What have we learned so far from the NFL’s spate of off-season moves? Besides the fact that the 49ers may or may not be imploding–it seems to depend upon whom you ask–the one real takeaway so far is this: at last the other teams in the AFC East seem to be trying. Trying to unseat the Patriots, that is. It’s about damn time. That division has been so soft and cushy for New England for so long it’s one of the main reasons to question Bill Belichick’s place in history. Finally, it seems, after playing matador to the Patriots’ stampeding bulls for the last fifteen years, the rest of the division is actually starting to think they might have some responsibility for standing up to that team from up yonder.
Buffalo bringing in Shady McCoy to mix some offense in with Rex Ryan and his rough-to-play defensive scheme, and Brandon Marshall going to the Jets (and hopefully a real quarterback to follow), are good beginnings. But the real shot across the bow is Miami signing Ndamukong Suh. There was no clearer way for the Dolphins to state, unequivocally, “Hey, Tom Brady–we’re going to hurt you.” That’s how you remove a successful football team from the pinnacle. Al Davis may have been a sleazebag, but he was right about one thing, at least: “the quarterback must go down, and he must go down hard.” That’s practically the tagline on Suh’s business card.
At last, things may be getting interesting in the AFC’s eastern time zone.