HomeTrade RumorsKey Takeaways from AFC: Bill Belichick, Zach Wilson, Dolphins, Jets, and Patriots

Key Takeaways from AFC: Bill Belichick, Zach Wilson, Dolphins, Jets, and Patriots

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Dolphins

Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa said he feels blessed that he was able to finish an entire season staying healthy aside from a gash on his arm, and wound up finishing at the top of the league’s passing yards chart for 2023.

“It’s a blessing that I get to play the entire season,” Tagovailoa said, via Marcel Louis-Jacques. “I think anyone would say the same around the league, that it’s a blessing to make it this far as healthy as anyone can be right now leading up to this week. So, very blessed. Very fortunate. And I don’t take this for granted.”

Jets

When reflecting on Zach Wilson stepping into the starting quarterback role, Jets GM Joe Douglas felt like Wilson had a “great training camp” but things unfortunately did not work out as planned.

“Zach had a great training camp, and we felt that we had a good plan in place,” Douglas said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN. “Obviously, things didn’t work.”

Aaron Rodgers would love to have Wilson back next year but also believes a change of scenery could be beneficial for the young quarterback.

“I love Zach and I want what’s best for Zach, and if he wants to be here and if that’s what’s best for him, then obviously I’d love that to have that relationship for another year,” Rodgers said. “But I want what’s best for him and where he wants to be. Sometimes a change of scenery, as I know, can be a breath of fresh air. It’s good to be able to have a new start sometimes.”

Douglas said having Wilson sit and study Rodgers for a full year was their intent.

“It would have been great for Zach to have one watch year,” Douglas said. “That was the intent for this year. I think one of the biggest things that I hate for Zach is that he never got to experience in-season Aaron Rodgers, to watch Aaron navigate the highs and lows of a regular season and learn and be around that this year.”

Patriots

  • Regarding the Patriots and Bill Belichick parting ways on Wednesday, the coach said he is grateful for his time in New England: “For me, this is a day of gratitude and celebration,” per Mike Garafolo.
  • Belichick intimated he’d return to coaching and looks forward to playing the Patriots: “I’ll always be a Patriot. I’ll look forward to coming back here. But at this time, we’re going to move on and I look forward, excited for the future,” per Tom Pelissero.
  • Patriots owner Robert Kraft is proud of his 24-year partnership with Belichick: “Like a good marriage, a successful coach/owner relationship requires a lot of hard work. And I’m very proud that our partnership lasted for 24 years. I don’t think in the NFL there’s been any other partnership that’s lasted longer and been as successful as ours,” via Chad Graff.
  • In the end, Kraft said their separation is a “mutually agreed” upon and it’s time to move on for both parties: “This is a move that we mutually agreed is needed at this time,” via Mark Daniels.
  • Kraft also said he expects Belichick to be on an opposing sideline going forward: “It’ll be difficult to see him in a cut-off hoodie on a sideline, but I’ll always wish him continued success other than when he’s playing our beloved Patriots.” (Daniels)
  • Kraft feels they’ve regressed over the last 3-4 years: “The last three years have been pretty tough… What’s gone on here the last three-four years isn’t what we want.” (Daniels)
  • Kraft thought it would be wrong to trade Belichick, similar to how he felt about Tom Brady: “I didn’t think it was right for Tom Brady, who gave us 20 years, and I don’t think it’s right for Bill.” (Pelissero)
  • Kraft said they considered removing Belichick’s GM role and having him focus on being head coach: “We thought about that… When you have someone like Bill who’s had control over every decision… To then take some of that power away and give it to someone else, accountability is important to me… It’s going to set up confusion. It wouldn’t work, in my opinion.” (Daniels)
  • As for their next candidate, Kraft wants a coach who can help them get back to the postseason: “We’re looking for someone who can help us get back to the playoffs and win.” (Howe)

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