OTAs are wrapping up for several teams around the league and the NFC East had some major turbulence over the last few weeks regarding injuries, suspensions and other nonsense. With those stories relevant and the return of all of the NFC East quarterbacks, the BGN Roundtable takes a look at the Eagles division and the challenges they will face this season. Today, we are joined by Dave Mangels and BGN hosts James Seltzer and John Barchard.
Mike Kaye: I'd say it's a toss up between the Giants and Redskins. I think the Cowboys will be playing for a Top 8 pick this year and it's a shame they have invested so much money in the quarterback position when they have nothing else on that roster but Tyron Smith and Dez Bryant. The Redskins have improved this offseason and Robert Griffin III will now be healthy. That said, I think a Jay Gruden offense will neuter him. I don't really see them as serious threats, but they will be tough competition at the very least.
Dave Mangels: No, I think the Giants are. They had a pretty good defense last year and as much as I hope he does, Eli won’t throw 27 INTs again. They’re also the best coached team of the three. I wouldn’t be surprised if, as usual, Week 17 was the NFC East Championship Game.
James Seltzer: To be honest, I am not afraid of any teams in the NFC East. Having said that, I actually think the Giants will be the biggest roadblock for the Eagles this season. With the additions of DRC and Thurmond, the Giants beefed up a Secondary that was their Achilles heel last season. Also Odell Beckham could be a game changer on offense from jump-street. And while the Redskins have improved with the additions of DeSean and Jason Hatcher, not to mention the return to health of other players, the defense is still a complete and total train wreck, so I just cannot see them being too much of a roadblock for the Eagles. Lastly, I am not a Jay Gruden believer, so I think that will hold the Skins back some as well.
John Barchard: Yes. I know there offensive line isn't great, I know their defense stinks but they will be much better than a 3 win team this year. I don't think that much of Gruden, but his new energy and scheme should help that team. Coughlin and Garrett are playing for their jobs this year and I don't see it ending well for either of them.
Is there a position on an NFC East opponent that scares you?
MK: I am not scared of competition, but I do think Washington's Pierre Garcon will be extremely productive with DeSean Jackson taking the tops off of the defenses. Jordan Reed is overrated for what he has done up until this point, but he could have a lot of success this year.
DM: There are certainly some top talented players on division rivals, but nobody scares me. Like Chip says "respect all, fear none."
JS: I guess I would say Redskins Wide Receivers. Obviously DeSean is going to want to bring it against the Birds, but Pierre Garcon may be the better player. Garcon is coming off of a 113-catch season and now has a legitimate threat across the field from him. The Redskins WR’s could end up being a force to be reckoned with.
JB: No, there are some great players in the East but nothing at this point scares me this year.
Who has improved the most in the NFC East this offseason? Why?
MK: Without question the Giants. They have signed like 40 veterans, so at least five have to work out right? All joking aside, they had a decent draft and I like Rashad Jennings at running back in that offense. Could Eli Manning be worse than he was in 2013?
DM: If only by default, the Giants. The Cowboys got worse, the Redskins defense still stinks and Jay Gruden is about as milquetoast as you can get. The Giants added some sorely needed linemen and I like Odell Beckham Jr. They didn’t do a whole lot, but neither did anyone else.
JS: As I alluded to before, I think the Giants have improved the most this offseason. DRC and Thurmond fill important needs for the Giants and Beckham should help the offense immediately. Furthermore, the Geoff Schwartz signing and 2nd Rd. pick Weston Richburg should help to shore up their O-Line. The Giants clearly filled needs this offseason and should be improved because of it. And while I think the DeSean signing will obviously help the Redskins, they did not do enough to fill the holes on their roster, especially with the dearth of draft picks they had to work with.
JB: I mean on paper, I would have to say Washington. The best improvement was getting Shanny off of that team, like I said before I am not sure how much Gruden turns things around out there but there was so much tension between that coaching staff and the players. They brought in DeSean, they had an decent draft and brought in an offensively philosophy that should get the ball down the field. Despite the offseason improvements, it's still the Eagles division and it's not even close.
Who is the best quarterback in the NFC East at this point? Why?
MK: It is hard to give an accurate answer here. Based on the four guys in the division, it is split between two guys with career success and two guys that have each had one great season. I will eliminate Eli Manning because he led the league in interceptions and Griffin has proven to be an immature leader and a player that needs a ton of help to get things done (also injury prone). That said, it really comes down to Tony Romo and Nick Foles for me. Despite being overpaid, I think Romo is a very good quarterback. Romo is better right now than Foles, solely based on his resume and experience. I think Foles has a much higher ceiling than Romo has ever had, but right now, I give the slight edge to Romo.
DM: *puts on riot gear* Tony Romo. Look, I really like Foles, but he’s only started 17 games. By the end of the season he could take the pole position (and so could RGIII), but for now I’ve got to give it to the guy who is the main—and maybe only—reason why the Cowboys are competitive.
JS: This is the toughest question on the list for me. Toss Romo out from the start. Between the age, injuries, and propensity to throw big time interceptions, Romo comes in last of the group. Just a couple of years ago the answer for best QB in the Division was Eli Manning and there was no question about it. While it is certainly possible for Manning to be the best QB in the NFC East, the fact that he is 33 years old and coming off one of the worst seasons of his career (27 Interceptions!), makes me lean toward putting Manning 3rd of the 4. Now it comes down to RGIII and Foles, if for not other reason than because they have the highest upside of the 4 QBs. I ultimately think it will come down to health here. If RGIII is healthy, he is more dynamic and has the ability to do more than Foles. However, Foles is being coached by an offensive genius and Griffin III is being coached by Andy Dalton’s mentor…So ultimately I think Foles will probably produce better numbers and more wins than RGIII, which means he has to top the list…but just barely.
JB: Man, the 'at this point' makes this question difficult. Who would I want going forward? Foles. Who is the best QB at this point? I would say Tony Romo. Eli has his rings and I am not taking anything away from that but he's one of the dumbest smart QB to have played this game. He's this generations Terry Bradshaw. RG3 could take that title at some point, but the fact that Dan Snyder took such a huge mortgage out for him makes me think he won't get there (See: Snyder Kiss of Death). Despite the choker reputation that Romo rightfully earned, I still think he's the best QB at this point. He puts the team on his back and that is a double edged sword. But if the Cowboys had anyone besides Jo-Jo The Monkey Clown running that team and someone with IQ of peanut (like say Rich Kotite?) to coach that team… I think the fan base would have a different perspective on Romo. In conclusion, fuck Dallas.
I will be handling the BGN mailbag this weekend, so if you have any questions that you want answers or opinions on, feel free to write them down below. Also, give us your takes on these questions!