Monday, May 27, 2013
AFC East offensive power rankings
By James Walker
The 2013 offseason is just about complete, minus a few tweaks this summer. With that in mind, let’s update the offensive rankings in the AFC East.
No. 1: New England Patriots
Why: The Patriots led the NFL in total yards and scoring last season. Despite significant changes at wide receiver, New England still has the top offense in the AFC East. Tom Brady is elite and by far the best quarterback in the division; he is the one advantage the other teams can't match. The Patriots remain deep at running back, with a good stable that includes 1,200-yard rusher Stevan Ridley, scatback Shane Vereen and newly added bruiser LaGerrette Blount. The Patriots also have the best tight ends in the NFL with Pro Bowler Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and backup Jake Ballard. Gronkowski (arm) and Hernandez (shoulder) both had offseason surgeries but are expected to return in training camp.
No. 2: Miami Dolphins
Why: The Dolphins were extremely aggressive in free agency in the hopes of fixing their offense. They signed tight end Dustin Keller and wide receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson to put around second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. There are some questions at running back, but I think the trio of Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas and rookie Mike Gillislee will be better than advertised. The biggest offensive concern for Miami is at left tackle, where second-year player Jonathan Martin must prove he is the long-term solution. The Dolphins let Jake Long walk in free agency and never found a proven replacement.
No. 3: Buffalo Bills
Why: It’s the same old question for the Bills: Do they have a quarterback? Buffalo has a new trio of competitors under center this year after releasing 2012 starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. Tarvaris Jackson, Kevin Kolb and rookie EJ Manuel will compete in training camp to lead the team. Each player has questions surrounding their game, but if the Bills can get solid quarterback play this year, it would go a long way. The offensive line is solid, and there are quality skill players. C.J. Spiller is one of the most explosive tailbacks in the NFL, and Buffalo got more athletic at receiver by adding rookies Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and Da’Rick Rogers to go with veteran Steve Johnson. But these skill players can’t succeed unless one of the Bills’ three quarterbacks steps up.
No. 4: New York Jets
Why: It’s not looking good for the Jets’ offense this year. New York was ranked No. 30 in total offense in 2012 and doesn’t look much better on paper this year. Quarterback still remains an issue. Either embattled veteran Mark Sanchez or rookie Geno Smith will be under center, and both are major question marks this year. The Jets are thin at tight end and receiver. There are also issues at running back now that Mike Goodson’s future with the team is in jeopardy. Goodson, the Jets’ most dynamic tailback, was recently arrested and faces drug and weapons charges. New York must get away with a lot of smoke and mirrors on offense this year in order to be successful.