How Do the Redskins Stack Up to NFC East Opponents Now?
Even though coming off a miserable 3 win season, would it be wrong to think the Redskins could once again contend for the NFC East as early as this year? Most three win teams find themselves in complete rebuilding mode but I don't think this team should be considered that. Not that they are a couple players away from winning double digits games, but more based on the division and the division’s past couple seasons.
Washington has taken a quieter approach to free agency although that can quickly change as early as today with DeSean Jackson coming to town. Moves so far that have showed more patience than the "we are going for it" mode of past off-season’s. I am not endorsing a Snyder/Cerrato past but I do believe this team could contend for the NFC East as early as this fall again.
The Eagles won the division and even with the loss of Jackson still look to be on the rise going into this season. But just 12 months ago there was another team coming off a division title who looked to be on the rise. Even with the Griffin injury concerns there was still optimism this team could repeat based on the roll they ended 2013.
So are the Eagles that dangerous? Maybe but I could easily see the Chip Kelly attack taking a step back much like the Redskins offense did after an offseason where coaches got time to look at it clearly. Nick Foles was great last season but once he faced a tougher defense in New Orleans in the playoffs he came back to Earth. Add Sproles but remove Desean and it will interesting to see what Kelly has in store for this season. Their defense doesn't scare anyone at this point although it did improve.
Then you have the Giants who may have improved through free agency more than anyone in the division. They added to their two biggest glaring needs at offensive line and in the secondary but even with all the additions they made I am far from convinced they are a 10 win team. Since winning the Super Bowl they have been on a slight downward slide and now have hopes that free agency can fill holes to quickly bounce them back up.
Then you have Dallas who is easy to discuss since they will finish 8-8 because they always go 8-8. 8 wins even in a weaker NFC East won't be enough. Kicking the can down the road when it comes to their salary cap has finally caught up the Cowboys forcing them to lose both Ware and Hatcher in the past month. They can try and sell it as letting aging guys go but that defense was historically bad and could use both of these guys. Henry Melton comes in on the cheap but he also comes off a major injury. Both the Giants and Cowboys were better than Washington last season but are they much better? I would say no.
In January I would have expected this team to have the main focus of just improving and getting the franchise quarterback back on track. But as I look at it now I wouldn't concede this division at all. Just like the Eagles in 2013 and the Redskins in 2012 this division could see a 4th to 1st once again. I haven't even brought up what impact Jay Gruden could have because I just don't know. I can't see it being as dysfunctional as 2013 was but we will just have to let that play out. The NFL unlike the other major sports doesn't have much of a rebuilding curve placed on teams. Turnaround can happen fast, real fast so let’s see what happens.