John Clayton on NFC East lines

October, 4, 2012
10/04/12
10:03
AM ET
I was reading John Clayton's mailbag this week, and I came across this exchange John had with a reader about our division:
Q: While watching the NFC East, I can't tell if the defensive lines are really that good or the offensive lines are really that bad. My thought is that the offensive lines are so bad that they make the defensive lines look amazing. Not trying to take anything away from the sack guys, but they aren't going against very tough competition.

Shawn in Arlington, Texas

A: Good observation. Each team in the NFC East has major problems along the offensive line, but that doesn't take anything away from the defensive lines. The Giants and Eagles have some of the best pass-rushers in the game. The Cowboys and Redskins are solid with their three-man lines. Going into the season, the Eagles might have had the best line, but they lost Jason Peters during the offseason and Jason Kelce, their starting center, because of a knee injury in Week 2. The Giants have problems at tackle. The Cowboys are weak in the middle of the line. And the Redskins are thin and have had some injuries. When there are divisional games, the offensive line problems are more exposed.

I have something planned for later in the day that touches on offensive line issues, but this is a continuing theme in our division -- everybody's got line troubles. The Eagles' problems are getting worse, as guard Danny Watkins had to leave practice with an injury Wednesday. The Cowboys are indeed weak in the middle, but they've had major issues this year at tackle as well. And on and on. It's conceivable that the NFC East race could be determined by which team gets its act together on the offensive line first.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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