Football is again! Which means the NFC East is, begrudgingly, additionally again. Training camp is the most optimistic, hopeful, and naive time of the 12 months for NFL groups and followers. And the NFC East is the most optimistic, hopeful, and naive division. This 12 months three NFC East groups assume they’re playoff groups, and the Giants may also take part. Training camp can be a time when storylines are as considerable as optimism. And boy do now we have loads of all of it in the NFC East.
Team expectation: Win the division once more.
No NFC East workforce has gained the division in again to again seasons since the Eagles in 2004. It appears yearly we surprise if that may change, and yearly the reply is not any, it is not going to. It is difficult to see how this 12 months will likely be any totally different.
The Cowboys misplaced way more expertise than they gained in the offseason on each side of the ball, the place that they had the high scoring offense and an unsustainable turnover benefit in 2021, neither of which can occur in 2022. The highpoint of the McCarthy period is in the previous.
Shiny new toy to obsess over: Tyler Smith
The Cowboys weren’t in a position so as to add anybody of word in free company as a result of they didn’t have any cap house, so the newcomer to obsess over must be a rookie. A rookie that they most likely reached for in the first spherical.
If the Cowboys are to achieve success this 12 months, they want Smith, who even in the most optimistic view is uncooked, to hit the floor working. Dallas has misplaced two starters on the offensive line, and Tyron Smith hasn’t performed a full season since 2015. This workforce wants a superb, younger participant to construct round. Recent picks Tyler Biadasz, Connor McGovern, and Connor Williams have been both forgettable or aren’t on the workforce anymore.
New factor to fret about: Because of their wage cap points, the Cowboys don’t have something new to fret about, and that’s the downside. The workforce misplaced 8 gamers who performed 40%+ of snaps and changed them with no one of word. They solely acquired 4 gamers who had been on one other workforce final 12 months. Any enchancment to the roster has to come back from inside.
Returning factor to fret about: Ezekiel Elliott is coming off the worst season of his profession, an announcement that was additionally true a 12 months in the past. He has the second highest cap hit on the Cowboys for 2022. It’s a matter of when, not if, Tony Pollard overtakes him on the depth chart. Will August speed up or sluggish that timeline?
Position group to look at: Wide Receiver.
Four WRs had a minimum of 200 receiving yards for the Cowboys final 12 months. Two are gone: Amari Cooper was traded for subsequent to nothing to the Browns, and Cedrick Wilson Jr., signed with the Dolphins. A 3rd, Michael Gallup, is recovering from a torn ACL. The Cowboys depth chart at the second is CeeDee Lamb after which take your decide of James Washington (24 catches final 12 months), Noah Brown (16 catches final 12 months), rookie third spherical decide Jalen Tolbert, and a bunch of different guys who’ve by no means caught a move in the NFL.
Team expectation: Return to the playoffs.
Year One of the rebuild went forward of schedule, with the Eagles all of a sudden discovering themselves in a playoff recreation they weren’t prepared for. With massive strikes in the offseason, Year Two additionally has to function the playoffs. A rising younger core of gamers, win now strikes in the offseason, and a division up for grabs calls for it.
Shiny new toy to obsess over: AJ Brown
Two years in the past the Eagles had a pathetic group of WRs. Now they’ve a greater beginning group than supposed Super Bowl contenders resembling the Packers, Cowboys, and Chiefs. Add in Dallas Goedert at tight finish and that is one among the greatest units of move catchers in the league.
And Brown could have one other stage to succeed in. Just 25, Brown has performed over 70% of snaps simply as soon as in his three seasons, and that season, 2020, he performed solely 81%. Howie Roseman didn’t get AJ Brown to offer him that type of enjoying time.
New factor to fret about: Nakobe Dean
If the Eagles are appropriate that Nakobe Dean’s well being issues that noticed him fall to the third spherical are usually not a problem going ahead, then they probably have the steal of the draft. Everyone all the time thinks some mid-round decide is probably the steal of the draft, not each mid-round decide dropped from a attainable 1st spherical choice to 83rd total for availability and never potential. Nobody questions Dean’s potential.
But if Dean’s availability issues are actual, then it’ll be yet one more lengthy season at the LB place.
Returning factor to fret about: Jalen Hurts, however the 2022 season will likely be the Season of Jalen Hurts Discourse, so…
Returning factor to fret about that isn’t Jalen Hurts: Miles Sanders
Sanders was thirty ninth in touches in 2021, and on a per recreation tempo to complete sixteenth if he hadn’t missed 5 video games. His 5.6 yards per contact was fifth greatest amongst these with extra touches than him. Those are massive time figures.
He additionally scored zero (0) touchdowns. 70 different gamers had a minimum of 100 touches and all of them scored a minimum of 2 TDs. His 6 TDs on 192 touches in 2020 was respectable however not spectacular, he solely scored in 4 of the 12 video games he performed. He hasn’t caught a landing since Week 15 in 2019, Kenneth Gainwell caught 2 final 12 months. He’s missed 4 video games in every of the previous two seasons. And he’s getting into the last 12 months of his contract. This is a make or break season for him.
Position group to look at: The Eagles are, as soon as once more, wanting for somebody, anybody to ascertain themselves as a legit each down linebacker. It’s why Dean is the X issue for the protection. If he, or maybe Kyzir White, can present some type of stability, the protection simply may be capable of carry its personal weight.
Team expectation: Make the playoffs.
