Week 1 Camp Overreactions
Well its official, all four teams from the AFC East have reported to training camp and will in fact be participating in the 2014 NFL season. The Bills got a head start due to their appearance in the Hall of Fame Game (an epic contest that none here will soon forget). Without further ado, here’s my take on what I’ve seen or heard about your favorite team. One week of practice seems like a reasonable sample size to determine your team’s fate.
(In no particular order this week)
We’ll start with the Buffalo Bills because they are the only team that has actually played a game against a team that is not their own. The Bills entered the summer full of hope and optimism that this will finally be their year. Then the Legend of Kiko took a hit when his knee spontaneously combusted during a training session in Oregon. It was a tough hit for the boys from Orchard Park, but many said that with a front four so strong they could withstand the loss of a legend. Then there is the offense. The Bills added Sammy Watkins through this and next year’s drafts and he made a good catch in practice, so we might as well forgo the formalities of having him play a career and just induct him into the Hall of Fame next week. EJ on the other hand, not so much. He did accomplish one great feat that most though impossible in his one quarter of play in the HoF Game on Sunday night, he had more passes knocked down by opposing defenders than he completed. But don’t worry, nothing to see here- lifelong underachievers quite often turn it around in their early 20’s once they’ve been given millions of dollars for being mediocre their whole lives. The Bills have promise, but I’m thinking it’s definitely going to be next year.
Next we’ll jump to the Miami Dolphins. The Lazor Show has arrived in South Beach and it appears that he may have left his talents in Philly. I know, I know, how is an offense supposed to function without an offensive line? I don’t know, but Dynamite Dawn seems to think fat guys are not exactly a requirement for a god team, she’d rather have 53 hunks like Tanny strutting the sidelines. We could talk about the guys that are actually playing for the Fins right now, but seeing as the injury report has many more names that we know, let’s talk about Miami’s M.A.S.H. unit. Mike Pouncey is on the shelf, but he says he’ll be back for week 1 (he also thinks Hernandez in innocent though, so I’m not sure we can trust his smarts). Charles Clay is soft, but rumor has it he’s headed for the kiln so Gator may yet have a challenge on his hands. I would like to talk about Mr. Tannehill for a minute now. He has once again shown that he is a shining example of what it means to be a team player. He knows that he is already an amazing football player so he’s taken to helping the defensive backs work on their hands, throwing multiple interceptions daily thereby giving the team’s secondary an emotional boost.
Now we move on to the future Super Bowl Champs, the New York Jets (this sentence is factual, I mean it’s statistically impossible for them to not win a SB sometime in the future right?). Rex and Co. have found the swagger that was packed away with the Xmas lights last year and have provided the nation with their audition tape for Marlon Wayans’ new reality show “Funniest Wins”, at least that’s the only explanation I can find for guys like Geno and Dee claiming that they are in the top 5 at their respective positions or Rex proclaiming that he isn’t concerned with the Pats, they should be concerned about him. As for the actual practices, Geno looks primed to start the season and have Jet fans calling for Mike Vick by week 4 and Stephen Hill is having a breakout camp. Being a glass half empty guy, I tend to think this is probably the worst possible indictment on the Jets’ secondary. But hey, Dee says he’s the best CB in the league, so by that logic Mr. Hill could be gearing up for a season similar to the one Randy Moss enjoyed in 2007. Lastly, ¾ of the Jets front four is scary (I’ll believe it when I see it from Coples, another perennial underachiever) and they are going to give every team they play in 2014 fits.
Last but certainly not least, we have the New England Patriots. The Pats have taken a step away from their usual model of being ultra-cheap (some call it conservative, I don’t) and signed some big names to bolster the secondary that has been a wasteland since Rodney Harrison and Asante Samuel left. The additions of Browner and Revis make the Patriots defense one that should rank among the league’s best in 2014. Also, Revis has helped the offense immensely already (from what I saw at the one practice I’ve attended), having a challenge in practice is sure to help the offense once they get on the field against competent opponents. My biggest fear for the Pats is still their pass rush, I’m seriously thinking of elevating Chandler Jones to #1 on my most overrated players in the NFL list after all of the garbage I’ve heard from the local media about him. The next time Mr. Jones gets a clean sack by just beating the guy blocking him might very well be the first time he’s done it in his NFL career. One other interesting development from Pats camp is that James White might be the second coming of Emmitt Smith. Already taking first team reps, White looks like a complete three-down back, something the Pats haven’t seen since Curtis Martin died in my eyes. In other, non-surprising news, Dominique Easley has yet to be cleared to play and looks to start the season on PUP (then to be placed on IR right after week 6) and Jimmy Garoppolo sucks. Of the thirty or so plays I saw Jimmy run the team, he threw a couple of picks (one pass was actually caught by Ty Law who was standing about 10 yards back of the sideline) and once during the red zone portion of practice he dropped back to throw and just fumbled trying to bring the ball up from his waist to a throwing position. Looks like Bill really hit home runs with those first two picks in a loaded draft.
There you have it, all four teams are looking rough and some have made significantly more progress than others. Stay tuned because soon we will be publishing the definitive report on who’s finishing where in the division.