Eye On the Enemy: NFC East Roundup

Tony Romo, Robert Griffin III

For the next several Sundays, we’ll take a spin around the NFC East to check in on what’s going on with some of the Eagles’ division rivals.

DALLAS COWBOYS




The moment in the first round of last month's NFL draft that generated the biggest buzz was when the Cowboys were on the clock and had a chance to take Johnny Manziel. Dallas owner Jerry Jones said previously that the team was not giving serious consideration to taking Manziel, but he recently changed his tune. Via the Dallas Morning-News:

Question: Did you say a second ago that was a really hard decision about Johnny Manziel?

Jerry Jones: "Well, it was. Yes, it was. First of all, I couldn't believe he had fallen there. And secondly, we had spent a lot of time, I'd spent a lot of time. He's the kind of player that can be that kind of difference-maker. There's no doubt in my mind that he'll be a successful player. We have in Romo what I consider to be the better quarterback. But there's also the future, there's also insurance if you don't have him. If anybody could have adjusted to Manziel's style, we could have because we're a lot like that with Romo."

The Cowboys will be without linebacker Sean Lee for the season because of a torn ACL suffered in OTAs. Shortly after the injury, a video surfaced of the play in which Lee went down. There were questions about whether the Cowboys were practicing illegally, but according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the team has been absolved of any wrongdoing:

The NFL and the Players Association decided the Cowboys didn’t commit a practice violation during the non-contact workouts.

However, the league did offer up some pointers to reinforce how the OTA workouts should be handled.

"They have evaluated a couple of our practice sessions and given us some pointers, but I don't think we've done anything (wrong)," executive vice president Stephen Jones said at the team’s annual golf tournament on Tuesday. "Jason (Garrett) has always done a good job of playing by the rules and I think obviously they looked at that and say that we were but at the same time I think we all have to take notes and get better. We need to do it better and hopefully do it to where you don't have anything unfortunate happen."

NEW YORK GIANTS

Antrel Rolle isn't happy with the Giants' secondary after this week's suspensions, Dan Graziano of ESPNNewYork.com notes:

"It's too easy to do right to keep doing wrong," Rolle said on the topic of two members of the Giants' secondary receiving drug suspensions in the course of a week. "We don't need to have that pub, people asking, 'What's up with the secondary?' That's a bad reflection. It doesn't look good."

Cornerback Jayron Hosley is out for four games, while DB Will Hill has been released.

Eli Manning is the 14th-highest paid player for 2014. Jordan Raanan of NJ.com notes that the Giants will have to make a decision on how much their QB has left some time in the next couple seasons:

Manning, 33, has two seasons left on a deal that was renegotiated in March of last year. He is scheduled to make even more ($17.5 million) next year in the final year of his contract.

The Giants have a decision to make some time in the next two years. It’s no secret they will need to see Manning play better before determining if they’d like him to be around longer than two more seasons.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Jason Reid of the Washington Post writes that the Redskins will need to improve their pass protection this season:

Last season, some on the coaching staff privately suggested the line received too much blame for the protection problems. Obviously, the line wasn’t the league’s best, the coaches acknowledged, but Griffin “played his way” into many sacks. With a better understanding of pocket presence, Griffin could help the big guys who are supposed to help him.

The line is accomplished at run blocking, as evidenced by running back Alfred Morris’s 3,043 yards — with a 4.8-yard average — in his first two seasons. Gruden would be foolish to scrap Shanahan’s outside-stretch-zone-blocking system. We hear he’s not foolish.

For the Redskins, this season will be all about trying to rebuild Griffin’s game. An offensive line that’s solid in pass protection could only help.

And of course, since we know none of you is tired about hearing from DeSean Jackson. Via the Washington Post:

McGinest, who was evidently looking for a juicier answer, followed up by asking if Jackson plans to “give them the business and show them that they made a mistake.”

