By: Patrick Waring
NFL training camps are starting this week. The NFC East could prove to be one of the more competitive divisions in football. Here is a look at the NFC East and a few storylines to follow.
(USA Today Sports / Tim Heitman)
The Dallas Cowboys
Dez is paid. Now that Bryant has his contract out of the way, he can focus on continuing to be one of the top WRs in the game. The Cowboys had success by committing more to the run last year, but DeMarco Murray flew to Philly. Can the Cowboys duplicate his numbers with Darren McFadden, or by committee? Their offensive line is probably the best in football, but it’s unclear who will get the bulk of the workload. Either way, Dallas shouldn’t have too much trouble moving the ball or scoring points. The question will be can the defense keep improving? Last year was much better than 2013, but they will have to get more pressure on the quarterback and stop allowing so many points. The defense will have help with Sean Lee returning after missing the entire season last year, and adding Greg Hardy after he serves his suspension. The offense is good, but they shouldn’t be relied on to score so much each week.
The Philadelphia Eagles
In Chip we trust. Chip Kelly made some bold and surprising moves since coming to the City of Brotherly Love. Last season there was the departure of DeSean Jackson, this year it was goodbye to LeSean McMcoy and Jeremy Maclin. The Eagles did pick up Murray from Dallas, but he should not see the same production as last year. That’s not to say Murray couldn’t duplicate it, it’s just a more crowded backfield in Philly. The team may have the top group in the league with Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. Plenty of weapons for Kelly’s attack. Trading QB Nick Foles was more predictable, just not for often injured Sam Bradford. Chip has always been known for doing things his way. These moves can prove to be genius or possibly have a return to college football a lot sooner than expected. One thing is for sure, Philly fans will let him know soon enough.
The New York Giants
The Washington Redskins
As usual, the major talk in Washington will circle around the coach, owner and quarterback. No difference this year. All eyes will be on Robert Griffin III, his play and how he works with second year head coach Jay Gruden. But in order for RGIII to succeed, he will have to stay healthy, play smart and get help from the offensive line. Trent Williams has held up his part, can everyone else? Gruden and new GM Scot McCloughan did not select RGIII, so there is really no loyalty if he doesn’t produce. This will be an interesting year for RGIII and his future with the franchise. First round pick Brandon Scherff, new line coach Bill Callahan, and the power run game, should give fans more to cheer about than last year. DeSean Jackson is capable of scoring anytime he touches the football. If RGIII has time, defenses could have long Sundays. On defense, Ryan Kerrigan will be looking to add a double-digit sack season to his resume, as well as free up others to make plays. Also, expect Bashaud Breeland and Keenan Robinson to continue strong play. In fact, both should take it to another level. The Redskins aren’t expected to make much noise in 2015, but there are signs that could lead to improvement.
The NFC East should be entertaining this year. Many believe it’s a two-to-three team race with the Redskins bringing up the rear. Like many seasons, anything can happen. Fans in the D.C. area are hoping many predictions are wrong.
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