Tuesday, December 18, 2012
AFC East Stock Watch
By James Walker
The AFC East had a rough 1-3 record in Week 15.
Let’s take a look at who’s stock is rising and falling in the AFC East.
1. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets quarterback: The Jets' playoff chances were erased by their starting quarterback. In a must-win game, Sanchez threw four interceptions in a 14-10 loss to a bad Tennessee Titans (5-9) team. The Jets (6-8) hung around the entire game with their defense, but Sanchez kept turning over the ball, including an interception and a botched snap on the final two drives. Sanchez is not the long-term solution in New York. However, he will make $8.25 million guaranteed next year and could be the starter again for the Jets in 2013.
2. Chan Gailey, Buffalo Bills coach: It’s not looking good for Gailey. His Bills looked ill-prepared and showed little effort in a 50-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Toronto. Buffalo general manager Buddy Nix has publicly backed Gailey, and a couple of weeks ago I thought he had a good shot to return in 2013. But Gailey’s coaching performances the past two weeks makes me question his job security. I think Gailey must do a better job in these next two games to return in 2013.
3. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots tailback: Ridley struggled and had a costly fumble in a 41-34 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Ridley is continuing last year’s late-season trend of not holding onto the football for the second year in a row. This is the second straight week Ridley fumbled in a big game. Last week, his fumble was recovered by teammate Aaron Hernandez. The difference is this season New England is counting on Ridley. The Patriots cannot bench Ridley for the playoffs and hand the ball to BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who bolted in free agency. Perhaps backup Danny Woodhead will get a stronger workload, because he is more reliable. But Ridley needs to step up his game down the stretch.
1. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins quarterback: Few quarterbacks needed a big game like Tannehill. He hit the rookie wall around midseason and the Dolphins were struggling as a result. Tannehill responded with 220 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Tannehill also rushed for a career-high 52 yards. The rookie first-round pick needs to continue to show growth in the final two weeks of the season.
2. Reggie Bush, Dolphins tailback: Bush had his first 100-yard game since Week 2 against the Jaguars. Bush rushed for 104 yards on 25 carries. His longest rush was for 53 yards. Bush continues to make his case to return to Miami. But the Dolphins are currently not negotiating with Bush and probably aren’t willing to throw big money at him in the offseason.
3. Danny Woodhead, Patriots tailback: As Ridley's stock is falling, Woodhead’s is rising. The dependable backup is not flashy but does his job when his number is called. The Patriots seem to have a strong comfort level with Woodhead. He doesn’t have the big-play capability of Patriots tailbacks Ridley and Shane Vereen, but Woodhead makes steady plays that keep the chains moving. If Ridley and Vereen continue to fumble, Woodhead coach get a majority of the carries in the playoffs.