At this point in the season, we know that the New England Patriots are in a prime spot yet again to be division champions, while the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and New York Jets are at the bottom looking up. This week on the AFC East Roundup, we look at the biggest decision each team faces as the season ticks down. Most of these decisions revolve around a player, but one decision is about a head coach.
Buffalo Bills: How/where will they find that number-one receiver?
Last week, the Bills offense finally woke up against the Jets, having their best offensive performance since a 27-6 drubbing of the Minnesota Vikings. New addition Isaiah McKenzie showed speed and athleticism, while Robert Foster came back from the practice squad looking like the guy they thought he could be. He was the first Bill with 100 yards receiving in a game since Deonte Thompson did it against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 7 last year. That was Thompson’s first game with the Bills; oddly enough, he re-signed with the team this week after beginning the 2018 season with the Dallas Cowboys.
Now, the question is how the team will acquire a true number-one target for Josh Allen after Kelvin Benjamin has flopped as a Bill. There isn’t a clear-cut player in the draft who could be the next Antonio Brown, but there also doesn’t appear to be a target in free agency who stands above the rest. Maybe a trade is in the team’s future?
New York Jets: Who will replace Todd Bowles?
Everyone knows that Bowles will be fired, even Bowles himself. Replacing him will be a huge decision that will either put the franchise in a better or worse situation for years to come. The Jets need to find the coach who will be perfect with bringing along the development on last year’s third overall pick Sam Darnold. The home-run pick would be finding someone similar to Sean McVay, who helped turn Jarrod Goff into the monster he is today. The Jets have the talent on defense to keep opponents in check, so an offensive-minded coach should be the way the team goes. Fun fact: the last time the Jets hired a head coach with an offensive background was in 1995, when they named Richie Kotite, recently fired by the Philadelphia Eagles, as their 12th head coach. He went 4-28 in two disastrous seasons at the helm.
New England Patriots: Is it time for Tom Brady’s replacement?
Father Time is undefeated—sometimes it just takes longer for him to catch his prey. Tom Brady is still Tom Brady, and he is still performing at a high level, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t time for the team to seriously look at who his replacement will be. Brady is going to be in the middle of a Super Bowl hunt towards the end of the season, but you never know when he’s going to call it quits. Behind him currently is Brian Hoyer, who is probably not the team’s main choice to be the future, so take notice during the off-season what the team does to give Brady a quarterback to mentor for the future.
Miami Dolphins: Is Ryan Tannehill the guy?
The Dolphins have to ask themselves once again if Ryan Tannehill is their guy of the future. Tannehill has only played in 18 of Miami’s last 42 games, as myriad injuries have plagued the once-promising quarterback for the better part of the last three years. Along with that, when he has played, the numbers just aren’t where they should be for a franchise quarterback. There should be a couple of possible free agents the team could bring in if they wish. The draft doesn’t appear to have the top-end prospects like this past year. The Dolphins have been on the decline since their fast start this season, but a true franchise quarterback could change all of that heading into the future. Tannehill is 30 years old, so if we’re still asking whether he really is the guy or not, he’s probably not the guy, but just a guy.