Tag Archives: New York Jets

2017 AFC East Draft Grades


New England Patriots

First-Round Pick: (N/A)

Best Pick: (N/A)

Grade: D

It was very difficult to give the New England Patriots a quality grade for the 2017 National Football League Draft due to the fact that they were not that active. The Patriots only had four selections in the draft as the result of trades or punishment by the NFL. The Patriots upgrades to their team came via trades and free agency as they acquired wide receiver Brandin Cooks from the New Orleans Saints and tight end Dwayne Allen from the Indianapolis Colts, while also signing former Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

But of the Patriots four draft picks in 2017 which includes Youngstown State Penguins outside linebacker Derek Rivers and Troy Trojans offensive tackle Antonio Garcia who were each selected in the third round, they will be developmental players. And before you know it they could become key cogs in the wheel of the Patriots machinery.

Miami Dolphins

First-Round Pick: Charles Harris-Defensive End-Missouri

Best Pick: Charles Harris

Grade: B

After the Miami Dolphins were able to break through last season for their first playoff appearance since 2008, the last thing that they want to do is to take a step backwards. And the best way for the Dolphins to keep building was for them to have a solid draft.

The Dolphins already have a solid pass rush, but if they are going to be able to give the Patriots a real run for their money in the AFC East, then they will need to stock pile as many quality pass rushers as possible. And with several quality pass rusher available in the first round of the 2017 National Football League Draft, the Fins zeroed in on Missouri Tigers defensive end Charles Harris.

Charles Harris

Five of Miami’s first six selections in the draft came on the defensive side of the football which included taking Ohio State Buckeyes inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan in the second round and Clemson Tigers cornerback Cordrea Tankersley in the third round.

The only way to get past the Patriots is to slow them down, and the Dolphins are hopeful that they’ve plugged up all of their holes on defense in order to do so.

Buffalo Bills

First-Round Pick: Tre’Davious White-Cornerback-LSU

Best Pick: Round Five-Nathan Peterman-Quarterback-Pittsburgh

Grade: C-

Tre’Davious White

The 2017 National Football League Draft turned out to be a train wreck for the Buffalo Bills in more ways than one. The Bills traded down from the tenth overall selection to the 27th as they made a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bills would then select LSU Tigers cornerback Tre’Davious White to offset the loss of cornerback Stephon Gilmore who signed as a free agent with the Patriots. And aside from trading down, the Bills failed to find themselves an impact player in the draft which is bad news for a franchise that needs one since they have failed to make the postseason since 1999.

But things got wacky this past Sunday when general manager Doug Whaley and his entire scouting team were fired. Now this draft class doesn’t have a leg to stand on which gives you an idea as to why the Bills have the longest current playoff drought in the National Football League.

New York Jets

First-Round Pick: Jamal Adams-Safety-LSU

Best Pick: Jamal Adams

Grade: B-

The New York Jets entered the 2017 National Football League Draft with several needs to fill on both sides of the football, but credit to general manager Mike Maccagnan for sticking to his guns and not overreaching at any point during the draft.

After coming off of a 5-11 season, along with possessing the sixth overall pick in the draft, it would have been really easy for the Jets to get caught up in the moment and select a quarterback. However Maccagnan stuck to his draft board and selected LSU Tigers safety Jamal Adams.

Adams fell slightly in the draft once the Chicago Bears decided to draft quarterback Mitch Trubisky, but he fills a need in the Jets secondary as they could be ready to move on from safety Calvin Pryor.

The Jets continued to find athletes from the Southeastern Conference as they took Florida Gators safety Marcus Maye in the second round and Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver ArDarius Stewart in the third which helps this organization being that they need more depth.

This draft class may not produce superstars for the Jets, but they might be able to get some quality role players out of it.


