Tuesday, October 13, 2009
How I See It: AFC East Stock Watch
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Rex Ryan's defense. The New York Jets rookie head coach said he was embarrassed for not having his defense better prepared to stop the Miami Dolphins, who pretty much did whatever they wanted Monday night. The Dolphins unleashed the Wildcat. Chad Henne picked them apart through the air.
The Jets went into the game ranked fourth in total defense, 13th in run defense and fifth in pass defense. Ryan's aggressive style was supposed to be showcased against a Dolphins offense that gave up six sacks a week earlier against the Buffalo Bills.
Roscoe Parrish, Bills receiver and punt returner. Parrish wanted out of Buffalo shortly after they signed Terrell Owens. Parrish saw the writing on the wall. He was going to get balls thrown his way only after Owens, Lee Evans and Josh Reed got theirs, and probably after Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson and whomever was at tight end, too.
Parrish didn't get his wish, and despite agent Drew Rosenhaus's attempts to orchestrate a trade by planting rumors Parrish was on the block -- even though Parrish later admitted the Bills didn't want to deal him -- he's still in Orchard Park. Parrish has one catch for 5 yards and muffed a punt inside the final three minutes to give the Cleveland Browns a gift field goal and 6-3 victory.
Trent Edwards, Bills quarterback. Buffalo's supposed quarterback of the future seems to regress every week. Of course, it's not totally his fault. He's often scrambling for his life because he's (not) protected by a line that's thinner on talent than it is experience, and that's saying something.
Edwards was among the NFL's passing leaders a couple weeks into the season, but he's 19th now. He has been saddled with the unflattering nickname Captain Checkdown, reflected in his 58.1 completion percentage. But he's averaging 6.4 yards per attempt (23rd in the league). He has thrown five touchdowns and six interceptions.
Chad Henne, Dolphins quarterback. The sophomore from Michigan was pressed into service several months ahead of schedule when Chad Pennington suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 3. But Henne is 2-0 as a starter and introduced himself to NFL fans with a fantastic game Monday night.
In a thrilling 31-27 victory over the Jets, Henne completed 20 of 26 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He had a 130.4 passer rating, something Pennington didn't accomplish last year. And Pennington ranks in the top-10 all-time in passer rating.
Braylon Edwards, Jets receiver. Edwards made a nice first impression by showing everyone exactly why the Jets acquired him last Wednesday from the Cleveland Browns. Edwards, a big-play threat who became known for his drops and off-field misbehavior, looked more like the player who caught 80 passes and 16 touchdowns in 2007.
In a game where the Jets scored three touchdowns, Edwards greatly influenced all of them. He caught five passes for 64 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown. He had another score reversed on a spot review. The Jets scored two plays later. He also drew a pass interference call near the goal line to set up another touchdown.
Miami's Wildcat offense. The Dolphins called their direct-snap offense 16 times for 110 yards from scrimmage, six first downs and the winning touchdown. Observers continue to wonder when defenses will catch up with the Wildcat and render it extinct, but the Dolphins keep using it with great success.
"That was our offense," Dolphins outside linebacker Joey Porter said. "So to all the Wildcat haters, and to say our offense is a fluke: Keep thinking it's a fluke if you want to."