Monday, January 18, 2021

AFC East Watch Week 9 : How bad is Adam Gase

With the NFL’s ninth week in the books it’s time for the latest AFC East watch. While Dolfan’s eyes are mostly on the top of the division, the second best storyline has to be the continued demolition of Adam Gase’s reputation by the man himself. Once hailed as the QB whisperer, Gase is about to get the keys to the NFL’s next great QB. Or is he?

AFC East Watch : New York Jets

In what has become the weekly “How can we find a hilarious way to lose” watch, the Jets blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead to the Patriots. In fact the Jets managed to hold the ball for only 1:24 in the whole of the fourth and passed up their latest best chance to win a game.

Sitting at 0-9 it’s hard to see where that win will come from for Adam Gase, although the offensive output does seem to be better since the inclusion of Denzel Mims and Joe Flacco seems to be finding his game legs once again. With Darnold set to return will the Jets go back to their once highly-touted QB or stick with Flacco?

The question seems largely meaningless as the Jets continue to be heavy favourites to secure Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 NFL Draft. Whether Gase remains as Jets coach is highly doubtful. You have to begin to wonder if Jets owner Woody Johnson has pulled a masterstroke in hiring Gase as he has driven the team to the verge of securing one of the hottest QB’s in recent drafts.

AFC East Watch: Do the Jets play Flacco and go for the win or Tank for Trevor?
AFC East Watch: Do the Jets play Flacco and go for the win or Tank for Trevor?

Did Johnson hire Gase just to tank for Trevor? Unlikely…but Gase has just one winning season to his name, and continues in his job. So if Gase is part of the plan, the plan must be to lose.

AFC East Watch: New England Patriots

After Cam Newton’s fumble at the end of the Pats Bills game in week 8, things continued their rollercoaster way for the 2020 Patriots with a win over the hapless Jets. For three quarters it looked a bit like New England might suffer the humiliation of giving the Jets their first win of the season.

Will the Patriots take some solace that they're not the Jets?
Will the Patriots take some solace that they’re not the Jets?

But in true Patriots fashion they found a way to win. It doesn’t seem like this group of Patriots are quite as keen on working their tails off for their coach as previous iterations have. Whether that’s due to a shortened preseason, where Belichick drives his players notoriously hard, or something deeper, like extremely poor drafting remains to be seen.

But don’t write off Belichick too quickly. He is a proven defensive mastermind and likely to be challenging again next year. For this year though we can enjoy them struggling in the bottom half of the AFC East.

AFC East Watch: Buffalo Bills

Just in case anyone thought the old Josh Allen was back with his errant throws and leaving the door open for teams after week 8, this week saw the Bills destroy the Seahawks porous defence. But make no mistake, while the Seattle pass defence is particularly offensively friendly, the Bills where mighty impressive.

Buffalo still sit atop the AFC East...for now
Buffalo still sit atop the AFC East…for now

Piling up 415 pass yards and 44 points was a site that would make any Dolphin’s fan nauseous. It seems Josh Allen has turned a corner in his third season that few saw coming, and even fewer wanted to see. As Allen demonstrates a continuing unbelievable improvement in accuracy, it seems the Bills may be contenders in the AFC East for years to come.

We can take some small comfort that their defence gave up 34 to the Seahawks, but this are small mercies as the Bills do look serious contenders this year.

AFC East Watch: Our Miami Dolphins

If Tua was disappointing in week 8 (he was), he was far from it in week 9. His fourth quarter heroics catapulted past the Kyler Murray led Cardinals with one of the best QB performances we have seen since Dan Marino.

Making good reads, going through his progressions, and being elusive and making plays with his legs, Tua Tagovailoa looked every inch the franchise QB he was drafted to be. A foot injury to Preston Williams is definitely not something we want to see, but take some comfort in the fact that Tua completed passes to 7 different players, and attempted passes to 9.

There was still scant sign of a run defence which is a concern. And while Xavien Howard only gave up 3 catches for 58 yards on the day, he also had 4 PI calls for 42 yards. You could definitely argue you would take that as he was matched up on DeAndre Hopkins all day, but we expect better.

AFC East Watch: Tua Tagovailoa shows he could be the franchise QB we've all been waiting for
AFC East Watch: Tua Tagovailoa shows he could be the franchise QB we’ve all been waiting for

Byron Jones had an arguably worse day as Christian Kirk repeatedly and gratuitously ravaged him, and the Cardinals took him for 6 catches, 161 yards, and 2 scores. The second of which could’ve been an interception if he was a little stronger.

But this was Tua’s day, and a day the fans have been waiting a long time for. Fins very much up after this one.

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