Starting Over Once Again


Just prior to the start of a new calendar year in the National Football League, the New York Jets find themselves in a very familiar position which is that of starting over. After the Jets went 10-6 in 2015 which was their first season under the regime of general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles, the level of optimism increased for 2016. But those hopes were quickly dashed when the Jets began the season with a record of 1-5 and things never got any better. New York would limp to the finish line with a record of 5-11 which marked their second losing season in the last three years. But credit goes to Maccagnan and Bowles for not attempting to patch up the Jets issues with spit and glue.

Recently the Jets released three veteran players in center Nick Mangold, cornerback Darrelle Revis, and wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The moves will save the Jets roughly $46 million in cap space, while putting them $33 million under the cap line heading into a new year.

Nick Mangold

Mangold has spent his entire 11-year National Football League career with the Jets which included him being a seven-time Pro Bowl selection. But at the age of 33, along with injuries beginning to catch up with Mangold, Maccagnan made the decision that it was time to move on. In 2015, the Jets acquired Marshall from the Bears and he became an instant sensation. In Marshall’s first year with the Jets, he set single-season franchise records for receptions (109), and receiving yards (1,502), while tying the mark of 14 receiving touchdowns. But injuries and drops marred Marshall last year as he only managed to tally 59 receptions for 788 yards and 3 touchdowns. Revis is arguably one of the best players in Jets franchise history. And it appeared that Revis would be a lifer with Gang Green until he was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013. After winning a Super Bowl Championship with the New England Patriots in 2014, Revis returned to the Jets in 2015. However in 2016, Revis was showing signs of declining skills. It didn’t help Revis that he was recently arrested in Pittsburgh and charged with four felonies for his alleged involvement in a street fight as I am sure that this wasn’t the way in which he wanted to see his Jets career finish. These moves by the Jets are a clear indication that they are starting over, but Maccagnan still has plenty of work ahead of him.

Last season Marshall had an ongoing feud with defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson. Marshall considered himself to be a “team leader”, but Richardson wasn’t a fan of his. Richardson has been a distraction for the Jets in his own right following his 2015 arrest which ultimately led to him being found guilty last year for reckless driving and resisting arrest. Richardson was also disciplined last season by the Jets for his Snapchat video in the team’s locker room, while also being suspended by the National Football League for one game after his conviction.

The Jets had a chance to move on from Richardson last season when they put him on the trade block. However the Dallas Cowboys were the only team that showed interest in him and since they were only willing to part with a third-round pick, Maccagnan decided against the trade. But as the Jets have parted way with key veterans, a malcontent such as Richardson needs to be shown the door as well.

Mike Maccagnan

The Jets are no closer to being a contender now than the day when Maccagnan was introduced in Florham Park as the team’s new general manager. The Jets only have two quarterbacks on their roster with Bryce Petty having four starts under his belt in the National Football League, while Christian Hackenburg has yet to see any action. In releasing Mangold and offensive tackle Breno Giacomini, along with the retirement of D’Brickashaw Ferguson last year, New York doesn’t have any quality experience on their offensive line. And with Jets owner Woody Johnson being named as the United States ambassador to Britain, all of this points to the Jets “starting over” once again as it has an eerie feeling for anyone who has followed this franchise over the years.

Ever since the Jets shocked the world and defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl 3, they have occasionally showed signs of hope, only to be turned away at the gate of success. After the Jets made the AFC Championship Game during the 1982 National Football League season, they took a huge step backwards in 1983 to finish 7-9. In actuality the Jets have appeared in the AFC Championship Game four times, including most recently in 2009 and 2010, but they always fell short.

Now Maccagnan has waved the white flag for a team and to a fan base that has to live with “the fake spike”, “the butt fumble”, and the fact that Bill Belichick was the Jets head coach for a day, before resigning to become the head coach of the New England Patriots which has led to him winning five Super Bowl Championships mainly at the expense of Gang Green, New York will once again have to sell their backers on starting over. But as the Jets appear to be starting over will Bowles be able to survive?