“Oh yeah, definitely,” Jackson said. “I think about that every time I step on the field, especially with the legacy I have in Philadelphia and the things I’ve done for that organization. I left back a lot there, but I have to take it to D.C. now where we’re out here in Washington and I think there are some great players in addition to myself with Pierre, Santana, J-Reed, Alfred Morris, so the list continues. Here we have a group of guys that’s young, that’s energized, and that wants to win. And two years ago they won our division, so they’re familiar with that, but when that game comes, all I’m going to say is I’m going to do my thing and I’m going to put up what I need to put up. So I ain’t going to give nobody no extra things to talk about, but you know I’m going to do what I need to do.”

-Josh Paunil and Sheil Kapadia

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  • xoverscribbler

    I’m just being real when I say…I am not looking forward to even ONE instance of DeSean, doing ‘what i need to do,’ in a division rival uniform. Just sayin’.

    • James Hathaway

      Maybe I’m crazy, but I think we match up well with him. More worried about shading too much attention to him and having Garçon dominate us.

      • jmkrav

        I feel that WAS is a team where Boykin should play outside. He doesn’t give up any height to Djax and he’s our only CB who can run with him…

        • Jerry Pomroy

          Watkins is a smidge faster than Boykin. I think you’ll see them both playing opposite DJax on a number of plays, but you’ll also see the other guys being physical with him.

          • NickS1

            I’ll prefer Boykin on him over Watkins. Until Watkins is healed his 4.3 40 is only words out of his mouth. Boykin is a beast and has experience playing against him for two years in practice and camp.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            I understand the point of Boykin having experience matching up against DJax, but don’t sleep on them mixing in Watkins as well. His clocked 40 time on a bad ankle still matched Boykin’s & he’s very much the same type of player, just taller. He’s got to earn it of course but I think he’ll make some waves this year.

          • anon

            I’d just stuff him at the line every time. Problem is garcon is a good receiver on the other side.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Yeah, I’d do the same but they’d then probably motion him into the slot where he can get some wiggle room. But if they can stymie DJax at the line they can focus the safety help to Garcon’s side.

          • peteike

            ya earning it is kind of a big deal as a rookie. I hope you are right though.

        • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

          Never seen Boykin practice (Thanks Chip! ) But curious how the 2 of them matched up last season. Might be worth digging in the 24/7 archives for practice reports

      • Jerry Pomroy

        I’d have to agree. We have some bigger guys in Fletcher, Williams & Carroll that can knock him around at the LOS and also 2 speed guys that can keep up downfield in Boykin & Watkins. Plus, improved Safety play should help as well.

      • Eagles1018

        I’d be more worried Alfred Morris than anyone else on that team

    • Maggie

      Legacy? Usually refers to a longstanding career showing excellence, and steady team spirit, all the time. Not 4 or 5 years with a few highlight-of-the-night plays.

  • willissez

    This is awesome, negative bullet points about all of our division rivals. Wonder what it says about us in their versions of this article.

    Also, what exactly does D-Jax think his “legacy” in Philly is. I’ll never forget Miracle at the Meadowlands II (or my reaction in a crowded bar that followed) and I think I hate him less than most around here, but legacy? Come on dude.

    • anon

      He would have been our best receiver ever.* I remember him as a guy that took the division rivalries to heart. Remember him doing that fake salsa dance during the giants game last year? Running along the end=zone before scoring “you can’t catch me”, taunting the skins’ secondary – i loved that stuff. Obviously he had downsides but he and shady drove the explosiveness of this team for years. He’s the best speed guy in the league and he’s always open on Madden.

