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NFC East Position Rankings: The Quarterbacks

For decades, the NFC East was the most competitive and most feared division in all of football. In fact, an NFC East team participated in six of the nine Super Bowls played between the 1987 and 1995 seasons. However if you were to refer to the NFC East as the most competitive and most feared division in all of football today, you’d be only half right. Lacking a repeat champion since 2004, the division has become a source of parity while still maintaining the highly regarded and nationally viewed rivalry games which have become a staple of the NFL. After a horrid season a year ago where it looked as if a 7-9 team could steal the division at many points during the year, the NFC East looks to be improved and ready to begin to return to its old school form.

Kevin Brady

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NFC East - NFC East Position Groups: The Quarterbacks

For decades, the NFC East was the most competitive and most feared division in all of football.

In fact, an NFC East team participated in six of the nine Super Bowls played between the 1987 and 1995 seasons.

However if you were to refer to the NFC East as the most competitive and most feared division in all of football today, you'd be only half right.

Lacking a repeat champion since 2004, the division has become a source of parity while still maintaining the highly regarded and nationally viewed rivalry games which have become a staple of the NFL.

After a horrid season a year ago where it looked as if a 7-9 team could steal the division at many points during the year, the NFC East looks to be improved and ready to begin to return to its old school form.

Who will come out on top of this game of NFC East thrones this year? In order to make our best guess, we will break down each position group on each team in the East, and decide which team has the advantage at said group.

Let's get started with what many consider the most important position on the field, the quarterbacks.

Dallas CowboysCowboys Headlines - Tony Romo Gets New Set Of Logos From ESPN 4

Quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys is just about the most talked about position in all of sports. And this offseason has been no different.

After the abysmal 2015 campaign which highlighted the Cowboys lack of a competent backup quarterback, the Cowboys decided to draft Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott in the fourth round of the 2016 draft.

Kellen Moore, who saw time at the end of 2015, is expected to be the backup quarterback, and Jameill Showers, who is impressing many within the organization, will more than likely be the odd man out.

Then of course there is the leader of the Dallas Cowboys, the man who's absence last season was felt like no others in history, Tony Romo. When healthy, we all know who Tony Romo is and what he can do. He is a special kind of player who embodies everything the Jason Garrett-led-Cowboys are meant to represent.

Philadelphia Eagles - Auto Draft

The Eagles quarterback drama has been impossible to avoid if you consider yourself a football fan this offseason.

Sam Bradford, the only notable survivor from the "erase everything Chip Kelly did" movement, signed a short contract extension this offseason. Bradford has been average at best during his career, but was expected to be the starter for next season after re-signing with the Eagles.

But then, the Eagles traded up to select North Dakota State Bison's quarterback Carson Wentz with the number two overall pick in this years draft.

It was all good just a week ago, wasn't it Bradford.

Now Bradford has been causing drama within the organization and reportedly seeking a trade which he most likely won't get.

The third quarterback on the roster is long time backup quarterback Chase Daniel, who comes over from Kansas City with new head coach Doug Pederson.

New York Giants

NFC East Blog - Coaching Changes Around The NFC East

Dec 6, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo look at the playbook during the second quarter against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants quarterback situation is about as simple as it can get.

Eli Manning has been healthy for basically his entire career, and has been a good-to-great quarterback for the Giants, even if we don't like to admit it. While he is aging, he certainly has a firm grip on the job for the forseeable future.

Ryan Nassib is the backup quarterback for the team, but has seen only small amounts of game time during his short career. BJ Daniels is the third quarterback listed on the roster.

Washington Redskins

NFC East - Washington Redskins Use Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag on Kirk Cousins 2

In this photo taken Oct. 25, 2015, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Landover, Md. If Kirkthrows an interception in a game, he throws a second, and the Washington Redskins lose. If Cousins plays a pick-free game, the Redskins win. It really is that simple so far this season. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The Washington Redskins quarterback position has featured a revolving door of sorts over the past few seasons with Robert Griffin, Colt McCoy, and Kirk Cousins all starting multiple games.

However, the position seems to be solidified for at least this year, as Kirk Cousins returns after impressing many during his 2015 campaign. (I wasn't all that impressed and will argue that he didn't play as good as most seem to think he did, but that's for another day.)

The Redskins also have my favorite backup quarterback in the entire division, Colt McCoy. I openly rooted for the Cowboys to make a run for McCoy this offseason, as he fits the backup role very nicely.

After ditching Robert Griffin this offseason, Nate Sudfeld remains as the third quarterback on the roster.

So, who's the best?

Keep in mind I am going to rank these position groups objectively, keeping any of my Cowboys' bias out of the picture.

