The NFC East indispensables

July, 23, 2008
7/23/08
10:28
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

In case you missed it, Jeffri Chadiha posted his annual list of the NFL's most indispensable players earlier this week. Wide receiver Terrell Owens, running back Brian Westbrook and quarterback Eli Manning made the list from the NFC East.

I was somewhat surprised to see T.O. at No. 3 on the list behind Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. I kept looking for the Patriots' Randy Moss, but he was nowhere to be found.

I haven't talked to Jeff in a couple of days, but he's obviously remembering that Brady won Super Bowls without Moss, who is coming off a record-breaking season. I would actually argue (surprise, surprise) that quarterback Tony Romo is more indispensable to the Cowboys' offense than T.O. If Owens goes down for an extended amount of time, I think Romo would find a way (Jason Witten) to keep the passing game afloat. If Romo goes down, I'm not sure Brad Johnson leads the Cowboys to the playoffs.

He's the master of the check-down, but at some point you have to throw downfield. Is Westbrook more indispensable than Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb? He's a tremendous player, but the Eagles just went 8-8 in the best season of his career. You could argue that three of the four quarterbacks in the NFC East could be on the indispensable list. I'd leave Jason Campbell off because Todd Collins has proven that he can lead a team into the playoffs.

I think Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware and Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora would be on a top 20 list. They both have the rare ability to completely take over games, and offensive coordinators spend hours game-planning for them.

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