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AFC East Roundup Week 4: Biggest disappointments

A month into the 2022 season, who’s yet to show up?

Buffalo Bills Training Camp Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

Week 4 has wrapped up, and there are 13 games left in the regular season. As a whole, it was a hit-or-miss week for the AFC East, with the Buffalo Bills (3-1) and the New York Jets (2-2) picking up uniquely surprising wins, while the Miami Dolphins (3-1) and New England Patriots (1-3) found themselves on the losing end amid some truly difficult injury situations at quarterback. Last week we talked about the early MVPs on each team, so it’s only fitting that this week we discuss certain players who to this point haven’t lived up to the hype from early season expectations.

Buffalo Bills

For the Bills there was a fair share of hype surrounding second-round rookie running back James Cook. Cook has been tabbed as the explosive runner and backfield receiver the Bills lacked the past few seasons. Through four weeks, things haven’t gone as perhaps planned for Cook. He fumbled on his first career touch in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams, and hasn’t made much of an impact in any game yet. Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, Cook didn’t receive a single touch in the game, despite the team’s difficulty running with the other backs and some poor weather. Of course it’s far too early to give up Cook, but it may wise for people to walk back some of the loftier expectations people had coming into the 2022 NFL season.

Miami Dolphins

Tight end Mike Gesicki was one of eight players who received the franchise tag during the offseason. When a team uses the franchise tag on a player, it’s usually expected that they would be a vital part of the team’s plans. But with Gesicki, that simply hasn’t been the case. In four games, he only has eight catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. In past seasons, that total would likely be one of Gesicki’s single-game totals. It’s hard to deny that some of his production decline has to do with the wide receiver duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, but Gesicki should be playing a much greater role for the offense with opposing defenses focused on the dynamic pair. Maybe things will change soon, but at this point Gesicki has been quite a disappointment.

New York Jets

Wide receiver Denzel Mims began his third season with the team under somewhat challenging circumstances. It seemed like Mims fell out of grace with head coach Robert Saleh during the offseason, because he ended up requesting a trade. When the team declined his request, Mims stated his displeasure at the decision. Following all that, Mims has been a healthy scratch every game so far this season. Some might say much of what transpired was not his fault. As a former second-round pick, you can be sure Mims had set big expectations for himself heading into the 2022 season. Ultimately, Mims has the talent and athleticism to make something happen on the field, but he has to get on the field first. The entire situation is disappointing for everyone involved, and it may not be until and if Mims joins a new team that he starts fresh.

New England Patriots

A couple seasons ago, the Patriots spent big money in free agency to bring in tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. This season, the two have combined for 12 receptions and 99 yards with no touchdowns. After calling Gesicki’s production disappointing, the stats from the Patriots pair is downright ugly. The lack of production (and perhaps involvement) is certainly surprising, especially for Henry, who was one of quarterback Mac Jones’ favorite targets last season. Furthermore, with how often New England likes to run the ball, it would seem as though the tight ends would be used more extensively in play-action scenarios. If the Patriots are hoping for a chance to turn their season around—they’re currently last in the AFC East—their well-paid tight end duo needs to become more of a factor on game days.