Wednesday, September 12, 2012
All-NFC East Team: Week 1 Update
By Dan Graziano
One of the in-season features I really liked last year was our weekly, running All-Division Team, where we'd pick the best player at each starting position in the division and continue to update it as the weeks went along. Over the course of the year, some things changed from week to week (I could never seem to figure out cornerback, mainly because very few NFC East cornerbacks were having good years) and some players solidified their positions with consistent excellence (LeSean McCoy jumps to mind).
Anyway, it's back. We'll do this every Wednesday. And while it is meant to be an All-Star team based on cumulative season performance to date, each team has so far played only one game. So for this week only, yes, this All-Division Team is based only on the performances of the past week. This week's team includes nine Eagles (they did play very well on defense), seven Redskins, five Cowboys, five Giants, one DeMarco, one DeMarcus, one DeMeco and a Dominique.
I'll give you the team and then offer some comments at the end. Enjoy.
Quarterback: Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Running back: DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
Wide receiver: Kevin Ogletree, Cowboys; Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles
Tight end: Martellus Bennett, New York Giants
Fullback: Darrel Young, Redskins
Left tackle: Trent Williams, Redskins
Left guard: Evan Mathis, Eagles
Center: Jason Kelce, Eagles
Right guard: Chris Snee, Giants
Right tackle: Todd Herremans, Eagles
Defensive end: Jason Pierre-Paul, Giants; Jason Hatcher, Cowboys
Defensive tackle: Rocky Bernard, Giants; Fletcher Cox, Eagles
Outside linebacker: Ryan Kerrigan, Redskins; DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
Inside linebacker: Sean Lee, Cowboys; DeMeco Ryans, Eagles
Cornerback: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eagles; Josh Wilson, Redskins
Safety: Kurt Coleman, Eagles; Antrel Rolle, Giants
Kicker: Billy Cundiff, Redskins
Punter: Chas Henry, Eagles
Kick returner: Brandon Banks, Redskins
Punt returner: Brandon Banks, Redskins
- Quarterback was obviously very close between Griffin and the Cowboys' Tony Romo, who both had excellent games in big road victories. Griffin edged out Romo because of his rushing yards and a little bit of added degree of difficulty for the venue in which he won. Both quarterbacks excelled at keeping plays alive and finding success downfield in difficult circumstances. Each handled the rush well. Could have flipped a coin.
- Maclin was a close call over Washington's Pierre Garcon for that receiver spot, but Maclin played more and caught more passes, so he got the nod.
- Bennett might or might not continue to catch passes for the Giants, but regardless of whether he does, he's going to merit a look here each week. That guy can seriously block.
- Williams' and Kelce's were the only performances among the offensive linemen that I thought were particularly strong. The other three offensive linemen were kind of best-of-a-bad-bunch selections on a week in which none of the lines played very well. The Eagles' linemen do stand out at bit when you watch the games back, though. I wonder how much of that is the difference between Howard Mudd's blocking schemes, which require linemen to push upfield and establish new blocking points, and a more standard scheme. Washington's line played okay, and I thought about Will Montgomery at center over Kelce.
- Defensive end was tricky. Pierre-Paul didn't get a sack, but he was clearly the most disruptive player among the 4-3 ends this week and required an overload of attention from the Cowboys. Hatcher gets the other spot over Jason Babin, which I admit is rare -- a 3-4 end beating out a 4-3 end on a team like this. But that word "disruptive" again is the best to describe Hatcher's night against the Giants.
- Ditto Kerrigan at outside linebacker. What a game he had.
- Rolle played the run very well, which is something the Dallas safeties didn't do in the same game. Now, maybe they weren't asked to. I understand that's possible. But Rolle's individual performance deserves the recognition.
- Fine debut for Cundiff, who showed on kickoffs why they got him. Six of his nine kickoffs were touchbacks.
So that's the first one of these. I welcome your thoughts.