- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Thanks for the feedback on the last post. I have been reading through the comments there, and I appreciate the suggestions. Most of them, anyway.
Meantime, Football Outsides has been doing a division-by-division look at the remaining needs for each team, and today they take on the NFC East. It's Insider content (which always makes me chuckle, that the Outsiders are Insider), so you need to pay to read it, but here's a little taste.
Dallas Cowboys: "Interior offensive line." Basically, the FO guys aren't excited about the Cowboys' talent level at guard and center, and seem unimpressed by Jason Garrett's plan to let Nate Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Bill Nagy and Phil Costa compete for the three starting spots in the interior of the line. No mention of David Arkin, oddly, who would seem to be in the mix. And I do have a nitpick with their claim that Nagy was "banished to the bench" for ineffectiveness last season, when it was actually a broken ankle that ended his season. But in general, the idea that the Cowboys need more strength and power at the interior line positions than they probably have on the roster is probably accurate.
New York Giants: "Osi Umenyiora's replacement." This seems to posit that the Giants would trade Umenyiora or that he'd hold out and they wouldn't have any pass-rushers at defensive end behind their two excellent starters. I don't think they're going to trade him, and I don't think he's going to hold out of any regular-season games once push comes to shove. But this does point up the idea that the Giants need to be thinking about who replaces Umenyiora next season, assuming he leaves via free agency.
Philadelphia Eagles: "Secondary depth." The metrics all rate Asante Samuel very highly as a cornerback, so it's little surprise that FO treats his departure as one that creates a hole. I think they're right on this score, but the metrics don't take into account Samuel's salary, or the fact that his playing style doesn't fit what they want to do with the cornerbacks this year, so it's hard to get on them for that dump-trade they made with him. Assuming full health and a big steps forward for Nate Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett, the Eagles should have a good starting secondary. But I would agree that there is little behind the starters if someone gets hurt. Interested to see whether Brandon Boykin can make an impression early and challenge for that nickel corner spot, and I can't rule out the possibility that they add a veteran to the safety mix. There are still quite a few out there.
Washington Redskins: "Cornerbacks." Yeah, DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson project as the starters, but they're not exactly Deion Sanders and Night Train Lane back there, and as FO points out, the Redskins' efforts to upgrade their secondary don't rank among their greatest successes of this offseason. Washington's defense is emerging as a good one, but the weak spot is still in the back, and they would do well to keep on the lookout for ways to make it better. That's part of why they're bringing so many safeties to camp, but they'll need better performance from Hall and Wilson in 2012 if the defense is to take the next step.