It's the dead of summer in the NFL, that time between OTAs/minicamps and training camp. For most teams, this is a time for players to get away and recharge before the grind of August. Not so for NFC East teams, who are already in regular season form. Some players are ready right now, and as always there are some unknowns who step up this time of year.
Ready to hit the ground running: Looking to keep the momentum going after a strong second half of the 2015 season that propelled them to the playoffs, the Redskins know they can't afford to rest easy. No one knows this better than DeSean Jackson. After his least productive season, even accounting for injuries, Jackson appears to be in top form. He missed OTAs this year, a yearly tradition for him since joining the Redskins, so he's not just sitting on his laurels while sitting on his laurels. Instead of practicing, he's spending his time filming a reality TV show, recording a rap album, vacationing or just hanging out at home in case it's invaded again. He's consistent, and that's what the Redskins need.
Stepped up: Nobody, and I mean nobody, does propaganda better than the Redskins. They own a talk radio station, they astroturf support groups, and they even get their players to public negotiate against themselves for their new contract.
"When you’ve got talent around you, some average quarterbacks can look pretty good, and vice versa," Cousins said. "When you’re a very, very talented quarterback, if you don’t have a lot of guys out there to help you, it’s going to be tough to look the part. Fortunately, I’m one of those guys who has a lot at my disposal. I could start naming names, and go down the list, and we’re going to be here a while, and I’m probably [going] to leave someone out."
You're absolutely right Kurt. You are an average QB who looked pretty good thanks to your receivers.
Ready to hit the ground running: Starting QB for the 2016 Eagles will be the hot topic all season, just as it's been throughout the offseason. If it wasn't for the fact that he's inevitably going to be benched for mayo boy Carson Wentz, Sam Bradford would probably love for the pre-season to get here. Multiple reports say he's looked good in the practices he's actually attended, which means he's in peak 2015 form. Which means that Chase Daniel and Carson Wentz can't wait for the regular season to get here so they can get some playing time. The Eagles probably won't see good QB play this year, but with that trio on the roster they should see a lot of it, harkening fans back to the halcyon days of Rodney Peete, Ty Detmer and Bobby Hoying.
Stepped up: Busy weekend for Fletcher Cox's agent, who on Friday had to put out a statement on behalf of his client and on Monday was finalizing a new contract. He's earned his commission.
New York Giants
Ready to hit the ground running: I have half-joked in this space before that the Giants are so boring that there's nothing to write about. Last week this realization hit the rest of the nation, as an interview in which Tiki Barber says that he would rather have Curt Cousins than Eli Manning or Tony Romo or Sam Bradford for the next five years made waves. One problem: this interview took place in January. The team in the biggest media market in the country is so god damn boring that we're digging up lame interviews from 6 months ago to pass the time.
Stepped up: I've already run out of things to say about this team. Sorry (not sorry).
Ready to hit the ground running: If the Cowboys are going to make the playoffs this year, they're going to need a repeat of their 2014 season: a full and good season by Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, a strong running game to keep their crap defense off the field, and Jason Garrett to clap a lot. We know that Garrett is going to clap, a lot, so we don't have to worry about that. Dez Bryant had been pretty healthy before 2015, so we can reasonably assume that he will be healthy in 2016. Now, let's assume for a moment that Tony Romo makes it through the season unscathed. I will now wait for you to stop laughing.
So assuming all that happens, the Cowboys have two pieces left: have a crap defense and have it kept off the field by a strong running game. The Cowboys will definitely have a terrible defense again, because they were terrible last year and didn't get any better in free agency or the draft. So all they need now is for rookie Ezekiel Elliot to lead the league in rushing. Which hasn't happened since Eric Dickerson in 1983.
And hey it's more good news!
In efforts to always be better, the Cowboys have hired Scott Sehnert from Auburn as nutritionist. That's like having an extra 1st rd pick.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) June 14, 2016
No Gil, it's nothing like that.
Stepped up: Ridiculous things are said year-round by Cowboys fans, and this offseason Tony Romo is leading by example.
As far as when I'm done playing ... I mean who knows? Maybe I'll play until I'm 50. You never know. It feels like it's been the best two-month stretch here that I've had in a long, long time.
That's right, the best two-month stretch that Tony Romo can remember was April and May, when there is no football. You may resume laughing at the thought of him playing a full season.