A Look at Two Very Different AFC East Organizations.

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New coaches and coordinators will be hard pressed installing their schemes, offensive or defensive, or in some cases both, such as Carolina, in time for the start of the regular season. Here are two teams for which continuity or lack thereof should show up on the field starting week one. The lack of OTA’s and a shortened camp should make for an interesting first half of the season for sure. At least football is back in all it’s (sometimes messy) glory!

The Parcells hangover is alive and will in Miami. I’m afraid it might be until Ireland and Sparano are sent packing. Another 7-9 season and this will surely come to pass. They’re trying to make the right moves as they identified a glaring need for speed and seemed to address it by drafting burners like Clyde Gates at wide receiver and picking up speedster Philip Livas as kick return specialist who possesses 4.3 speed. They traded for Reggie Bush, who is one of the most dangerous players in the NFL with the ball in his hands in space. Now if he can stay on the field for all 16 games,he can present huge match-up problems for opposing defenses. Again providing they can get him the ball in space. Team speed is a huge need for a team that finished next to last in chunk plays in the league last year. As for Livas,this is if he actually makes the team. Miami’s front office has a history of keeping the wrong guys. I think h-back Charles Clay might also turn out to be a key multipurpose player and seam threat comparable to Dallas Clark in Indy. Same type of skill-set and with a little Wild-Cat QB experience thrown in for good measure. He actually ran it for 2 years in college.

The talent appears to be there, it just depends on if Ireland is smart enough to keep it. They usually on keep 5 RB’s and 5 receivers going into the season. That leaves someone out. If they put Livas on the practice squad, he’s gone. My hope is they’ve learned from their past failures and keep the play-makers they so desperately need. Solid players are good for 8-9 wins, legitimate players makers are good for 10-13. Teams like the Dolphins need play-makers desperately. Remarkably they find them year after year and cut them lose. Anthony Armstrong, Aromashodu being recent examples at wide receiver who moved on and played well elsewhere. They identify them enough to get them to camp and then cut them lose to keep too many offensive and defensive lineman. Oh, and if they don’t keep CB Jimmy Wilson on the 53 man roster, I might just have to root for another team after 35 year. The roster is loaded with play-makers, minus QB of course, they better keep them, and then they better find a way to use them. If not, Sparano and Ireland are probably done after this season. With good reason.

The Patriots have the smartest front office and coach in the league. As much as I dislike them being a Dolphins fan, facts are facts. They build through the draft. They always find a way to maximize they players they have and augment their roster with smart subtractions and additions that always seem to fit their systems well. Plus, Belichick is a master of adjustments on the football side of the business. Every year he makes all the right moves to better his team. For instance, after assessing not only his team but what was available in free agency, he adjusted he defense accordingly and then picked up through free agency and trade the right players to man it. He’s not stuck in the same scheme year after year. His coaching is fluid and changes with his personnel.

Last year they ran primarily 3-4 defense. Yet after Coach Belichick looked over his draft and the free agents available, he noticed a particular weakness in the free agent class of OLB pass rushers available, so he made the adjustment to a primarily 4-3. Brilliant. He then went out and signed a multitude of players to make the scheme work. Now his D-line is stacked. He identified a need for pass-rushers and found a way to fill that need by adapting his defensive philosophy. He’s not stuck on one particular scheme and that’s what makes him so great as a GM and a coach. That’s what makes him infinitely better than guys like Rex Ryan. Ryan gets players to fit HIS scheme, Belichick adapts to his players. Not just on defense either. Last year, even before the draft, he decided he couldn’t rely on Randy Moss to put up the same numbers as the previous year, so he adjusted his offense accordingly by drafted two outstanding tight-ends in the draft.That turned out to be another genius move as both players performed exceptionally well. Especially for first year players. This foresight effectively opening the door for the Pats to traded Moss. New England is a first class organization from the top down and it shows every year. The Patriots a great front office that is capable of the kind of self evaluation needed to evolve on the fly and the smarts and courage to think outside the box and make the adjustments necessary. Every team in the league should take note and emulate these traits. It’s not easy to stay consistently good on a yearly basis, but the Patriots find a way because of their willingness to adapt. Expect them to be right at the top of the league in wins in 2011 and to once again win the AFC East after a 2 year hiatus from the top spot.