With that being said, I do believe the Cowboys have the best quarterback situation, on paper, in 2016.Cowboys Headlines - Tony Romo And Jason Garrett Visit "The Boss" At MSG 1

It boils down to this; Tony Romo is the best quarterback in this division, so when he is healthy, the Cowboys have the best quarterback in the division.

It's just that simple.

The Eagles are not even in the discussion here, as I believe Bradford is an average player and while I like Carson Wentz, he is only a rookie. Rookie starting quarterbacks tend to struggle.

The Giants have just about the same backup plan as the Cowboys do if their quarterback goes down, and I evaluate Romo as a better player than Eli Manning.

This puts Dallas ahead of both the Eagles and Giants in my opinion.

While I would agree that the Redskins have more "depth" at the position, the vast talent differences between Tony Romo and Kirk Cousins eliminate the depth argument in my mind.

This leaves the Cowboys atop the quarterback position group ranking for the NFC East.

Feel free to debate me in the comment section, and be sure to check out each position group ranking as they continue to be posted.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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PFF Ranks Cowboys Run Defense 13th In The NFL

Kevin Brady

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Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith

The Cowboys duo of young linebackers took the NFL by storm in 2018.

Rookie Leighton Vander Esch and former second round pick Jaylon Smith played well above expectations, as for the first time in years Dallas did not face a significant drop off in defensive production when Sean Lee was out and injured.

These young linebackers are the cornerstone of a run defense which should be among the league's best going forward, and Pro Football Focus agrees. Well, somewhat agrees.

PFF ranked all 32 run defenses heading into the 2019 season, slotting the Cowboys 13th overall. Better than half the league, but not quite top 10.

https://twitter.com/PFF_Cowboys/status/1151155572059717632

PFF's reasoning behind this ranking certainly makes sense, as they credit the young linebacker duo without mentioning much of what will be in front of them helping to stop opposing running games.

"The Cowboys’ run defense begins and ends with the league’s best young linebacker duo. Leighton Vander Esch ranked third in run-stop percentage as a rookie while Jaylon Smith checked in at 29th."

The playoff loss in Los Angeles has left a bad taste about the Cowboys' interior defensive line in a lot of mouths, but I do think they've improved the unit this offseason. Signing Christian Covington and drafting Trysten Hill was a nice start to do so, but having Maliek Collins healthy and Antwaun Woods back for a full season will also go a long way.

Interestingly enough, two of the Cowboys divisional foes came in ranked above them on this list. Washington was slotted as the 12th best run defense, while Philadelphia was placed at number 8. Both teams' units deserve respect, of course, but this further highlights how difficult it could be to run the ball in the NFC East this season.

While I hate simply throwing this term around, analytics suggest that passing is what wins games in the NFL. Passing and stopping the pass, I should say.

With strong run defenses in their division, the Cowboys will need to maximize their passing game efficiency if they want to repeat as NFC East champions.



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3 Reasons Amari Cooper is Primed for an All-Pro Season

Matthew Lenix

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3 Reasons Amari Cooper is Primed for an All-Pro Season

Amari Cooper changed life for the entire Dallas Cowboys offense in 2018. Finally, Quarterback Dak Prescott has the number one option at wide receiver he's desperately needed since his rookie campaign. Now, after half a season and multiple playoff games under his belt in Dallas, Cooper is set to have a monster year. Here are three specific reasons why.

1. Culture

Head Coach Jason Garrett has established a certain way of doing things in Dallas since taking over in 2010. His constant search for the RKG or "Right Kinda Guy" as he puts it has the culture in the locker room at a very positive and productive place. As criticized as he is, justifiably or not, he has his team all on the same page. This is something Cooper has been trying to find since he entered the league in 2015. An organization with the right mindset in order for him to perform and maximize his skill set. After being traded to Dallas, Cooper opened up in November about being unhappy during his days in Oakland.

"I wasn't really happy in Oakland or anything like that. But when I sat and thought about it [Monday} night, I thought about the fact that they traded me away. I don't know how to feel about it," Cooper told Yahoo Sports.

This may seem small to others considering these players make millions of dollars right? Well, it doesn't change the fact that they're human. When you feel unappreciated you don't play to the best of your abilities. Shortly after the trade, Cooper talked about how he's been different since putting a star on his helmet. "I feel like it did change me, as far as having that chip on my shoulder. Not that I wasn't passionate before, but playing with more passion, trying to intentionally have fun out there. It definitely has changed me, in terms of me going out there and just having fun with it," Cooper said. A change of scenery was just what the doctor ordered for Cooper and the Cowboys.

