Oh boy! The season of men running in shorts is upon us! Let’s waste no time an break down each team’s OTA from last week.
First up, the reigning Super Bowl champs. Of course, most of the news out of Foxboro over the past week was still centered on the deflation of footballs, but there were some “practices” so let’s talk about those. The first day of the Pats OTAs was mainly held in the classroom, because there are so many new members of the team that need to learn what is going on, but they seem to be fast learners, because once the players hit the field it was many of the new faces that shined. The first player of note was certainly old rival Scott Chandler. Many regarded the addition of Chandler to be insurance against Gronk getting the Madden cover and immediately being placed on IR, but to the surprise of many Chandler took the field and impressed. His size, speed and general awesomeness was on display as he proved that this was much more than a depth signing, opposing defenses are on notice- don’t let the Pats hit the red zone, because if you do, you are screwed. The next big development was how great Aaron Dobson looked. Yeah I know that he only got reps because Brandon Lafell was absent, the buzz is that this is going to be Dobson break out year. Obviously this must be true, what with Belichick’s history of success in drafting WRs in the second round…And thirdly, the competition at guard between rookies Tre Jackson and Shaq Mason looks like it will be a great on. The two are roommates and battling for the same spot on the line, which should make for some cozy evenings at training camp.
The last big development that we saw was at QB. It looks like Booby Kraft is really pushing for Brady to not get in the way of him making more money by fighting his suspension, Jimmy “The Future” Garoppolo got a majority of the reps and this can only be taken as a sign that Kraft is ready to move on from Brady. I mean this team’s success is really the result of how much profit the team rakes in and certainly not from the performance of the team’s Quarterback. Don’t worry Mr. Kraft, I trust that you always have the best interests of your bottom line in mind.
Next up: the Jets. The Jets definitely were better than their 4-12 record showed last year. Now that they have an all-world secondary the defense should rank somewhere near the best in the history of time. But it’s the offense that I want to focus on. Geno Smith has been anointed as the Jets’ starting QB, say what you will about him, but he’s definitely improving. Judging by what we’ve seen thus far, the Jets’ revamped offense should no doubt rank in the top 25 in the NFL this year and Geno is going to put the team on his back and carry them to a division title and quite probably the Super Bowl. I mean they lost seven, count them, seven games last season by less than one score. The new and improved Geno will no doubt turn those seven losses into seven more wins so the division will be in sight- especially if all of the ex-Jets front office personnel that litter the halls of the NFL league offices can get Brady’s suspension extended to a lifetime ban. The Jets also did a very Jets thing and gave oft-troubled wide receiver Brandon Marshall the pay raise that he so deserved after having a below average season last year and quitting on his team. Lastly, the offensive line was not so offensive. New coach Todd Bowles is no doubt excited to implement his innovative offensive game plan over the summer and get these hogs moving.
We’ll stay in New York and visit the Bills next. Rex Ryan is in mid-season form, predicting the demise of the NFL’s longest running playoff drought (think about that again, the Cleveland Browns have been to the playoffs more recently than the Bills). I will admit, that the thought of Rex at the helm of that defense is kind of frightening, unfortunately the combination of Matt Cassell and EJ Manuel are playing QB for his offense. Casselll wasted no time in deflecting questions about deflated footballs, because if the accusations are true, then he is a cheater too and must be dealt with accordingly. But he also wasted no time in missing Sammy Watkins with many passes and turning the wrong way to hand off the ball to new, stud running back Shady McCoy (I assume). The real standouts from the practices though were the new, young offensive linemen. If they keep it up, the Bills are certainly going to break the streak and quite probably win the division and be favorites to win the Super Bowl.
One more player of note is rookie running back Karlos Williams. ‘Los has a history of being a practice superstar and has not let those of us who watch his “career” at FSU down. He looks to be showing the exact same kind of effort with the Bills and will surely let down Bills’ fans who are excited to see him transfer that success to the game field.
And last, but certainly not least, the Miami Dolphins. This is really the time of year that gets Fin fans all lubed up. There is really nothing like seeing a bunch of men in shorts sweating in the Miami summer heat. Once again the Fins look like world beaters, newly minted “elite” QB Ryan Tannehill didn’t miss on one deep ball (although I’m not sure he threw any) and the new greatest WR ever, Devante Parker looks like he can step right into Mike Wallace’s shoes and disappoint Fin fans the world over. The Fins’ offense looks like it will be operating with “Lazor-like” precision and is no doubt going to make plenty of people look foolish come the fall (TBD on whether it will be the folks who said they are awesome or the folks that say they are terrible who end up looking foolish). The defense is now something to be feared, the D-line is downright scary (seriously) and with Mr. Miko patrolling the secondary, who cares that the LBs suck, this team is going to be awesome. I’m really starting to wonder what Mercury Morris and Coach Shula are going to do when they have to go on E!SPN every day and talk about how bad that this team actually is compared to their undefeated team once this team reaches the 12-0 plateau and is on the doorstep of a perfect season.