If there has been one word to describe the NFC East division over the past several years, you’d be hard pressed to find one better suited than unpredictable. Maybe erratic or crazy. But unpredictable is best. All four teams are looking for stability which is often directly handed down from leadership. The leaders of a team are the GM’s office, coaches and of course, quarterbacks.
Since everyone loves to talk about quarterbacks the most, we’ll start there. All of these QB’s may be unpredictable but none of them are the same. They each have their unique characterization.
Eli Manning (New York Giants) is the only Super Bowl champion in this group. He’s a veteran with a rocket arm and he has more rings than his older brother named Peyton. Maybe you’ve heard of him?
Nick Foles (Philadelphia Eagles) is the young underdog. He seemed to master Chip Kelly’s college styled offense and came out of nowhere to steal Mike Vick’s job and he threw for 27 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions during the regular season. Wait what?
Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins) is highly drafted and deemed by many to be the great QB of the future after his rookie season. However, a nasty injury and a little bit of over-publicity seemed to ground the seemingly “untouchable” QB in his second year. Will he return to first year form?
Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys) is the brunt of everyone’s joke because apparently he always chokes in big games. Statistically, he’s been nothing short of spectacular, but that won’t change anyone’s mind until he wins the “big one.” Will the gunslinger finally break the curse?
It’d be very difficult to pick out one of these guys and say that they are undoubtedly the best in the division although Manning’s two rings probably makes the strongest case. With the division title being anyone’s to take for the past several years, all of these QB’s have the chance to take their teams to a level of division dominance.
Let’s take an in-depth look.
New York Giants QB Eli Manning
Eli Manning has a rocket on his arm and you have to admit, he knows how to win the big games. Much like his older brother, he can bring his teams back from large deficits almost single handedly. Never count Eli out.
When you throw the ball as much as the New York Giants did last season, you have to expect your QB to throw some picks. But Eli consistently throws too many. I think we all remember the plethora of turnovers that went Dallas’ way opening week last season. He’ll make some incredible throws, but he’ll also throw the ball to other team.
What Eli Has To Overcome:
The Giants were awful last year. Just awful and Manning himself wasn’t much better. It was without doubt the season filled with the some of the most awful performances by the 2-time champion. As the quarterback and leader of this team, Manning has to get things back on track next season by setting an example. He’s definitely going to want to work on his TD-Int ratio if he wants to see more success this year. How much of last year was Eli’s fault? Well not even close to all of it, but there’s no doubt he could have played better. He also could have gotten more help from teammates.
If the Giants get healthy and Eli Manning gets back on track, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, expect to see them right back in the thick of the competition fighting for the division crown.
Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles
This guy came out of pretty much nowhere to become the Eagles starting QB last season. And the pressure didn’t seem to faze him much. His greatest strength is Chip Kelly’s offense. It’s as simple as that. Short passes and a lot of running helped Foles pad the stat sheet last season.
Because we’ve seen so little of Foles, it’s hard to point to one particular weakness. But I think that it is this… He can’t take over games. If a team has the Eagles’ offense under wraps, Foles won’t be able to do anything to change that. He’s not really proven himself a game-changer like the other three QB’s he has to go up against. But hey, maybe that doesn’t matter.
What Nick Has To Overcome:
We’ve seen a lot of the young QB’s have a breakout season and then follow it up with a dud (Cam Newton, RGIII etc.). Nick is going to have to work extra hard to stay focused and pick up right where he left off. Another thing to worry about if you're Nick Foles and the Eagles is whether or not defenses are going to figure out the Chip Kelly offense. I have a sneaking suspicion they won’t be as good this season.
If he has another season like last year, everyone else in the division will have a hard time keeping up.
Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III
Prior to the injury, RGIII’s greatest strength was his phenomenal athletic ability. In his rookie season he killed teams with his legs, running the read-option to perfection. And with defenses on their heels wondering when he would take off, he was a solid passer too.
