- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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At the midpoint of the season, a lot of AFC East readers have questions and comments about their favorite teams.
So let’s check the division mailbag in our latest complaint department.
Paul from Mooresville, N.C., writes: Hey James, read your article in which you named the most notable performers at the midpoint of the season and my only qualm is with the "Best Rookie" category. You've received questions/comments from me before and my "Dolphins Homer" status remains intact. Nevertheless, Ryan Tannehill should be the unanimous nominee for that position.
James Walker: I don't know about unanimous, Paul, but it’s a fair point. Tannehill was a close No. 2 in my book. The quarterback position, by nature, is so important. Tannehill isn’t lighting it up statistically. But his steady play has stabilized the Miami Dolphins offense. The difference is Chandler Jones of the New England Patriots had a better first half. He's on pace for double-digit sacks and numbers do matter.
G.D. Wolkovic from New York, writes: James --A couple of years ago after an epic win for the Dolphins vs. the Jets on MNF, all the media talked about how this is only the beginning of the Mark Sanchez-Chad Henne QB rivalry, and how we'll be watching them battle each other for years. Well, you know where that went. Now, I love Andrew Luck (I'm from Stanford) and I fervently hope that Tannehill is the real thing (I'm a Dolfan). But let's give them at least another year before we start talking about a rivalry for the ages. Thanks for your useful blogging!
Walker: G.D., my job is to provide insight, analysis and opinion on the AFC East. Based on what I see, Luck and Tannehill are legit. I never felt that way about Sanchez and Henne. Luck and Tannehill have the proper physical and mental makeup that Sanchez and Henne simply don’t have. Luck and Tannehill are already better as rookies, in my opinion, than Sanchez and Henne. Barring injury, I have no doubt both rookies will be better than Sanchez and Henne over the course of their careers.
Ding from Atlanta, writes: Knowing what we know now, it's hard to make this comparison…But Eli Manning vs. Mark Sanchez, compare their first 55 games, they are remarkably similar. Look at Manning's 55th game; it's actually worse than Sanchez's. I remember 2007, Eli was not good until the playoffs. He had a combined 29 turnovers that year. Manning barely averaged 200 yards a game. He had the fewest TDs since he bacame a starter. I've seen Sanchez this year. He does like he's regressed. But at the same time, so did Manning.
Walker: I said at the beginning of the season that 2012 was a no-excuse year for Sanchez. I have heard so many excuses over the previous three years and this was it. Sanchez is going backwards. His completion percentage, for example, is the lowest of his career. Sanchez is not Eli Manning. I’m not sure why Jets fans are still waiting on Sanchez to morph into Manning. It's not going to happen.
Phillip Jevens from Boca Raton, Fla., writes: James, you are an excellent sports writer and I totally respect your opinions. But Rex Ryan has never had a losing season? JETS ARE 3-5 THIS SEASON AND EVEN REX KNOWS THE JETS WILL BE WAY UNDER 500 THIS YEAR DON'T YOU? PLUS THE JETS WERE A crappy 8-8 last year.
Walker: It’s a fact, Phillip. Ryan has never had a losing season. The Jets are 3-5 and this may be the first year. But we won’t know that until January.
Xavier Combs from the Bronx, New York, writes: Tebow is a man without a position. What happened last year was total luck. I don't know why people think that you can just plug him in anywhere. He's not that good. This isn't the SEC.
Walker: Tebow is overrated, Xavier. We covered that ground last week. However, Tebow does have physical skills that translate in the NFL. He’s a physical runner and the Jets need someone who can complement starting tailback Shonn Greene and move the chains. That’s why I think Tebow should get some carries at running back. What the Jets are doing now isn’t working.
AFC East Homer of the Week
Our latest homer of the week is a multiple winner. Ken from Montreal is holding out hope that the Buffalo Bills will do two things they haven’t done in more than a decade.
Ken from Montreal writes: The bills will beat New England this week and the Bills will make a run for the playoffs. This will be the biggest victory in the last 10 years for this great franchise, 41-27 outcome.
Walker: Ken, the Bills haven’t been to the playoffs in 13 years and haven’t beaten New England on the road in 11 years. I have seen nothing to suggest that either streak will be broken this year. I have been on Buffalo’s bandwagon this season more than most. But I’m not silly. I know bad football when I see it and Buffalo is playing bad football this year. It’s time to let the Bills playoff thing rest this year, Ken. It’s not happening. But congrats on being our latest Homer of the Week.
All four teams are in action this weekend. Enjoy the games.