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2015 NFL training camp preview: AFC East belongs to the Patriots until proven otherwise

The Patriots have won the AFC East in six straight seasons and 11 of the last 12 years, and the defending Super Bowl champs have the tools to continue their reign in 2015.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots have finished atop the AFC East in 11 of the last 12 seasons and enter the 2015 season with a streak of six consecutive division titles. So there's really no question which team enters the year as the one to catch in the division, although that reign could be difficult to maintain.

Between the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, there are pass rushers aplenty and they're all targeting a single player more than any other: Tom Brady.

Brady is currently suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season, although that could still change. But for the time being, the Patriots have to prepare for the possibility that Jimmy Garoppolo will be the man leading the way for the defending Super Bowl champions for the beginning of the season.

Even when the Patriots do get Brady back though, there are several teams hunting to dethrone the champions, and that hunt will officially begin at the end of July when the AFC East reports to training camp.

AFC East

New England Patriots

Start Date: July 30

Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.

Player you'll be buzzing about: Trey Flowers -- The rookie defensive end out of Arkansas was very productive in college and should translate well to New England's scheme. How he performs in training camp will determine his playing time as a rookie.

What to watch: Other than this year's token story about Bill Belichick disciplining a player for any number of reasons, all eyes will be on Garoppolo if the DeflateGate suspension isn't yet settled. The Patriots were never going to be a team in need of drastic changes, however, and the important things to watch will be the various backup battles. The Patriots need to settle things lower on the depth chart at linebacker, receiver and defensive end.

Most important position battle: Cornerback -- The Patriots saw some pretty intense turnover at the cornerback position, and they need to settle the entire depth chart there. Logan Ryan, Malcolm Butler, Darryl Roberts, Bradley Fletcher, Jimmy Jean, Derek Cox, Daxton Swanson, Robert McClain, Bradley King and Justin Green are all part of the battle for spots at the position.

For more on the Patriots, check out Pats Pulpit.

Miami Dolphins

Start Date: July 30

Location: Dolphins training facility, Davie, Fla.

Player you'll be buzzing about: RB Jay Ajayi -- this is the easy choice, but Ajayi could wind up being the best Day 3 pick in this year's rookie class, if his knee is healthy.

What to watch: The obvious name here is Ndamukong Suh. The man has the richest contract for any defensive player in the league and he'll need to have an immediate impact. Of course, that's virtually guaranteed, so watching as the Dolphins run competitions at running back, linebacker and defensive tackle should be more interesting in the end.

Most important position battle: Cornerback -- Many will tell you cornerback is the most important defensive position, and the Dolphins need to determine a starter outside and inside. Brent Grimes is locked in, but after him there's Jamar Taylor, Brice McCain, Will Davis and Zack Bowman all vying for playing time and starting spots.

For more on the Dolphins, check out The Phinsider.

Buffalo Bills

Start Date: July 31

Location: St. John Fisher College, Pittsford, N.Y.

Player you'll be buzzing about: LB Ty Powell -- Powell was impressive during OTAs, with four interceptions that drew the attention of his coaches. A special teamer to this point, Powell should get a chance to play on defense.

What to watch: The quarterback battle between Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor will be huge, though the Bills have a lot to settle outside of that. They need to find a starting safety with Jairus Byrd and Da'Norris Searcy departing over the past couple of years. Seeing LeSean McCoy running in a Bills uniform should also be high on the list.

Most important position battle: Quarterback -- This is no big secret, and it would be silly to go with anything else. The Bills need to figure out who their starting quarterback is.

For more on the Bills, check out Buffalo Rumblings.

New York Jets

Start Date: July 31

Location: SUNY at Cortland, Cortland, N.Y.

Player you'll be buzzing about: S Calvin Pryor -- The Jets retooled their entire secondary, with Pryor being the only real starter remaining from last year. He moved around a lot then, and a renewed focus on one position should elevate his play beyond his solid rookie season.

What to watch: Like any team with a new head coach, the Jets are confident that they became a better team this offseason. They certainly have a talented team and seeing how Todd Bowles handles that team in training camp will be something to keep an eye on, but mostly you should watch the quarterbacks. The Jets insist Geno Smith is their starter and there's no battle, but if Smith plays exceedingly poorly, things could get interesting.

Most important position battle: Running back -- Since the Jets insist there's no battle at quarterback, we'll go with the running back position. Chris Ivory, Stevan Ridley, Zac Stacy and Daryl Richardson are all vying for carries.

For more on the Jets, check out Gang Green Nation.

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