Sunday, May 09, 2010

NFC East

Lights. Camera. Action!! It may be on the opposite side of the country to Hollywood, but the fact remains that the NFC East is the 'sexy' division in the NFL right now. The Dallas Cowboys. The Washington Redskins. The Philadelphia Eagles. The New York Giants. Four teams steeped in history and success all crammed into one divisional pie. So we'll start with the Giants. Who are going to finish bottom of the division. I know. But the Giants are one of those odd teams that has talent overflowing at certain positions while other positions look more desolate than the Nevada Desert. They have enough solid receivers now to fill out two offenses. If you need a D-linemen, call the Giants. They've got maybe 6 players who could start on most D-lines around the country. Just don't call the Giants if you're looking for a defensive back or a linebacker. I know the old phrase about defense is that you build from the inside out, but someone needs to tell the Giants that middle linebackers and safeties count towards that as well. Still, it'll be retro seeing the Giants play with a 6 man D-line, because that's about all they can manage with their current personnel. With the Giants down, that leaves a three way battle amongst the other teams in the division. Oh no wait, one of those teams is Dallas. Two way battle then. Dallas are just an anomaly on the NFL landscape. They have enough money to afford the best practice facilities in the league. They can push the Cap limit every year and not worry about the long term impact on their business. They can hire the best coaches, the best trainers, the best private jets, the best doctors and the best scouts. But they cant seem to win games on a consistent basis. Why? I'll tell you why. Their team at the end of last season had all the makings of a Superbowl winner. You just felt that with one more piece it would all come together for them in 2010. Then they went out in the draft and picked up Dez Bryant, despite having three very good legitimate receivers already. On top of that, they dumped Flozell Adams, their only legitimate LT. They strengthened an area that didn't need it and they opened a gaping hole on their QBs blind side. That, ladies and gentlemen, is why the Cowboys will not compete for the division title this year. Teams will blitz the crap out of their left side and Romo will spend half the season picking grass out of his teeth. So we're down to the Eagles and the Redskins. We'll start with the Redskins. Basically, the Redskins are a model of how to go from divisional doormat to divisional contender in one off season. The addition of Shanahan as HC was a good move, but just look at the roster upgrades. Portis has question marks over his production, so they picked up Larry Johnson and Willie Parker, who both bring different skills to the position. They got a new LT in Trent Williams. They brought in Rex Grossman and Donovan McNabb to revitalise the QB position. They get Chris Cooley back from injury this year. They brought in Joey Galloway to give them some height and speed in the receiving corps. Even if Albert Haynesworth doesn't play in their 3-4 defense, they have the other tools to make it work. Their linebacker and defensive back units will probably come into their own this year. More sacks & more tackles for a loss on defense, plus more touchdowns and production on offense. That's how a team gets better. But they don't quite match the Eagles. Kevin Kolb is ready to take over the helm at QB. We don't just know this because he played well when he appeared last year. We know this because for all his faults, HC Andy Reid is good at evaluating talent and pulling the trigger at the right time. He knew that McNabb wasn't going to get it done in Philadelphia. Maybe it was a loss of passion or frustration at the constant criticism. Maybe it was just because McNabb's style of play didn't fit what Andy Reid was trying to do (McNabb has a big arm but lacks accuracy and consistency, two things that are a must in Reids offense). All we know is that he got good value for McNabb while he could and that he wouldn't let Kolb take the reins unless he was sure he could handle it. Then we have Vick, who is looking to show off his talents to potential suitors. He can still throw flat passes and his legitimate threat as a runner makes him very useful in short yardage and goal line situations. They have their O-line sorted, they have their RB position sorted, and their receivers are only going to get better this year. Add in Brandon Graham on defense, who will draw attention from Trent Cole and give teams a double nightmare (teams like the Cowboys), plus a secondary that's been reshuffled to improve it a little, and the Eagles are on course for a splash. At least the division title, maybe the Conference as well. It's a little early to tell. So in review, here's how I think they'll pan out: 1. Eagles (winners) 2. Redskins 3. Cowboys 4. Giants Tomorrow, it's the turn of the NFC South. And I don't think people are gonna like it.... Have a great day everyone.

No comments: