Behind Enemy Lines: AFC East Preseason Week Two Roundup
I won’t lie to you, this is getting rough. As NFL fans collectively begin to remember once again that the preseason sucks, there remains barely enough to talk about in the whole league, let alone the AFC East. But alas, the show must go on (or so I’m told by my editor), and so for your viewing pleasure, Episode II of The Deep End Miami’s AFC East recap.
New England Patriots:
Wow. Talk about taking a step in the right direction. Jimmy Garoppolo finished 28-33, and threw for 269 yards. The thing that stood out to me the most was the improved offensive line play, but even when the Saints did get pressure, Jimmy G showed the pocket awareness that he lacked a week ago. He got the ball out quickly, and didn’t panic when his first read wasn’t open. He has the look of a more than serviceable QB, and it’s a shame that we likely won’t get to see him play in the regular season because Roger Goodell is a witch-hunting fascist with no respect for due process, and Judge Berman and every lawyer in the nation knows it.
But I, a Patriots fan, digress.
Gronk and Edleman sat out Week 2’s preseason contest, as the Hoodie seems intent on keeping Brady’s favorite weapons in mint condition for the upcoming season. James White had another impressive outing, showing his value as a runner as a well as a catcher out of the backfield. Brandon Gibson went down with an injury midway through the game, which leads me to my next newsworthy event.
I am ecstatic about the Reggie Wayne signing. Not because I expect him to have an impact mind you. The man was one of the best at what he did while he was playing, and I have all the respect in the world for his route running abilities. But for him to get meaningful playing time means he has to beat out Brandon LaFell or Danny Ammendola for a starting spot. He’ll see field time in certain packages, just don’t expect him to replicate the production he had in Indianapolis. At this point you may be asking yourself, “well why are you ecstatic about the signing then?” I’m glad you asked. Our lead Fantasy Football writer, Jacob Berkowitz, is a huge Colts and Reggie Wayne fan. Nothing brings me more pleasure than the thought of Jacob having to sit back and watch Reggie Wayne play in a Patriots uniform.
New York Jets:
Ryan Fitzpatrick looked surprisingly sharp in this week’s game. He came out way better than expected, throwing 4-5 for 70 yards and a touchdown. The whole offense looked crisp, and if Fitzpatrick can continue to throw for even close to the perfect 158.3 passer rating he got last week, this is going to be one of the most potent offenses in the NFL.
Oh wait, those were Matt Ryan’s stats. My bad. Ryan Fitzpatrick played as well as you’d expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to play in a preseason game. The offense struggled against a less than stellar Falcon’s defense, and it wasn’t until the Falcons starting playing their back-ups that the Jets offense was even remotely effective.
The good news for the Jets (and bad news for everyone who hates them) is that their defense continues to impress. Even without Sheldon Richardson, this is going to be one of, if not the most stalwart defense in the NFL. The most impressive play of the night was when former USC star Leonard Williams got a safety. Having played at USC and now playing for the Jets, I don’t know that there is a player in the NFL my editor (a UCLA fan) hates more. Except maybe Tom Brady.
Note from the editor: Cant spell TrOJans without OJ.
Speaking of OJ! So Rex Ryan is now on record as having said that the current quarterback situation is “the scenario I wanted.” Does the man like playing with crappy quarterbacks? Does he have an aversion to QB’s capable of even managing a team, maybe even leading an offense? Or maybe after the butt-fumble he knows he’s cursed to never have a capable quarterback start for his team, and has accepted that he’ll be plagued by mediocre-at-best quarterback play for the rest of his career as an NFL coach. And yes folks, for a second consecutive week, we bring you, the greatest moment in New York Jets’ history (even though its the Bills’ segment, can’t waste an opportunity to use this).
Honestly, there’s not much else to report coming out of Buffalo. Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor are still fighting for the starting job while EJ Manuel sits in a corner trying to come to grips with the fact that he’s only the second best quarterback in the league from FSU (Christian Ponder sheds a little tear). Sammy Watkins is still the freak we expected him to be, and it would be exciting if we got to see him play with someone who could actually get him the ball. LeSean McCoy is still rehabbing from his hamstring injury, while Percy Harvin is waiting until his hip heals to start punching people in the locker room.