Another week has passed with no football but before you know it teams should be back on the gridiron. In the meantime we will continue to break down various topics regarding the teams in the NFL’s AFC East. This week on the AFC East roundup we look at the biggest obstacle the quartet of teams have to overcome.
Take the Next Step
The Bills have been making progress since general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott took over operations. They snapped the 17-year playoff drought thanks largely to a magical effort by Andy Dalton and Tyler Boyd and then last year secured another playoff appearance. However, Buffalo needs to take the next step—beyond simply qualifying for the playoffs—by doing two things. They need to win the division for the first time since 1995, and also win their first playoff game since that same season 25 years ago. This is the Bills’ biggest obstacle because if they cannot advance continue to qualify for and advance in the playoffs then it will amount to wasted potential.
Replacing Tom Brady
Tom Brady has been a common theme for the Patriots here on the AFC East Roundup but that’s only because of what his loss means to the team. Losing a certain first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback who meant everything to his team and fan base is about as significant as it gets. As Bills fans, we know he’s also the reason why the Patriots have held dominance over the division for the past decade. The good news for New England is that they still have their also certain first-ballot Hall of Fame coach in Bill Belichick but he doesn’t play quarterback so the division won’t be the cake walk that it used to be. As such, Jarrett Stidham is likely the Patriots’ biggest obstacle to continued dominance.
The Health of Tua
In the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Dolphins drafted their quarterback of the future in Tua Tagovailoa. Tua has all the tools and talent to be a major player in the league for years to come, but he has to be healthy to do it. He’s coming off a hip injury during his final season at Alabama so it’s important that the Dolphins monitor his progress closely. The goal is to win every season but Miami cannot be pressured to play Tua unless they know for certain he is 100% healthy. It may not be a fan-favorite decision to sit him out for the year, but that is the biggest obstacle the team will be facing.
We mentioned this before but once again the relationship between head coach Adam Gase and the rest of the team comes into play as it relates to the Jets’ successes or failures in 2020. There were times last season where players were unhappy with Gase and you could see the impact it had on the field. Now, star player Jamal Adams is unhappy because he isn’t getting the raise he deserves as one of the best safeties in the league. It doesn’t matter how much talent the team may have if they don’t believe in their coach. So, to see the players give their all on the field, the biggest obstacle remains team chemistry. The biggest obstacle to seeing the players give their all on the field and Gase finding success is ultimately the issue of team chemistry.