Game 12 of the International Series sees the first-ever divisional game to be played at Wembley. This AFC East match-up features teams who have both had mixed fortunes in the past years, however both teams possess plenty of talent on both sides of the ball.
Here are 10 players currently with the teams that we’re excited to see coming to Wembley in 2015.
Ryan Tannehill – Quarterback – Miami Dolphins
On his last trip to Wembley, the third-year player and first-rounder out of Texas A&M was caught up in the midst of a quarterback controversy following a two-game losing streak and head coach Joe Philbin refused to confirm him as starter for the game at the Raiders in September. Tannehill did start at Wembley and threw two touchdowns in a convincing 38-14 win. After his performance, Philbin apologised for creating an unnecessary distraction and from then on his quarterback has been in solid form. When next September rolls around, Wembley can expect to see a more assured passer and athlete after apparently overcoming a bad patch early in his career.
Mike Wallace – Wide Receiver – Miami Dolphins
Despite being the highest paid free agent in the 2013 off-season, Wallace hasn’t really produced the goods you’d expect from a player who has a five-year $60 million contract with the Dolphins. However, this season has seen a slight improvement from the former Steeler in his chemistry with his quarterback and production. At this stage in the season, the pass-catcher already has more Touchdowns (6) than he did in the entire 2013 campaign (5). With another off-season ahead to try and familiarise himself even more with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s unconventional scheme, it provides hope that Wallace can turn into an elite number one receiver the Dolphins hope for and contract suggests.
Cameron Wake – Defensive End – Miami Dolphins
Wake remains one of the most underrated pass rushers in the entire NFL. Having taken an unusual route into the NFL, an undrafted free-agent in the NFL who made waves in two seasons playing for the BC Lions in the Canadian Football League. A total of 17 NFL teams came calling in the 2009 off-season and after signing with the Dolphins, Wake has produced the goods consistently ever since. Most notably, sacking Andy Dalton for a walk-off safety in overtime in 2013. Whoever is under center for the New York Jets will have to keep an eye out for defensive end, who has forced three fumbles so far this season and recorded 8.5 sacks.
Lamar Miller – Running Back – Miami Dolphins
In his third season with the Dolphins, Miller appears to be the number one back in Miami for now. It didn’t look to be that way when the Dolphins acquired Knowshon Moreno in the off-season, however injuries to Moreno allowed Miller to step up and stake his claim. Despite being part of a running back committee with Miami, Miller takes the majority of snaps offering good production rushing and also in the passing game. With Moreno likely to be hitting the free agent market in the summer, it would appear that Lamar Miller may still be on top of the depth chart come week 4 in 2015.
Charles Clay – Tight End – Miami Dolphins
The ‘Claymaker’ as christened during a stellar 2013 season, after stepping up to the mark following Dustin Keller’s injury. Pass-catching tight ends are becoming an integral part of today’s NFL and Clay fits that bill for the Dolphins. His 2014 production may be down, but coming in at 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds and with impressive speed and agility, Clay always remains a threat in the passing attack. Not forgetting the fundamentals though, the tight end is a solid blocker in the running and passing game and also operates as an effective fullback on occasion.
Brent Grimes – Cornerback – Miami Dolphins
The last time Grimes played at Wembley he came off the ‘turf’ with an interception following an impressive performance in the secondary. However, the game against the Raiders in September wasn’t Grimes’ first taste of American Football outside of the US. The undrafted cornerback was World Bowl champion in 2007 with the Hamburg Sea Devils and then soon earned a roster stop with the Atlanta Falcons. After being written off once again in his career, Grimes bounced back after missing the entire 2012 season through injury and hit the free agent market and signed with the Dolphins on a one-year ‘prove it’ deal. And prove it he did. After a Pro Bowl year in 2013, Grimes signed a four-year $32 million deal to ensure the Dolphins had the shutdown corner for the long haul. His talent was epitomised with a one-handed interception in week 10 this season whilst covering Calvin Johnson.
Percy Harvin – Wide Receiver – New York Jets
Off-field issues aside, Harvin certainly contributed to the Seahawks Super Bowl win in 2013. A strange mid-season trade saw the Jets acquire the supreme talent for just a low round draft pick next year. This season may be a write off for the Jets and Harvin but Wembley could see the explosive receiver and return man form an integral part of New York’s offense next season, not to forget the special teams contributions. There is a danger that Harvin could be playing with a new quarterback, offensive coordinator, general manager and head coach in New York next season, but a completely fresh start may be what he needs following a messy exit from Seattle.
Eric Decker – Wide Receiver – New York Jets
The wide receiver was the Jets biggest off-season acquisition, coming off being a part of the record-breaking offense with Denver under Peyton Manning. An intelligent player, who had the highest Wonderlic score at the 2010 NFL Combine, Decker signed a five-year $36 million deal. With the struggles at the quarterback position for New York this season, they haven’t really got the best out of Decker this year, but he still has the most touchdowns for the team this season. Jets owner Woody Johnson may want to make a splash in the off-season, drafting a quarterback high up after a handful of miserable seasons. Decker could thrive next year with a legitimate passer and the attention that Harvin will draw from defenses.
Sheldon Richardson – Defensive End – New York Jets
When drafted 13th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Jets fans inside Radio City Music Hall booed the selection, the same fans that cheered the drafting of Geno Smith a round later. Football fans are fickle though and Sheldon showed his worth winning the Associated Press’ Defensive Rookie of the year. While Richardson has thrived under Rex Ryan and his defensive philosophy, question marks remain about whether Ryan will be returning to coach the Jets by the time they arrive at Wembley. However, special players will continue to be special regardless of the scheme or coach.
Muhammad Wilkerson – Defensive End – New York Jets
Lining up on the other side of New York’s defensive line is another first-round pick, in Wilkerson. A second team All-Pro playing in 2013, the fiery character is known to cause trouble for quarterbacks, offensive lines and referees too (he was ejected for his part in a scuffle after a Green Bay touchdown in Week 2 this season). Wilkerson epitomises a Rex Ryan Football team and leads the Jets’ impressive front seven on defense that makes it hard to run the football against and keep a passer upright.
Categories: The International Series