After a less than satisfactory 2014 season for the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, and New York Giants it was a must for each of them to strengthen their rosters to compete with the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East’s top dog. With key free agency moves being complete we can get a little closer to grading each team just in time for pre-draft requisites. Even though the Eagles finished a modest 10-6 (Compared to the rest of the NFC Division leaders), much more could be done to help us keep our stranglehold on the NFC East. To see how that aspiration can be carried out lets take an in depth look at each NFC East team’s off-seasons to date.
Lets start with the New York Giants and in my opinion the team that posts a threat to us more than the Cowboys or Redskins. The Giants have spent the start of this year on a roller coaster ride seemingly just as they do during the regular season. They were ranked 28th in total offense throughout the NFL, and with the loss of their automatic weapon now Indianapolis Colts receiver Hakeem Nicks it will prove even more costly (Especially with seeing as to how much he would compliment other New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz). Despite losing Nicks’ production the Giants made some solid offensive signings: Former Oakland Raiders running back Rashad Jennings and former San Francisco 49ers (But also past Giant) receiver Mario Manningham. These signings will prove more helpful than some would think with the their sub-par running game last year and Manningham already being a custom to New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlins way of calling. Another useful signing to go along with Rashad Jennings would be Former Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, who blocked for Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles in both of their ‘career years’. Now with those positives and negatives there are just some questions we must look at. Yes, playoff teams aren’t made in Free Agency but the Giants are the most random team in the NFL (Starting off 0-6 and finishing 7-9 last year is a good example). Having Tom Coughlin as a coach doesn’t hurt and I expect they will make trustful adjustments before September to be alive and well contending with the Eagles into December.
Next we take a look at the….oh yes the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have focused on signing younger players (which was the main focus), and to not give millions of dollars away to 30+ year old veterans. It seems having their eyes set on that goal they’ve lost their two best defensive players whether them being in the down haul of their careers or not, it isn’t something Cowboys fans are happy about. A complimentary pick up came after their young defensive signings was Former Cleveland Browns quarterback and first round pick Brandon Weeden. Yes, not a starter but I think a solid 2nd string pick up (just like what we did with signing Former Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez). Seeing as how Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo struggled with injury last year, and a crucial surgery on his back only a couple months ago I think this was a good signing (considering the lack of depth in Free Agent Quarterbacks this year). Where the Cowboys are heading with their franchise is the cherry on top of ‘Jerry’s World’, why? Basically because no one really knows. Losing a franchise defensive lineman (from an already struggling defense) isn’t a good start to this season, and they haven’t made any big name signings to bring up either. You can take this as me being a Cowboys hater…which even though I am, I’m not the only one who feels this way. You can see here on a Cowboys blog for SportsdayDFW.com that all these experts on the site are giving the Cowboys a measly D(-) to D+ grade for this off-season. The futures of Dallas Cowboys owner and head coach Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett are uncertain and it leaves Romo wondering what more he could do to bring this team over repeated seasons of mediocrity.
Lastly we get to the Washington Redskins who have had one of the more noisier starts to their off-season. The Redskins despite coming off a 3 win season had a relatively packed offense, but added even more to both sides of the ball. Well start at the depth signing- adding Former San Francisco 49er Colt McCoy, this signing made all the sense with a strong premonition Washington Redskins back-up Kirk Cousins might be taking his talents elsewhere in the next year or two. Also another depth signing would be the addition of former Arizona Cardinal receiver Andre Roberts. I see him helping out a lot being an under the radar piece with Washington Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon and the new highly anticipated (Yet painful) signing of former Philadelphia Eagle DeSean Jackson. These pieces together could prove deadly just as the the Eagles were last year even though we have yet to see how all of them will mesh (Not everyone can have an offensive mind like Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly). Now lets look at the defense which was ‘okay’ overall. Solid defensive line and linebacker depth but held down by an abysmal secondary. They took notice to that this free agency with the signings of former Oakland Raiders cornerback Tracy Porter a young player with a lot of great qualities and former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark who can bring leadership and still solid quality play in the backfield. Will this be enough to take full lead of the NFC East? I find it hard to think so, I think its clear the Eagles are still favorites, but the play of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles and Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III will prove most detrimental to this outcome.
One things for sure: The NFC East is going to be a must watch division this year unlike the horrifying play from most of last year. Keep all of this in mind on our ‘Path to the Draft’, and take note of every teams needs and expectations.