As of right now it appears that the Jets will more than likely be fighting an uphill battle this season, and as Bowles heads into his third season, he has yet to get New York to the playoffs which is never a good thing regardless if he is in the midst of a rebuilding process or not.

Todd Bowles

Bowles and Maccagnan are good guys who have walked into a impossible situation which to turn the fortunes of the Jets around. The Jets are a franchise that is still waiting for the next Joe Namath, and that guy doesn’t exist. And with the upcoming National Football League Draft not littered with franchise quarterbacks, while veteran quarterbacks who could be available such as Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo or Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears are not the long-term fix that the Jets need, this franchise is stuck on Groundhog Day minus Bill Murray.

The Ides of March have yet to arrive, but the 2017 National Football League season already appears to be a wash for the New York Jets.


Playing His Way Out Of Town


There is no way to discredit the athletic ability that New York Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson brings to the table. The Jets chose Richardson 13th overall during the 2013 National Football League Draft and it would not take him that long to show that he was the real deal. In 2013, Richardson had 42 tackles and 3.5 sacks as he was named as the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. Richardson was a one-man gang as he was flying all over the field displaying a very rare form of talent which featured speed, strength, and agility from the defensive tackle position. Richardson would continue to make a name for himself around the NFL which saw him make the Pro Bowl in 2014. And along with defensive ends Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson, Richardson is a part of one of the best defensive lines in football that hearkens Jets fans back to the days of “The New York Sack Exchange”. But as good as Richardson can be, he can be equally as troubling.

In July 2015, Richardson was arrested in St. Charles County, Missouri after he was driving at speeds of up to 140 miles per hour. And to make matters worse, Richardson had a 12-year old child in the vehicle at the time. This past January, Richardson was found guilty of reckless driving and resisting arrest which resulted in him being fined $1,050, while also receiving two years of probation, and 100 hours of community service. Richardson would also miss the first four games of the 2015 National Football League season as the result of a failed drug test, while he was also made to sit out the first game of this season as the result of his conviction in Missouri. This past spring saw the Jets pick up Richardson’s contract for 2017, but it isn’t looking promising as far as him being with Gang Green for next season.

Richardson was benched for the first quarter of the Jets 27-23 to the Miami Dolphins in Week 9 by head coach Todd Bowles for missing a team meeting during the week. And Richardson has continued to pile on himself as before the Jets 34-13 home loss this past Saturday night, Richardson made a short Snapchat video that contained several expletives.

Todd Bowles

Bowles spoke to Richardson on the matter and decided to keep the discipline of his star defensive tackle “in-house”. But when Richardson was questioned by reporters on the matter, he wasn’t apologetic over the matter as he merely seemed to be upset that the video got out. Since Richardson’s less than stellar video debut, reports have come out that the Jets attempted to trade him earlier this season with only the Dallas Cowboys seeming interested. But now more than ever it is time for the Jets to move on from Richardson as the headaches that he causes far outweigh his play on Sunday afternoons.

Richardson only has one year left on his deal and if the Jets are willing to accept the fact that they might not receive a high draft pick in return for him, they could be in the market to ship him out of town, but to whom?

The Cowboys already passed on Richardson, but who is to say that they would not take a flyer on him for 2017? Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has long been known as a man that will turn a blind eye to a player’s off-the-field discrepancies in favor of winning games. And as Jones’ team is a Super Bowl contender this year, he might be more than willing to beef up the Cowboys defensive line.

There are other teams around the National Football League such as the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, and Baltimore Ravens that could use the services of a talented player such as Richardson on their respective defensive lines. But with Richardson it’s more about what he brings to a locker room as he needs to be on a team that has a very strong leadership presence within their facility.

The Jets currently don’t have that kind of presence in their locker room, and as Bowles publicly appears to be a laid-back head coach, Richardson illustrates the actions of a man who doesn’t understand how privileged that he is to play in the National Football League being that he needs to good old-fashioned tough love.