This young QB’s most dangerous weakness is himself. No one really had anything bad to say about Griffin until after his injury at the end of his rookie season. Then we all got to see a little bit of his bad side. He got pretty close to blaming his coach for the injury and eventually got his coach fired. RGIII suffered from a little bit of “I’m better than I really am” last season.
What Robert Has To Overcome:
Last year was a disaster. With a nagging injury from the year before he was very hesitant to run the football, allowing defenses to be a lot more aggressive. I don’t know if Griffin will regain his confidence and become the rookie year QB again or not, but that is what he must try to do if he wants his team to have a shot at winning this division.
RGIII is a fairly talented young QB but over the past year he seemed to have lost himself somewhere along the way.
Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo
Everyone that knows anything about football will concede that Tony is an extremely talented and capable quarterback. But his greatest strength is his competitive nature… his never ending desire to win football games. Tony has brought his team back from deficits countless times, even in the 4th quarter.
It only makes sense to pick up where we left off. Tony’s high competitive nature can lead him to make unnecessary errors. When games get close and the Cowboys need a big play, Romo simply lets his competitiveness try to do too much. So his biggest strength is also a weakness that causes him to catch a lot of flak.
What Tony Has To Overcome:
This one is obvious. Tony must overcome the curse. The curse of the big game that has haunted this team for several years now. They always put themselves in a position to win a close game and then somehow manage to screw it up. Now all of this can’t be blamed on the QB, but it has to be up to him to break this curse that breaks so many Cowboys fans' hearts.
Tony may be the best all-around QB in this division, but until he and company make a push into the playoffs and do some serious winning he’ll be placed on the list of QB’s that just “can’t get it done.”
#DC4L #CowboysNation - Which QB will have the most impact for his team in 2014?
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
It's not uncommon for Dallas Cowboys fans to zero in on certain free agents in hopes that they will bring their talents to America's Team. In fact, just about any "big name" player to hit the open market is often linked to the Cowboys in some way or another. That was the case when the Arizona Cardinals decided to move on from Tyrann Mathieu.
Once Tyrann Mathieu became available, Cowboys fans immediately wanted to see him with a star on his helmet. But, despite the fans petitioning, the Cowboys brass seemed to show almost zero interest in the former Cardinal.
The decision to not pursue Tyrann Mathieu certainly didn't sit well with a lot of Cowboys Nation, but I think it was the right decision.
Despite Mathieu's perceived talents and youth (he's just 25), the Cowboys weren't interested in paying the price to bring him to Dallas, especially since they already have a similar player on their roster.
It may sound crazy, but I think the real reason the Dallas Cowboys didn't show much interest in Tyrann Mathieu is because of Xavier Woods.
I honestly believe Xavier Woods and Tyrann Mathieu have a similar skill set. Both players are little undersized to be a full-time safety in the NFL, but each of them have the versatility to play several different roles in the secondary.
Mathieu may have been listed as a safety on the Arizona Cardinals roster, and now the Houston Texans, but the truth is he played mostly out of the nickel/slot in his professional and collegiate career. That is where he is at his best, and the same can be said about Xavier Woods.
As a rookie, Xavier Woods showed his versatility with the Dallas Cowboys by playing a variety of different roles in the secondary. His versatility was one of the reasons the Cowboys decided to trade up in last year's draft to acquire his services.
His name might not carry the same kind of weight as Tyrann Mathieu right now around the league or amongst NFL fans, but I don't think Xavier Woods is that much of a drop off talent wise.
Personally, I believe Mathieu is starting to decline a little as a player. I think injuries are starting to take a toll on his play, although it may be minimal. I actually prefer Xavier Woods' upside, especially when you take into account the difference in salaries between the two.
Surprisingly enough, Xavier Woods might just have been more productive in 2017 then Mathieu. Woods started just four games and finished the season with 42 tackles, three passes defensed, and one interception. Mathieu on the other hand started all 16 games and accumulated 78 tackles, one quarterback sack, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.
