If you’re not a fan of the cold winter months like me, then you’ll appreciate the consistent warmer temperatures that is starting to become a mainstay soon. Even as it’s getting warmer, head coaches and general managers in the NFL are always feeling the heat throughout the year, whether during the season or during the offseason with their respective teams. Not only is having the right talent on the field important but also having the right people behind the scenes running the show is just as crucial or else your franchise lacks any direction to compete for a championship. For this extensive series, I wanted to dissect and take the temperatures on all 32 teams’ head coaches and general managers to see whether their seats are hot, warm, or freezing cold. I will be covering it by division so that we can get a good glimpse into the state of each team. With all that being said, we will kick it off with the AFC East, a division that has exciting, and young, QBs who also have high expectations at the same time.
Buffalo Bills: GM Brandon Beane & Head Coach Sean McDermott
The Buffalo Bills are flat out the best team in this division, and it’s because of the consistency at the top of the food chain with Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott. Both joined forces in the 2017 off-season and took the Bills to the playoffs in their first year working together, which ended a 17 year play-off drought. They took a chance on drafting Josh Allen in their first draft together as their QB of the future and, in the same draft, took Tremaine Edmunds (the LB out of Virginia Tech) to be the captain of the defense. It’s safe to say that those two players have exceeded expectations, and the Buffalo roster has a ton of depth to it, which is why the potential is beginning to be maximized. Beane has been aggressive in acquiring talent to help out Allen, making headlines last off-season by trading for WR Stefon Diggs instead of just drafting a rookie at the same position. The Allen-Diggs connection was an instant success, as Diggs lead the league in receptions and receiving yards as well as providing a big time threat with a gifted passer like Allen. The Bills came up short in the AFC title game, but they are close to matching up with the Chiefs, and that alone is a testament to the job both Beane and McDermott have done out in Buffalo. They have entered the window to compete for, and potentially win, a Super Bowl.
Seat temperature: Buffalo cold. Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott will be in Buffalo for a while.
Miami Dolphins: GM Chris Grier & Head Coach Brian Flores
“Welcome to Miami, Bienvenidos a Miami”. That classic Will Smith track still goes off whenever and wherever it’s played but, in all seriousness, welcome to the new Miami Dolphins. Led by GM Chris Grier and HC Brian Flores, they have brought this team back into relevancy after being stuck in, what seemed like, purgatory for so many years. Both Grier and Flores have been given the keys by owner Stephen Ross to build and develop a roster that will compete for a SB, which they haven’t played in since SB 19 back in 1984 (when they were led by the legendary Don Shula and Dan Marino). They are hoping that their potential franchise QB, Tua Tagovailoa, will bring back the glory days of the 1970s, where they won two championships and, more notably, completed the only perfect season in NFL history in 1972. With a plethora of cap space, and multiple draft picks, GM Chris Grier has done an outstanding job and has flipped this roster from being mediocre to now winning double digit games for the first time since 2016. Even though they finished 10-6 this past year, they still just missed the playoffs due to a highly competitive and deep AFC conference. The Dolphins have tons of young talent and are ready to make some noise in the AFC, but it all falls on how Tua develops and ultimately performs in his second year. After all, both Grier’s and Flores’ jobs might depend on it!
Seat temperature: Cold. Like the Bills above, their seats right now aren’t even lukewarm. Job security won’t be an issue for the foreseeable future for these two.
New England Patriots: Head Coach and GM/De Facto GM Bill Belichick
Bill pretty much runs the show up in Foxboro by himself as the head coach and GM of the team. Even with seven titles, it seems like Bill has a chip on his shoulder to prove that last year’s 7-9 record post Tom Brady was just a fluke. If there is any indication on how much Bill hates to lose, just look at what happened in free agency. The Patriots guaranteed $159.8 million dollars to their players, which was the most spent at the start of the signing period. In came Matt Judon at the EDGE position, Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry at tight end to bring back the two tight end sets that Josh McDaniels utilizes so frequently, and WRs Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. Additionally, the Alabama and Nick Saban connection continued to bear fruit for the Patriots, as they selected QB Mac Jones 15th overall to learn behind the incumbent, Cam Newton, who is also trying to bounce back. We all saw that Brady can win without Bill, but now Bill must prove that he can win without Brady. There’s some speculation going around that Bill could be retiring soon, but I don’t see that happening just yet unless he can make one last final run.
Seat temperature: Ice cold. I believe Robert Kraft will allow Bill to walk away on his own terms whenever he’s ready before New England begins to find his successor at both HC and GM.
New York Jets: GM Joe Douglas and Head Coach Robert Saleh
J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS! If you’ve ever been to a Jets game, you’ll understand how passionate the fan base is, especially when they’re led by Fireman Ed and the Jets chant. As loud as its been in the stands, the team has failed to make any noise on the football field in quite some time. However, this tandem of Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh should be giving Jets fans plenty of hope, as they’re building a young and exciting nucleus to compete in this growing AFC East. The Jets still have some ways to go on defense but the offense, on paper, is looking like it could be explosive with the addition of Zach Wilson at QB and WRs like Corey Davis, Denzel Mims, Elijah Moore, and Jamison Crowder. Douglas has done a great job addressing the offensive line by drafting behemoths on the left side, with Mekhi Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker, to give the run game life and to ultimately protect their prized investment in Zach Wilson. Coach Saleh has a great reputation of being a leader of men, specifically on the defensive side of the ball. When you look at clips of him on the sideline, his enthusiasm and passion for the game seem to blend over into the players who play for him. Even though I don’t believe the Jets will make the postseason this year, I can see Coach Saleh having an impact like Joe Judge did last year with the Giants, where the team overachieves from a competitive standpoint even with the lack of top tier talent. For this new era for the Jets, it’s all about establishing the right culture and building a competitive roster that can match up with the best of the best in not only their division but the conference itself.
Seat temperature: Very cold. GM Joe Douglas is still building the team in his vision and HC Robert Saleh is taking his first swing as a HC. Their jobs are relatively safe but, in this New York market, the expectations are high and the patience is low.
I will be back soon with part 2, where we will be looking at the AFC West.