Someone will take a shot on Richardson this off-season as I do not see any scenario in which he takes the field for the Jets next season. But if Bowles and/or Jets general manager Mike Macaggnan decide to have Richardson remain in Florham Park, New Jersey next season, they could be running the risk of having dynamite with a short fuse as you never know what you’re going to get from the enigmatic defensive tackle. And if the Jets are attempting to change their locker room culture, it starts with giving Richardson a one-way ticket out of town on the first thing smoking.


2016 Week 16 NFL Picks


The New England Patriots can see the finish line in regards to getting home-field advantage in the playoffs.


Starting Over, Again!!!!


For anyone that follows the New York Jets knows that this is a team that can toy with a fan’s emotions. After winning the Super Bowl in January 1969 as a member of the American Football League, the Jets have never been able to get back to the big game as they’ve been an organization that has lacked consistency. Recent history has seen that trend continue for the Jets as they began the 2015 National Football League season with a record of 10-5 and they only needed to defeat the Buffalo Bills in Week 17 to advance to the playoffs. But the Jets would lose to the Bills as the game was marred by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing 5 interceptions as New York was so close, yet so far from the postseason.

Heading into the 2016 National Football League season the Jets were looking to build off of their close call from 2015, but that has not been the case. The Jets lost their season opener to the Cincinnati Bengals 23-22 in a game that was mired by their miscues. Overall the Jets began this season with a record of 1-5 which included Fitzpatrick throwing 6 interceptions in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Right now the Jets are 3-8 and although that they are an extreme long shot to make the playoffs this season, they haven’t decided to waive the white flag yet which is rather alarming.

For some absurd reason Jets head coach Todd Bowles is sticking with Fitzpatrick as the team’s starting quarterback. The Jets signed Fitzpatrick in 2015 and he would go on to have the best season of his National Football League career as he passed for 3,905 yards, while he threw 31 touchdown passes. After the season Fitzpatrick would become a free agent as he was seeking a big payday. But the Jets nor any other team was interested in giving Fitzpatrick a long-term deal and just prior to the start of training camp, he and New York agreed on a one-year deal for $12 million.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

However the magic that Fitzpatrick had displayed in 2015 is gone as he has thrown 13 interceptions in nine starts compared to throwing 15 last season. Fitzpatrick was benched against the Arizona Cardinals, but he would return to being the Jets starting quarterback when his replacement Geno Smith was lost for the season with an ACL injury. Fitzpatrick himself would suffer a knee injury during the Jets loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 9 and he would miss the Jets next game. In Fitzpatrick’s absence, Bowles used quarterback Bryce Petty the following week against the Los Angeles Rams, but he quickly decided to go back to Fitzpatrick.

The Jets aren’t going anywhere with Fitzpatrick under center this year or any other season. And the time is now for Bowles to give a serious look at Petty, or rookie quarterback Christian Hackenburg who was the Jets second-round pick this past April.

Fitzpatrick was quick to voice his displeasure when the Jets benched him earlier this season in favor of Smith. I understand that Fitzpatrick is a competitor, but he hasn’t done anything during his 12-year National Football League career to warrant him being a franchise quarterback as he is a journeyman which is evident by the six different teams that he has played for. The Jets don’t owe Fitzpatrick anything in regards to coddling his ego, and once their season end’s on New Year’s Day against the Bills, both parties will go their separate ways as he’ll be the latest quarterback that has fallen into the abyss while playing for Gang Green.

Bryce Petty

Petty was selected by the Jets in the fourth round in 2015 and he didn’t see the field as a rookie. In Petty’s one start he was 19-of-32 passing for 163 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception as the Jets lost to the Rams 9-6. Petty was able to display some potential, but Bowles decided to stunt his growth. Petty isn’t going to get any better on the sideline with a clipboard in his hand, and he cannot do any worse than Fitzpatrick has already done. The same can be said for Hackenburg as it’s time for the Jets to take the kid gloves off of their young quarterbacks and see what they can do.

