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  • Published: Sep 5th, 2018
  • Category: NFL Football
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NFC East starting lineup Grades

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Lets take a look at the NFL NFC East starting lineup grades. Get the grades before you make your trades.

Dallas Cowboys

skeeze / Pixabay

Cowboys
QB Dak Prescott is a capable leader who had an outstanding rookie campaign but regressed notably in his sophomore effort. Jury’s still out on whether the problem was him or his offensive teammates. C+
RB Zeke Elliott – Assuming he stays out of trouble and off the suspended list, he’s among the best in the NFL. A-
WR Allen Hurns was a good pickup. Terrance Williams is a perpetual underachiever. Cole Beasley is yet to develop into the Julian Edelman type he’s been touted as. Pain in the butt though he may be, this wasn’t the right time to cut Dez. C
TE Witten’s abrupt retirement put the team in a bad spot at TE. Geoff Swaim and Rico Gathers don’t look up to the task. D
OL LT Tyron Smith LG Connor Williams C Travis Frederick RG Zack Martin RG La’el Collins. Smith is having a great camp, but there are no standouts here and the whole group badly underachieved last season. C-
DL DE Demarcus Lawrence DT Datone Jones DT Jihad Ward DE Tyrone Crawford A decent group whose stats are handicapped by poor coaching. Will Taco Charlton ever improve enough to contribute more? C
LB SLB Damien Wilson MLB Jaylon Smith WLB Sean Lee Layton Vander Esch was the first round pick. Where does he fit? Lee is productive but cant stay healthy. C+
DB CBs Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie FS Xavier Woods SS Jeff Heath. Underwhelming as a group, with the CBs grading out slightly better than the safeties. C-
New York Giants
QB Eli Manning We’ll see both Good Eli and Bad Eli this season, as we do every year. The question is which one shows up more frequently, and can Good Eli do enough to help a Giants team coming off an incredibly embarrassing season? B
RB Saquon Barkley‘s skill set is legit, but can he carry the brutal load of an NFL RB1? B
WR OBJ is good but vastly overrated and has health concerns. Sterling Shepard also has health issues. The rest are just guys. C
TE Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison. Engram had an impressive rookie campaign. Can he continue in that vein? Ellison is a solid workhorse blocker. B
OL LT Nate Solder LG Will Hernandez C Jon Halapio RG Patrick Omameh RT Ereck Flowers. Hugely improved with the acquisition of Solder and the Hernandez pick, but carries concerns about L-R balance. C+
DL DE BJ Hill NT Damon Harrison DE Dalvin Tomlinson. The scheme change may help, but the entire defense lacks depth and talent, no more so than in the DL group. Where will the pass rush come from? D-
LB SLB Kareem Martin MLB Alec Ogletree MLB BJ Goodson WLB Olivier Vernon A tick better on paper than the DL unit, but will likely suffer at their hands. D
DB CBs Eli Apple, Janoris Jenkins FS Curtis Riley SS Landon Collins Collins gets the job done. Jenkins was a disastrous underachiever last season. Apple is a problem on multiple levels. D
Philadelphia Eagles
QB Nick Foles/Carson Wentz Can Foles keep it together long enough to allow Wentz to safely get back to 100% before taking the field? Wentz has a ton of talent and Foles really stepped up in the playoffs, but Foles’ luck is probably running out and we don’t know how Wentz will look when he returns. B
RB Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles. I like both of these guys better than most do, especially Sproles. If Tiny Beast can stay healthy, they have a lot of creative options in the run game. B
WR Alshon Jeffrey, Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor. If Mike Wallace actually behaves in the best interest of his team, it will be the first time ever. Jeffrey has health issues, but the talent here is good. B
TE Zach Ertz. Among the best in the league and somehow still often undervalued. A
OL LT Jason Peters LG Stefen Wisniewski C Jason Kelce RG Brandon Brooks RT Lane Johnson A lot hinges on whether Peters plays or if Johnson has to move to LT. Among the best OLs in the NFL regardless. A-
DL DE Derrick Barnett DT Tim Jernigan DT Fletcher Cox DE Brandon Graham. Solid group with depth that also has Michael Bennett, Chris Long, and Haloti Ngata in the mix. A
LB SLB Nathan Gerry MLB Jordan Hicks WLB Nigel Bradham. The Eagles have almost unmatched depth across the entire front 7. A
DB CBs Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby S Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod. This is the defensive unit for the Eagles that I have the least confidence in, but they’re still better than 90% of the league. A-
Washington Redskins
QB Alex Smith is one of the league’s smartest at the position, but lacks the physical skills to mesh well with Washington’s other offensive weapons. B
RB Already lost rookie Derrius Guice for the season to an ACL tear, who many believed was the ‘Skins answer here. Chris Thompson is a capable pass catcher, but not an every down guy. Rob Kelley isn’t going to be anyone’s hero. C-
WR Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, Paul Richardson.  Not a bad group but a poor match with Smith. Doctson is solid but has had injury issues. Richardson’s signing hurt Seattle more than it helped Washington. B-
TE Jordan Reed has injury issues and a highly contentious relationship with the coaching staff. Vernon Davis is too old to be much use. C
OL LT Trent Williams LG Shaun Lauvao C Chase Roullier RG Brandon Scherff RT Morgan Moses. Williams is among the league’s best. Scherff is top 10 at his position. Roullier and Moses are learning but still have work to do. LG is a huge problem and the internal options aren’t good. B-
DL DE Jonathan Allen NT D’Ron Payne DE Matt Ioannidis. Allen is solid. Payne was a decent pick, he’s smart and has potential. Ioannidis, a 5th round pick in his third season, has a lot to prove. C+
LB SLB Preston Smith MLB Mason Foster MLB Zach Brown WLB Ryan Kerrigan. Brown played well last season and earned a new contract. Foster missed most of last season with a torn labrum but appears to be healthy now. Kerrigan has been incredibly steady and consistent throughout an 8-year career. C
DB CBs Quinton Dunbar, Josh Norman, SS Montae Nicholson FS DJ Swearinger. Norman’s play can’t keep up with his mouth. Swearing er is ok. The rest are unremarkable and the unit depth is not good. D

