AFC East Notes: Spikes, Ryan, Tannehill

Brandon Spikes‘ four-year tenure with the Patriots came to an end this past offseason, and the linebacker ended up joining the division-rival Bills. Besides his production (Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics rank him as the 12-best inside linebacker), coach Doug Marrone has also been happy with Spikes’ “positive influence.”

“He’s really done a great job for us,” Marrone said (via Tom E. Curran of “In the locker room, on the field. Helped some of our younger linebackers with Preston Brown and Nigel Bradham playing with Kiko (Alonso) being out. Just helping them, learning how to be a pro, watching film doing those things. He had an outstanding offseason, he was here throughout the whole offseason I think that was important. He was everything we expected him to be.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from the AFC East…

  • Rex Ryan’s tenure with the Jets is likely coming to a close, and Kevin Kernan of the New York Post says the next organization to sign the coach will not be making a mistake. Ryan talked to the media yesterday, revealing the lessons he learned from this season. “That I pretty much can handle anything,’’ he said. “I’m proud of the fact that our guys stayed the course. But it’s been a little humbling to say the least, only winning three games. That’s never happened to me before.”
  • We learned yesterday that Jets quarterback Geno Smith intended to be his team’s leader for “a long time.” Of course, the second-year pro wasn’t done there. “I see myself helping this team turn things around,” Smith said (via’s Rich Cimini). “Obviously, I’m part of the reason why we’re in this position, so I’d love to be part of the solution.”
  • While we’ve heard plenty of quotes to suggest Smith is confident, Brian Costello of the New York Post had a quote that suggested the Jets quarterback is also accountable. “I underachieved this year,” Smith told the reporter.
  • The Dolphins will soon need to make a decision on quarterback Ryan Tannehill‘s 2016 option, and the decision will likely show whether the Dolphins believe in the former first-rounder as their future signal-caller. For what it’s worth, Tannehill thought he had one of his best seasons in 2014. “I feel like I’m better all-around,” Tannehill said (via’s James Walker). “I think I’ve grown throughout the season and gotten better each week. The guys around me have been playing well at the same time. When the whole offense elevates its play, it’s easy to get better.”
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