The Jets struck fool’s gold last year with Fitzpatrick and they cannot afford to have him lose anymore games for them as they have one of the best defensive lines in football that includes the likes of Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams, and Muhammad Wilkerson. Darrelle Revis’ days as a starting cornerback in the National Football League appear to be numbered, and if the Jets don’t decide to move him to safety in 2017, his time with the team could be coming to an end as well.

Mike Maccagnan, Todd Bowles

With the exception of a road game against the San Francisco 49ers who are 1-10 in Week 14, the Jets don’t have too many winnable games left on their schedule as they are facing the possibility of selecting in the the top five of the National Football League Draft for the first time since 2006 when they selected offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson fourth overall. Under Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan, the Jets will need to have a solid draft and off-season overall as this team that has not made the postseason on their watch which should give them ample motivation to begin planning towards the future now. But unfortunately for the Jets fan base, Bowles is sticking with guys like Fitzpatrick who’ll see their time with the team come to an end in about a month.


2016 Week 9 NFL Picks


After starring for the Ohio State Buckeyes, running back Ezekiel makes his return to the State of Ohio, but now he is shining for the Dallas Cowboys?


The Honeymoon Is Over


When quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick joined the New York Jets in 2015, he was the best thing since sliced bread. Fitzpatrick was expected to compete with Geno Smith to become the Jets starting quarterback, but when Smith suffered a broken jaw in the off-season due to an altercation with former teammate Ik Enemkpali, it opened the door for Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick would have his best year in the National Football League as he threw 31 touchdown passes and fell 95 yards shy of being just the second player in Jets franchise history to pass for 4,000 yards in a season. The Jets would enter their final game of the season needing to beat the Buffalo Bills in order to secure a playoff berth, however they would lose the contest 22-17 as their playoff hopes vanished. And a big reason for the loss was Fitzpatrick who was intercepted 5 times by the Bills.

This past off-season would see Fitzpatrick become a free agent and he was looking to cash in off of his 2015 campaign. But whereas that Fitzpatrick was seeking a lucrative long-term deal, the Jets didn’t see him in that fashion as both sides played the waiting game. It wasn’t until late July that Fitzpatrick and the Jets agreed on a one-year deal that is worth $12 million. And although that Fitzpatrick has been compensated handsomely by the Jets, he hasn’t endeared himself to the team’s fan base here in 2016.

Through four games the Jets are 1-3 with Fitzpatrick being a big reason for that. Fitzpatrick has already thrown 10 interceptions compared to 15 for all of last season. In the Jets Week 3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Fitzpatrick was picked off 6 times, while he threw 3 more this past Sunday in New York’s 27-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. And once you factor in the 2015 season finale against the Bills, Fitzpatrick has now thrown 15 interceptions in his last five games as New York is 1-4 in those contests.

The best way to describe Fitzpatrick is that he is a journeyman. In 12 National Football League seasons, Fitzpatrick has suited up for six different teams, and he has never appeared in a postseason game. Fitzpatrick’s career record is 44-64-1 as he is solid backup quarterback as opposed to being a starter.

What made Fitzpatrick so good for the Jets last year was the fact that he trusted the talent around him and he didn’t attempt to take the game over by himself. The Jets were able to run the football effectively, while Fitzpatrick also made it his business to get the football to wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. But this time around Fitzpatrick has been forcing the football more which has led to the interceptions. Fitzpatrick has not been running as much this year, while the Jets are not properly using running back Matt Fotre either.

The Jets signed Forte during the off-season and after he had 196 yards on his first two games with Gang Green, he only has 92 in the last two contests. And whenever a team has a struggling quarterback on their hands, it is imperative that they find a way to run the football.

Things could go from bad to worse for the Jets as four of their next five games are on the road, including this Sunday’s meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers. And as teams will be pinning their ears back defensively in order to come after Fitzpatrick, if he doesn’t improve his play, it will be prudent for the Jets to give someone else a chance to be their starting quarterback.

