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State of the NFC East: Say hello to the Washington Commanders!

At long last Washington has a new name.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The field for Super Bowl LVI is set and as fate would have it the Dallas Cowboys will face both teams participating in it during the 2022 season. They will host the Cincinnati Bengals and visit the Los Angeles Rams.

Dallas will square off against the two Conference Champions by virtue of being a reigning division winner. They are the only team within the NFC East that will see those two in 2022, sometimes the schedule works out in funny ways like that.

Speaking of the division every week Brandon Gowton from Bleeding Green Nation and I get together to discuss it on the NFC East Mixtape. This is a unique podcast as it is available on all four podcast networks of the SB Nation sites dedicated to the teams in the division. Make sure to subscribe to the Blogging The Boys podcast network so you don’t miss any of our show. Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.

This week’s edition of the Mixtape was focused on the New York Giants more than anything given that they have a new general manager in Joe Schoen and head coach in Brian Daboll. We had Big Blue View’s Ed Valentine on the show to break them down in detail for us. This episode was recorded before the news involving former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.

While we covered the Giants a ton it is also time for us to take a look around the division, especially given that there is something else new in it. We have a new team! Literally!


Philadelphia Eagles

Of all three non-Cowboys teams, the Eagles have the least amount of action going on right now. Tsk tsk.

While the Eagles don’t have anything new right now, they are going to have a ton of new things in a few months given all of their draft capital. Many are wondering whether or not they should spend that on a quarterback in some way, shape, or form, but Jalen Hurts played moderately well this past season.

How the Eagles handle Hurts is going to massively shape who they are and given that he has shown some positive signs, but also some negative ones, that puts them in a tough spot. Do they allow themselves to believe in the promise of what he could be? Or accept what he might be?

From our friends at Bleeding Green Nation:

The uncomfortably reality is that Hurts is probably much closer to his ceiling than many want to admit. You might very well disagree, pointing out that he’s only 23 years old and coming off his first full season as a starter. Hurts’s coachability and work ethic are definitely factors working in his favor. But what is the precedent for a player of Hurts’ ilk developing into a special starter? At the risk of sounding reductive, he’s not very great at the main aspect of his position’s job: throwing the football. The Eagles threw the ball less than any team in the league (50.13%). Film grinder Greg Cosell has regularly said that he is “not a natural passer.” Though hardly an apples-to-apples comparison, it reminds me of how people used to downplay Ben Simmons’ deficiencies as a shooter. My argument was always that he was a basketball player and thus needs to be able to do the main objective of the sport. It was a deal-breaker that a number of Simmons stans were reluctant to admit because they said he was young and could improve. Alas, that was not the case, and the Sixers are now in a really bad spot with him. Again, though, not a perfect comparison, and especially because Hurts is hardly a total coward loser who actually wants to get better. But his efforts can likely only go so far.

Hurts is entering his third season in the NFL so it’s not like Philadelphia is in a bind with him. The smart thing would be for them to realize that 2022 is still part of their rebuild process, not mortgage the future in the name of another top quarterback (especially given that this year’s class is so-so in that regard), and build a strong enough foundation while developing weapons like DeVonta Smith so that whenever they are ready they can pounce.

Let’s hope they don’t do that!


Washington Commanders

The most notable thing concerning Washington is that they are no longer the Football Team. Say hello to the Washington Commanders!

We didn’t discuss the name being official on the Mixtape due to the time that we record the show, but next week we are looking to have someone on from Hogs Haven to fully dive in given that it is awful and maybe the worst decision that the organization could have made.

How could Washington have thought this was a good idea? It is boring, and incredibly unoriginal.

They had two years to get this right and still failed miserably. That isn’t an overreaction to the aesthetic design, by the way. Look up at the crest of sorts they have that has the championship years at the bottom... THEY ARE INCORRECT.

In a literal sense Washington is accurate, but they are going with the year that their titles were won in as opposed to the way that championship teams are often referred to. We all know that the 1991 Washington team won the Super Bowl despite the fact that the game itself was played in the early days of 1992. Referring to it as 1992 is awkward and something that nobody does when it comes to the history of the game. For what it’s worth the team even lists the proper years on their website AND ON THEIR SUPER BOWL RINGS!

How did this happen? How?!


New York Giants

This week the Giants presented Brian Daboll as their newest head coach and it is difficult to deny that they made a solid hire. Daboll has had a lot of success as of late as the offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills and while quarterback Josh Allen is largely responsible for that, Daboll has helped Allen become the player many thought he had no shot at being.

New York has actually gone about building their whole new brain trust in the right way (something we touched on during last week’s Mixtape) as they declined to promote from within and instead hired an outsider in Joe Schoen to be their general manager. Objective eyes are best when your franchise is in turmoil and that’s where the Giants are.

Ultimately, though, while the culture of the Giants needs resetting, the most important thing for any football team is wins. The easiest path for the G-Men to start piling some up is for Daboll to get Daniel Jones back on track, something he is prepared for.

From our friends at Big Blue View:

Much of the success or failure of — at least — the first year of Daboll’s tenure as Giants head coach will have to do with what he is able to get out of fourth-year quarterback Daniel Jones. Co-owner John Mara was clear last week that the Giants had “done everything possible to screw this kid up.”

Is is Daboll’s job to fix that, and to find out once and for all if the Giants can go forward with Jones as their long-term quarterback.

“We’re gonna take it day-by-day. We’re not going to make any predictions. I wouldn’t do that to Daniel or really any player. I don’t think that’s fair to compare him to another guy I was working with.

“He’s himself. We’re going to find out what he does well, we’re going to try to implement a system that suits him, and then it’s our job to bring pieces in that help him to be the best version of himself and the best quarterback for us.”

Daboll said that when he arrived at the Giants’ facility on Saturday one of the players who greeted him was Jones.

“I came up here up on Saturday after I was offered the job. I drove through the snowstorm. There weren’t many people in the building, but one of them was Daniel Jones. That’s a good thing for a young player. I know he’s excited,” Daboll said.

“There’s a lot of things to like about Daniel. We’ll just take it one day at a time, we’ll work with him, we’ll help him get better.”

Daboll said Jones had been tasked with identifying concepts he likes, even if he has to go all the way back to his days at Duke. Daboll called them “foundational pieces” the Giants could begin to structure an offense with.

“It takes a lot to raise a quarterback, if you will. He’s been around the block these last three years with some different pieces. We’re going to try to get him some stability and take it from there.”

We will learn early on just how much Giants brass trusts Daboll’s vision for Jones as the organization has to decide this offseason whether or not they are going to pick up the quarterback’s fifth-year option for 2023 (a reminder that they picked up Saquon Barkley’s for 2022 last year). It isn’t the most significant of commitments that they will have to make, but picking up the option does tie them to Jones a year longer and theoretically delays in some part whatever player would come in after him.

The Giants are tied with the New York Jets for the most losses by an NFL team since 2017 (amazing that they share a stadium). They might not be good right away, but they do seem on track to no longer be an utter disaster.