Eye On the Enemy: NFC East Roundup
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.
Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News discusses whether Rolando McClain can have an impact:
Don’t assume the Cowboys are getting the guy who had 100 tackles and five sacks in 2011. McClain retired from football after the 2012 season, attempted to return to the league, only to retire for a second time in April. He said that his heart just wasn’t into the game anymore. So why should anyone believe that it is now? I really don’t have any clue.
Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com on how Tyron Smith is helping Cowboys second-round pick Demarcus Lawrence:
“I feel like it’s helping me,” Lawrence said. “If you’re going against the best, you ain’t got no choice but to pick up your game and become the best. I feel like he’s helping me out a lot, and he’s getting me ready for the season.”
Lawrence’s education was not unlike the education Smith received from DeMarcus Ware, the man Lawrence is replacing. At training camp last summer in Oxnard, California, Ware had his way with Smith – or any offensive linemen in his way – and Smith ended up having his best season. He was not only named to the Pro Bowl, he earned second-team All-Pro honors.
Adam Levitan of Rotoworld.com lists DeMarco Murray as one of the most undervalued players in fantasy football:
Dez Bryant, Tony Romo, Terrance Williams and DeMarco Murray are all capable of having career-best seasons here – and the only reason Murray’s ADP is second round instead of first round is because of an upright running style that seems to lead to injuries. But the massive per-play production is too much to ignore. Murray has averaged 4.94 YPC and 6.87 YPR through three NFL seasons, and last year he was PFF’s No. 6 runner and was No. 4 in their “elusive” ratings. That ranking included 2.7 yards after contact per attempt (7th) and 37 missed tackles (10th). If we handcuff intriguing third-year back Lance Dunbar to a Murray pick, we’ll have solid protection against injury.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News says Stevie Brown expects to be 100 percent for training camp:
The Giants safety, who tore his ACL in preseason against the Jets last year, expects to be able to practice fully.
“It’s not a thing at all,” Brown said Tuesday, before serving as a coach at Ravens defensive tackle Chris Canty’s annual youth football camp at George Washington HS. “I trust it 100 percent.
“I’ll probably go every single day (in training camp),” he added. “But I have to listen to the trainers and coaches.”
The Giants have seen several key players bid to return from serious knee injuries in recent years, with varying degrees of success.
Phil Simms thinks Eli Manning can excel in the new offense, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post reports:
“Is it a drastic change and all that stuff? Yeah, maybe in the philosophy it could be,’’ Simms said. “I know Green Bay’s offense, I’ve watched it a lot over the last years and talk a lot about it. Of course Eli’s gonna adjust to it. Is it a big adjustment? In my eyes, no it’s not. He’s a pro, he’s won the Super Bowl twice, if you tell him to run on his feet, he does it, if you tell him OK, now we’re gonna start running on our hands, he goes, ‘OK, I can do that too.’ Will there be timing issues and grave mistakes because of it? There might be some mistakes … but I just can’t imagine it’s gonna be that hard.’’
Dan Graziano of ESPN.com examines the state of the Giants’ offensive line:
They are hoping Snee can hold up physically and play right guard all year, but they won’t know that until it happens. They’re hoping Beatty can recover from his broken leg in time for training camp and certainly the start of the season, but they can’t be sure that will be the case until they see it, either. And even if healthy, Beatty will have a lot of work to do to bounce back from his disappointing 2013 campaign. Jerry and Brown are the respective backup candidates at those spots, but Jerry missed a lot of spring practice time with a knee injury and could also face a league-imposed suspension as a result of his involvement in the Miami Dolphins’ bullying scandal from last year.
Mike Jones of the Washington Post dives into his mailbag, including a question about Washington’s defense:
I don’t think I’d describe my overall confidence level in this secondary as high at this point. Too many questions still remain unanswered. Coaches and teammates say that Amerson has greatly improved as he enters his second season. He will start opposite DeAngelo Hall. With his length and athleticism, he seems to have the ability to give receivers problems. He has to remain disciplined in coverage, and improve his consistency in the run game, though. The fact that he had a good offseason is a positive, but the true test will come during the preseason, when he’s going against an unfamiliar opponent and unfamiliar offense.
John Keim of ESPN.com explains the little-thought about stat that is key for the Redskins’ defense:
But what his story did was force me to do some research on ESPN Stats & Information. And I found a number that absolutely must improve regardless of their sack total – and it’s not always connected to sacks, either.
Yards per pass attempt.
The Redskins have been dreadful in this area the past four years; it’s evident in the number of big plays allowed and it’s why they’re considered a boom-or-bust defense.
CSNWashington.com’s Redskins experts discuss how big of a concern Jason Hatcher‘s knee injury is:
If Hatcher’s recovery goes according to plan and he’s in the starting lineup Week 1, no one will remember that he even had surgery. But I do agree with Tandler when he says everyone needs to be cautiously optimistic, with the operative word being cautiously. Hatcher is almost 32, and despite not playing starter’s minutes until 2011, he’s a huge man who’s been putting NFL-level strain on his joints since 2006. It’s also a little troubling that he says the injury is the result of years of pounding and not a single, awkward twist or something like that.