What’s going on around the AFC East? I’ll be taking a look at teams around the division to see how the Jets stack up next to the competition.
Buffalo Bills: The free agent signings of DE Mario Williams and DE Mark Anderson caused so much excitement in Buffalo that you could hear their cheers in New York City. Expectations are high in Buffalo due to these additions, along with the re-signing of both Steve Johnson and Fred Jackson. Even with the defensive additions, the Bills have to be ready to make the adjustment to a 4-3 defense under new defensive coordinator Dave Wandstedt. Linebackers were a major part of the Bill’s collapse last year and it seems that they will continue to be a question mark this year. That’s not what the coaches think. Both Wandstedt and head coach Chan Gailey are so confident in the ability of second-year linebacker Kelvin Sheppard that they named him their starting middle linebacker in January. The rookie graded out better than fellow MLB’s Lawrence Timmons, Rey Mauluga and Pat Angerer last year, and he should find more success with his size and speed in the new defense.
Miami Dolphins: The only question of concern for the Miami Dolphins is judging whether “earning” the chance to be broadcast for Hard Knocks or judging a QB competition of Ryan Tannehill, David Garrard, and Matt Moore is more exciting. The more entertaining answer may be their attempt to finally connect to a fan base that has seemed non-existent over the years. The celebrity factor seemed to be trashing the tradition of the franchise so the owners have changed the direction of the franchise by incorporating more fan friendly events and advertisements that focus on football. That might not be a bad idea, considering that they still have the best cornerback tandem in the league.
New England Patriots: Last year, experts projected the acquisition of WR Chad Ochocinco to be a steal considering his past history and his pairing with Patriots QB Tom Brady. That didn’t work out so well. Brandon Lloyd was brought in this year to be what Ochocinco wasn’t: a top-flight, outside WR that could make the tough catches. Many of the Patriot beat writers have reported that he has fit seamlessly into Josh McDaniels offense, which will add to what already is a dynamic offense.