Tonight on the radio version of News, Notes and Rumors

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 Tony Williams, Giants and Knicks beat writer for the Metro New York Paper joins us to talk about the NFC East draft and the Knicks playoff run.

Dave Kay, basketball editor for waterfootball.com joins us to talk about the NBA Draft and the playoffs.

Samantha Bunten feature writer for the Bleacher Report on the Browns and Indians joins us to talk about the Browns draft and Indians start to the season.

NOTE:  There will be no NNR show tomorrow.  Join us again on Monday, May 7th for our regular schedule.

NNR at 6PM EDT follows the Moohead show at 5PM on http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/.  Press the Green arrow at 6 for NNR.

Join Mr. Moohead  on http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/ after early Cavs games for his post-game chat.

The archive of the show is available the following day at https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

Be part of the show by calling our SportSims.com hotline at 216-539-0607.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits https://fryingpansports.com and was a senior writer for http://NFLDraftDog.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits .  

 

  • Author:
  • Published: Jul 31st, 2010
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Questions in the NFC East and North training camps

Questions in the NFC East and North training camps

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NFL

Note: We will look at all the divisions of the NFL with this same point of view over the next few issues of Fryingpansports.com.

NFC East

Cowboys

1. Will the new LT be able to protect the blind side of QB Romo? The team cut previous starter Flozell Adams and will try Doug Free and Alex Barron at that critical position. Neither has proven he can be an effective RT let alone face the talented REs around the league.

2. Will the ground game get back to a high level in the running back by committee system? Last year there was too much Jones and not enough Barber. The line was inconsistent and the running game suffered. Beware of taking either of these guys high in your Fantasy Draft.

3. Will former 1st round pick Roy Williams ever be worth what Jerry Jones paid for him in the trade? NO and rookie Dez Bryant will have his spot before week 3 unless the injury takes him our for longer than we think.

Giants

1. Will the D line return to the top of the NFL or repeat a disappointing 2009? Going into last season, the DL was supposed to be a strength. It was not. The Giants replaced DC Bill Sheridan with new DC Perry Fewell. 2008 star DE Osi Umenyiora has been advised to get surgery to fix his hip. How will DE Justin Tuck bounce back from his shoulder injury? The D is going to have to play better and stay healthier than it was in 09.

2. Will the running game return to a high level? In 2009, problems on the O line and at RB caused the running game to disappear during games against Dallas and other top teams. If the Giants are going to become a contender again, the running game is going to have to improve.

3. Can FS Kenny Phillips recover from microfracture knee surgery and will UFA SS Antrel Rolle solidify the last line of defense? The loss of Phillips was a major factor in the D’s decline in 09. Rolle had an off year in 09 for the Cardinals and they were willing to let him go. The D will depend on the S position as much as anything if it is going to become effective again.

