Tuesday, July 03, 2007

NFL Questions: NFC East

Like I did with the AFC East, here I am taking a look at what is the major question facing each team in the NFC East. There are so many issues facing each of these teams, it was difficult to choose just one.

Dallas Cowboys - Oh, so many to choose here, and so many obvious ones...Tony Romo's development? T.O., AKA The Mouth That Roared? The Dallas O-line? New coaching staff? Ultimately, I think it all comes back to the offensive line. Can they do better than they did last year? If they can, they have a shot. If they can, then Romo has a chance to develop, Romo has a chance to get the ball to Terrell Owens and keep him happy, and Wade Phillips has a chance to see if his offense really works. Considering that the Cowboys' big off-season offensive acquisition was a left tackle that couldn't cut it on the offensive powerhouse that is the Arizona Cardinals, this might be a tall order.

New York Giants - Can Eli Manning become the player that the Giants need him to be? We could ask if Jeremy Shockey could ever become the player the Giants need him to be, but we already know he's not dedicated to the improvement of the team. But can Manning become consistent, can Manning become a leader, can Manning smack down the idiots when they open their mouths? It's unlikely that the Giants will see any improvement on last year if Manning can't be the guy that the players rally around. And if it's more of the same, expect Coach Coughlin to b e looking for a job come January.

Philadelphia Eagles - Can Donovan McNabb stay healthy for sixteen games? The only way that this happens is if Andy Reid learned his lesson last year when he called just about as many running plays as he did passing. In each of McNabb's injury plagued seasons, passing plays made up close to 70 percent of the calls for the Eagles offense. If Reid stays with what I call the McNabb ratio (70-30), Kevin Kolb needs to be ready for extended action. If Kolb is starting for the Eagles, they will struggle.

Washington Redskins - Did Dan Snyder finally get out of his own way? Lord only knows if that will even help. For the first time during his tenure as owner, Snyder has reigned in the need to win the Super Bowl during the off-season and avoided making the big splash. Last year he went out and signed Adam Archuletta, a hard hitting safety with mediocre cover skills, to play opposite of Sean Taylor...a hard hitting safety with mediocre coverage skills. Instead of complimentary pieces, the Redskins were concerned with getting the players with the biggest reputations that were available. Last season that resulted in a gaping hole in pass coverage in the middle of the field. Maybe, for the first time since Snyder took over, the team will show some growth due to the lower key effort.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your assessment on the O-lline in Dallas. If they can do their job (protecting the passer & run blocking), they have the potential of being the higher scoring team against any they play. If they can't, then they'll have to "keep 'em guessing" to create the advantage. The rest of the 3 NFC East teams have gaping holes that should spell their demise against the Cowboys.

Kevin Smith said...

I don't know that Dallas has any fewer holes than any of the other teams. They've downgraded at head coach, their leading wide receiver had more dropped passes than any receiver last season (and becomes a locker room cancer if he doesn't get the ball), and the defense, while statistically good, was erratic.

At quarterback, honestly, I don't like Romo any more than Eli Manning, and less than a healthy McNabb, and I don't think I've seen enough of Campbell to say that either Manning or Romo are better than him.

The flip side of all of that is that I think the entire division is a mess - which amazes me when you consider where the division was in both the mid 80's and mid 90's.