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AFC East Roundup: Early quarterback assessments

How are signal callers in the division performing?

It seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye but we are already three weeks into the NFL season. Sitting atop of the AFC East is the Buffalo Bills at 3-0 after a nail-biting win against the Los Angeles Rams. Close on their heels are the New England Patriots at 2-1 after a win against the Las Vegas Raiders. Finishing up the standings are the 1-2 Miami Dolphins and the winless New York Jets. With a few games under their belts, lets look at the quarterback play within this edition of the AFC East roundup.

Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen

The jump that Josh Allen has made in his third year is outstanding for the team. After not having a game where he has passed for 300+ yards, Allen has done so in each game on the season, leading his team to a 3-0 start. He has increased his completion percentage to over 70 percent on the season, which no one could have dreamed of after seeing some of the throws he was making in his first two years as a pro. Progressing through his reads is also something Allen has improved on as now he’s often smartly checking the ball down when he needs to instead of trying to make a hero play down the field. With ten touchdown passes that rank him second in the league behind Russel Wilson, there are murmurs of an MVP season for Allen if he continues playing well. If nothing else, he is in line to be the most improved player in the league.

New England Patriots: Cam Newton

There were questions around the league about how healthy Cam was going into the season. The evidence was in the small-by-his-standards contract he signed during the offseason. However, all doubts should be put to rest as Newton has played very efficiently to start the season. He is completing just under 70 percent of his passes and has shown that he is still a very dangerous dual-threat quarterback. Even though he only passed for 167 yards against the Raiders on Sunday, it was efficient since the rushing game was successful. People thought the offense in New England was going to slow down after the departure of Tom Brady but Newton has the offense on the right track, scoring at least 30 points in each of their last two games.

Miami Dolphins: Ryan Fitzpatrick

The grizzled veteran is performing at a high level even if his team’s record is not what he wants. In theory, the team was a couple plays away from defeating both the Patriots and Bills to start the season but both teams had other ideas. On Thursday night, Fitzpatrick tore apart the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense with the same number of incompletions as touchdowns (2.) He is also completing over 70 percent of his passes. Fitzpatrick has been known to show no fear when playing, whether it be throwing the ball into a super tight window or laying the hit stick while scrambling to gain that extra yard. Fitzpatrick has shown that he can rally the Dolphins to victory and will try to continue doing so until Miami is ready to hand over the keys to Tua Tagovailoa.

New York Jets: Sam Darnold

It’s tough to assess the play of Darnold given the lack of elite playmakers around him and head coach Adam Gase’s inability to mold him into a franchise quarterback. Darnold struggled mightily against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, throwing three interceptions with two of those going the other way for touchdowns. His mechanics just seem to be off and he still has a tendency to throw across his body back into the middle of the field, which allows opposing defenses to feast. Darnold is only completing over 60 percent of his passes and most of his stats have come with under two minutes to go in garbage time. Granted, not all is Darnold’s fault—as mentioned before the lack of play makers certainly doesn’t help. However, the way the team is trending this season, Darnold has to improve or else he may be facing a quarterback battle with Trevor Lawrence next season (currently trying to win a National Championship at Clemson).