On Thursday’s show, the Finsiders discussed quarterbacks across the division. Here’s an overview regarding QBs in the AFC East.
Projected Starter: Ryan Tannehill
Key Reserves: Matt Moore, Pat Devlin
Overview: Ryan Tannehill is coming off a 2013 season in which he threw for nearly 4,000 yards, completed more than 60 percent of his passes, and doubled his touchdown passes from his rookie campaign (24). Along with that, Tannehill also led the Dolphins to big time wins against the likes of Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, and Tom Brady. Tannehill will be entering his third, and most pivotal, season so far in 2014 behind a revamped offensive line and under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who worked closely with Eagles quarterback Nick Foles last season. After falling just short of the postseason a year ago, Tannehill will be the key for Miami if they are to make a playoff push in 2014.
New England Patriots
Projected Starter: Tom Brady
Key Reserves: Ryan Mallet, Jimmy Garoppolo
Overview: His numbers may not have shown it, but the season Tom Brady put together last year may have been his finest yet in his 15 year career. Brady took a Patriots offense lacking Rob Gronkowski, and featuring two rookie wide receivers, all the way to Denver, where they fell in January’s AFC Championship game to the Broncos. Along the way, Brady threw for 4,300 yards and 25 touchdowns, while leading New England to its 11th straight double-digit win season (he quarterbacked 10 of them, missing most of 2008 with a knee injury). In May, the Patriots selected rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of the NFL draft, with the hopes that he will one day take the reigns from the 36 year old Brady.
New York Jets
Projected Starter: Geno Smith/Michael Vick
Key Reserves: Matt Simms
Overview: After struggling out of the gate last season, now second-year quarterback Geno Smith turned it around over his final month, leading the Jets to a 3-1 finish and a surprising 8-8 record. However, Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik may still need some convincing, as the team signed veteran Michael Vick in March to compete with Smith. After six weeks of OTA’s and minicamp, Ryan has remained mum on his week one starter, so expect this competition to continue throughout training camp and even into the preseason. Last year, Smith threw for more than 3,000 yards and 12 touchdowns, but turned the ball over 25 times, including a three-game stretch in which he threw six interceptions.
Projected Starter: EJ Manuel
Key Reserves: Thaddeus Lewis, Jeff Tuel
Overview: EJ Manuel, the first quarterback taken in the 2013 draft, and the 13th overall pick, had an injury plagued rookie season, as a lingering knee injury sidelined him for nearly half the year. When he did play, however, Manuel showed promise, throwing for 11 touchdowns and displaying solid chemistry with rookie wide receiver Robert Woods. Buffalo appears to be all in on Manuel, as the team drafted receiver Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall pick in May’s draft, adding yet another skill player to an already talented Buffalo offense. Manuel will be backed up by former Duke Blue Devil Thaddeus Lewis, who led the Bills to a 2-3 record in Manuel’s absence a year ago.
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