Smith is set to become a free agent after this season and the Jets should give him one more shot before they make their final decision on him. Quarterback Bryce Petty was a fourth-round pick of the Jets in 2013, but he has yet to see the field for them in the regular season, while Christian Hackenburg was New York’s second-round selection this past April as he could be the future at starting quarterback for this organization.

Whereas Fitzpatrick was giving the Jets an opportunity to win nearly every time that he took the field last year, his play has really hamstrung them here in 2016 as “Fitzmagic” appears to be a thing of the past.

Source: Pro-football-reference.com


2016 AFC East Projections


X-New England Patriots 12-4

There are two opinions on the New England Patriots as they are an organization that you either love or hate. Since 2001, the Patriots have not had a losing season and they’ve only had two seasons over that stretch which have ended without them making the postseason. The Pats have won four Super Bowl Championships as they’ve become the epitome of success in the National Football League. But life isn’t a bed of roses for New England as they’ve dealt with their fair share of controversy which included “Spygate” in 2007, and now “Deflategate”. The most recent controversy has seen NFL commissioner Roger Goodell drop the hammer on the Patriots which included a $1 million fine, a loss of draft picks, and a four-game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady. Now as the Patriots are preparing four life without Brady for the first four games here in 2016, head coach Bill Belichick will once again put on his thinking cap.

Patriots fans need to get used to hearing the name Jimmy Garoppolo as he will be the Patriots starting quarterback while Brady serves his suspension. In Garoppolo’s two years with the Patriots, he has seen some brief mop up duty behind Brady. But now Garoppolo will be charged with keeping Brady’s seat warm until he comes back.

Rob Gronkowski

There are still plenty of explosive play makers on the Patriots offense that features the likes of tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman. At 6’6″, Gronkowski is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses as his height and pass catching ability keeps opposing secondaries honest. And it will be much tougher for Patriots opponents to double Gronkowski this season due to the fact that the team acquired tight end Martellus Bennett from the Chicago Bears.

Bennett has spent eight years in the National Football League with stints with the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, and the Bears. The majority of Bennett’s career has seen him underutilized in the passing game which could change this year. I expect the Patriots to employ more two tight end packages in the mode of the early 2010’s when New England would create matchup problems for opponents with Gronkowski and former tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Julian Edelman

Edelman is looking to bounce back after injuries slowed him down in 2015. And once the maestro at quarterback in Brady returns from his suspension the Patriots passing game should really take flight.

Last year the Pats were 30th in the National Football League in rushing and they are one of the few teams that can get away with that due to the ability of Brady. Under offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, the Patriots tend to use screen passes, along with short passes to their running backs such as Dion Lewis and James White which turn out to be de facto runs.

The Patriots have a solid offensive line and if left tackle Nate Solder and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer are able to remain healthy, both Garoppolo and Brady should enjoy plenty of time in the pocket. It never worked out for guard Jonathan Cooper in three years with the Arizona Cardinals, but after the Patriots acquired him during the off-season, maybe a change of scenery is just what he needs after being a first-round pick in 2013.

It was shocking when Belichick decided to trade defensive end/outside linebacker Chandler Jones to the Cardinals this off-season, but he did pick up a veteran to replace him in defensive end Chris Long. Long was the second overall pick of the 2008 National Football League Draft by the St. Louis Rams, but injuries have taken away from his effectiveness over the last two years as he has missed 14 games. However Long finally gets the chance to play for a winner and suiting up for the Patriots typically tends to allow veteran players to find the fountain of youth.

Aside from Long on the Patriots defensive line, there are a ton of veterans that includes defensive tackle Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton and defensive end Rob Ninkovich, while second year defensive tackle Malcolm Brown could be ready to take on bigger role in New England’s defense.

