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Green Zone League Articles

Final Piece to the Puzzle? AFC East
By Garth Pearce
Special to gzl-football.com

BUFFALO BILLS

Small Pieces Corner support for Leodis McKelvin as Cletis Gordon is old and slow and Buster Skrine is a little raw and dumb. A young up and coming corner would be a great foil for McKelvin and help groom his replacement in a timely and unhurried manner. Similarly a touch of youth to revitalize the linebackers would help as A.J. Hawk and Shawne Merriman are feeling the bite of age and slowing down. Jerry Gonzalez is a step in the right direction on the right side (and has the highest awareness of all 3 starters), but higher speed would be a good choice as well to boost the output, rushing and coverage abilities.

Final Piece Robert Griffin III is the maker or breaker of the team and now that he has been tagged a scrambler (and rightfully so) his days can be hot or cold. Whilst only in his second year he still needs development to get his passing skills to a respectable level where a game plan can be chosen from the run or pass focus. Development time and conservative game play will help him progress to a point where he can be let loose to do all the wonderful things some of us want to see from him.


MIAMI DOLPHINS

Small Pieces After giving up on this year and selling their soul for numerous #1 picks (totalling six to date) it's obvious there is much work that can be done with this outfit. The front 4 at present looks to be all over the shop, playing their #1 DT at DE in a 4-3 formation with guys that look more suited to a 3-4. It might be working now (they may be on the field too much) but better consistency and speed could be a nice addition. Having lost Arthur Parker for good through injury it's a fair shot to say that some improvements at linebacker can further assist the front 4 into a well rounded pressure group.
Further help at corner seems to be a key issue as Sean Smith can't do it alone (5 picks for the entire team all year). Fabian Washington is a decent gap stop but will be slowing down in coming years, whilst Orlando Scandrick never realised his potential. Money says they'll look to the draft this year to pick up a future stud.

Final Piece A running game. After having Ryan Grant explode to great scoring heights last season they have been let down by fill ins Michael Bush and Dan Dugan who both can't get the yardage up and definitely find it harder to reach the end zone than Grant did. Maybe leveraging one of those picks into a quality back or trying for a stud rookie is where it's at for next year.


NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Small Pieces This team is transitioning from an older unit with a lot of salary issues into a current day franchise and doing a pretty decent job of it. Unfortunately that isn't relating to wins so the talent on this squad is as potent as the Dolphins who have already given up. Whilst I think that Mark Sanchez is as cursed by the Madden gods as he is in real life he may just be in need of a decent running game. BenJarvus Green-Ellis hasn't hit the big time and isn't supporting Sanchez with a solid yardage ground game. LaMichael James is only slightly better on his performance but is far from the prototypical back that succeeds in Madden.

Final Piece Fix that secondary. All those corners are old gap fillers (Asomugha, Robinson and Ross) or underdone (Marcus McCauley) and injuries just keep telling you that they don't have any depth there, let alone true starter quality. Ideally you'd look for at least one guy with some sense of experience, but flesh out the rest with some physical talent erring on the side of youth to match speed with receivers and get better coverage for years to come.


NEW YORK JETS

Small Pieces Even though they are producing surprising numbers for their abilities, I'd say an overhaul of the outside linebackers would be a good start. DeVonte Holloman and Marcus Gilbert are both sub-par on speed, low awareness and tackle. Tavon Fields has the best athletic talent of the group but still doesn't possess true speed. As the Jets have practically been building from an empty cupboard they have done well to get so much out of these types of players, however moving forward they would want to shore up these positions with players that can help on the rush and in coverage and not get easily burnt.

Final Piece Kevin Kolb is not the answer as a starting QB at this stage of his career. His awareness is way too low for a guy who can't get affordable progression after this year and his usage is conservative at best. He's never been big on the scoring numbers which will hinder this team's ability to share the load between run and pass. He's a step in the right direction after the Tom Riddell era and the Mark Sanchez fiasco of last season, but he's not a long term solution for a team bouncing back from its dark days.
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