Today marks the start of the NFL’s franchise tag window, and free agency begins on March 17—but it sometimes feels like this time of the year can drag on with the build up to the NFL Draft still weeks away. There’s always plenty to discuss as it relates to the Buffalo Bills and all things football and what may seem like a slow point is actually one of the busiest as it relates to roster building and staff changes to prepare for the coming season. This week on the AFC East Roundup, we’ll take a look at the coaching situations around the division to see what’s changed.
The Buffalo Bills have managed to retain their core of coaches to the surprise of many. Mind you, not because of results, but due to the fact that none of Buffalo’s personnel were tapped to become head coaches in 2021. Head coach Sean McDermott will once again lead the charge with defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll returning to lead the defense and offense respectively. It’s probably fair to say that fans were glad to see that Frazier and Daboll got passed over. Consistency has been the theme in Buffalo as these three gentleman are trying to complete their mission of getting a Super Bowl title.
Much like in Buffalo, the New England Patriots will bring back the majority of their coaches in 2021. Future Hall of Fame head coach Bill Belichick will be back on the sidelines to lead New England in his 22nd season, while Josh McDaniels will once again be in charge of the offense. Unlike nearly every season prior to 2020, this coaching staff will have a lot of work to do because last season marked the first time since the 2008 season where the Patriots did not make the playoffs. Not all was doom and gloom for those who bleed New England colors—it seemed as though many fans hopped on the bandwagon to follow Tom Brady who won a home Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One thing to keep an eye on with the Patriots is their move to re-hire Matt Patricia as defensive coordinator after the Detroit Lions fired him.
Down in South Beach, Brian Flores will be back on the sidelines for the Miami Dolphins as his rebuild reaches season three. Flores has shown the ability to rally and rebuild the Dolphins who showed a lot of promise last season. Josh Boyer will be in charge of the defense for the second season in a row while the team will change it up on offense. Miami is elevating Eric Studesville and George Godsey as offensive co-coordinators (whatever that means is beyond me) but maybe having two coordinators in better than one—who in this case was Chan Gailey in 2020.
Finishing up with the New York Jets, they will be the only team in the division with a new head coach. Robert Saleh gets his first opportunity as a head coach and he has a tall order in front of him to get the Jets back to their glory days. His offensive coordinator will be Mike Lafleur while Jeff Ulbrich will be in charge of the defense. These three will have a lot of work to do in repairing the failed Adam Gase experiment. The first thing will be a decision about quarterback Sam Darnold as they currently hold the second overall pick in the upcoming draft.