Since the 1972 NFL season, no NFL team has been perfect. Every team has it’s ups and downs and struggles. It is part of football and part of life. The Miami Dolphins and fellow AFC East compatriots are experiencing their fair share of woes heading into the final preseason game and the start of the regular season. Here are my main problems for each AFC East team, starting with our very own Miami Dolphins.
Miami Dolphins: Lack of unity, inability to play a complete game. I think the Dolphins are playing MUCH better than they did against the Cowboys way back in the HOF game. That being said, this team is nowhere near where they need to be to make a playoff run or compete with the elite teams in this league. I think their biggest problem is their lack of unity (playing together as a team in all 3 phases) and their inability to either start of finish a game. One minute, the offensive line is clicking and Ryan Tannehill is in sync with the offense. Meanwhile, Special Teams is running into each other causing turnovers or giving up a big return. Within a blink of an eye, the defense is playing spectacular only to find Tannehill on his back because the offensive line forgot to block as a UNIT. Miami desperately needs to perform in all 3 phases: offense, defense and special teams at the same time. They have had moments when all 3 areas were on point together and this brings me to my next point. When everything is going right, the ‘Phins struggle to stay consistent. Last game against the Bucs, Miami had the game won and failed to close out Tampa Bay. Sound familiar? This team can not afford to allow teams to stay in games. They MUST find a way to close out teams once they get a lead and to play an entire game as one unit. This ability is what separates the weak teams from the strong and is inhibiting this team from their goal.
Buffalo Bills: Injuries. C.J. Spiller may have just become the most valuable fantasy running back. As of right now, the Bills have reported that 3rd string quarterback Jeff Tuel is to get the nod week one against the Pats if E.J. Manuel can’t go. Manuel’s status is still unknown, but HC Doug Marrone is “still hoping” he’ll be good to go. Kevin Kolb has still not healed completely and if Tuel is the answer Week 1, this Buffalo team will find itself in an 0-1 hole to open the season. If their QB injury issues aren’t enough for you, it was also reported that sophmore CB Stephen Gilmore will miss 6-8 weeks with a fractured wrist. An already weak Bills defense just got a lot weaker.
New York Jets: Lack of leadership/lack of talent. The Jets just let go of WR Braylon Edwards and RB Joe Mcknight, two of their more talented offensive players. It seems like the Jets take all of Miami’s rejects, which is not a great idea. I think the Jets’ biggest problem is their lack of leadership and talent all around the field, but especially at the QB position. Whether it is rookie Geno Smith or Mark Sanchez leading this team, neither of those options are good enough to make the Jets a contender. What was once a stellar defense is plagued with old age and injury, and the Jets’ offense was anemic under OC Tony Sporano last season. The Jets are a mess.
New England Patriots: Finding replacements at Tight End. Rob Gronkowski is not going to be healthy for sometime and I hope you have had enough of the Aaron Hernandez drama by now. Fact of the matter is those two animals are nearly impossible to replace, and TE may be the NFL’s most shallow yet necessary position. Tom Brady loves his TE’s and it will be interesting to see who steps up to fill those enormous shoes. If the Pats fail to find someone, this offense may struggle enough for another team to make a push. Your move, Miami.
The AFC East has been one of the NFL’s more solid divisions. This year, I get the feeling that it may be one of the weaker ones for a change. I am hoping Miami will come into their own come week 1. Their schedule will be brutal at the start, but if the Dolphins can find a way to play as a team, the AFC East is wide open for the taking.