Aaron Rodgers did the obligatory mouse-tour, it’s time to start thinking about next year. As an aside, one can only hope that anyone who wears a cheese-hat inside the Magic Kingdom is gnawed to death by a rabid 6’ mouse, or some drugged-out person in a giant mouse suit.
There is so much uncertainty swirling around the CBA that it’s hard to gauge the impact free agency will have and how the process will even be implemented this offseason. As fans, we get the short end of the stick while one group of really super-duper rich guys tell the other really rich guys that they are making too much money. The only guy who really needs the money is Antonio Cromartie. That dude pays more per month on child support than Jerry does on Botox (again with the Jerry Botox line?). But I digress. I thought we’d take a cloud-level look at the entire league, starting with the NFC East.
Not quite the dominant year envisioned for the supposed toughest division in football. I believe it’s hard to argue against each team not being considered a disappointment at year’s end. The Eagles were the only team to make the playoffs, when it was thought that three of them might make it at the beginning of the year.
The Eagles and Giants are the two stable organizations who look to be largely the same next season while the Cowboys and Redskins appear to be in differing stages of flux.
Philadelphia Eagles 10-6
Yes they won their division but were bounced from the playoffs faster than Vick went from Falcon to convict. The Eagles have a dynamic offense that struggled down the stretch and a defense that failed to live up to the late Jim Johnson’s standards. For all Vick’s amazing feats, his style of play makes him susceptible to injury, which appears to have slowed him down at the end of the year as well.
- A committed, level-headed owner.
- A stable, smart coach.
- A ton of young playmakers with speed on offense.
- They also have a tradable chip in Kevin Kolb.
- For all the good things Andy Reid brings to the organization he has failed to win the big one. Is he Bill Cowher or Marv Levy?
- For all their speed and big plays they have failed to show the toughness needed in the big game.
- Their linebackers and secondary are weak and many of their defensive backs might be playing elsewhere next season.
Needs: They can use more depth along the offensive line and their defense could use upgrades, especially in the secondary. When in doubt the Eagles always seem to draft an offensive lineman in either the first or second round.
New York Giants
The Giants were looking like a certain playoff team until they gave up 78 points to the Eagles in the last 3 minutes of the fourth quarter when they met in December. Then they went out the next week with a playoff spot on the line and rolled over to the eventual Super Bowl champion Packers. The Giants are a very solid, well coached team, but are they a Super Bowl team? Brandon Jacobs looks to playing elsewhere next year and Ahmad Bradshaw can’t hang onto the football.
- Stability within the organization, which is something no other team in the division can claim.
- Great pass rushers, which is something very few teams in the league can say.
- If Steve Smith comes back healthy they have all the playmakers they need on offense.
- A quarterback who causes more turnovers than Jerry has…..
- A below average linebacker core.
- An injured Steve Smith.
- Some public sniping by players, such as Antrel Rolle about how Tom Coughlin is too tough. Hmmmmm, where have we heard this story before??????
Needs: They have been searching for a real linebacker since LT retired. There are questions surrounding Steve Smith’s knee, so much so, there is talk of bringing Tupac, I mean Plaxico Burress back. Another running back would help especially if Jacobs goes.
The Boys booted old Wade and handed the reins over to the Red Headed Genius. Maybe he can figure out that at $500,000 per catch, Roy Williams is a tad overpaid. What I loved about watching the Boys in the first half of the season was seeing Wade on the sideline looking like a kid whose ice cream just fell off the cone every time the other team was running into the end zone.
- Despite what people say there is talent on both sides of the ball. Between Witten, Austin and Bryant they are loaded with receiving threats.
- They should be set in the backfield as well with Jones and Choice.
- On the defensive side Ware is 1 of the best in the game while despite an offseason Jay Ratliff is a perennial pro-bowler.
- Offensive line – by years end Marc Columbo was yelling “I’ve fallen & I can’t get up after every play”.
- Secondary – Mike Jenkins has a ton of ability but needs a coach to light his fire (Mike J meet Rob Ryan).
- T-New is looking like T-Old and the safeties are special teamers on most rosters.
Needs: De-icer for the roof of the new stadium. A complete revamp of the secondary and some youth in the offensive line. More than that they need Garrett to provide the leadership this team needs. They also need for Ryan to make this defense nasty and get players like Spencer & Jenkins to play up to their ability. Hopefully no videos surface of the Ryan brothers ogling over a bunch of crooked-toe feet.
The Redskins are once again revamping their team. More than likely they’ll be trading poor Donovan in order to allow the perennial league MVP threat, Rex Grossman to secure their spot in last place in the division. Undoubtedly they will release Albert Haynesworth who they paid a king’s ransom for & he’ll go on to star elsewhere or end up doing 10 to life for something. In the end Mr. Snyder will outspend the rest of the league and end up with the same results.
- Mike Shanahan is probably the most credible and capable coach Snyder has hired and it appears he is giving him a long leash.
- The Skins have a good, young left tackle, which is hard to find and some talent on the defensive side of the ball.
- Dan Snyder. Will he give Shanahan the time he needs to rebuild?
- Can Shanahan actually rebuild the team?
- There are lot more questions than answers at this point. It never seems there is a plan of attack. They trade for McNabb, he plays poorly, they sign him to an extension, now it appears they will trade him. You can’t make this stuff up!
Needs: With very few exceptions, there is a need everywhere. Most of all they need to stick to a plan. When was the last time the Redskins were a good team? It seems like decades ago when there were classic NFC East matchups involving good Redskins teams. Oh wait, that was decades ago.