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NFC East Review

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Cowboys

Good: After the season the Cowboys had, it’s very tough to find bright spots, but they did find a playmaker in rookie WR Ceedee Lamb with the potential to eventually be the #1 WR in the offense, while he has proven to be a mismatch in the slot. Rookie CB Trevon Diggs appears to be at worst case the #2 CB on the team and has the size and ball skills to continue to get better, but he must improve his technique which the team knew as he is still raw to the position. The chance the Cowboys took on pass rusher Aldon Smith after a 5-year hiatus from football was well worth it, as he proved to be the most motivated and productive defender on the team, the hope is that he will continue to improve thanks to the opportunity. Rookie DT Neville Gallimore proved to be a force in the middle after injuries pushed him to a starter role, he was a great find. After injuries on the O-line, the Cowboys have at least found some depth. Backup RB Tony Pollard has shown that he can play and deserves a share of the carries to help Ezekiel Elliott. Free agent K Greg Zuerlein proved to still be one of the best technicians in the game and regained his form.

Bad: The team has a big decision to make on QB Dak Prescott still and the going with another franchise tag can’t be good for either party. The team did not improve with the coaching change to HC Mike McCarthy, despite the defensive coordinator taking the blame. The defense appeared lifeless and overpaid throughout the season and the secondary struggled mightily, especially after the injury to rookie CB Trevon Diggs. LBs Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch need to improve their overall play and were usually injured or out of place; ditto for DE Demarcus Lawrence who has been extremely inconsistent. The offensive line fell apart and struggled due to injuries again and some replacements or help needs to be found. Andy Dalton did not appear to be what the Cowboys thought they were getting in a veteran QB. The run game has become stagnant under Ezekiel Elliott and there is concern about his fitness and ability to continue to take on a big share of the carries.     

Looking Forward: The Cowboys need to improve the offensive line as figure out the QB position starting with Dak’s contract as mentioned above. Those two things will fix an offense that should have been a lot better last season and went through a carousel of QBs. The Cowboys either need to find the scheme that helps their overpaid defenders go back to reading and reacting, as they obviously have the talent, or finding better playmakers that can complement or even produce better than what they have. They need help along the D-line and in the secondary.

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Giants

Good: HC Joe Judge proved all the doubters wrong and had the Giants playing tough all season despite a multitude of injuries starting with RB Saquon Barkley who got hurt for the season in week 2, but the team just missed the playoffs. RB Wayne Gallman proved to be a valuable spot starter and dual threat RB. The defense played a lot better than expected led by free agent CB James Bradberry proving to be one of the top CBs in the league. The defensive line was dominant behind DE Leonard Williams, NT Dalvin Tomlinson, and DE Dexter Lawrence winning the battle at the line. Free agent pickup MLB Blake Martinez continued to be a tackling machine and major upgrade helping the Giants stop the run, he was well worth the big contract. Safety Jabrill Peppers was much improved and seems to be ready to make the next step as a playmaker. When healthy WR Sterling Shepard, proved to be a valuable go to WR and deep ball threat. Backup QB Colt McCoy proved that he does belong in the league as a decent spot starter and quality backup. 

Bad: As mentioned above, the early injury to Saquon Barkley set the tone for an uphill battle for the team. The offensive line continued to struggle despite adding LT Andrew Thomas high in the draft, although the unit did come together later in the season. The secondary struggled whenever James Bradberry was limited or unavailable highlighting a need for another CB. QB Daniel Jones continues to struggle with turnovers whether interceptions or fumbles. The special connection Jones had with WR Darius Slayton the season before appears to be gone. TE Evan Engram remains a special talent, but he has struggled to hold on the football consistently. The Giants defense could not get a consistent pass rush had to sign veteran Jabaal Sheard to try to help.

Looking Forward: The Giants need to safely bring back Saquon Barkley to have him as the focal point of the offense going forward which would help Daniel Jones. The Giants need to figure out a plan to make Daniel Jones less turnover prone and show that he is the QB of the future which may include improving the offensive line or adding another weapon. The defense is in dire need of another top playmaker at OLB and CB along with a top-level pass rusher if they hope to continue to improve. With the #11 overall pick, the Giants can get a special player to fill one of these needs.

