The New York Jets had enough quarterback and coaching problems before Aug. 24. With the Jets now dealing with a day-to-day Mark Sanchez, a rookie in Geno Smith who may not be ready yet, and a coach in Rex Ryan who made it worse, New York is the laughingstock of the NFL. However, the Buffalo Bills have made sure that the Jets aren’t even standing alone in their own division, in far less humorous fashion.
The Bills’ own two-way quarterback battle has collapsed, moreso due to injuries than incompetence. Rookie E.J. Manuel had pulled ahead of Kevin Kolb before he needed a sudden knee procedure, which leaves him doubtful for Week 1. The struggling Kolb looked to have one last chance, yet he suffered concussion like symptoms on a hard hit against the Washington Redskins on Aug. 24 -- a hit that was feared to be career ending on Aug. 25.
According to the Buffalo News’s Tim Graham, the Bills were “concerned” that Kolb’s third career concussion could be “career ending,” let alone season ending. As such, the Bills quickly signed free agent Matt Leinart as a potential starter on Aug. 25 and traded for Detroit Lions’ backup Thaddeus Lewis -- leaving them with three quarterbacks other than Manuel and Kolb on the roster.
The Bills were planning to start a new era with Manuel, whose long term health is even more important than ever. On the other hand, the Jets were desperate to get one more burst of greatness from Sanchez and Ryan, and now both embattled leaders have taken their hardest blows to date.
The Jets announced on Aug. 25 that Sanchez’s shoulder injury merely left him day-to-day, leaving his Week 1 status in doubt, but not his season. But while he may recover before long, Ryan may never live down his decision to play Sanchez in the fourth quarter this past Saturday -- especially after Smith seemed to take himself out of the running for his job with three interceptions and a safety.
New York and Buffalo were always expected to be in the bottom half of the AFC East. Thanks to the Bills’ terrible luck and the Jets’ constant blundering, it is even clearer why. Half the AFC East is now in tatters when it comes to quarterbacks, which makes the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins all the luckier to have Tom Brady and Ryan Tannehill.