Jamie Collins

The Pats still have a strong group of linebackers which includes middle linebacker Donta Hightower and outside linebacker Jamie Collins, while the secondary is home to some quality veterans in cornerback Malcolm Butler, strong safety Patrick Chung, and free safety Devin McCourty.

If the Patriots are able to weather the storm without Brady, this team should once again be poised to make another run at winning the Super Bowl.






New York Jets 10-6

2015 saw much improvement for the New York Jets, but they fell just short of making the playoffs. After the Jets defeated their arch rival in the New England Patriots in Week 16, they only needed a victory over the Buffalo Bills in Week 17 to advance to the postseason for the first time since 2010. However things fell apart for the Jets as they lost to the Bills which was a bittersweet ending to what had the makings of a storybook season. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick fell 95 yards short of becoming the first Jets quarterback since Joe Namath in 1967 when the team still played in the American Football League to pass for 4,000 yards in a season. Wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker become the first duo of Jets pass catchers since Keyshawn Johnson and Wayne Chrebet in 1998 to each gain 1,000 yards receiving and New York also had one of the fiercest defensive lines in the National Football League that featured defensive ends Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Leonard Williams. And as all of this should be building blocks for the Jets heading into the 2016 NFL season, this team has a laundry list of question marks that are surrounding them.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

After Fitzpatrick’s strong season he became a free agent as he and the Jets had a long dance around the floor before they came to an agreement on a new one-year deal for $12 million. Fitzpatrick has been a journeyman as he has suited up for six different clubs in his 11-year National Football League career. Many folks see Fitzpatrick as a backup quarterback which is one of the reasons why the Jets are not willing to commit on a long-term deal to a 33-year old player that has only made all 16 starts in a season three times in his career. Heading into the 2016 NFL season, the main thing for Fitzpatrick is to do exactly what he did last year which is to simply get the football to the play makers around him such as Marshall and Decker.

After running back Chris Ivory gained 1,070 yards on the ground for the Jets last year, he was allowed to leave in free agency as he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. But as one door closed for the Jets, another opened as the team signed veteran running back Matt Forte. In eight years with the Chicago Bears, Forte was a very durable running back as only Walter Payton gained more yards on the ground than him while wearing a Bears uniform.

Matt Forte

Forte has also been solid in providing pass protection for quarterbacks, while also being a strong receiver coming out of the backfield which should pay dividends in the Jets offense.

After 11 years of protecting the blindside for Jet quarterbacks, offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson decided to retire. But Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan didn’t waste any time in replacing Ferguson as he acquired offensive tackle Ryan Clady from the Denver Broncos. Ferguson was extremely durable during his career, but the same cannot be said about Clady who after helping the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl last year must show his worth on the big stage in the shadow of New York City.

As previously mentioned the Jets do have a strong defensive line which sets the tone for the rest of the defense. And if Wilkerson, Richardson, and Williams are able to consistently put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, it could make life much easier for players such as cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Todd Bowles

For Jets head coach Todd Bowles, he knows that his team won’t be able to sneak up anybody here in 2016. And with road games against the Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers,and Arizona Cardinals, along with divisional tilts against the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots, the Jets are going to have their hands full in they intend on making it to the postseason.

Buffalo Bills 8-8

The Buffalo Bills and head coach Rex Ryan are a match made in heaven. The Bills have not won more than 9 games in a season during this millennium, and Ryan is a head coach that tends to hover around .500 each year. Staying true to form for Ryan and the Bills in 2015, Buffalo went 8-8 as they were a team that competed, but they were an undisciplined team that simply found ways to lose. Ryan has always been known as a player’s coach with teams that shoot themselves in the foot, and we could be looking at the same blueprint for the Bills here in 2016.

Last year Ryan gave Tyrod Taylor the opportunity to be the Bills starting quarterback and he made the most of it by throwing 20 touchdown passes to just 6 interceptions. Taylor began to shed the label of him simply being a scrambler and now it will be interesting to see if he can take the next step and become an elite quarterback in 2016. But if Taylor is going to be able to take the next step as a quarterback, he has the players around him to make it happen.

