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AFC East Roundup: Coaching Grades following Week 14

Time to put the head coaches under the spotlight.

Now that we’re halfway through December, teams have begun that last big postseason push. Now more than ever, coaching will prove imperative and separate the contenders from the pretenders. That is why this week on the AFC East Roundup, we’re taking a look at the head coaches in the division and assessing their performances this season.

Buffalo Bills: Sean McDermott

Like it or not, McDermott has made some pretty questionable coaching decisions this season. Ever since he was aggressive on the fourth-down call against the Tennessee Titans, it appears that he’s lost his sense of situational aggression. There were a couple examples of that on Sunday. He decided to punt the ball back to Hall of Famer Tom Brady down 14 points near midfield in the second half. He also called a fake punt in the first half when everyone knew it was going to be a fake punt due to the personnel on the field. From an overall season standpoint, the team has fallen victim to a couple of huge letdowns. All of that starts with coaching and so far the Bills are falling below expectations. As it stands, McDermott gets a 6/10 for his coaching this season.

New England Patriots: Bill Belichick

The future Hall of Fame coach has once again shown why he is considered one of the best coaches of all time. After a disappointing 2020 season, the murmurs started that is was the quarterback that gave Belichick all of his success. People forget that the Patriots were hit the hardest from COVID-19 opt-outs, and this year they are back to form. Now with the full defense at his disposal, the Patriots find themselves back at the top of the AFC East. The game plans that Belichick comes up with week in and week out are always highly successful even if that means only passing the ball three times… New England fans are coming out of the holes they dug into last season and it’s because of their head coach. 9/10 for Belichick.

Miami Dolphins: Brian Flores

It had the makings of a disaster year for the Dolphins after coming in with playoff expectations. With all the rumors surrounding exiled Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson and the team losing seven in a row, some thought maybe Flores could find himself on the hot seat. Instead, Flores was able to rally his team together and is currently on a five-game winning streak. Also it’s reasonable that the team could win out and sit at 10-7 to end the season, fighting for a playoff spot. Flores got his offense back on track and his defense to play like they were supposed to. Miami has themselves a head coach who won’t quit on his team and that, in turn, means the team will show up each week to play. 7/10 for Coach Flores.

New York Jets: Robert Saleh

Coach Saleh gets an incomplete for his grade this season due to all the circumstances he has had to deal with. In his first year with the Jets, many prepared themselves for a rebuilding year. First-round pick Zach Wilson has missed multiple games with injuries and the team is currently without receivers Corey Davis and Elijah Moore. The good news is that Saleh was able to rally his team to a couple of strong wins this season against the Titans and the Cincinnati Bengals who are both in the playoff hunt. Next season should serve as the opportunity to discover if Salah has what it takes to be a head coach.