Wednesday, December 26, 2012
AFC East Stock Watch
By James Walker
Let's take a look at whose stock is up and down in the AFC East.
1. New York Jets offensive line: The Jets' offensive line didn't bother showing up in Week 16. This embattled group allowed 11 sacks to the San Diego Chargers. It is mind-boggling how a group with three Pro Bowlers from the 2011 season (center Nick Mangold, guard Brandon Moore and left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson) can be so inconsistent -- but it's been that way for at least two years. Former third-string quarterback Greg McElroy took a pounding in his first career start. The good news is things can’t get much worse in the regular-season finale against the Buffalo Bills.
2. Chan Gailey, Bills coach: Gailey's stock continues to drop as Buffalo is sputtering down the stretch. The Bills lost to the Miami Dolphins, 24-10, to fall to 5-10 on the season. Buffalo had playoff aspirations, but poor coaching and quarterback play are the two biggest reasons things never came to fruition. Gailey is still under contract for next season, so the Bills would have to pay two head coaches if Gailey is let go. However, Gailey is 15-32 in three seasons in Buffalo and has little in his corner to make a case for staying.
3. Tim Tebow, Jets quarterback: Tebow's sterling reputation took a hit when he reportedly asked New York's coaches not to play in the Wildcat package. This was Tebow's way of lashing out at being passed over for McElroy last week. Some think Tebow quit on the team, while others think the Jets quit on Tebow first. Perhaps it’s a little bit of both. Maybe Tebow should be happy he didn’t take the 11 sacks New York’s offensive line allowed Sunday.
1. Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins surpassed most people's expectations by improving to 7-8 with a victory Sunday over the Bills. For example, the AFC East blog projected Miami to finish 6-10. We will be one game off if the Dolphins lose Sunday against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. But there will be a lot of optimism heading into the offseason for the Dolphins. They have a good rookie prospect at quarterback and a first-year head coach who has done a solid job. The key will be managing Miami’s immense cap space and plethora of draft picks next year.
2. C.J. Spiller, Bills tailback: Miami’s stout front seven rarely allows 100-yard rushers. But Spiller sliced and diced the Dolphins with 138 rushing yards on 22 carries. He’s proven his ability to be a franchise back this year and currently has 1,185 rushing yards on the season. What’s even more amazing is Spiller didn’t get as many opportunities as he should have. The Bills need to make sure to build their offense around Spiller from the start next season.
3. Reggie Bush, Dolphins tailback: Bush recorded three touchdowns and a 107 total yards in a win over Buffalo. He is a dual threat who continues to make his case to return to Miami. Bush, a pending free agent, needs just 40 rushing yards Sunday to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. The Dolphins reportedly are interested in re-signing Bush, but at a price that’s affordable to the team.