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NY Times: N.F.C. East Scouting Report


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N.F.C. East Scouting Report



Coach Joe Gibbs has a career record of 140-65.


EY TO WINNING DIVISION The N.F.C. East is where free agents flock and legendary coaches make time stand still. One year after the successful return of Bill Parcells, Joe Gibbs arrives in Washington with the goal of lifting the Redskins into Super Bowl contention. Add two coaches seeking redemption in the Giants' Tom Coughlin and the Eagles' Andy Reid, toss in talents like Terrell Owens and Clinton Portis, and this may be the most competitive division in football.

1. Philadelphia (12-4)

STRENGTHS Donovan McNabb, one of the league's best quarterbacks, finally has a big-play receiver in Owens. That should open the offense for tight end L. J. Smith and running back Brian Westbrook. If healthy, Jevon Kearse will become a disruptive force at defensive end, especially with the schemes of the coordinator Jim Johnson.

WEAKNESSES The Eagles sustained heavy free-agent losses in the off-season again, including running back Duce Staley and defensive backs Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor, players once considered the heart of the team. Age and injuries have diminished the offensive line, so the Eagles spent three of their first eight draft picks on offensive linemen. The team's young cornerbacks must mature quickly.

OUTLOOK No Philadelphia team carries the city's burden like the Eagles, who have been clipped in the N.F.C. title game three years running. An infusion of star power will keep them in the hunt, but a Super Bowl trip may remain elusive.

2. Dallas (10-6)

STRENGTHS Under Parcells, the Cowboys became a punishing and productive team, especially on defense, where they finished first over all and first in pass defense. By playing aggressively and still limiting mistakes, the Cowboys stayed competitive for an entire season after three 5-11 campaigns. With safeties Roy Williams and Darren Woodson and cornerback Terence Newman, Dallas has one of the best secondaries in the game, but Woodson will be out at least five games with an injured back.

WEAKNESSES The offense has had a tendency to sputter, and 40-year-old Vinny Testaverde, who was released by the Jets, will now be in charge of running it. Receiver Keyshawn Johnson and defensive end Marcellus Wiley bring guile and experience, but not much else.

OUTLOOK Parcells will continue to drill good habits into his team, but another quick playoff exit seems likely.

3. Washington (5-11)

STRENGTHS The Redskins once again spent heaps of cash to bring in players like Portis, quarterback Mark Brunell and cornerback Shawn Springs. But their biggest asset is Gibbs, who hired a top-flight coaching staff. Gibbs will enjoy working with his physical offensive line. Portis will reap the benefits.

WEAKNESSES For all of their sound and fury in the off-season, the Redskins still smack of a fantasy team. Every year, a new batch of players is sized for uniforms and the old batch is kicked out, making continuity difficult to achieve. Despite the additions of defensive ends Cornelius Griffin and Phillip Daniels, the pass rush remains suspect.

OUTLOOK The Redskins' owner, Dan Snyder, finally got it right in hiring Gibbs. Now he just needs to stay out of the way. With a couple of breaks, the Redskins could contend for a playoff spot.

4. Giants (4-12)

STRENGTHS The Giants still have two of the league's game-changing players in defensive end Michael Strahan and tight end Jeremy Shockey. They also have a secondary on the way up, a coach in Coughlin who burns to win and several players with a desire to prove doubters wrong, none more than quarterback Kurt Warner and running back Tiki Barber.

WEAKNESSES The Giants are banking on Warner to provide a veteran hand (at least until Eli Manning is ready), but he has lost the magic he once had in St. Louis. The Giants addressed their offensive line with quantity more than quality. Competition for spots is ensured. Competence is not.

OUTLOOK Coughlin will scare the Giants into six victories, maybe seven, meaning they will still fall short in 2004. In the new-look N.F.C. East, the Giants appear to be the weakest link.

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I think that was a fair assessment of where our team stands. We always have high expectations and then they're dashed. We've had nothing but a revolving door of talent. What sets us apart this year is Gibbs. And this guy even says he believes we could make the playoffs. Personally, I don't think we'll make the playoffs this year. But, I think his thoughts were fair enough.

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Originally posted by Mr. S

Everyone criticizes our d-line, thing is we will prolly at least be solid against the run, just lack the pass rush, but oh wait, they seem to forget the person with the #2 defense last year is running our defense.

A LOT of folks have forgotten that

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Did I miss something in the offseason?

This article talks about the revolving door of players at Redskins Park and the turnover (and uses it as an excuse to dampen expectations), while at the same time he notes that the Cowboys now have a new starting qb, new starting rb and at least one new starting wr :laugh:

And then the article goes on to note that the Cowboys will likely suffer another first round wildcard loss (making the big assumption they will repeat 10-6) while the Redskins with a better offseason IMO are destined to be perhaps contenders for a spot? :)

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It's not like I think he's a Hall of Famer, but Quincy Carter's departure from the Cowboys will IMHO be a very disruptive thing for their offense. They were built around his ability to scramble and build upon his first year's experience in the offense. Now they have a very immobile QB with declining overall skills in Testaverde. That's forced them to really rethink their offensive scheme.

Everyone seems to underestimate the difficulty and effect of that particular transition, but I think it's huge. If the Giants QB's step in and make plays from the beginning, the Cowboys are in danger of finishing last. Objectively, you have to think of the division finishing like this:





What their particular records will be I couldn't guess, but I have a hard time expecting the second place team finishing better than 10-6, and I don't believe that more than two teams from the division will reach the playoffs, and it may well be only one.

Just my $.02.

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