      *Current receiving corps excluded.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        I think that could be very debatable. Yes, he might’ve captured the Eagles career receiving yards record in another 3-4yrs, but he had a ways to go as far as TDs (32) to even catch Quick (61) & Carmichael’s TD totals (79) are almost completely out of reach. He’s up there but we can’t just automatically say that he’d be the best WR in Eagles history as I firmly believe that goes beyond capturing one team record & we also can’t say for sure that he would’ve achieved the receiving yds record as he’s about 2800-2900yds away from Carmichael who has 8,978yds to DJax 6117yds.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          To add, this is certainly something to keep an eye on. McCoy is just a smidge over 1,000yds shy of the all time Eagles rushing record in just his 4th yr. It took Montgomery & Westbrook each seven years to become #1 & #2 on that list. Shady could reach #1 in just 5yrs. I’d have to think that the FO would have to keep this in mind when Shady gets that big raise next season.

          • Kev_H

            Hate to rain on the parade but fans and writers get unrealistic about these things and underrate how difficult the NFL is. After 71 games (58 starts) in the league Montgomery had around 5,095 rushing yards and was coming off a 1,402 yard season and everyone felt the Eagles were set there. But he never came close to playing at that level again, hung around for four more years and ended up with 6,789 and ended with only three years where he was able to carry the ball over 250 times. Brian Westbrook only did it once. These are the Eagles’ all-time greats.

            McCoy has played 74 games (60 starts) and has 5,473 yards rushing. He has carried the ball more than 250 times in a season twice. Successfully carrying the ball 250+ times in the NFL is incredibly difficult and only a few great players can do it for multiple years and only the very great (E. Smith, M. Faulk, B. Sanders) have been able to do it year after year for an extended period of time. So, I’d set the realistic over/under for McCoy remaining seasons with 250+ carries at 1.5. The NFL is just too tough.

            Same thing with Jackson. I said it when he was released and I’ll say it now- at the time I said if the Eagles draft a WR early, he’ll statistically outperform Jackson over the next 3 years. Jackson has already had 6 solid NFL seasons. The odds are long that he’ll be putting up big numbers in his age 28, 29, and 30 seasons.

            I know I’ll get jumped on, but before you start, I was on internet discussion boards arguing that McNabb was realistically approaching the end of the line in 2008 and 2009. You can’t rationally look at all the QBs who played and conclude otherwise. Of course everyone did jump on me and his biggest fans said that he’d be in the league, putting up big numbers until he was at least 38 while pointing to anomalies like Warren Moon for support. McNabb turns 38 this November.

            If McCoy gets another 5,000 yards rushing, that will be something to treasure and appreciate as he heads for the hall of fame, especially because the NFL normally chews up and spits out feature backs pretty quickly and rationally, him being one of the rare guys to do that is very much a long shot at this point.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Nice knowledge sharing but I’m not seeing how you’re raining on any parade. I was merely insinuating to look towards a player “on the team” to root for in terms of team records. Shady’s numbers currently don’t even show up as a blip on the radar on the all time league leader numbers & frankly who knows if they will, as injury & breakdown could really slow him down over the next 2-3yrs. What makes him a good player could also be what tears down his career quickly. Heck even breaking the team rushing record doesn’t fair for much in the NFL record books. But I’m sure that Lurie & Howie will celebrate it as such and won’t shy away from letting him collect that big pay raise next season.

        • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

          79 is definitely a stretch. But son would’ve had disguising stats(relative to All-Time Eagle numbers) with another 4yrs or so years in this system. Any ways, why are we taking about dead people? RIP DJacc

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Talking past tense of course but his stats will always be tied to us in the record books.

      • willissez

        Yea I gotta agree with Jerry here, debatable at best. Best showman ever maybe, but best receiver? I’m not old enough to have watched the likes of Quick, Carmichael or Macdonald, but they’re pretty well respected in the stories I’ve been told.

        I think we can all agree that this becomes a moot point when Pope Matthews starts walking across water to the tune of 2,000 yards per year.

        • Joe from Easton

          Pope is going to make a catch in the middle of the field, stop, plant his staff into the ground, and defenders will simply part and allow him to glide into the end zone.