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Eagles

Good: Injuries, regression, and poor coaching decisions highlighted the Eagles season so there was not much good on the season. The Eagles were able to get 2nd round QB Jalen Hurts on the field and win games with him leading to a QB controversy, but it did give the team some hope and Hurts some much need experienced after being used as a situational runner early in the year. The run game was solid when they decided to run the ball whether it was Miles Sanders or Boston Scott, as both are dual threats who run tough on every play with the ability to break free in space. The TE position showed solid depth with Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, and Richard Rogers all putting up numbers, but none could stay healthy. The defensive line continued to be the strength of the team led by a big season by DE Brandon Graham who made the Pro Bowl for the 1st time and star DT Fletcher Cox who made teams pay whenever he was healthy.

Bad: The Eagles battled injuries at all positions, but mostly offensive line and WR which led to a lot of inexperienced players forced into big roles and a lot of shuffling on the O-line. Carson Wentz had a big regression due to taking a lot of hits behind a poor O-line and throwing to lesser WRs and TEs. The secondary was horrible again and missing S Malcolm Jenkins who was allowed to leave in free agency and CB Darius Slay who they traded for regressed in his play as the season went on making CB a hole for another year. The decision to take Jalen Reagor over other WRs came back to hunt the Eagles as they were strictly looking for speed. The linebacking core continues to lack a playmaker or top talent player. The Eagles ended the season with a rift between Wentz, ownership, and Head Coach Doug Peterson, leading to a trade demand from Wentz and the firing of Doug Pederson.

Looking Forward: The Eagles fired HC Doug Pederson and traded Carson Wentz to the Colts to give the organization a fresh start, although both moves could be costly and the Wentz move was costly financially due to the dead money. New HC Nick Sirianni was brought in to help fix Wentz, now he is tasked with making sure Jalen Hurts continues to improve as a passer while finding ways to make the offense efficient again. The team has a high pick at #6 in the draft and need help at WR, LB, CB, S, and possibly QB so there will be many options available at that spot; right now, WR Ja’Marr Chase out of LSU is the consensus pick.  

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Washington Football Team

Good: The Washington Football Team made it to the playoffs behind a new coaching regime and front office changes. Head Coach Ron Rivera going through a battle with Cancer and QB Alex Smith long comeback journey to once again being a starting QB showed the resiliency of the team. Alex Smith earned a well-deserved Comeback Player of the Year award and was the veteran leader this team needed down the stretch, while once again battling injuries. Rookie RB Antonio Gibson was everything the team could have hoped for as a solid dual threat who improved as a runner as the season went on leading a solid run game led by J.D. McKissic and Peyton Barber both showing their dual threat skills as well, with McKissic proving to be one of the best receiving backs in the league. WR Terry McLaurin had his first 1000yd season with many more to come despite battling injuries, as he proved no matter who the QB is he will make plays. Former QB turned TE Logan Thomas proved to be a reliable target down the stretch highlighting the long way he has come with a position change and hopes are that he will only get better after taking hold of the starting job. The defense was ranked #2 in the league behind a tough front 7 led by an even stronger D-line full of 1st round picks and Defensive Rookie of the Year, DE Chase Young who seemed to get better as the season continued. The growth of DE Montez Sweat along with DT’s Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne should allow this team to continue to dominate the line of scrimmage for years to come. Bringing in CB Kendall Fuller via trade proved to be a valuable move as he was the best and most reliable CB on the team. Backup QB Taylor Heinicke proved to be a possible QB of the future with a gutsy playoff performance in place of Alex Smith, winning over the fan base.

Bad: The Washington Football Team had to cut bait with QB Dwayne Haskins a high pick once viewed as the future franchise QB, but he proved to be too immature and almost cost the team their playoff spot with his inefficient play and immaturity. Alex Smith was a great story for the season and fun to watch, but he became a safety risk again towards the end of the season and watching him play the Eagles to get in the playoffs was tough to watch a man clearly not trying to suffer another leg injury. The secondary was saved by a great pass rush, but struggled outside of Kendall Fuller, especially CB Ronald Darby. The team will likely lose long time pass rusher OLB Ryan Kerrigan who allowed the team to send an excessive pass rush, as he wants to be a starter again and be paid accordingly.

Looking Forward: After an unexpected successful season, the Washington Football Team should be looking to gain a proper name for the team going forward and identifying their QB who will be their face of the franchise. Alex Smith’s future is up in the air at this point, but they do have a fallback play in Taylor Heinicke to at least start a few games. The team will need to patch up a poor secondary as mentioned above and continue to find LBs that can complement the D-line. After signing G Brandon Scherff to the franchise tag last season, the team has a decision to make on their best lineman. With the 15th overall pick in the draft, the Washington Football Team should be looking to acquire a QB, WR, or CB for immediate improvement while still searching the free agent market for help in the same areas.

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