As you can see, Xavier Woods was almost just as productive as Mathieu in nearly a third of the playing time. What's even more impressive about this is that Woods accomplish this as a rookie.
Of course, all of this is speculation, but I for one am not all that upset the Dallas Cowboys missed out on Tyrann Mathieu. I'm willing to bet on Xavier Woods being able to do everything Mathieu can and at a fraction of the cost.
Were the Cowboys right not to pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
Free Agent CB Orlando Scandrick Joining Washington Redskins
Just two days after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, cornerback Orlando Scandrick has found a new home in the nation's capitol. After 10 seasons in Dallas, Scandrick is signing with the rival Washington Redskins.
Redskins and Orlando Scandrick have agreed to a 2-year deal worth a max value of $10M, source said. From Dallas to a rival.
By joining Washington after leaving Dallas, Scandrick follows in the footsteps of many ex-Cowboys: Terrell McClain, Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bowen, and even Deion Sanders to name a few.
Last week, Orlando reportedly requested his release from Dallas. It was widely expected that he would be a salary cap casualty anyway, though, and especially with the young stockpile of cornerbacks the Cowboys currently have.
Dallas has three young corners they believe in with Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown. There is also talk that Byron Jones could be moving back to CB next year.
Scandrick, 31, will get to stay in the NFC East and now cover some of his former teammates. Give the reportedly salary, he should at least be the slot corner for Washington next year if not a starter.
Upgrading the Offensive Line Cowboys Top Offseason Priority?
Despite the displeasure by the majority of fans, the Dallas Cowboys continue to hold things close to the vest with their approach to free agency. It's definitely not the most popular approach and tends to drive fans crazy, but things could start heating up now that the free-agent market is starting to settle.
Looking from the outside in, we can only speculate as to which positions the Dallas Cowboys may prioritize in free agency and in the draft that matter. Earl Thomas and the safety position has been the most popular topic of discussion throughout the free agency process, but it looks as if the Cowboys are narrowing their focus on upgrading and adding depth to their offensive line.
This is just speculation of course, but it's based on the fact that the Cowboys are rumored to be bringing in free-agent offensive lineman Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming. And on top of that, it was announced that two of the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visitors are also offensive lineman, Will Hernandez, who is popular among Cowboys fans already, and offensive tackle Kolton Miller.
I don't know about you, but it looks as if the Dallas Cowboys are certainly focused in on upgrading the offensive line. This absolutely makes sense after what they went through last season with the carousel at the left guard position and Tyron Smith's struggles to stay healthy.
More than anything, the Cowboys need OL depth heading into the 2018 season. There is only really one spot up for grabs at left guard, but the depth across the OL is absolutely depleted unless you want to rely on Chaz Green again.
This is where Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming make a lot of sense. Marcus Martin has the versatility to play center and guard, and has done so already in his NFL career. He could compete for the starting LG position, but if nothing else, could replace Joe Looney as the backup C/OG.
Cameron Fleming could be the more important of the two free agents the Cowboys are rumored to be interested in. At the worst, Fleming would be an upgrade as the swing tackle, something he's done with the New England Patriots throughout his career. But, he could compete to become the starting right tackle, which would kick La'el Collins back inside to left guard.
That's all speculation right now, but the Dallas Cowboys would do what's best for the entire team in order to get the right starting five offensive lineman on the field.
The same can be said about rookies Will Hernandez and Kolton Miller. Hernandez would likely be a plug-and-play left guard if he ended up being the Dallas Cowboys first-round draft pick. That would keep the offensive line from shuffling and hopefully solidify the unit for years to come.
Kolton Miller on the other hand would be a lot like the Cameron Fleming situation mentioned above. He can probably tackle on the left or right side the NFL, although some draft analysts believe he will struggle as a LT at the next level.
Of course, there is no way of knowing how much interest the Dallas Cowboys have any of these players right now. But to me, it looks as if upgrading the offensive line is certainly one of their top priorities this offseason.
Is upgrading the OL the Dallas Cowboys top offseason priority?
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