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ESPN NFL Blog: NFC East Mailbag


the krabber

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Here are the 'Skins mentions. The rest is a pretty decent read as well.

http://myespn.go.com/blogs/nfceast/0-1-87/Mosley-s--non-Cowboys--Mailbag.html

Alexandria writes: Jason Campbell with the Redskins had a fair year last year with great potential. How long will Dan the Man give him this year to excel or get on track before he moves to next in line? Campbell has always had great potential, but never moved into the big time.

Matt Mosley: Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato are committed to being patient with Campbell, who only has 20 starts in three years. If they weren't committed to helping Campbell succeed, Jim Zorn wouldn't be the head coach. Cerrato told me a couple of weeks ago that Campbell and Zorn bonded instantly. Zorn is trying to get Campbell to stay lower in the pocket and to take longer strides on his drops. He's always had a big arm, but he didn't stay in an athletic pose in the pocket and often appeared stiff. During his senior season at Auburn, Campbell flourished in a West Coast offense. Back to your question, Campbell will be on the field unless he gets hurt. The club was thrilled with Todd Collins' performance down the stretch last season, but Zorn doesn't want Campbell looking over his shoulder. The Redskins think the additions of Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas will eventually make Campbell a better quarterback because he'll have some large red-zone targets. Barring injury, Campbell will play all 16 games -- even if the Redskins finish 7-9, which I don't think will happen.

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Omar writes: Hey Matt...I'm from the Bahamas and a big Redskins fan. What I really want to know is how do you think our defense will perform -- especially the secondary?

Matt Mosley: LaRon Landry could emerge as one of the best defensive players in the division. He's a huge hitter, but he's also improved a lot in coverage. Reed Doughty will probably start at the other safety. He performed well after the tragic loss of Sean Taylor last season. I would be more concerned about your cornerbacks because Carlos Rogers is returning from an injury and Shawn Springs is starting to show his age. Fred Smoot is a solid player, but I don't think quarterbacks fear this secondary. The front seven looks pretty strong with the addition of Jason Taylor at defensive end. And if Rocky McIntosh can regain his rookie form following knee surgery, he and London Fletcher will make a ton of plays. The Redskins desperately needed a better pass-rush and Taylor's still capable of putting up double-digit sacks.

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Andy from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth writes: This might be premature for you to answer since you haven't attended all NFC East training camps yet, but how do you think the NFC East will end up this year (overall and division records)? Will the Cowboys finally win a playoff game? Will Jason Taylor make enough of an impact to put the Redskins in the playoffs? Will Eli fall back to his former inconsistency issues or will he stay in championship form and will the Giants even make the playoffs? Will Donovan not get injured this year? Sorry for the many questions. Nice blog, keep up the good work.

Matt Mosley: Andy, premature statements are my specialty. I've already gone back and forth on the division rankings several times. I hate to pick against the Giants because I think they have the type of leadership that can withstand a Super Bowl hangover. That said, I'd have to go Cowboys (12-4), Giants (11-5), Eagles (10-6), Redskins (9-7). The Cowboys will win a playoff game and lose in the next round. Taylor will make a significant impact (12 sacks), but it might not be enough. Manning will be solid and I think McNabb makes it through the season healthy.

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I just dont see the logic behind placing us under the Eagles. Just because they signed Asante, everyone thinks they are world beaters now. sheesh.

They may have signed Samuel, but we can't be considered a serious contender because of the ????? a new Coaching staff brings to the table. If the Offense gets off to a good start you'll see people flip flopping, especially if we beat Dallas in Dallas.

I understand your point, but sometimes it takes a while for an offense to gel in a new system (2006, Al Saunders). The media is going to be more reserved, especially with the Skins. Did anyone pick the Saints to win the South in 2006 and make it to the NFC Chamionship game? Nope. Most pundits had them picked last in that division.

The Skins have all of the makings of being the surprise team in 08. Will it happen? Well, that's the ultimate question now isn't it?

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They may have signed Samuel, but we can't be considered a serious contender because of the ????? a new Coaching staff brings to the table. If the Offense gets off to a good start you'll see people flip flopping, especially if we beat Dallas in Dallas.

