NFC East: 10 Offseason Moves That Will Impact the Regular Season
The NFC East gets a lot of love nationally and I don't get it even a little bit.
I'm sure the division will be competitive throughout the season, but that does not qualify it as being a good division. If competitiveness defined a good division then why doesn't the NFC West get more attention?
Why can't we step back and say to ourselves, "The NFC East is nothing more than a bunch of average teams beating up on each other and once they get to the playoffs they probably get exposed."
Dallas is supposed to be the cream of the crop according to many, but what do they bring to the table in the playoffs? Thankfully for Cowboys fans they were able to beat up on fellow NFC East opponent Philadelphia to pick up their first playoff win since 1996.
Too bad they got their doors blown off by Minnesota the following week.
New York is a pretty solid team offensively and defensively, but they have not won a home playoff game since 2000.
Washington is hot a mess right now and they only have one playoff win in the last decade.
And then there's Philadelphia who has a unproven quarterback and the propensity to choke in the NFC Championship.
The division may set up for a great race down the stretch. Too bad no one wants to admit the division has been nothing short of horsebleep in the playoffs.
With that in mind, have teams in the NFC East really improved their personnel this offseason? As expected, Washington made the biggest moves this offseason as they acquired Donovan McNabb and Mike Shanahan.
Those are two names that appear on the list. Their ranking and the other eight names appear on the slides that follow.
Draft picks are not included on the list and neither are resigned free agents. The list only includes acquisitions and releases.
No.10: Larry Johnson
Larry Johnson doesn't appear to be the greatest addition considering he will turn 31 in November and the baggage he lugs around with him.
But when you take into account he will play as a backup to Clinton Portis in an offense predicated on the run under Mike Shanahan then maybe this move could have huge dividends for Johnson and the Redskins.
With Portis fighting against nagging injuries as of late LJ can offer some relief. I'm not saying the Redskins have the same player who once racked up over 3,400 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. Wht they have in LJ is a talented back that may avoid the 30-year-old decline thanks in large part to him assuming backup duties.
And if Portis goes down with a injury for a week or two then Johnson is a solid option. Heck, he's got to be as good as Rock Cartwright and Ladell Betts, right?
No.9: Flozell Adams
I know Flozell Adams is no longer with the Cowboys.
But when you are as dominant as he was during his career you need to acknowledge the void created at tackle.
Most Dallas fans will probably not miss too much this season, but there are going to be moments when they say to themselves, "I wish Flozell was out there right now."
He was a model of consistency as he only missed 10 games after his rookie season and all of those occured in 2005.
Take a look at how Doug Free and Alex Barron play and how consistent they are at staying on the field.
No.8: Brian Westbrook
If Flozell Adams is on the list as someone who created a void then why not mention Brian Westbrook?
He probably won't be able to contribute much in San Francisco, but Eagles fans need to wonder if anyone can come close to replacing what Westbrook brought to the table.
Westbrook finished his career in Philadelphia second on the all-time rushing list, and third all-time in receptions.
No one thinks LeSean McCoy is going to put up the numbers or have the big-play ability Westbrook had. And without someone like Westbrook in the backfield fans will begin to apreciate how significant his departure is.
No.7: Mike Bell
It's not too often that a Super Bowl ring makes its way into the Nova Care complex, which is the home of the Philadelphia Eagles traning facility.
The mysterious jewelry is seen on Andy Reid's hand and now it can be seen on Mike Bell's too.
Bell, who won a Super Bowl last season with New Orleans Saints brings a much needed physical presence to the backfield for the Eagles.
Throughout Reid's tenure as a head coach the offense has struggled in short-yard situations and they never seemed to have a big running back to help out.
Signing Bell put an end to the Eagles not having a big back and hopefully now it puts an end to their short-yardage struggles.
No.6: Deon Grant
With inuries being such a big concern in New York, the addition of Deon Grant is one of the most underated and best moves of the offseason.
