AFC East: Ranking Each Team by Their Quarterback
#1. New England Patriots (Tom Brady)
It’s no surprise that the Patriots would be ranked as the best team in the division when it comes to the quarterback position. Tom Brady has been dominating the AFC East Division for almost two decades. In that span, the Patriots have made the playoffs every year except for in 2008 when Brady missed the entire season with a knee injury. Even then the Patriots, led by Matt Cassell still won 11 games. In fact, since 2001 the Patriots have won the division 16 out of 18 seasons.
The massive amount of success in the division is largely due to the fact that the Patriots are the epitome of stability. They are the only team in the division to have the same quarterback and head coach for more than 5 years. Since 2001 there have been over 45 different QBs to start a game for either the Jets, Dolphins or Bills. The only time Brady didn’t start was during his injury year and in 2016 when he was suspended for the first 4 games of the season. It also helps to have the same head coach for your entire career as well.
At 41 years old Brady doesn’t even look like he’s close to slowing down. Last season Brady threw for over 4300 yards, slung 29 touchdowns and had 65% completion percentage. All this en-route to leading New England to yet another Super Bowl win. There’s no reason to think Brady won’t put up great numbers again this year even without Rob Gronkowski. The future HOF Tight End announced his retirement this offseason. Still, Brady has succeeded in life before Gronk and he can certainly succeed in life after Gronk. Especially with Bill Belichick at the helm. Until he retires Brady will always be the best quarterback in the AFC East.
#2. New York Jets (Sam Darnold)
The New York Jets and in that same breath Sam Darnold are at a pivotal point. Last season the Jets drafted Darnold with the #3 overall pick after the Giants drafted Saquon Barkley at #2. There was much promise for Darnold entering last season and rightly so. The Jets have been starved for years of a true franchise quarterback. His 1st game was definitely a memorable one. On Monday Night Football he threw a pick-six on his very first pass of the game. However, he settled in and threw for 198 yards and 2 touchdowns completing over 76% of his throws in the Jets blowout win over the Lions. Just like every rookie QB Darnold had his highs and lows on the year. He also missed 4 games with a foot injury.
What makes Darnold the 2nd best quarterback in the division is the bright flashes that were present last season. The Jets offense took a lot of criticism for being too cautious with Sam and rightfully so. The lack of offensive weapons around Sam didn’t help either. However, if his last 4 games of the 2018 season are any indication of the quarterback he will become then he will truly be special.
One game in particular really stood out which was the road win in Buffalo where Darnold led the Jets on a game-winning drive late in the 4th quarter. The Jets have added new weapons such as Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder. As well as improved their offensive line. With new head coach Adam Gase behind him, Darnold is poised to have a breakout year and really set himself apart as the next premiere QB in the AFC East.
#3 Buffalo Bills (Josh Allen)
After moving on from Tyrod Taylor the Bills drafted Josh Allen with the 7th overall pick in the draft last year. He was the 3rd quarterback selected after Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. Allen didn’t start the season as the starter however he quickly replaced Nathan Peterman after week 1. The one big thing on Allen coming out of Wyoming was his incredible arm strength. And he showed it at points last season. One thing that caught many fans by surprise who hadn’t seen much of Allen in college was his scrambling ability and speed in the open field. In fact, last season Allen had 4 games in which he rushed for over 95 yards. In the loss to Miami, he rushed for a staggering 135 yards while also throwing for over 200 yards. However, those impressive stats are meaningless if you don’t win.
One of the negatives on Allen is his short-timer in the pocket. He’s quick to tuck the ball and run when his first option isn’t open. Last season he averaged just about 7 rushing attempts per game. Another less than stellar statistic for Allen last season was that he started 2 games in which he threw for less than 100 yards. Although Allen shows a few weaknesses there is still potential in him. He’s a tall guy who is mobile enough to get out of danger. The strength of this team so far looks like it’ll be their defense. But that doesn’t mean Allen can’t lead this offense and be successful. He still has LeSean McCoy in the backfield and a few speed guys at wide receiver.
#4 Miami Dolphins (Josh Rosen/Ryan Fitzpatrick)
The 10th overall pick in last year’s draft, Rosen had quite a few storylines around him. His time with the Arizona Cardinals, however, was less than stellar, to say the least. In 14 games he threw for just over 2200 yards with 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. His passing percentage wasn’t that good either. He finished the year completing about 55% of his passes and only had 3 games in which he completed over 60% of his passes. Ryan Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, had a typical Ryan Fitzpatrick tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He showed stints of being really good and then showed reminders as to why he is a journeyman. In 8 games last season he threw for over 2300 yards with 17 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Even though the Cardinals said that Rosen was their guy, everyone knew Murray was going to be the guy. The day after drafting Murray, Arizona traded Rosen to the Miami Dolphins for the 62nd overall pick in the draft and a 2020 5th rounder. Earlier this offseason the Dolphins had signed Ryan Fitzpatrick and as of right now there hasn’t been a designated starter named.
So far during OTAs Fitzpatrick has been taking snaps with the 1st team offense, however, there will no doubt be a quarterback battle during training camp. Rosen is the quarterback of the future for Miami so having a veteran like Fitzpatrick on the team should be seen as a plus even if Rosen doesn’t begin the season as the starter. If Fitzpatrick does end up being the starter he will have started a game for every team in the AFC East except for the Patriots.
How do you feel see the AFC East ranked by the quarterback? Leave a comment below.
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