Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa takes part in drills at the NFL football team's training camp, Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

AFC East Training Camp Underway

The 2022 NFL season is just around the corner and things are starting to heat up around the league. The AFC East is setting up to be one of the most competitive in football this year. In 2021, the East was the only division to have three teams above .500 in the AFC, and each team has only gotten better. With the Miami Dolphins’ offseason additions, Buffalo Bills’ star power on the offensive side, and Bill Belichick still at the helm in Foxborough, this division is up for grabs.

High Expectations for Bills

The Buffalo Bills are coming off a great season in 2021 in which they won the AFC East. They ultimately lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round in what turned out to be one of the best games of the NFL season.

Stefon Diggs has played a big part in the Bills’ success in recent years. He is going into his eighth year in the NFL and his third in Buffalo. The star wideout has had over 1000 yards receiving in his first two seasons with the Bills. He was selected for the Pro Bowl in both years. Going into 2022, Diggs and his team are expecting nothing less than greatness.

Probably the biggest part of Buffalo’s success has been their quarterback Josh Allen. The gunslinger out of the University of Wyoming has emerged as one of the best QBs in the league and his top-tier receiving core has helped immensely.

Diggs has high praise for his quarterback, who has helped him become a top receiver in the NFL. Going into their third season together, the chemistry between the two will only continue to improve.

Mac Jones’ Second Year

The New England Patriots came in second in the AFC East in 2021 with a 10-7 record. They lost to the aforementioned Buffalo Bills in the Wildcard Round. With a disappointing end to last season, the Pats are poised for a deeper playoff run in 2022.

When you have one of, if not the greatest coach of all time, you are always going to be in the mix for a divisional crown. This is true for New England with Bill Belichick at the forefront. Belichick is going into his 23rd year as the head coach in Foxborough and is looking for his seventh Super Bowl title.

With Tom Brady in the rearview mirror, Mac Jones is the future in New England. Jones started all 17 games for the Patriots in 2021 while throwing for over 3800 yards and 22 touchdowns. He finished second in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting and was selected to the Pro Bowl. Belichick talks very highly of his quarterback, who has improved and gotten into better shape in the offseason.

Jones is hoping to improve in his sophomore season in the NFL, and his offseason work has shown he is up to the task.

Preparing for a New Regime and Pressure in Miami

The Dolphins have not won their division since 2008, but things are looking up in Miami. The Dolphins have a new head coach at the helm in Mike McDaniel. McDaniel was the offensive coordinator for the 49ers in 2021. He will be going into his first season as a head coach in the NFL.

Being a coach for a new team, McDaniel has to get acclimated to the players and training camp is a great way to do this. He said that he is excited for the upcoming season and for his guys to show him what they have.

Tua Tagovailoa is going into his third season in the NFL. He is under immense pressure from both the media and himself. Tagovailoa improved in his second year in Miami and is looking to make an even bigger jump in 2022.

The Dolphins have made some offseason additions that should help ease the pressure on Tagovailoa. They traded for one of the best wide receivers in the NFL in Tyreek Hill. Miami gave away five draft picks in return for Hill, who has solidified himself as a top-five wideout in the league. In addition to Hill, the Dolphins signed Mohamed Sanu on Tuesday to further help the receiving core.

They have also made a couple of moves to help protect their young quarterback. After their offensive line was ranked the lowest in the NFL in 2021, the only place to go is up. Miami signed offensive tackle, Terron Armstead and guard, Connor Williams in the offseason. These two will definitely improve on what was a porous front five for Miami last year.

Young Core for Jets

The New York Jets have been the laughing stock of the AFC East for years. They have had just one winning season since 2011, and have not won the division since 2002. While the expectations have been low for the Jets for a long time, the future looks bright in New York.

The Jets have a promising, young quarterback in Zach Wilson who is going into his second NFL season. Wilson took over the starting job in 2021 with some fantastic play. He did have some hiccups along the way and did not play at a Pro Bowl caliber level, but that is expected from a rookie. Wilson is looking to improve in his sophomore season as he has gotten accustomed to the playbook and style of head coach Robert Saleh.

Like the Dolphins, New York has also made some offseason additions that they hope will help their second-year quarterback. The Jets signed offensive guard, Laken Tomlinson as a free agent to help their o-line. Tomlinson was one of the best guards available in free agency this offseason. They also improved in the pass-catching department by signing tight end C.J. Uzomah from the Bengals.

About Hugh Green

Hugh is a third year student majoring in Journalism: Sports and Media at the University of Florida.

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