Eye On the Enemy: NFC East Roundup


Tony Romo, Robert Griffin III

Once a week, we’ll take a spin around the NFC East to check in on what’s going on with the Eagles’ division rivals.

DALLAS COWBOYS
Week 1 opponent: San Francisco 49ers (4:25 p.m.)
Line: 49ers (-4)

Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News updates the status of Tony Romo’s back going into today’s matchup with the 49ers.

Romo hasn’t played a full game since undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back last December.

“I think the last couple of weeks, I think we’ve seen Tony really be himself,” head coach Jason Garrett said this week. “He’s moved around in practice very spontaneously, made a lot of throws. He’s taken hits in games. He’s come back from all that stuff. He’s worked very hard to get himself to a point where he’s 100 percent with his back and it’s going to be a work in progress for him just like it would be for anybody coming off of any kind of injury. He’s really looked like himself to me.”

Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram wonders whether the Cowboys will be able to pressure Colin Kaepernick:

Of the many questions about this defense, getting pressure on the quarterback is at the top. The Cowboys have six defensive ends with a combined total of 62.5 sacks, including Anthony Spencer’s 32.5. Spencer is out, though, so who gets to the quarterback?

NEW YORK GIANTS
Week 1 opponent: Detroit Lions (7:10 p.m. Monday)
Line: Lions (-6.5)

Gary Meyers of the New York Daily News is predicting ugly seasons for both New York squads:

The Giants need another couple months to figure out Ben McAdoo’s offense. The Jets need another couple months for John Idzik to figure out you can’t win in a passing league without cornerbacks.

Last year was the first since 2003 that neither team finished over .500.

Should the Giants miss the playoffs for the third straight season and the Jets fail to qualify for the fourth straight year, there will be unhappy folks in the owner’s box.

The biggest issues: Will John Mara and Steve Tisch ask Tom Coughlin, the oldest coach in the league, to retire?

Bill Pennington of the New York Times discusses the Giants’ shaky offensive line. New York tried to solidify that unit, but Pennington is not sold just yet:

The Giants on Wednesday signed a new offensive lineman, Adam Snyder, a 10-year veteran released last week by the San Francisco 49ers. At the same time, the Giants put one of their chief off-season acquisitions, the free-agent guard Geoff Schwartz, on a restricted form of injured reserve, which will allow Schwartz, if healthy, to return to play at midseason.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Week 1 opponent: Houston Texans (1 p.m.)
Line: Texans (-3)

Liz Clarke of the Washington Post on the team’s safety situation with 34-year-old Ryan Clark:

That makes for an intriguing opening-day pairing at safety — one 34-year-old and one 24-year-old — on a team that made upgrading its defensive backfield a priority on the heels of a 3-13 season. Though Washington misfired in all facets of the game in coach Mike Shanahan’s final season, the defense was a particular liability, ranked 20th against the pass and 17th against the run.

Mark Bullock of the Washington Post is focused on the Redskins’ true test, containing J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney:

This is the biggest question of this game and the answer will most likely be the deciding factor in the result. Clowney comes into the league with a huge, and merited, reputation of being an athletic freak who can both shut down the run game and get after the quarterback. Fortunately, the Redskins have an athletic freak of their own at left tackle in Trent Williams. 

Watt, on the other hand, will most certainly cause the Redskins problems. His versatility allows him to line up playing any technique along the defensive line. He can play 1-tech, 3-tech, 5-tech or even play wide outside as a 9-tech if the Texans asked him to. 

Watt’s presence on the defensive line will alter the Redskins’ game plan. It’s hard to imagine they’ll call for too many seven-step drops for Robert Griffin III, even with the new deep threat of DeSean Jackson in the lineup. I think the Redskins will call for plenty of play-action passes to try to get Watt and Clowney hesitating at the snap and buy an extra second of protection for Griffin.

Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.