IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN KIDDIES!!!
GENERALLY when I talk football, it’s about my Eagles. I tend to keep mum about our rivals, unless we have a game coming up against one of them. Otherwise, I’ve reserved most talk about them for my Pre-Draft Preview, which drops each April. (Look for it).
In 2017 however, I decided to try something new, and give our fan base a running commentary of what the division is doing around us. This ensures that Eagles fans ARE actually the best informed, and most knowledgeable fans, in the NFL. (Provided you visit this site often.) These updates will come out three times during the season: After Weeks 3, 9, and 15.
Note: This was supposed to come out weeks ago, but since the Eagles playoff push was going to affect how Dallas’s season was viewed, I pushed it back so that a clear verdict could be written for the Cowboys season. Then there was the workload for OUR playoff week…
Since then every team beside the Eagles, has fired their head coach. This report will focus on the state of the team as of season’s end, and not attempt to calculate the impact of the firings or hirings. I almost skipped this, but this report HAS to happen so that I can wrap up the 2019 season.
This is where we left off in PART 2.
This is where things are today:
Washington Redskins: 3 – 13, dead last in the division
Congratulations on the number two pick in the next draft! (That’s assuming that the next draft doesn’t involve Iran.) If they could, the ‘skins would use that pick to draft an entire offense. They need to. Ranking 32nd in points and passing yards, 31st in yardage, and 22nd in rushing, is a sign that maybe your team has trouble winning ball games.
Defensively they’re nearly as awful. While coming in 31st vs the run, 27th in both points and yards allowed, they fared okay vs the pass. They managed an 18th ranked spot there, despite the most injury decimated secondary in the division, and possibly the NFL.
Washington’s RB of the future is Adrian Peterson and their best QB is Case Keenum. They spent a 2018 second round pick on RB Derrius Guice, and he’s played less than six games in his two year career. 2019 First round QB Dwayne Haskins started 7 games, and threw all of 7 touchdowns. Which was equal to the number of interceptions he tossed. They do have WR Terry McLaurin, but that just seems like a punchline to a joke with no set-up. For instance: “THE ARISTOCRATS!” See? The set-up is important.
They have a front seven worthy of my envy, as pass rushers. However, their 2019 3-4 system, exposed them to any offense where the QB was awake for 60% of the game. I’m gonna miss that predictability.
New York Giants: 4 – 12, 3rd place in the division
Look at that sweet #4 draft spot!
What’s to say about this team? The floundering started in 2018, after the new GM started a fire-sale and divested the team of key talent. So this was a continuation of that. All season long, the giants looked like a team with no focus, no direction, and no personality.
This was only natural, given that they took keys to the kingdom from QB Eli Manning, and gave them to rookie QB Daniel Jones. Basically, in search of a “spark”, the coaching staff switched from Dasani to Evian.
Okay that may have been a bit harsh. March of Dimes may not be the most exciting guy, and might not have the best arm, and might lack any major intangibles, and…and… Where was I going with this?
Oh, right. In truth, rookies are just trying to figure stuff out. So it was only natural that the team looked a little lost out there this season. It will be interesting to see how Jones approaches his first pro offseason.
Dallas Cowboys: 8 – 8, runner-up in the division
How does such a “talent-loaded” team finish .500? This despite a very healthy roster, in a division where half the teams are rebuilding, and the division winner was decimated by injuries. How indeed! I’m not going to talk around the issue. You already can, and already do, get that from any professional journalists. I’m a fan. So let’s real talk this motherfucker, shall we?
The Owner’s answer to Dallas’s woes, was poor coaching. So poor coaching is how a team finishes offensively 1st in yardage, 2nd in passing yardage, 5th in rushing yardage, and 6th in scoring. (In case you’re wondering, that’s solidly a Top 10, and likely a Top 3 offense.)
It’s also why they finished 9th in yards allowed, 10th in passing yards allowed, and 11th in both rushing yardage allowed, and points allowed. (That’s also a Top 10 unit.) Yeah. That sounds like some pretty shitty coaching, right? (In case you missed it, that was sarcasm.)
The fans and media’s favorite flavor of the month, is blaming the Owner for meddling all the time. It’s true that he does, but this team was poised to win even with the meddling. In fact, the Owner has meddled every year since he bought the team. If you want to blame him for the meddling when it doesn’t work, you have to praise him when it does work.
The problem wasn’t the coach, and it isn’t the Owner. Well, it is, but not how you think it is.
This team is loaded with players who can’t deliver in the clutch. How many Cowboys games this year turned on just a handful of downs? Division rivals won’t want to hear this, but the Cowboys were probably 15 to 20 made plays away from being 12 – 4 or 13 – 3. And I mean 15 to 20 plays collectively on the season.
Because the Owner doesn’t hold his players accountable for anything, on or off the field, nobody on this team has any deep motivation to give all-out effort when the Cowboys backs are to the wall. You saw how they rallied to save their coach’s job, and how hard they fought to win what everyone knew would be the division’s lone playoff spot. (That was also sarcasm.)
The team is wall-to-wall with guaranteed money. It’s a boarding school filled with rich kids, and now they’re getting an interim (7 – 9) headmaster. And trust, this is an interim (6 – 10) situation. Being that it’s the Owner, not the coach (5 – 11) who’ll sets the culture of the Cowboys, you can expect a similar mindset from the players for next season.
Didn’t even need the mic for that.
So that’s the state of our division rivals as your Eagles head into the offseason. It’s about time to start looking ahead to how these four teams will go about re-arming for the 2020 season.