Week one of the 2020 NFL season for the AFC East will see all four teams facing off against each other. The Buffalo Bills will host the New York Jets, while the Miami Dolphins will start where they finished their 2019 season, in Gillette Stadium against the New England Patriots.
Let’s take a look at each team before Week 1.
Starting behind quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the team will have first-round, future franchise QB Tua Tagovailoa watching and waiting in the back-up spot. Miami solidified that spot for Tagovailoa after the release of former first-round quarterback Josh Rosen.
As we all prepare for the start of the 2020 NFL season, let’s take a look at the four teams of the AFC South. New quarterbacks, old quarterbacks with new teams, teams completely shaking it up, we have it all in the AFC South.
The Titans ended their 2019 campaign playing in the AFC Championship game. They came up short against the team that would turn out to be the Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. They were led by veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was picked up via trade with the Miami Dolphins, who had replaced long time QB Marcus Mariota.
What more could one write that hasn’t already been written about Coach Jimmy Johnson?
Besides building arguably one of the greatest football teams in the history of the NFL, with the players like Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman and all-time NFL rushing leader Emmitt Smith, Coach Johnson led the Cowboys to two Super Bowls, winning back to back titles in 1992-1993.
Those that have known Coach Johnson personally will tell you straight away, that everything Jimmy Johnson does, he does 110%. Failure isn’t an option for this coach. This goes as far back as Johnson’s playing days at the University of Arkansas where he won a National Championship with the team in 1964.
We’re inching closer to the 2020 NFL season and the question about fans in the stands still remains.
The New York Giants announced via email that season ticket members now have the option to forgo the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ticket members will not lose their seating rights or license if they choose to stay home. The New England Patriots released a statement of their own, saying that higher risk fans now have the option to opt-out this year without the penalty of losing their seats to other fans on the waiting list
As NFL teams prepare and announcements are made, fans are facing decisions of their own. After all, football season is right around the corner.
As I sit down and reflect on the news of legendary Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula’s passing, I felt yet again that a part of my childhood was lost. Lost to only memories now. I won’t get to see Coach Shula in his golf cart driving around Hard Rock Stadium, or as it once was Joe Robbie Stadium.
Like so many older Dolphins fans, it took a while to adjust to this stadium, for all of our early memories were of the Orange Bowl. That is where the real magic was. That is where it all began. During the late ’60s and ’70s, Don Shula’s name was a mainstay in our household. Going to Dolphins game became so religious that all our neighbors would think we were heading off to church.
Since the departure of quarterback Tom Brady from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the AFC East now is considered “up for grabs”. So which team is poised and ready to take over the reins?
With the Miami Dolphins in full rebuild mode and the Jets still finding their nitch with second-year Head Coach Adam Gase, the Bills are poised and are deemed the heavy favorites to take over the AFC East. Fourth-year head coach Sean McDermott brought the Buffalo Bills to a 10-6 record and second in the AFC East in 2019. With the aid of a departing Brady and a solid draft class(see below) for 2020, the Buffalo Bills and their Bills Mafia fan base are ready for an AFC East take-over.
As the Miami Dolphins approached rounds two and three of the 2020 NFL Draft, they held two picks in the second round (39-56 picks overall), followed by the 70th pick in round 3.
With the 39th pick, the Miami Dolphins selected Louisiana tackle, Robert Hunt. This guy is a beast. At 6’5″ and 323 pounds, Hunt played mostly right tackle for the Ragin Cajuns. Miami was sure to add more protection for their star pick, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who just happens to be a left-handed quarterback.
Coming into the 2020 NFL Draft with three picks in the first round, the Miami Dolphins were poised to make some noise. There were rumors swirling all day about the Dolphins moving up to secure a quarterback or offensive lineman. But, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier held fast.
The Miami Dolphins didn’t flinch and grabbed Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick. Despite his season ending hip injury he suffered in November 2019, Tagovailoa has been on the Dolphins radar all year. Grier said the team felt comfortable with his health. Coach Brian Flores then added that Tagovailoa was the guy they felt at the end of the day would be the best fit for the Dolphins.
After landing their quarterback, the Dolphins went back to work. Having a left handed quarterback meant that Miami would need a right tackle to protect his blind side. With the 18th pick Miami went with USC tackle Austin Jackson. Interesting fact, in the summer of 2019 Jackson donated bone marrow to his younger sister. Which already speaks volumes of the young man.
We are exactly one week away from making NFL history. Not only will the 2020 NFL draft be held virtually without fans in attendance due to health concerns over COVID-19 virus, but the Miami Dolphins (for the first time in team history) hold three picks in the first round.
How will Miami decide to use these picks? Do they utilize all three picks the first round or do they try and trade down for more picks?
These and many more answers will be answered in one week per Dolphins GM Chris Grier who addressed the Dolphins media today via video conference.