Sammy Watkins

It hasn’t taken wide receiver Sammy Watkins that long to show that he indeed is a play maker. In just two years, Watkins has displayed the rare combination of blazing speed and pass catching ability which makes him a logical candidate to make the Pro Bowl this season. And if the Bills passing game is going to improve, wide receiver Robert Woods must become consistent as well.

The Bills were the top rushing team last year in the National Football League, and this was without the benefit of having a healthy LeSean McCoy at running back for the entire season. But if McCoy is able to remain healthy and show the explosiveness that made him the Philadelphia Eagles all-time leading rusher, then the Bills offense should be a force to be reckoned with.

Ryan is known as an aggressive defensive coach, but the Bills only managed to muster up 21 sacks last year after having 54 in 2014. The defense could once again be a point of frustration for the Bills due to suspensions of players such as defensive tackle Marcel Dareus which could rob them off a chance to improve and that’ll more than likely hamper their chances of ending the longest current playoff drought in the National Football League.

Marcel Dareus

Suspensions to players such as Dareus’ show that the Bills are still a very undisciplined team. Last year the Bills had 143 accepted penalties against them which was tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for tops in the National Football League, and if Ryan doesn’t get this pattern tempered, Buffalo will once again be stuck in the mud.

More than likely the Bills will be an up and down team again in 2016, and you have to wonder if anything short than a trip to the postseason will mean the end for Ryan in Western New York.




Miami Dolphins 5-11

From 1970-1995, the Miami Dolphins only employed one head coach in Don Shula. But since Shula’s retirement, the Dolphins have had a revolving door at head coach. Adam Gase is set to begin his first season as Dolphins head coach, and he represents the tenth different head coach that the Dolphins have employed since Shula stepped down. The Dolphins coaching carousel is reflective in the team’s record as they have not had a winning record since 2008, while failing to win a playoff game since 2000.

Aside from head coaching issues, the quarterback position has also been a problem for the Dolphins. As Ryan Tannehill is set to begin his fifth year as the Dolphins starting quarterback, it marks the first time since the early 2000’s that Miami will have the same starting quarterback five years in a row.

In four years as the Dolphins starting quarterback, Tannehill has put up impressive numbers which would make a fantasy football owner happy, but he has come up short in the most important category that defines a National Football League quarterback which is victories. Tannehill has a career record of 29-35 and the Dolphins have never finished a season with a winning record with him under center. In May 2015, Tannehill and the Dolphins agreed on a six-year, $96 million extension, and if he’s unable to begin to deliver, the folks in South Florida that follow this team will begin to want another franchise quarterback.

In 2015, the Fins struggled to run the football as they were 23rd in the National Football League in rushing. The Dolphins leading returning rusher is Jay Ajayi who gained just 187 yards on the ground last season. The Dolphins did sign former Houston Texans running back Arian Foster. But Foster has a ton of miles on his legs along with injuries, and it is difficult to expect him to be the play maker that he was a few seasons ago.

Ryan Tannehill

The Dolphins lack of a running game will put more pressure on Tannehill and wide receiver Jarvis Landry to carry the offense, and although that the duo will pad their stats, it more than likely won’t lead to that many wins in Miami.

Defensively the Dolphins lost defensive end Olivier Vernon in free agency as he signed with the New York Giants. But Miami is hopeful that veteran defensive end Mario Williams will be able to fill the void. Williams will join a veteran defensive line that includes defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and defensive end Cameron Wake, but there are plenty of issues in the back seven of the Dolphins defense that will stress the mental of first-year defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.

It’s going to be another long year in Miami, but I expect Gase to use this time to assess the talent there as he is hopeful to build a solid foundation.

X-Division Winner

Source: Pro-football-reference.com