Friday, July 2, 2010
NFC East Beat Writers series: The Finish
By Calvin Watkins
We end our five-day NFC East Beat Writers series by talking to The Beast, Matt Mosley, who does ESPN.com's NFC East Blog. Matt took some time from his crazy schedule (yes, I'm being disingenuous) to breakdown the entire division for us.
Five things you should worry about in the NFC East:
Marion Barber.Sorry, but I haven't bought into the Marion Barber bounce-back storyline this offseason. He looks leaner and quicker, but I'm afraid he already has the body of a 30-year-old back. This whole quadriceps tear revelation from running backs coach Skip Peete seems like a way of covering up Barber's lack of production in '09.
Eagles secondary. I think the Eagles have to be worried about this. You have the non-tackling Asante Samuel paired with Ellis Hobbs, who is coming off a neck injury. I think this team will miss the reliable Sheldon Brown. And while rookie safety Nate Allen has a promising future, he's about to get thrown into a tough situation.
Giants middle linebacker. Who are the Giants going to start here? Phillip Dillard's a talented rookie, but this would be a big leap for him. Jonathan Goff has some ability, but he's still an unknown at this point. Michael Boley will be the only starting linebacker with a lot of experience. I think Giants fans have cause for worry.
Redskins running backs.The Redskins have a backfield composed of players who peaked in '06. Mike Shanahan has always valued veteran players, but he's outdone himself with the combination of Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker. What, was Mike Anderson not available?
Cowboys kicker. The Cowboys are rolling the dice with David Buehler as the placekicker. Why do they have so much confidence in this kid? I would not break camp without John Carney or Matt Stover hanging around.
Five things not to worry about in the NFC East:
Kevin Kolb.Stop worrying about the Eagles quarterback from Stephenville, Texas. He's already earned a ton of respect in the Eagles' locker room and he's surrounded with big-time talent at receiver. The former Houston Cougar isn't afraid of the moment. I expect him to have an excellent season.
Doug Free. As I've tried to tell ESPN 103.3's Randy Galloway over and over, it's OK to trust Free. Longtime Cowboys left tackle Flozell Adams had an excellent run, but I don't think you'll see a big drop in production. Scouts tell me Free's an excellent "foot athlete," so I have a good feeling about this one.
Donovan McNabb.McNabb will put up big numbers in Mike Shanahan's offense. If this offensive line can give him a little time, McNabb will be able to elevate the play of wide receivers Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas. Shanahan will commit to the running game, and that's not something McNabb's used to. I think he'll benefit in a big way.
Osi Umenyiora.I think folks are spending too much time worrying about Umenyiora's state of mind. He's too talented to take a back seat in Perry Fewell's defense. I smell a 12-sack season for Osi.
Alan Ball.I've been on the fence about Ball, the Cowboys projected starter at safety, this offseason, but coaches and scouts have finally convinced me that he's going to be fine. He's much more of a ballhawk than Ken Hamlin, and that's something this secondary sorely needs. But I reserve the right to change my mind before the season.