Make no mistake about the clinic that Colts outside linebacker Dwight Freeney put on against Dolphins left tackle Jake Long on Sunday, registering three QB hits, two pressures and a sack against Miami's All-Pro left tackle.
The fact that Freeney is a future Hall of Fame defensive end pardons Long if only a little bit, considering the struggles Freeney has seen this season. That being said, does the problem run deeper for Long?
He has given up three sacks, six quarterback hits and five pressures this season according to ProFootballFocus.com. His grade of -2.0 puts him as the league's 46th-rated tackle by their metric.
A look back at his career seems to indicate that he's not far off his typical pace on the stat sheet.
It's entirely possible that Long isn't struggling quite as much as some might think, but instead that he simply ran into some tough competition yesterday.
However, where Long has struggled the most according to PFF is in penalties and run-blocking. For those of you saying right tackle Jonathan Martin should move to the left in place of Long when his contract expires, Martin's two sacks, two hits and team-high 19 pressures have something else to say about that.
In short, Long's struggles are nothing major in the grand scheme of things. However, as a free agent this season, he'd better hope the Dolphins brass feels the same way if he wants to remain with the team in 2013 and beyond.
Here is some more news and analysis from around the AFC East.
Ben Volin of The Palm Beach Post writes about the defensive breakdowns, specifically on third downs and in the passing game.
Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald says that Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is good, but can't mask the team's issues just yet.
Jerry Sullivan of The Buffalo News says that he's beginning to wonder about the offensive genius label on Bills head coach Chan Gailey.
Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe says we can no longer put the Patriots on a pedestal as a high-character organization if they keep bringing in players with character issues for the sole purpose of winning.
Bleacher Report Patriots featured columnist Mike Dussault takes a look at how the Patriots match up against some potential playoff and Super Bowl contenders.
Brian Costello of the New York Post writes that the future of the players, coaches and general manager will be determined by how the Jets finish the season.
Bob Glauber of Newsday says the Jets can turn their season around in seven steps.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.
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