Ron Rivera is about to enter 12 months three of a 5 12 months contract, and all he has to indicate for it’s two seven win seasons and the participation trophy of a scrappy playoff loss. To attempt to get again to the postseason, Washington traded for a QB who couldn’t get his workforce to the playoffs final 12 months and is on his third workforce in as a few years. Get excited!
Shiny new toy to obsess over: Carson Wentz
New factor to fret about: Carson Wentz
Who else may or not it’s? Carson Wentz is both going to steer the Washington Football Team Commanders to the playoffs or he’ll simply waste everybody’s time and WASTEAM will likely be proper again the place they began at the finish of the season: aimless and in want of a QB. We gained’t have to attend lengthy to search out out.
Returning factor to fret about: The teaching employees’s credibility.
The Washington Football Team Commanders are completely set as much as fully implode this season. We’re not simply speaking about your normal subject 4 win or much less fireplace everyone season. That’s positively a robust chance for this season. No, we’re speaking a few radioactive season that will likely be remembered by different groups’ followers for how embarrassing it’s each on and off the subject.
On the subject their beginning QB was simply traded away as a result of his earlier workforce’s proprietor thinks he’s a large loser. They have a set of ability place gamers that could be a Terry McLaurin harm away from being the worst in the league; an offensive line that’s already amongst the worst in the league; and key gamers on protection that stunk final 12 months are recovering from harm. And that’s simply the on subject points.
Off the subject, Washington is a catastrophe even by Washington catastrophe requirements. Dan Snyder has discovered a brand new strategy to be a league large embarrassment by battling Congress over him having to testify. Future Senate candidate Jack Del Rio was fined by the workforce for saying the January sixth assault on the Capitol through which 5 folks died was a “dust up.” Last 12 months Ron Rivera needed to publicly plead together with his gamers to get vaccinated, they did such an awesome job listening to him that they predictably had a recreation postponed due to a COVID outbreak that they had.
When this season falls aside, and it’s going to crumble on the subject at the very least, it’s not going to take a lot for the teaching employees to fully lose the locker room and for issues to get ugly quick. Once WASTEAM hits 6 losses it is going to be a race to see which ends first: the precise season in Week 18, or the efficient finish of the season when the gamers have tuned the coaches out and are simply going by the motions.
Position group to look at: Anyone to step up and be the #2 goal after McLaurin. The workforce’s second most efficient WR in 2021 was Adam Humphries, who caught 41 passes for 9.3 yards per catch and 0 TDs, which doesn’t matter as a result of he’s not on the workforce, or any workforce for that matter. Their most efficient TE was Ricky Seals-Jones, who caught 30 passes, which additionally doesn’t matter as a result of he signed with the Giants. The second most efficient move catcher was RB JD McKissick, which nearly doesn’t matter as he practically signed with the Bills. This workforce wants somebody, anybody, to step up and be a serviceable #2 in the passing recreation.
Team expectation: Be in place to draft a QB in April.
The Giants unveiled throwback uniforms to a lot pleasure amongst their followers. That’s most likely the excessive level of their season. This workforce goes to be dangerous, and that’s a part of the plan. The easiest method for the Giants to show issues round is to be in place to draft a QB excessive in April. All they should do to ensure that’s take a 4 win workforce and switch it right into a 2 win workforce!
Shiny new toy to obsess over: Kayvon Thibodeaux
Rightly or wrongly, Thibodeaux went from “this guy might be the #1 pick in the draft” to “this guy might not go in the top 10” all in the house of the offseason. His perceived draft inventory slipped with out him even having any video games to play. In February Todd McShay stated that based mostly on what he was listening to from personnel folks, he wouldn’t be stunned if Thibodeaux didn’t go in the high 5. What he heard wasn’t off base, as Thibodeaux was drafted fifth total, however was the third move rusher taken. Not the worst fall by any means, however sufficient to make one surprise if there’s any fireplace to that smoke.
Thibodeaux can begin to put these issues to mattress with a robust preseason. Given the lack of expertise on the Giants offensive line, he ought to have a robust coaching camp.
New factor to fret about: 7 of the Giants 12 free agent signings are 30 or older. Signing a bunch of 30 12 months olds is okay in case you are the Bills and are going all out to win the Super Bowl. It’s not the type of free agent class you’ve gotten in case you are rebuilding a workforce that hasn’t gained greater than 6 video games since 2016. Retirement houses aren’t the place one goes for a tradition change. Maybe their purpose isn’t to complete with a excessive draft decide?
Returning factor to fret about: Saquon Barkley
46% of Barkley’s profession yardage, and 56% of his profession touchdowns, had been gained throughout his rookie 12 months. Barkley was fully ineffective final 12 months after coming back from a torn ACL, however he additionally performed behind most likely the worst offensive line and for one among the worst teaching staffs. Now he has a brand new employees and new offensive line. Both could be simply as dangerous this 12 months, and it might not matter for Barkley. He seemed as dangerous as his numbers had been final 12 months. The first play on this “highlight” reel for 2021 is his longest run of the season. Rookie of the Year Barkley would have scored. On the brightside, Barkley being toast will assist the Giants tank.
Position group to look at: Offensive line
Offensive line was an issue in each season of the Dave Gettleman period, and it is going to be an issue in a minimum of 12 months one and almost certainly 12 months two of the Joe Schoen period. Schoen drafted Evan Neal in the 1st spherical and a pair of guards in the third and fifth rounds, giving the unit a a lot wanted injection of younger expertise. But he additionally signed 4 30 12 months outdated linemen, three of whom are backups and on one 12 months offers. It’s honest to surprise if the expertise stage has even improved.