he seems to have strong support from literally everyone in Buffalo -- from the front office and coaches to the players and fans.
Jets: Running back Shonn Greene is entering a make-or-break year, because despite his better-than-avearage performances during the Jets' 2009 and 2010 postseason runs, he's been pedestrian in the regular season. LaDainian Tomlinson won't be back, so the Jets' backfield consisted of Greene, now third-year back Joe McKnight and now second-year back Bilal Powell before the draft. New York, however, added a bruising running back out of Baylor in Terrance Ganaway via the draft. Since the Jets lack anything close to a spectacular running back on their roster, Ganaway should have a shot at earning a gig on the Jets' gameday roster.
Patriots: The Patriots parted ways with BenJarvus Green-Ellis this offseason. Green-Ellis rushed for 24 touchdowns over the last two years and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in 2010. New England, however, opted to let him browse free agency, and he wound up signing with the Bengals. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, who were both drafted last season, are expected to see increased roles in New England's backfield, along with third-down back Danny Woodhead. But now with Addai, the Patriots' backfield could look a few different ways come the start of the season.
Follow Nick @NickStDenis
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily