06-19-2007, 12:04 PM
Ultimate Depth Chart: NFC East
Theismann and Hoge debate on the best units in the NFC East.
It's always a long summer in anticipation of the new NFL season, but "SportsCenter" has come up with a way to keep your attention aimed between the end zones.
ULTIMATE DEPTH CHART
Best offense in the NFC East?
Merril Hoge: Philadelphia Eagles
The nod goes to the Eagles as long as they maintain the balance that was the hallmark of their success late last season. Once Donovan McNabb went down and Jeff Garcia came in, we started to see more and more of Brian Westbrook running the ball. This team proved two things by doing that. One, the Eagles proved they can be successful by running the ball. Secondly, they proved Westbrook can handle the load, something not many people believed he could do.
Joe Theismann: Eagles
McNabb is one of the best quarterbacks in football, and the receiving corps is continuing to improve; when that is combined with a crisp running game. look out. Everyone marveled last year at how well Garcia played, but that was because the opposing defense had to account for the running back. Don't forget that McNabb was having a career year when he went down, and that was without the aid of a good running game. This season could be the best of McNabb's career if the Eagles stick with the run.
Best defense in the NFC East?
Hoge: Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have been fairly consistent against the run and their pass defense has played pretty darn well in years past, so they are my pick. This isn't the NFC East of the '80s and '90s, when every defense was a monster and featured great players. Now, the division is a bit softer defensively, and that's why a flawed defensive team such as Dallas can be the best.
As much as I like the Redskins defense, I have to go with Dallas because the Cowboys can stop the run and that's the key to great defense. DeMarcus Ware is darn near unstoppable, and this defense is getting better in the second and third level, although I'd like to see Roy Williams get better in pass coverage.
Best team in the NFC East?
This is a very flawed division, and it pales in comparison with years past, so I have to give it to Dallas. Every team in this division has major question marks on both sides of the ball, but Dallas seems more comfortable with its system than the other teams, and I feel the transition from Bill Parcells to Wade Phillips will be easy for this team.
The Eagles are the best team in the East. The defensive deficiencies that have hurt them in the past will be more than made up for by the strong play of this offense. There isn't a better team in this division because the offense and defense complement each other so well.