NFC East Preview

Even though he is coming off a torn ACL, RG3 is still the most dynamic quarterback in the east and makes the Redskins a tough match up for the division.

Dallas Cowboys

The most talked about aspect of the Dallas Cowboys offseason was Tony Romo given too much in his contract extension. Well, to be honest, with someone who has only won playoff game in his career, I would say, yes. He has the most pressure on him of any player in football, and it will continue if a deep playoff run is established. Romo does have play makers all around him, including Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and DeMarco Murray. In addition, you can not forget about game changers DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee on the defensive side of the ball. The Cowboys have a new play-caller in Bill Callahan and a new defensive coordinator in 75-year old Monte Kiffin. The change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 could be a hard transition, but time will tell. With the many changes happening this offseason, the biggest question will be, which Cowboys team will show up this year? Kevin Langner

The Cowboys have a ton of talent around Romo, but if they struggle again this year Jerry will be making changes.

New York Giants

While the Giants aren’t expected to be ranked alongside San Francisco and Atlanta as an NFC elite, there is every reason to think the Giants can return to the postseason and win the NFC East. With a healthier Hakeem Nicks joining Victor Cruz, the Giants boast one of the more formidable receiving corps in the league. In addition to his two top targets, Eli Manning has new tight end Brandon Myers and second-year WR Rueben Randle at his disposable. Second-year RB David Wilson is certainly a player Giants fans will be keeping an eye on this year, as he replaces Ahmad Bradshaw in the backfield. He showed breakaway ability as a return man and flashes of greatness running the football in 2012. If anything will hold the Giants back in 2013, it could be their defense, particularly the secondary. The Big Blue defense was ranked next to last in total yards allowed, and 28th against the pass. CB Corey Webster is on the downside of his career, and safety Antrel Rolle is dealing with an ankle injury that will likely sideline him for the bulk of the preseason at least. The front seven should be improved, as Cullen Jenkins, Shaun Rogers, and Dan Connor were added to provide depth to a unit that still has Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul manning the defensive end spots. Two other things favor the Giants in 2013: a likely down year for the NFC East, and the 8th easiest schedule in the league (based on last year’s records). The Giants are unlikely to participate in the Super Bowl being played in their home stadium this year, but a return to the postseason is a realistic goal. Matt Sherman

After rewarding Cruz with a new contract they hope he will be doing a lot of salsa dancing this season.

Philadelphia Eagles

After 14 years, the Eagles have a new head coach and that man is Oregon’s Chip Kelly.  While the coach is new, a lot of the players from last years disappointing 4-12 team remain.  One such player is QB Michael Vick who has played at a very inconsistent level, when he was on the field.  Much of Vick’s time with the Eagles has been spent on the injury list nursing a variety of ailments.  Keeping him healthy and productive is perhaps the biggest key to success for the Eagles.  He has weapons on offense like all-pro RB LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson, but will he be protected enough to use them.  Rookie OT Lane Johnson will hopefully help in that area.  Another huge question is the state of the Eagles defense which was anemic at various points last season no matter whom the coordinator was.  There will be several new players on that side of the ball after the Eagles parted ways with high priced failures Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers Cromartie.  The expectations for the Eagles in terms of their win loss record are not very high, and all eyes will be on Kelly and Vick as the season begins.  This year may not be Super Bowl or bust, but in Philly, a town that has perhaps the most passionate fan base in North America continued futility will not be accepted for very long. Kelly could be latest in a long list of high profile college coaches to fail miserably in the NFL.  Glenn Coyle

It will be interesting to see if Chip Kelly’s up tempo offense will work in the NFL.

Washington Redskins

It was a surprising 2012 season for the Washington Redskins, who finished the regular season 10-6 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2008.  During the season the team was led by Rookie of the Year quarterback Robert Griffin III and little known rookie running back out of Florida Atlantic, Alfred Morris. In the process, Morris set a team record with 1,613 rushing yards and finished the season with 13 touchdowns, 11 rushing . After tearing his ACL and LCL ligaments in his right knee during the playoff loss to Seattle last season, the team is holding Griffin out for the entire preseason. However, if he is unable to go expect second year quarterback Kirk Cousins to get the nod. During the offseason the Redskins were unable to make any huge signings due to them being docked $36 million by the NFL for front-loading contracts during the uncapped 2010 season . The 2013 draft focused mainly on the defensive side. Adding David Amerson of NC State at corner back and Bacarri Rambo of Georgia at safety should help provide depth at those positions. On the offensive side of the ball, offensive cordinator Kyle Shanahan has alot of talent to work with. Last season the team averaged 27 points per game, and gave defenses fits with different schemes shown by quarterback Robert Griffin III. With all five offensive lineman returning,  led by Pro bowl Tackle Trent Williams, expect running backs Alfred Morris and Roy Helu, who is coming back from injury, to get plenty of carries and help take pressure off Griffin from feeling the need to take over the game with his feet.  The receiving corps, led by veterens Pierce Garcon and Santana Moss, provide speed and stabilty. Like Garcon, tight end Fred Davis is coming back from a torn achillis that ended his season prematurely. Davis is a major factor who provides athleticism and efficient pass catching ability. Look for Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson as the deep threats, along with Moss who will be used mostly on third downs. On the defensive side of the ball, the team is led by veteran linebacker London Fletcher, who’s leadership in the locker room and on the field, provide enthsuiam and energy that had been missing before his arrival. The two playmakers to watch out for are Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo. Kerrigan has made some big plays in just two seasons and looks like he could head to the pro bowl this year. Orakpo, is coming back after missing most of last season when he tore his left pectoral muscle in Week 2 against the rams.  Up front you have Jarvis Jenkins, Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen stopping the run. Cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson will need to stay in coverage and not take unnecessary risks. The weak spot on defensive is their secondary. Starters at safety include strong safety Brandon Meriweather, who signed as an unrestrictred free agent in 2012, but only played 1 game last season. Also, in the mix are Reed Doughty and rookie Bacarri Rambo, who will start at free safety. On special teams, Kai Forbath will back as the Redskins kicker after a steller rookie season. After Graham Gano was released, Kai Forbath was brought in and wound up making 17-18 field goals.  If Griffin can stay healthy the Skins should be the front runner for the division, but with his style of play that may be a lot to ask. Expectations in Washington coming into the 2013 season are immensely high. Steve Mount

After going down in week 2, Orakpo will be back as a force on the defensive line for the Skins.


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