Whooo boy; have we been starved for any sort of NFL news over the last few weeks. June 1st came and went with no major shakeups, much to the dismay of many. But at long last, the early summer OTA sessions kicked off last week and we all got a glimpse of the bright and sunny futures of each of our favorite teams. In an effort to leave you all feeling upbeat with a sunny disposition, I’m going to start with the DOOM and end with Hope and Optimism. So here we go:
We start with what might possibly be the most DOOM laden team in the history of the NFL, the New England Patriots. Excited Pats fans got their first opportunity to see Darrell Revis in a Patriots helmet along with Brandon Browner, but it seems that they didn’t get too much work because all of the receivers refused to match up against them in fear of looking bad- let’s hope this doesn’t lead to some big locker room scandal down the road. The other big rumor of the offseason was that Logan Ryan could make the move to safety- well, not so fast my friend; so far he’s staying put at corner. Unfortunately, WR Brandon LaFell has expressed that he is having trouble learning the Pats’ complicated offense, an admission that does not bode well for his future in New England. The worst news for the Pats however is their rookie class (or at least the top two picks). 1st round pick Dominique Easley is still rehabbing from his latest knee surgery (get used to hearing that) and did not participate, and “QB of the Future” Jimmy Garoppolo missed the first day to attend some swanky Hollywood party. When he did arrive, he sucked. On the plus side, undrafted rookie Daxton Swanson has taken an early lead for the “Zach Sudfeld Award” and Kenbrell Thompkins is pulling a repeat of his 2013 camp and impressing everyone.
Next up, we have the New York Jets. They fall in the DOOM category for one reason; Jermaine Cunninham and Ras-I Dowling have been impressing people. When those two look good, everyone else must look pretty bad. The rookies have not been all that impressive; Rex Ryan did give some praise to Calvin Pryor early on, but he also predicts the Jets are going to the Super Bowl every year, so who knows what that means. It appears that tight end Jace Amaro has hands like Stephen Hill, so yeah, not all that impressive. The offense is a work in progress, but we all expected that, so nothing to see here. Rookie cornerback Dexter McDougle (who wins the award for coolest name in the 2014 draft) has looked impressive and is more than likely going to end up being the best CB to ever play in the NFL, ever. The most positive news that has come out of the Jets’ two weeks of OTAs is probably the fact that last year’s first pick Dee Milliner is looking a lot like Darrell Revis in his final years as a Jet- he’s out with a hamstring injury.
Next we have the Miami Dolphins. Things are looking up in Davie, FLA this summer. Mike Wallace was spotted early on in OTAs catching passes by himself after everyone else had gone inside, in an effort to not lead the league in drops this season (reports that the rest of the WRs had gone inside to actually learn the offense are being investigated now). For the second consecutive season, however, there is no QB controversy in Miami, which is a nice little break from the routine. Now Cameron Wake is said to have dominated in a practice or two; this can be viewed in one of two ways- either the offensive line is just as bad as they were last year, or Wake is getting geared up for a 25+ sack season. I’m going with the former on that one. The rest of the AFC East needs to be put on notice, as new safety Louis Delmas has impressed everyone that took the time to watch a practice, and Lamar Miller (LM.2K) looks poised to give us that 3,000 yard season that we all expected last year. Lastly, there are reports that the offensive line voted and instead of forcing the rookies to pay for an extravagant weekend in Vegas, they had had a nice little picnic in the park where Mike Pouncey offered to carry their pads in from practice all summer.
Last, but most certainly not least, we have the most hope-filled and optimistic team in the league – your Buffalo Bills. It is all sunshine, rainbows and lollipops in Orchard Park this summer. Never mind the fact that Marcell Darius can’t stay off the police blotter and won’t participate in any OTAs this year or that the hopes of the entire offense lie in a guy who has never in his life lived up to all the hype and potential, the Bills have Kiko Alonso. Kiko is making the move to outside linebacker this season which will no doubt lead to him surpassing Lawrence Taylor as the greatest OLB in NFL history by about week 6. The Bills brought in Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon to shore up a backfield that already contained C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, so you can be sure that we will be hearing about the “Four Horsemen of Buffalo” before long as they redefine what an elite NFL backfield should look like. Fourth overall pick Sammy Watkins has impressed, he does in fact have two functioning hands and runs fast in a straight line, so I’m sure that Doug Marrone is doing his best to work in as many plays from the old Clemson offense as possible. The Bills have arrived and look like they are set to break the streak this year (if not this year, then definitely next).