The New England Patriots. The Miami Dolphins. The Buffalo Bills. The New York Jets. In the AFC East, there are four teams who have potential to make the playoffs. The Patriots are a consistent team who even won 11 games in 2008, even without their face of the franchise, quarterback Tom Brady.
The Miami Dolphins shocked the NFL world last season, going 11-5, winning the division, this coming a year after an abysmal 1-15 year. The Buffalo Bills started very well last year, winning five of their first six, but collapsed down the stretch, finishing 7-9. Adding Terrell Owens to the team improved their offense immensely.
The New York Jets, without a doubt, improved over the offseason. They bolstered their defense, adding Bart Scott and Lito Sheppard, and also picked their future quarterback, Mark Sanchez. You'd think they'd let their play do the talking.
Joey Porter (pictured) is one of the best defensive ends in the league. He's one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL, as he racked up 17.5 sacks last year, and some were even mentioning his name early as a Defensive Player of the Year Candidate. However, he's most widely known as a loudmouth.
In 2004, he got in a fight with Browns running back William Green before a game, and was ejected. Since, he hasn't been involved in such trouble, but has always been a pest to opponent's, whether it be on offensive lines or nerves.
In a recent interview with ESPN, he said, despite the Jets improving their defense and quarterback play, the Bills getting T.O., and the Patriots getting a healthy Brady back, the Dolphins are still the "team to beat" in the AFC East. Now, in context, that's obvious, because they are, after all, defending AFC East Champs.
However, Porter wasn't exactly respectful for his division opponents, saying: "I don't understand how you can put somebody in front of us." My message, and I'm sure I'm not alone, to Porter is: just shut up and play. That may be a preposterous proposal, as he is just an NFL player who will amass a total of $32M when his contract expires in three seasons.
This is to be expected from a guy like Porter, though. This is a player who is famous for challenging Brandon Marshall and fighting Levi Jones. This certainly isn't surprising. However, another AFC East team has been all over the news lately.
The New York Jets are a team who certainly improved their core in the offseason. They signed free agent linebacker Bart Scott to a six-year, $48M deal, traded for CB Lito Sheppard, and drafted QB Mark Sanchez with the fifth overall pick. However, the Jets have been mostly in the news for their talk.
Just today, safety Kerry Rhodes claimed the J-E-T-S would have the best defense in football throughout the 2009-10 season. "We will be the best defense in the league this year. I feel for the offenses we're gonna face," said the veteran safety on his Twitter account.
First of all, it's extremely premature to say something, and secondly, I'd be quite surprised if the Jets finished in the top ten in total defense this year. I take units like the Steelers, Vikings, Ravens, Eagles, Giants, and even Redskins above the Jets.
On top of that, new head coach Rex Ryan approved the comment, saying: "I'm excited about that comment. You know what? I love the fact that he put 'we will,' not, 'I'll be the best safety.'' The AFC East is getting even more childish than a rap feud.
Days before, Ryan took a 'we're not scared' mentality into an already intense Patriots/Jets rivalry, saying in an interview with WFAN: "I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick's, you know, rings. I came to win. Let's just put it that way.
So we'll see what happens. I'm certainly not intimidated by New England or anybody else." It seems to me Ryan is having no problem at all talking the talk heading into the 2009 NFL season. As Elvis Presley once said: "a little less conversation, a little more action".
Right now, Ryan is only talking about his fantasies to turn the Jets into a Super Bowl team, but not explaining HOW it will happen. Who knows? Ryan may know exactly what he is doing. But, he'd have a much better chance of doing that if he spent more time watching film on opponents and getting to know his players better as opposed to chatting it up with ESPN analysts on how the Jets are the second coming of a dynasty.
Right now, the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots are the only team keeping their mouths shut. However, with T.O. in Buffalo, the Bills can be taken off this list. My message to the Jets and Joey Porter: just shut up, play football, and let the performance speak for itself. That's the loudest voice at the end of the day.