        • msg1

          Quick was gifted. Had he trained seriously and not held out so much ,he would be a serious candidate for the “Hall”. Carmichael wasn’t spectacular but he was steady and very good. Tommy McDonald was spectacular and clutch. He was one of the toughest little guys in the game. Think Wes Welker with better hands and more speed. Jackson definitely belongs in this group. We’ll never know what his ceiling could have been. Regardless of the “football” reasons for his dismissal, getting no compensation was organizational maleficence. Seeing him wearing that mustard and red and palling around DC with Robbie Griffin is a sickening sight.

      • borntosuffer

        Quick and Carmichael are a pretty high bar. But, no doubt he is among the best and he made some big, big plays for the Eagles. The only way I don’t miss him is if the Eagle’s offense is at least as good as it was before he left.

  • anon

    This is a great article — shouldn’t be relegated to sunday!

  • Dominik

    “For the next several Sundays, we’ll take a spin around the NFC East to
    check in on what’s going on with some of the Eagles’ division rivals.”

    Yes, yes, yes. I love it. A little bit of Blogging the Beast in the air. Can’t have enough opposition research. ;)

    Thanks guys, and continue to do that.

  • usmcnole

    Desean loves using double negatives

    • mtn_green

      He hates not using double negatives.

  • Jerry Pomroy

    It’s good to see some dialogue surrounding our division foes to break up the monotony.

  • Max Lightfoot

    Djax: ” … when that game comes, all I’m going to say is I’m going to do my thing and I’m going to put up what I need to put up.”

    Really? Not if Boykins drives you into the ground like a tent peg, you won’t.

    • OregonDucksFan

      Boykin, no s at the end.

      • IAteLunchToday

        BoyKing, a g at the end :)

    • Maggie

      Tell us how you really feel! ;~D

    • Max Lightfoot

      My bad – thought Boykins was short for Boykinski – JK :•)

  • Kev_H

    I guess they’re waiting until next week to report that DeSean’ s hamstrings are going Miles Austin on him and he’s having trouble staying on the field.

  • NickS1

    Just what is D-Jax’s “legacy”? Miracle at the Meadowlands, some ESPN highlights, and what else? Oh yeah, the dropped ball at the 1 yard line in Dallas, consistent disappearnace in big games…that legacy. I liked him and all, but he makes himself out to be a little more than he was.

  • Maggie

    I saw part of the interview, actually several days ago. Usually I respect McGinest, but this time he did obviously did not do the right research. He stated, right out loud, that numerous teams had wanted Jaccson!

    • paul from nc

      That may be true. I personally spoke to Ron Rivera for 10- 15 minutes,when he was here at Pinehurst for a car show, before the draft. One of my questions was if he had any interest in Jackson because of their weak WR’s. His response was yes they did, but the Redskins offer was better. So that’s at least 2 teams. He also said they were very interested in Cooks and Benjamin and hoped they’d fall to them. They did take Benjamin.
      He is an amazing looking guy. Huge upper body and slim waist. Appears he could step right in and play. Amazing difference from Andy.

  • paul from nc

    Great article. It’s nice to see what’s going on in the division withput going to several websites.
    Keep up the good work.

  • paul from nc

    RE Eli: Can you imagine what the comments would be if he was Foles?
    “2 Super Bowl wins and we’re saying he may be replaced. Stupid media still says Kelly wants a running QB. He’s proven he’s a winner.The haters.”

  • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

    Season after season, analyst have picked Dallas to be the favorite in this division. For once, the consensus seems to beleive they will struggle to reach 8 wins. The Pokes are just the type of flakey team that folds under the weight of high expectations. I’m almost concerned they may mount a charge in the vacuum of doubt left behind by the departure of Ware, Hatcher, and the loss of Sean Lee……almost.

    • cliff henny

      dont worry, that defense is terrible.

  • Scott J

    We never would have won all those Super Bowls without Jackson.

  • myeaglescantwin

    the eagles are focusing on 16 games. DeSean,,,, just two.

