Training camp time is officially here for the Dallas Cowboys and soon enough it will have arrived for the rest of the NFC East as well. The Washington Football Team currently sit atop the NFL’s most-storied division, but this is a group that has not seen a repeat champion since 2004. Odds are it will change hands yet again this year.
While it was disappointing in totality throughout 2020, the NFC East is still very interesting entering this season. Dallas is obviously returning a lot of players who were lost for most of last year due to injury, Philadelphia is absent both Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz for the first time in six years, New York is seemingly pinning their hopes on Saquon Barkley, and Washington won it last year with a sub-.500 record.
On this week’s episode of the NFC East Mixtape, Brandon Lee Gowton and I discussed questions that we have about each team entering camp. This is a unique podcast as it is available on both the Blogging The Boys and Bleeding Green Nation podcast networks. You can listen to this week’s episode above and please make sure to subscribe to the Blogging The Boys podcast network wherever you get your podcasts, Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
This division is going to come down to the wire as the league jammed 2⁄3 of NFC East competition into the final weeks of the season. What will these teams look like when we get there? We have some questions about all four squads.
Dallas Cowboys: What will Mike McCarthy’s team look like with a full season of Dak Prescott?
This is actually two questions within one as it involves Dak Prescott staying healthy this season. Obviously much of the reason that the wheels fell off last season the way that they did was the fact that Prescott was lost for the year in Week 5.
Some have been willing to afford Mike McCarthy another try at being the team’s head coach in the interest of seeing what his results are when he has his starting quarterback for an entire season. What if those results aren’t great, though? That is going to be one hard look in the mirror for this organization.
A lot of time has been spent by the Cowboys brass improving the defense and there is no reason for that to not have been the case; however, if the offense isn’t humming at the pace it is expected to then things could be uncomfortable all the way around.
Philadelphia Eagles: Is the culture fixed?
There was no bigger makeover in the NFC East than in Philadelphia this offseason as both head coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Carson Wentz were jettisoned, albeit in different capacities.
This is now the Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts show, at least for 2021, which brings up the question as to whether this show is even any good or not.
Philly has some veterans that have helped make them contenders for some time, but most of their notable players are over the age of 30. Time has run out on whatever run they had around their Super Bowl win and now young players are going to have to step up.
New York Giants: Can Saquon Barkley actually carry this team?
Jason Garrett thought he would have an opportunity to put together an offense around an elite running back once again in New York, but unfortunately Saquon Barkley was lost for the season in Week 2. We haven’t seen much of him since.
Barkley recently noted that he isn’t sure when he will be ready to go whether that is training camp or Week 1. That could just be him being coy, but it likely has Giants fans holding their breath.
The G-Men have a lot of pieces that could make for an interesting team if they all realize their true potential, but it unquestionably rides through the legs of Saquon Barkley. Can he handle that and will he even be there to do so?
Washington Football Team: How much will the defense regress, or will it even?
One of the harder things to stick in the NFL year over year is defensive success. Washington had the third-ranked defense by DVOA last year which was significantly improved from the year before (24th). Chase Young obviously went a long way at helping the group reach their true potential, and for what it’s worth most of their playmakers are rather young in their NFL careers.
Still though, defensive success is hard to replicate. Washington might have the perfect mixture of things in one that can generate turnovers and a quarterback who is willing to take risks, but that is something that will have to bear itself out. They are likely not going to be able to win the division with another record below .500, if they are capable of doing so then we are all in for some rough football.