What’s the talk of each town in the AFC East?
NFL mandatory minicamps have wrapped up around the league. These camps usually represent the first chance for coaching staffs to see the entire roster together. That is, unless someone chooses to hold out over a contract dispute, etc. With minicamps finished, the focus shifts to training camp in the upcoming weeks and the preseason slate of games. Before we get to far into summer, let’s review some of the storylines coming out of AFC East minicamps.
For the Bills, a positive development was having everyone on the roster in attendance for minicamp, including safety Jordan Poyer. The status of Poyer was in question after the First Team All-Pro made it known that he wanted a contract extension. As an added bonus, Poyer participated in camp activities instead of just standing off to the side. As for quarterback Josh Allen, he looked sharp—a great sign with him now entering the fifth season of his NFL career. Allen is glad to be focused solely on football now after taking part in “The Match” a couple of weeks ago.
Down in New Jersey, all eyes were on quarterback Zach Wilson as he enters his second pro season. It was a rookie campaign full of ups and downs, but head coach Robert Saleh said that Wilson came into camp with a great mindset and physically looking better than ever. Sticking with the youth of the Jets, the highlight of minicamp were rookies Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson. Gardner was all over the field, highlighted by a red zone interception that he took back for a touchdown. Meanwhile Garrett is starting to improve his chemistry with Wilson rep by rep, possibly becoming the new favorite target on offense.
There’s no question that a huge amount of pressure is on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to produce in 2022. New receiver Tyreek Hill is certainly adding to that pressure after some comments he made during minicamp. Yes, he said the usual expected things that any new receiver would state to hype up his quarterback. However, it was certainly fascinating when he said that Tua was more accurate than Patrick Mahomes. With a new head coach in Mike McDaniel, all the talk leading up to the regular season will be if the offense can put points on the board with Tua at QB.
One of the biggest questions about the Patriots leading up to minicamp was how the team would replace departed All-Pro cornerback JC Jackson, who left during free agency. The early answer seems to be fourth-round pick Jack Jones. Jones saw a lot of action with the first-team defense during minicamp and made many plays, including an interception and a forced fumble. He has great athleticism to help in man coverage while also having a great football IQ to play zone.