  • Bird of Prey

    He has a great Legacy here. But his immediate legacy will be on the first game back. I vividly remember the first games back by CC, and TO. Pretty bad memories to be sure. Hopefully this will be a good one for us and a bad one for them this time.

  • aub32

    I thinks it’s funny how some fans are acting like DeSean did nothing here and doesn’t have a legacy. He’s statically the 4th best WR in franchise history. He could have been #1 if he had stayed. No he didn’t get us a SB. News Flash, neither did Dawkins, McNabb, Buddy Ryan, Reggie, or any other Eagle. So I guess no Eagle has a legacy if that’s the way you judge legacies. The guy averaged over 1000 yards per season. He was the first player to ever get selected to the pro bowl at two positions. He has some of the most iconic plays in Eagle’s team history. He was the best WR on this team for over half a decade. That’s a legacy.

    • peteike

      well, with zero super bowls, legacies dont matter much. Philly fans have a short memory esp when a player moves to another team in the division (his choice or not). Hes the enemy now and the only record most care about is a Lombardi. Had this team had one at some point I think those things would matter more, like a ring of fame etc. It just doesnt unfortunately until they get a superbowl. I agree though with what you are saying.

      • aub32

        I could agree with that line of thinking if players like Dawkins and Trotter weren’t still loved and praised after moving on. I get that DJax isn’t Dawkins. I am just saying the guy did a lot here. He made the play that should have taken us to a SB. It’s not his fault the D forgot to cover Fitzgerald.

        • peteike

          I guess a tad but of course there are a handful of players that make that list over the decades. I still dont get the Trotter thing, sure great player but not in that top category, for me anyway. I also dont thing djax makes that cut but maybe simply because he left early to no fault of his own.

    • http://www.idonthaveawebsite.com theedevilsadvocate

      thats great and all but he is no longer an eagle. when he comes back for retirement if he does we can root for him again and give him a standing ovation and all that nonesense till then he is the enemy.

  • http://www.idonthaveawebsite.com theedevilsadvocate

    “And of course, since we know none of you is tired about hearing from DeSean Jackson.” we is so tired of him though well with the exception of his fanboys and desean jackson himself talkin bout how he is gonna show them birds like who i is…

  • tomw

    I think it would be good to make this a weekly thing all the time.

  • Explorer51

    The excerpt below is just tip of the iceberg stuff; I think we are going to continue to see why CK knew that Jackson, for all his talent, was not the kind of personality that he was interested in incorporating into his team approach. $50,000 in cash in a bag…albeit a very fancy one…in a gas station parking lot? Yeah, this is the kind of guy you want as one of the faces of your franchise…

    From the Yahoo Sports report:

    “Though NFLPA regulations prohibit agents from giving players money or other things of value in order to convince them to sign with them or keep them as clients, Jackson says Rosenhaus paid the wide receiver $50,000 cash in a Louis Vuitton travel bag during an exchange made in a gas station parking lot and more for those very purposes. Rosenhaus also agreed to give Jackson a $90,000 check and a $200,000 interest-free loan. Over time, Jackson says Rosenhaus provided him and his family with an additional $143,088 in order to keep him as a client.”

  • Dell24

    My thoughts on D. Jax – Smallest player I’ve ever seen at WR, one of the fastest. Overcame much adversity to be one of the most dangerous weapons in the league. Also had an attitude, and on the field immaturity that left me absolutely irate. (See dropped long TD in Dallas on 1 yard line, walking into endzone, going the length of the goal line before going in). If I was an opponent, that would fuel me to end his career. Had zero class winning or losing. Very impressive athleticism, but he was shutdown too often and disappeared against the best competition to be considered the best WR we ever had. Not physical and not into team concept or blocking. I remember watching Mike Quick, he was a true WR.
    Tremendous speed, hands, and talent, but not consistent enough and forever a punk is how I’ll remember Jackson. Not afraid of him on Skins. Now I’m moving on.