2. The other weapons around him

The Cowboys aren't just Amari Cooper or bust at the wide receiver position. Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb provide more challenges for defenses on a weekly basis. Gallup has firmly locked down the number two spot on the depth chart. It took a while for him to establish chemistry with Dak Prescott, as they would misfire on several big plays during the first half of the season. Nonetheless, by seasons end things started to pick up, and he finished with 33 receptions for 507 yards and 2 touchdowns. In the playoffs, he scored a touchdown in the Cowboys Wild Card win over Seattle. The next week against the Rams he performed well even in defeat, with 6 receptions for 119 yards. He's got speed, size, and versatility. Now with a full season and two games of playoff experience under his belt, I look for even more production from Gallup, as a possible breakout star.

Randall Cobb is a much-needed upgrade in the slot for the Cowboys. Unlike former receiver Cole Beasley, Cobb can line up inside or outside. Giving new Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore a bigger bag of tricks at his disposal. Now, he can lineup Cooper inside or outside and play with a plethora of different looks, keeping defenses off balance because of the uncertainty of how the Cowboys will attack through the air.

Then, of course, there's Ezekiel Elliott. The two-time rushing champion is the tone-setter on offense and dictates how defenses will attack. With Cooper being such a threat in the air you basically have to pick your poison. 8-9 man fronts against the run can make you vulnerable to play action down the field or quick slants with Cooper's exceptional route running. The more productive Elliott is the more honest it keeps opposing defenses, opening up more opportunities in the passing game. Averaging 101.2 yards per game for his career, second all-time to Hall of Famer Jim Brown, Elliott can make create even more opportunities for Cooper in 2019 with a full season of playing time together.

3. Motivation

Amari Cooper is currently looking to sign a long-term deal with the Cowboys. Preferably, both sides would like to get this deal done before the season starts considering he's in the last year of his rookie contract that is set to pay him 13.9 million in 2019. However, it isn't just a new deal that motivates Cooper heading into the new season.

"It's kind of a weird situation, just being that I've never been in this situation before, talking about a contract. But also, I'm under a fifth-year option, so I'm not too familiar with it. I really don't ask my agent many questions. I'm not really worried about it that much. I'm more focused on actually playing and really earning the respect and then the contract," Cooper said.

Being motivated by earning respect is a very mature approach from Cooper. Now, add that to the fact that I'm sure he wants to firmly put his name alongside Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr, and Michael Thomas as the best receivers in the game, you have a fully motivated number one option heading into the new season.

Amari Cooper has already made three pro bowls, but now there's another level for him to reach. In just nine games last year with the Cowboys he caught 53 passes for 725 yards and 6 touchdowns. Also, he caught another 13 on 18 targets in the playoffs for 171 yards and a score. He's in the right culture, he has a number of other weapons around him and he has multiple reasons to be motivated heading in the new season. With a full offseason of building chemistry with Dak Prescott, I see Cooper taking that leap to the All-Pro level in 2019.



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Is La’el Collins Playing For A Contract On A Different Team?

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys at Raiders: La'el Collins Faces Toughest Test Yet In Khalil Mack

How good is La'el Collins?

This is a question that Cowboys fans have disagreed on since his rookie season. Collins, who originally joined the team as their left guard replacing an injured Ronald Leary in 2015, moved out to right tackle in 2017, starting all 32 games there the last 2 seasons.

Collins' play has been somewhat up-and-down, as should be expected when a lineman not only switches from guard to tackle, but from the left side to the right side as well. Still, he's been a solid right tackle and a stable presence for a Cowboys offensive line which has struggled with major injuries at other positions over the last couple of years.

While Collins has not been the "elite" level player fans had hoped for when signed after the 2015 draft, he's been a solid player nonetheless. Dak Prescott has faced more pressure from the right side of the line than the left, but a good portion of that pressure has to do with him struggling to sense pressure from that right side.

The Dallas Cowboys seem rather undecided about La'el Collins' future with the team themselves, though. Dallas went out and draft guard Connor McGovern in the third round of the 2019 draft, starting the whirlwind of rumors that McGovern will be the starting left guard in 2020. This would kick second year player Connor Williams out to right tackle, allowing Dallas to let Collins walk without too much worry.

While this is well and good on paper, on the field the transition will likely not be as smooth. We've already seen how tough it is to move from left guard to right tackle in just one offseason, even if you were a college tackle once upon a time. Connor Williams could face these same struggles, despite possibly even anticipating the change a year out.

Regardless, La'el Collins is now in a contract year and is playing for that new deal come 2020. Dallas may not be looking to extend him, mostly due to the plethora of new deals they'll be handing out to other players, but he will be a hot commodity come free agency if and when he hits the open market.

Collins could very well be playing for a new contract elsewhere this season, as his days in Dallas look to be numbered.



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