How will each team respond to change?
With NFL training camps set to begin, fans will finally get a first-hand look at the players and schemes set to storm the league this season. All this work of course leads to the preseason, with players competing for their jobs before the 2021 NFL season kicks off. With all the overhaul and player movement that happen during the offseason, training camp and preseason games also give us the chance to see how teams react to change. As such, let’s take a look at the biggest change for each of the four AFC East teams.
The biggest change for the Bills this coming season will be Ken Dorsey taking over for Brian Daboll as offensive coordinator. This change marks Josh Allen’s first season in the pros with a different OC. With a high-powered offense that ranked among the top in most categories for 2021, it will be interesting to see how much the playbook changes with Dorsey calling the shots. Will Dorsey give full control of the offense to Allen and let him go wild, or will he more prominently feature the running game to save Allen from unnecessary hits until the end of the season?
Similar to the Buffalo, New England will have a new offensive coordinator after the departure of Josh McDaniels to the Las Vegas Raiders. The difference between the Patriots and the Bills is that a replacement has yet to be named in New England. All eyes point towards offensive assistant Joe Judge but no formal announcement has been given. This could become an issue, with quarterback Mac Jones entering his second year in the league. On the flip side, the situation could prove to be a blessing in disguise. There was criticism last season that the offense didn’t allow Jones to air out the football and show his true skillset. Maybe a different set of eyes calling the shots will allow that to change?
The Jets are in an interesting place right now because the team’s biggest change can’t be pinpointed to one addition or departure. Instead, it’s the sense of anticipation for the team. Last year, people knew the Jets wouldn’t be very good because first-year head coach Robert Saleh had to instill his culture and modify the roster to what he envisioned. Now, Saleh is in his second year and has a boatload of talent on the roster. Zach Wilson enters his second season after a promising rookie campaign. The team has two fresh faces in Garrett wide receiver Wilson and cornerback Sauce Gardner who will shake things up on both sides of the football. There’s a sense of optimism with the Jets and for good reason.
The forecast in Miami got a lot brighter after Tyreek Hill moved to South Beach. Hill is a game-breaking player maker with incredible speed. Bills fans know the impact Hill can have on a game, and he now poses a problem twice a season for head coach Sean McDermott. Miami is counting on Hill to create the same sort of magic with Tua Tagovailoa that he did with Patrick Mahomes for so many years. The key factor will be if Tua can provide the necessary accuracy on deep passes to allow Hill to get behind opposing defenses. Crossing routes won’t get the job done. For a team with a new head coach and a whole lot of uncertainty at quarterback, this change may have the biggest impact, positive or negative, in the AFC East.