Starting safety Kenny Phillips underwent knee surgery last season and the Giants secondary was never the same. No one was able to step up and make plays on a consistent basis.
Phillips is ready for the season opener against Carolina, but how long will that last for?
Grant allows for the Giants to have a great insurance policy in case Phillips suffers another injury or is unable to play well following the surgery.
The nine-year veteran has picked off at least two passes and recorded 50 tackles every season.
I'm not saying he is a great talent because he was the defensive captain for the Seattle Seahawks, but when you are recognized as a captain something can be said about the way you are perceived as a leader and a player.
No.5: Perry Fewell
Former defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan took one of the most feared defenses in the league and turned them into a sorry sack of you-know-what.
Under Sheridan's leadership, if you want to call it that, the Giants gave up 30 or more points seven times, and 40 or more points five times.
In all fairness, the Giants did have injury issues last year. But that's no excuse to see your defense quit and get lit up like a Christmas tree.
Perry Fewell, now it's your turn to take a talented and healthy unit and once again establish it as one of the premier defenses in the NFL.
No.4: Ernie Sims
Ernie Sims has the opportunity to emerge as the best defensive player on the Eagles this season and that says a lot considering he will be playing with Asante Samuel, Trent Cole and Stewart Bradley.
Sims was drafted ninth overall by the Detroit Lions in 2006 and played next to a bunch of slop.
Now that he is on a defense that can make plays he can begin to show off his talent as being a phsyical linebacker who can be great against the run.
When was the last time Eagles fans were able to say something like that about a linebacker?
No.3: Antrel Rolle
The New York Giants had 13 interceptions last year, which was tied for the ninth worst in the league.
Antrel Rolle nearly had half that total on his own as he recorded four picks with the Arizona Cardinals.
Giants fans can point the finger at coaches, injuries, or other players. In the end it really didn't matter who took the blame. The only thing that did matter was that the Giants addressed their needs in the secondary.
With Kenny Philips returning from injury and the addition of Rolle, the Giants could have the best safety combo in the NFL.
No.2: Mike Shanahan
For more than a decade NFC East fans loved to put a quarter in the Washington Redskins carousel and watch it go round and round.
Norv Turner, Terry Robiskie, Narty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs, and Jim Zorn infested the sidelines and made the Washington Redskins perennial cellar dwellers.
Okay, the 'Skins made the playoffs twice since 2000 and they have one playoff win during that span.
With Mike Shanahan running the show, things are sure to change. Well, maybe.
During that same stretch mentioned above, Shanahan has guided his team to the playoffs four times, but only has one playoff win to show for it.
Yes, he has two Super Bowls rings. But he did that with John Elway.
We'll talk more about that next
No.1: Donovan McNabb
As soon as McNabb went to the nation's capital everyone started comparing his situation to John Elway because he's never won a Super Bowl and now he was teaming up with Mike Shanahan.
Okay, stop right there.
McNabb is nowhere close to Elway and the comparison is laughable at best.
Elway was 5-1 in Conference Championship games. McNabb is 1-3 in those same situations.
Before Elway won a Super Bowl he was continuously coming up clutch in the closing minutes of a game. His biggest moments was simply called "The Drive."
Backed up against his own two-yard line with 5:23 remaining in the 1986 AFC Championship, Elway marched his team down the field to score a game-tying touchdown on the road against the Clevleand Browns. The Broncos went on to win the game in overtime.
McNabb on the other hand found himself on his own 20-yard line with 2:53 remaining in the 2008 NFC Championship game on the road against the Arizona Cardinals. Like Elway he was on the road. And like Elway he found himself in the opponent's territory with 2:00 to play.
Actually Elway was on the Browns' 40-yard line and McNabb was on the Caridnals' 47-yard line.
Elway scored a touchdown eight plays later.
McNabb threw four straight incompletions.
Stop the comparisons.
McNabb is No.1 on the list because of the controversy surrounding him and the fact that the Eagles traded him within the division.
Well Washington, thanks for taking out our trash.