Remember when the big controversy in the AFC East was the New England Patriots? Drew Bledsoe, the team’s FRANCHISE QB was healthy and ready, and Coach Bill Belichick (best known at the time for getting the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore) made the decision to bench a previous #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft for a 6’th round screen passer.
My how the times have changed. Tom Brady is the QB every other team DREAMS they could have and the New England Patriots have the last dynasty the NFL is likely to see, along with over a decade of at least 10 wins per season that include 5 Superbowl appearances with 3 claimed. The same cannot be said of the three remaining organizations: the buffalo Bills, New York Jets & Miami Dolphins. Lets take a look at what might be brewing for the 2012 NFL season.
Buffalo Bills – Fitzpatrick vs. Young
Ryan Fitzpatrick started the 2011 season hotter than any QB in the league. Leading the Buffalo Bills to their first victory over the New England Patriots in almost a decade, this Harvard grad led the Bills as they rattled off a 5-2 start to the season. Then he got paid. The Bills fell off the planet, losing their next 7 games. Now they’ve brought in Vince Young to try out for the starting position.Even if he doesn’t start, Young is an awfully big ego hanging over Fitzpatrick’s head. With a second full year of starts ahead of him, and a full off season of film for opponents to study, there’s a good chance this turns interesting fast.
Obvious, I know, but this will be one of the biggest stories of the NFL in 2012, guaranteed. Sanchez will benefit from playing some teams looking for an identity at the beginning of the season, but during a 5 game stretch when they play 4 playoff teams, look for the uncertain, timid Sanchez to come forward. Couple this with the New York media calling for his head and don’t be surprised to see the Jets jump right on board with Tebowmania. My prediction, Tim Tebow will be the New York Jets starting QB in week 10, following their bye week. (I know I really went out on a limb here)
Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill vs… History
Out of everyone, rookie QB Ryan Tannehill may have the toughest uphill climb. The Miami Dolphins drafted him with every intention of making him their 2012 starter (talk about setting a guy up to fail). The Dolphins traded away their best offensive weapon in Brandon Marshall this off-season and also boast an revamped coaching staff. To put a rookie in such a situation is almost cruel, but couple that with his being drafted so highly and Miami NEEDS for this to work. Blaine Gabbert showed what can happen to a rookie that isn’t prepared, and Gabbert doesn’t face Tom Brady twice a year, or a confusing and talented NY Jets secondary. He does have Reggie Bush to take off some of the pressure and if he can let the game slow down and not turn the ball over, he might have a decent shot.