I understand your point, but sometimes it takes a while for an offense to gel in a new system (2006, Al Saunders). The media is going to be more reserved, especially with the Skins. Did anyone pick the Saints to win the South in 2006 and make it to the NFC Chamionship game? Nope. Most pundits had them picked last in that division.

The Skins have all of the makings of being the surprise team in 08. Will it happen? Well, that's the ultimate question now isn't it?

Even so, he still has us picked to finish 9-7. We are in a tough, tough division. Its awesome.

:dallasuck:eaglesuck:gaintsuck

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I like what I'm hearing in his first few answers, but I'm still not crazy about being predicted to be last in the division. At least his answers seem to be well thought out and it appears he actually knows what he's talking about rather than regurgitating what the rest of the national media says.....

Our team has only improved over the offseason. And while we've had some coaching changes, almost all of them except the head coaching position have been "in house". Neither the Giants nor Eagles did much to improve this offseason.

While I understand the onus is on us to PROVE we can be contenders and remain consistent, I can't help but hate seeing everyone constantly ranking us last.

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I just dont see the logic behind placing us under the Eagles. Just because they signed Asante, everyone thinks they are world beaters now. sheesh.

Well to be honest, I think McNabb actually being fully healthy and mobile is playing a larger role for why the Eagles are expected to be a better team.

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Matt Mosley: I hate to pick against the Giants because I think they have the type of leadership that can withstand a Super Bowl hangover. That said, I'd have to go Cowboys (12-4), Giants (11-5), Eagles (10-6), Redskins (9-7). The Cowboys will win a playoff game and lose in the next round. Taylor will make a significant impact (12 sacks), but it might not be enough. Manning will be solid and I think McNabb makes it through the season healthy.[/size]

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I just don't get it. Yes, the Giants had a remarkable run when it counted most and were able to beat a Patriots team that was much less of a force during the second half of last season. You can't take the Super Bowl away from them. However, they got beaten badly at home in a game they needed to win by our Todd Collins led Skins. Had they lost to the Bills the following week they woould not have made the playoffs and would have a new coach at the helm. My guess is that they are primed for a Superbowl hangover because they weren't that good to begin with (remember the Dilfer led Ravens also won a Superbowl). I can't say that the Skins at 9-7 is a bad guess but I'll bet the Giants end up closer to 5-11 then 11-5.

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They may have signed Samuel, but we can't be considered a serious contender because of the ????? a new Coaching staff brings to the table. If the Offense gets off to a good start you'll see people flip flopping, especially if we beat Dallas in Dallas.

I understand your point, but sometimes it takes a while for an offense to gel in a new system (2006, Al Saunders). The media is going to be more reserved, especially with the Skins. Did anyone pick the Saints to win the South in 2006 and make it to the NFC Chamionship game? Nope. Most pundits had them picked last in that division.

The Skins have all of the makings of being the surprise team in 08. Will it happen? Well, that's the ultimate question now isn't it?

The thing that gets me though, is that or offense sucked with AS ... even in the 2nd year. So how is that different than bringing in a new offense that our QB actually had a little bit of experience with in college? This new offense isn't the massive overhaul in terminology and x's and o's that AS brought to DC. The run game is the same, the pass game philosophy (if anything) is more flexible to allow JC to improvise when need be, more so than AS's offense, which was timing based and didn't cater to improvisation when the play broke down. In that offense the play was over if one element was not as precise as the others. It was meant for a QB to stand in the pocket, to have complete pass protection for up to 5 seconds and for the WR's to hit their routes on time. I think we will still end up running the ball a lot, but we will be in spread formation and JC will be in shotgun a lot more. I look for a lot of draw lays to Portis and Betts.

The defense will remain steady, Greg Blache does not mess around and he doesn't sugar coat anything. I expect the defense to remain aggressive and hard-nosed.

