Tuesday, July 19, 2011
NFC East dominant team 2014-16
By Dan Graziano
As far as the Dream Team of Tomorrow project is concerned, the NFC East is a big question mark. We don't have any idea what the quarterback situations will look like for any of these teams in 2014-16, so deciding who'll be the most dominant team in the division was not easy. But I'm picking the Cowboys.
Tony Romo will be 34 when the 2014 season starts. But as long as they build an offensive line that can keep him clean (Doug Free will be 30 in 2014 and this year's first-round pick, Tyron Smith, will be only 24), he's surrounded by offensive talent that should hold up. Miles Austin will be 30 in 2014, Dez Bryant 25, Felix Jones 27, Tashard Choice 29, DeMarco Murray 26 and Jason Witten still just 32. They're good enough to make the Cowboys an excellent offense for the next three years, and young enough that, if they do so, they can keep it going through the following three.
As for the defense, which is Dallas' biggest current problem, I'm betting on Rob Ryan to make it into something sooner rather than later. I don't know who they'll get once free agency begins, but they already have key pieces DeMarcus Ware (who'll be 32 in 2014) and Anthony Spencer (30) around which to build, and assuming they add the right linemen and safeties in the coming weeks and Ryan coaches 'em up, they can work with that.
My close second choice was the Eagles, who have many good young offensive players who'll be in their primes then. DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy and Brent Celek will all still be in their 20s. But a question at quarterback (Michael Vick will be 34) and a concern that Jackson could leave after next year as a free agent held me back. They also have defensive issues similar to those of the Cowboys.
The Giants have some age issues that scare me off, and the Redskins have too many current holes to allow for such projections. So, from here, three years out, having to make this pick in July of 2011, I'm saying the Cowboys are your dominant NFC East team of tomorrow.