In what will be a two part series, we look at the AFC East as we inch closer to the start of the NFL regular season. This first part will rank the top two teams by position. Who has the best quarterbacks, the best running backs, the best corners?
The AFC East is closing in on a return to being the best conference in the NFL and while they are not there yet, signs do point to that upward change. For the last decade and almost two decades the AFC East has been dominated by the New England Patriots who are of course the defending Super Bowl Champions. Forget about the “deflate-gate” controversy, the Patriots are still the team to beat in the East and Tom Brady regardless of suspension or no suspension sits atop the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks.
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Brady, like every other player in the East, or the NFL, is still only one player and it takes a team effort to become great. Here is our look at the top two teams in each positional category.
New England Patriots
Aug 13, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) react from the sideline after a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers during the first half in a preseason NFL football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Brady is one of the best in the NFL and it could be argued that he is the best. Since his arrival from the Michigan Wolverines as a 6th round pick, Brady has taken the Patriots to four Super Bowl victories. There is little question that Brady is “THE” elite signal caller in the AFC East. Brady faces a four game suspension for his part or no-part in the “deflate-gate” controversy but he has sought out legal help and the case is currently in front of a judge. Whether he plays the first four games or misses them, Brady will still be the key to the Patriots success in 2015.
Aug 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) throws a pass during the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
No other NFL quarterback has improved as much as Ryan Tannehill over the past three seasons. Thus far through training camp, Tannehill looks even better than last season. Tannehill has been sharp and has emerged a leader on the field and off of it. In addition, it appears that he is finally ready to start hitting the deep ball which has eluded him the last three seasons. The Miami Dolphins feel so strongly about Tannehill being their franchise quarterback that they extended his contract with a $96 million deal this off-season.
Bills and Jets
Both the Bills and Jets have improved in other areas of their squads but quarterback remains a big question mark for both teams.