AFC East Final Report Card

The Patriots may well have been the AFC's club at the conclusion of the 2008 season, but in spite of winning eleven regular season games denied a playoff berth. Both New York entries in the AFC East division came out of the box quickly, but faded miserablely down the stretch, while the Dolphins proved to be one of the leagues best rags to riches stories.

AFC East

Pre-season Mid-season Final

1 - New England 1 - New England Miami

2 - Buffalo 2 - Buffalo New England

3 - NY Jets 3 - NY Jets NY Jets

4 - Miami 4 - Miami Buffalo

Final Report Cards – AFC East

New England Patriots Final Report Card

TEAM: New England Patriots

OFFENSE C A-

DEFENSE C B-

SPEC. TEAMS B B-

COACHING A A+

FRONT OFFICE B+ B+

SCOUTING B+ B+

OVERALL B B+

STRENGTH QB WR DT

WEAKNESS OL DC DS

OFF. MVP Matt Cassel

DEF. MVP Vincent Wilfork

TOP ROOKIE Jerod Mayo

2009 Prognosis Improving

Comments: The Patriots found themselves in 2008 playing without the league MVP Tom Brady for virtually the entire season due to a knee injury, their starting running back Laurence Maroney for the second half of the season, both corner to free agency and still managed to win a remarkable 11 games on the season! I thought head coach Bill Belichick was as good in 2008 as I have ever seen him perform and could very well have been name NFL coach of the year.

Although the entire defense is beginning to show its age, Vincent Wilfork, and rookie linebacker sensation Jerod Mayo are very special players and the key components if the Patriots are to climb back to the top of the AFC East.

On offense, the quarterback position bears watching; the Pat have both a tremendous financial and emotional investment and in veteran quarterback Tom Brady the leagues 2007 MVP, but they certainly had to be over whelmed by the numbers put up by 2008 first year regular Matt Cassel. The running back position also is interesting. The Patriots flat out don't like Laurence Maroney (not very tough and or dependable), but back-ups Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan are at this stage of their career's just journeyman players. Left guard Logan Mankins is the only player along the offensive line that can match up against the elite interior front line defenders in the NFL. Welker and Moss are among the most productive combinations in the league, but the back-ups are ordinary.

In regard to the team's decision making process which will be put to the test this off season, the Patriots believer through free agency and the draft, that they can turn the club around and return to the playoffs next season.

It's not going to be easy, but I like their chances in the competitive AFC East

Buffalo Bills Final Report Card

TEAM: Buffalo Bills

OFFENSE B+ F

DEFENSE B- D

SPEC. TEAMS A A-

COACHING A- D

FRONT OFFICE B+ D+

SCOUTING B+ C

OVERALL A- D-

STRENGTH OT QB KS

WEAKNESS TE FB LB

OFF. MVP Marshawn Lynch

DEF. MVP Paul Posluszny

TOP ROOKIE Leodis McKelvin

2009 Prognosis Slight improvement

Comments: What started out as a Cinderella season ended up as a total disaster. Although the team stumbled there are a number of future stars on the offensive side of the football including; Trent Edwards Lee Evans, Marshawn and Jason Peters. On the defense, I really like linebacker Paul Posluszny, Jabari Greer, Terrence McGee and Leodis McKelvin are all solid players, but quite frankly there are not enough quality football players on both sides of the ball to compete for a division championship at this time.

The Bills lack depth at virtually every critical area and although I really like their staff, I can't excuse the call made in the final moments of the game versus the Jets. With back-up quarterback J. P. Losman most certainly moving on this off season, the Bills must sign a quality veteran back-up quarterback to give support to the oft injured Trent Edwards. Defensive help up the middle is also a must for the Bills off season wish list.

It's now been a decade since the Bills made it to the playoff round, but in spite of the aforementioned players, I have to question if they have enough athletes to get there any time soon.

New York Jets Final Report Card

TEAM: New York Jets

OFFENSE B- D

DEFENSE C C

SPEC. TEAMS C D

COACHING C- D-

FRONT OFFICE D D-

SCOUTING B B-

OVERALL C C-

STRENGTH LB NT DE

WEAKNESS DS QB DC

OFF. MVP Thomas Jones

DEF. MVP Kris Jenkins

TOP ROOKIE Dwight Lowry

2009 Prognosis No change

Comments: On behalf of the loyal Jets fan everywhere, all I can say regarding the dismissal of head coach Eric Mangini is good riddance! The regret of many of the fans I spoke with at the time of the announcement was that General Manager/bean counter Mike Tannenbaum didn't suffer a similar fate.

After defeating the previously undefeated Tennessee Titans to go 8 and 3 on the season, the Jets needed "A Miracle at the Meadowlands Two" last second victory over the Bills to win one of the remaining five games on the season! Losses during this period didn't come at the hands of the 67 Packers, but rather to Dolphins, 49ers, Broncos and Seahawks!

The acquisition of Bret Favre proved to be a colossal disaster, but what is even more frightening is that the Jets management has now has put the future of this franchise in the hands of a 38 year old quarterback with rapidly diminishing playing skills.

The Jets hired one the very best candidates for the head coaching position since Weeb Eubank last week when they hired Rex Ryan away from Ravens, but quickly told him that he would have to retain a number of assistants including offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Nice going guys (Woody and Mike), but just be sure to remember that fact the very next time your football club can't put points on the board.

Miami Dolphins Mid Term Report Card

TEAM: Miami Dolphins

OFFENSE C B

DEFENSE C B-

SPEC. TEAMS B- B-

COACHING B+ A-

FRONT OFFICE B+ B+

SCOUTING C C

OVERALL B- A-

STRENGTH RB QB LB

WEAKNESS DE WR DC

OFF. MVP Chad Pennington

DEF. MVP Joey Porter

TOP ROOKIE Jake Long

2009 Prognosis Descending

Comments: The Dolphins "Impossible Dream" season ended with a first round loss in the playoffs, but the club performed far better than anyone associated with the game expected. Much of the credit for the teams success should go to head coach Tony Sparano and VP of Football operation Bill Parcells, but before we put this club into next year's Super Bowl, remember this year's schedule featured match-ups against both the NFC and AFC West, two divisions that finished 35 games under five hundred.

Late training camp addition Chad Pennington, was a difference maker for the fish in 2008, but the playoffs clearly showed something that most insiders already knew; he does not have the arm to effectively throw the football vertically down the field.

I do like Ronnie Brown a great deal, Ricky Williams is one of the great success stories in the NFL this season and Jake Long should develop into a solid player, but the receiving crew and the offensive line are mediocre when compared to the top clubs in the league. On the defense, Channing Crowder (an unrestricted free agent) and the veteran Joey Porter had outstanding season and rookies Langford and Merling show plenty of promise, but there is not a lot of depth at any position and three regulars in the secondary, are currently listed as free agents.

The Dolphins will eventually get there, but what we saw in 2008 may not be a true indication of where they are as a football team.


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