I guess I just don't understand why the Eagles are constantly ranked ahead of us. Big picture, it's better for us to get less hype. But f*cking Philthy? You gotta be kidding me. We are going to crush them this year. I am calling for a sweep of the Iggles. I'll gladly eat crow if I'm wrong. :dallasuck :gaintsuck :eaglesuck

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How many times have all 4 teams in a division finished with winning records? Not the 4th team finishing 8-8, but all four having winning records? I have to think that it's pretty rare. That would piss me off if we finished 9-7 or whatever and still came in last. I'm still thinking 10-6...and hoping that gets us in.

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Well to be honest, I think McNabb actually being fully healthy and mobile is playing a larger role for why the Eagles are expected to be a better team.

As good as the Skins played down the stretch last year, the Eagles played as well or better. They finished very strong and with a healthy McNabb (?), an improved secondary and their history of playing up to their potential, I can easily see why they are picked ahead of us.

That said, there are many disgruntled players (Westbrook, Sheppard) on the team who are openly venting during camp there... the atmosphere and mood aren't the same as they have been for them in past camps. Hopefully this bodes poorly for their season.

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Well to be honest, I think McNabb actually being fully healthy and mobile is playing a larger role for why the Eagles are expected to be a better team.

I'll get flamed for this, but I thought Philly was playing better ball than we were the last few games, including our four-game streak to get into the Paloffs.

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I'll get flamed for this, but I thought Philly was playing better ball than we were the last few games, including our four-game streak to get into the Paloffs.

It's debatable but nobody can doubt that they were playing solid ball last year towards the end. They're a tough team week in week out but IMO they haven't done enough to improve their roster. How much do they really expect to get from DeSean Jackson? Also Asante isn't much of an upgrade to Lito, which they will realize soon enough.

I'll say it again, first place and last place in the NFC east will only be seperated by a few wins. With first place going 11-5 and last going 9-7 or 8-8. Any team can finish in any spot depending on their team's health.

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As good as the Skins played down the stretch last year, the Eagles played as well or better. They finished very strong and with a healthy McNabb (?), an improved secondary and their history of playing up to their potential, I can easily see why they are picked ahead of us.

That said, there are many disgruntled players (Westbrook, Sheppard) on the team who are openly venting during camp there... the atmosphere and mood aren't the same as they have been for them in past camps. Hopefully this bodes poorly for their season.

The Eagles played well once the pressure was off. They choked big time when it counted. By the way - McNabb and the rest of the eagles were healthy when we beat them in Philly. I think they are close to having to move on to the post-McNabb and post B. Dawkins era and this season will be the last as Eagles for both of them.

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Wow, he thinks the NFC east will only lose 10 non-division games(because there are 12 NFC east vs NFC east games, those are 12 of the loses). That means on average he thinks each NFC east team will go 7.5-2.5 out of the division. If that is the case, likely other divisions get beat up and the Skins make the playoffs at 9-7.

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I'll get flamed for this, but I thought Philly was playing better ball than we were the last few games, including our four-game streak to get into the Paloffs.

Thats a stretch...

They won 3 straight to end the year...AT Dallas, AT N.O. and home vs. Buffalo.

We won 4 straight...

Chicago, AT NYG, AT Min & vs. Dallas.

We beat the SB champs in their own house on Primetime....Americas Team at home and Americas New Sweethearts (aka The Vikings in their dome).

Philly is going to be solid again. If Westbrook & McNabb play all 16 games they will win 8 games minimum. But if injuries hit them yet again.....who knows.

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Wow, he thinks the NFC east will only lose 10 non-division games(because there are 12 NFC east vs NFC east games, those are 12 of the loses). That means on average he thinks each NFC east team will go 7.5-2.5 out of the division. If that is the case, likely other divisions get beat up and the Skins make the playoffs at 9-7.

Too bad 7 teams don't make the paloffs!

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Wow, he thinks the NFC east will only lose 10 non-division games(because there are 12 NFC east vs NFC east games, those are 12 of the loses). That means on average he thinks each NFC east team will go 7.5-2.5 out of the division. If that is the case, likely other divisions get beat up and the Skins make the playoffs at 9-7.

Well, some of those games are against the AFC.

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