Eagles

1. Can QB Kevin Kolb become the QB that the team hopes he can? Probably not this year and it will be a down year for the Birds.

2. Can the running game be resurrected? In a word, no. The Eagles are talking like they have a running game but LeSean McCoy ran out of gas as a part timer last year. With Westbrook gone, he will have to carry the main load.

3. Will the D line produce sacks like they did in the beginning of the season last year? The team traded for DE Darryl Tapp and drafted undersized DE Brandon Graham in the first round. The D line ran out of gas last year. DE Trent Cole is getting older and neither LDT Mike Patterson or RDT Brodrick Bunkley are much of a pass rusher.

Redskins

1. Will Albert Haynesworth settle in at DE? 21M just doesn’t buy as much as it used to. That is what the Redskins paid Haynesworth to play NT but he wasn’t thrilled about being hit by 900+ pounds of OL every play. He lost 25 pounds so that he would be too light to play NT but still couldn’t pass the conditioning drill.

2. How good will the O be with Donovan McNabb at QB? McNabb will be a great improvement over Campbell. But he will really miss the quality receivers he had in Philly.

3. How will the OL protect an aging QB? The bookend pro bowl Ts are gone. The replacements are 4th overall pick LT Trent Williams and ex-Saint RT Jammal Brown. Brown can play LT if needed and is a 2 time pro bowler. Williams is a questionmark.

NFC North

Bears

1. How will QB Jay Cutler preform in OC Mike Martz’s offense? Cutler looked lost in a very simple O last year. Martz’s O depends on timing which has not been a strength of Cutler or the Bear WRs. Look for the Cutler/Martz marriage to end in a quick and ugly divorce.

2. Will the running game recover? 09 starter Matt Forte struggled badly and the lack of blocking up front didn’t help. Ex-Vike Chester Taylor was brought in to compete with Forte but he is not a full time guy at this point in his career either. Beware of these guys in the Fantasy draft as well.

3. Will the DBs finally come around? The coaching staff have been shuffling the lineup in the D backfield more often than they do in Las Vegas. The team has not had good coverage since they finally gave up on the oft-injured S Brown. Getting MLB Brian Urlacher will help a lot because he can cover the deep middle in the 2 deep zone.

Lions

1. How well will 2nd year QB Matthew Stafford play? He was up and down as expected in 09 but should improve with a year of experience. Forget what you hear about better WRs for the Lions. There is Calvin Johnson and a bunch of “never was” guys.

2. Will the team have a running game? 09 starter Kevin Smith is coming back from an ACL. It takes 20 months to fully recover from that injury. Rookie Jahvid Best has talent but there is no indication he can hold up for 16 games. Look for the running game to struggle.

3. How much will the D line be improved by the addition of DT Ndamukong Suh and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch? A lot! Suh is the real deal and has more pass rush than you think. Vanden Bosch is a solid pass rush guy and won’t face as much double teaming as he did last year.

Packers

1. How good will the D be without DT Johnny Jolly the year? That may sound like no big deal but Jolly played more downs than any other D lineman last year. Look for NT Ryan Pickett to move to LE leaving NT B.J. Raji to man the middle. Raji tends to wear down and there isn’t another legitimate NT on the roster if Pickett is not able to play there.

2. Will the O line look as old as it did late last season? LT Chad Clifton got old in a hurry last year. He has to play better. RT Mark Tauscher was OK but beyond that there is nothing special on the line. While there will be some challenges from the bench, there is no real depth there either.

3. Will the conversion to 3-4 continue to go as well as it did last year? The team lost multi-year pro bowl DE turned reluctant LB Aaron Kampman. The left OB looks like a problem with Brad Jones filling in for Kampman. He is solid rushing the passer but does not hold the point of attack against eh run. The rest of the LBs are solid.

Vikings

1. Will the league be able to suspend the Williams boys at DT this year or will the court fightes go on until they retire? Don’t worry Vike fans, they are safe for 2010.

2. Will MLB E.J. Henderson (leg) and CB Cedric Griffin (ACL) be ready for the season? The D suffered when these two went down last year. The biggest value of the great DT play of the Williams boys is that it frees up the LBs to make plays at the line of scrimmage. The loss of Henderson was exposed in the Vikings loss in the playoffs last year.

3. Will QB Brett —? Who cares at this point?

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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