Here are seven notes and observations about Week 16 in the AFC East:
Did the New York Jets quit on Tim Tebow or did Tebow quit on the Jets? I’ve been asking myself this question since ESPNNewYork’s report that Tebow asked out of the Wildcat package this week. A case can be made for both sides. It was an uncharacteristic move for Tebow, who has been a very good solider for the Jets all season. The former first-round pick and Heisman Trophy winner accepted his role as the Wildcat quarterback up until Sunday. Tebow played special teams as a punt protector and never complained. But it doesn’t seem right for any player to ask out of a package he’s played in all season. On the flip side, the Jets deceived Tebow by making him feel like he was the No. 2 quarterback. It turns out the Jets thought third-stringer Greg McElroy was a better option when starter Mark Sanchez was benched. So did Tebow quit on the Jets? Maybe both sides quit on each other.
While we are on the subject of Tebow, should the Jets honor his request to be released? ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports Tebow will be released this offseason so he can sign with the hometown Jacksonville Jaguars. But do the Jets owe Tebow his release at the expense of potential compensation? What if New York can get a late-round pick for Tebow from Jacksonville or another team? Should the Jets throw that away to honor Tebow’s wishes? Yes, the Jets mishandled Tebow in embarrassing fashion this year. But I’m not sure New York “owes” Tebow when the team needs all the help and draft picks it can get.
Is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady experiencing a slump? Brady didn’t look like his usually dominant self in a 23-16 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Patriots started slow and Brady finished with 267 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He had multi-interception games in back-to-back weeks for the first time all season. The Patriots need the best version of Brady in the playoffs to make a Super Bowl run.
The Miami Dolphins have to feel good heading into the final week of the regular season. Sure, they were eliminated from playoff contention and will be underdogs on the road against New England. But Miami is 7-8 and is in a great position to get better with plenty of draft picks and cap space. The key will be making the right decision with the immense resources the Dolphins have. Figuring out which in-house free agents to keep will be crucial.
Miami rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has 96 rushing yards on 14 carries the past two games. The Dolphins added a new wrinkle in their playbook to use Tannehill on read-option plays, which is something that’s also worked for fellow rookie quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson. Tannehill is a sneaky good athlete who runs well. He is averaging 6.8 yards per carry the past two weeks. Tannehill played receiver in college for two years and Miami is wisely putting those running skills to use.
There are a lot of things going against retaining Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey. But something Bills leadership will be looking at closely after the season is Gailey’s struggles within the AFC East. Gailey is 3-14 against division rivals in three seasons as head coach. If you can’t win in the division, you can’t make the playoffs. The Bills are 1-4 this year against the AFC East and still have one division game left Sunday against the Jets.
Finally, there is a silver lining for the Bills losing games down the stretch. Buffalo currently holds the No. 6 overall pick with one game remaining. This is a good spot to land a tremendous player at the top of the first round. Buffalo’s two biggest needs are quarterback and linebacker, and most of the top prospects are in play.