Hoo-rah… NFL fans outside New England finally get to move on after arguably the least surprising and allegedly boring Super Bowls in years (I chose not to watch it). It seems like even Patriots fans are getting bored with their team running out of fingers for all of their rings. Good for them.
Cue the obligatory nod to Tom Brady as the GOAT, Bill Belichick as the greatest head coach in NFL history and the rest of the appropriate accolades for their franchise and their incredible success.
OK, now that revolting task is done and we can move forward to focus on what the Bills and other AFCE teams will do in 2019 to put an end to our shared AFCE misery. Let’s start by taking a look around the divisional landscape to see what’s changed.
The most obvious changes are the Jets and Dolphins hiring new head coaches. This will likely alter the trajectory of development for Sam Darnold and the Dolphins may or may not see Tannehill as having any future in Miami.
However, one less talked-about acquisition by the Jets that could have even more impact than their new head coach Adam Gase is their hiring Gregg Williams as defensive coordinator. BillsMafia knows all too well how Greggy rolls.
I can’t think of a more massive ego in need of validation than Gregg Williams. One way Williams can find to gratify his enormous needs is by beating Belichick, the guy who he will never become in terms of legacy.
A couple of cracks a year until Belichick retires might assuage an otherwise insatiable need for dominance and approval by GreGG. Don’t underestimate to what lengths Williams might go to magnify his notoriety.
The Miami Dolphins are almost as mysterious as the Hoodie these days, and with good reason. Hiring Brian Flores from the Patriots is just what we do in the AFCE – poach, poach and poach some more. It’s the Belichick way.
It’s anybody’s guess what the Dolphins intend to do with Tannehill but after multiple coaching staffs failed to get him to thrive, a fresh start at quarterback seems likely. It will be interesting to see Miami’s draft strategy at the position.
The bottom line for both the Jets and Dolphins is they are likely to be in either a short term or take-it-to-the-stud rebuild in 2019. If so, that leaves the Bills as furthest along in terms of fielding a competitive team in the division.
While the Patriots will no doubt adjust to a likely retirement by Gronkowski, they will also adapt their offense around Brady’s declining skill set. No one morphs a team identity faster than the Hoodie.
That stated, if the Bills can construct a new offensive line and pick up a couple of wide receivers – that might give Josh Allen the best chance to hasten his development as a quarterback. Bringing in Ken Dorsey as a quarterbacks coach puts an enviable quarterback room together.
This shows how much Beane and McDermott recognized the error of their ways in terms of who they surrounded Josh Allen with after the draft. To go into the season with only Nathan Peterman was a serious gaffe on their part but they seem to have recovered nicely – by bringing some great minds and role models for Josh Allen to lean on as he goes into a very important second season.
My one wish during the next phase of the off-season is for the Bills to somehow land TWO top-tier tight ends. It can be via draft and/or free agency, I don’t care. The Bills franchise needs to set the TE position free from decades of mediocrity.
Give me a better version of Gronk and Hernandez. Having two star tight ends would allow Brian Daboll’s true genius as a play-caller to flourish. I dream of the day when the Bills will stop ignoring the importance of the tight-end position.
No more Robert Royals!
All things considered, the Bills seem best positioned to challenge the Patriots for the AFCE title in 2019. Loads of cap space, ten draft assets and a franchise quarterback learning the ropes.
Reasons for optimism, to be sure. It’s way past time for our sad-sack of a franchise to rise from the ashes.
Editor’s babble: If ever there was a Bills’ off-season to pay attention to, this would be the one. The pressure is on to get this Bills thing right. Those of us who still believe in happy endings need to see some evidence it’s going to happen soon for the Bills. In the meantime, you can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.