Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

AFC East

Bills ::

  • Pass, pass, and more pass
  • Added WR Emmanuel Sanders in FA, who moved all over the formation in preseason
  • Cole Beasley played only slot in preseason
  • Everyone’s favorite “sleeper” Gabriel Davis played only perimeter in preseason without Stefon Diggs
  • Based on what we saw preseason, expect Diggs to lead WRs in snap rate, followed by Sanders, Beasley, and Davis
  • The answer to Devin Singletary or Zack Moss is Josh Allen
  • OC Brian Daboll returns after seemingly being a lock for a HC position; his offense is one of the most creative and dynamic in the league
  • BUF boast a top ten defensive unit, with lockdown corner Tre’Davious White amongst the best in the league; opposite corner Levi Wallace is a 6’ “position” corner with 4.63 speed, while nickel Taron Johnson allowed 64 receptions in coverage in 2020, 9th most in the league
  • Pass volume against this defense is more a nod to the pressure the offense puts on teams through the air, leading to more possessions overall
  • BUF ranked 11th in situation-neutral pace of play and 11th in pass play rate in 2020
  • Their 24.5 rushes per game in 2020 are unlikely to drastically increase in 2021
  • BUF ranked middle of the league in rush TDs per game in 2020 at 0.9 (19th)
  • Overall, the offense should remain largely the same in 2021 with the exception of the “Queen chess piece” in Emmanuel Sanders whom Daboll is moving around the formation, creating mismatches with double slot, bunch formations, and various other unique looks

Dolphins ::

  • OC by committee (?; seriously what?)
  • Top 5 defense (unique pressure packages + secondary)
  • Brian Flores defensive mastermind (dynamic pressures, off-edge rushes, weak side delayed pressure, false fronts, LBs/nickel drops, the nine)
  • Added Jaylen Waddle in draft and Will Fuller in FA to join DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson
  • Added Malcolm Brown to join Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed in the backfield; confusing preseason usage amongst RBs, but I expect Gaskin to remain 65-70%+ snap rate RB, spelled by Ahmed (Malcolm Brown is just #notgood, but possible he starts as GL back)
  • Tua looked a new man in preseason, showcasing his arm strength and downfield chops; expect DeVante Parker to operate in the “possession” type role, with Will Fuller stretching the seam, Jaylen Waddle and Albert Wilson rotating through the slot and sparse perimeter snaps and working intermediate-deep, and Mike Gesicki owning the middle of the field
  • Look for MIA to improve on their 24th-ranked drive success rate in 2021, which will put less strain on their defense overall
  • Middle of the pack 59% situation neutral pass play rate in 2020, 56% on first and second down
  • DSR will depend on Tua’s improvements, as MIA hold a bottom three run-blocking OL
  • Based on the direction this team went this offseason through draft and FA, expect elevated pass rates attacking all three depths of the field
  • 25th-ranked situation neutral pace of play likely to continue into 2021 under Flores
  • Bottom 5 OL projected for 2021; expect the Dolphins to struggle rushing the football once again

Patriots ::

  • Top 5 OL (added Trent Brown)
  • Defense healthy after numerous holdouts in 2020
  • Mac Joneszn (Cam Newton released)
  • Sony Michel dealt to LAR
  • Damien Harris 250+ rushes all but locked
  • Rhomandre Stevenson showed out in preseason, possibility he starts as GL back with plus frame
  • James White resumes third-down/passing specialist duties
  • Jonnu Smith/Hunter Henry both added in FA; both are complete TEs
  • Look for increased 12-personnel (shift from 21-personnel of recent years), with Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor primary WRs
  • Mac Jones’ strengths are timing and accuracy, and Agholor is a 23 mph-running burner
  • Look for targets to filter through Jakobi, Jonnu, Henry, and White
  • 31st-ranked situation neutral pass rate in 2020 at 49%, 46% on first and second downs
  • NE averaged only 27.5 pass plays per game in 2020 with Cam at the helm
  • With a top 5 OL, top 10 defense, and rookie QB, it’s hard to imagine them increasing pass plays per game dramatically

Jets ::

  • Robert Saleh HC (SF DC); a “player’s coach,” in that he’s extremely well-liked and gets the most from his players
  • Mike LaFleur OC (pass); Kyle Shanahan coaching tree
  • Expect a tailored west coast offense; outside zone run scheme, elevated play action rates, and an offense built to maximize his players’ strengths
  • Additions of Corey Davis and Keelan Cole in FA, Elijah Moore in draft
  • Headache of a backfield with Tevin Coleman, Lamical Perine, Ty Johnson, and rookie Michael Carter (no clear evidence to any semblance of expected workload amongst these four to start the year)
  • Chris Herndon dealt to MIN prior to final cuts, leaving only Tyler Kroft and Trevon Wesco at TE
  • 70.5% of targets in 2020 went to WRs, third most in the NFL
  • Based on offensive personnel, likely to remain towards the top of the league in 2021
  • Jets ranked dead last in the NFL in 2020 in total offense
  • Averaged 4th fewest pass attempts per game in 2020 at 31.2
  • Likely to see a small boost to pass attempts per game under LaFleur, but the Shanahan west coast system is primarily based on putting stress on a defense both vertically and horizontally, effectively opening up the field to get playmakers in space
  • Jeff Ulbrich DC (ATL LB); quick side note, it’s interesting how many defensive coaches from ATL landed coordinator gigs this season after ATL finished 2020 ranked so poorly on that side of the ball
  • Jets’ defensive strength was their front 7, but early injuries have already put the brakes on that; suspect secondary, now with questions about amount of pressure they will create, likely to lead to early season miscues and splash plays against

Next: AFC North »