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Old 05-08-2007, 09:49 PM    (permalink
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Default It's Back!!!!! The NFC EAST thread

Alright let's try to get as much good, unbiased conversation going as possible until the likes of the you know whos enter. I will give my pre-preseason thoughts followed by a rough prediction of season records for the 2007 season.

Running Game

1-Philadelphia Eagles

With Barber out of the division, I think it's about time we give the nod to Westbrook as the best RB in the division. The "he is not an every down back" talk needs to stop, he is simply a notch or two ahead of any other RB in the division. He is a big play waiting to happen anytime his body is in between the sidelines whether it be via a reception or rush attempt. One guy I think is going to turn a lot of heads is someone I was high on throughout the entire college season is Tony Hunt. The Eagles have needed someone to consistently really upon for the short yardage situations and while I think Hunt may not ever be an every down back in the NFL, I feel he will thrive in the short yardage role right off the bat. Those two backs combined with an up and coming offensive line has to make you weary when thinking about stopping their run game. The depth isn't great, but I am trying to stick with who is going to be on the field and staying away from "potential" injury scenarios.

2-Washington Redskins

The best 1-2 punch in the division here as I was really impressed with Betts more often than not last year. He rushed for almost 5 YPC and led some to even believe that Portis might be trade bait this past offseason. Portis is obviously still the #1 guy and he has showed glimpses of dominance here and there but I'm not sure the stronger version of him is better than the quicker, slashing version. I understand it has something to do with the scheme, but I simply believe he is not as effective as a power runner. Still a tough player to stop though and if he stays healthy this season, him and Betts could make an argument for being amongst the top rushing duo in the league. Their line took a hit with the loss of Dockery and their line was not as dominant last year as I thought it would be. Still a formiddable group though that will win the trench war more often than not.

3-New York Giants

Perhaps the biggest question mark coming into the season is how the Giants will fare without Tiki. What many don't know is that his replacement Brandon Jacobs is not just a power runner. Many will look at his height and weight and label him a short yardage back but many fail to realize how good of a runner he is. He is faster than Tiki...not as quick and does not cut back the way Tiki did, but he can outrun some DBs downfield. He has also been working with Barber's personal trainer whom many think is THE reason Tiki took his game to an elite level the past few seasons. The concern I have with him is that he may come down with the Eddie George syndrome where his legs are going to take too much of a pounding. He needs to run lower and while he has improved there over the past couple years, he'll have to really apply it to his game if he wants to stay on the field. Not sure what to expect out of Droughns but he did rush for over 1,000 yards in Cleveland behind one of the worst lines in football and he won't have full time duty here. I'd be suprised if Jacobs/Droughns did not combine 1600 yards. The LT situatiuon is still unsolved but if Diehl does end up there, our running game will be even better because he along with Seubert were on the left side last year when our running game was at it's best.

4-Dallas Cowboys

Please don't attack be Cowboys fans for putting you "last" here because I think all four teams have strong running games. In no way do I think the Dallas run game is poor, I just think it is a notch below the rest of the division. Jones...well we all know what he is and you guys have admitted it yourselves, he is a backup RB that has a starting job. He isn't tough enough to run in between the tackles on a consistent basis and he isn't fast enough to get to the edge on a consistent basis. I think Barber is the best RB on your team because I love his angry style he displays. He knows how to finish off runs and fall forward with three guys trying to take him down. But even he has his physical limitations and is much better suited in a role as a complement to someone else, that someone else has to better than Jones. I think your play in the trenches will improve because even though I don't like Leonard Davis, he is a powerful run blocker and can be very effective if utilized correctly.

Passing Game

1-Philadelphia Eagles

Have to give the nod to the Eagles again because they have the best QB in the division by a wide margin. It will be interesting to see how McNabb comes back from his injury and while I would not be suprised to see him struggle, I think he will still be at high level in 07. I think Kevin Curtis is a perfect match for that offense as he runs crisp routes and owns a pair of sure hands. I loved Reggie Brown coming out of college and I think this will be his year to take off, I am expecting big things out of him. LJ Smith has become one of the more underrated TEs in the league and while he does disappear at times, he too is a perfect fit for that offense. Westbrook is the best receiver out of the backfield and might have some of the best hands in the division if you think about it. Again, their line is the best in the division and you have to get a little scared once you analyze how difficult this offense may be to stop should McNabb come back 100%.

2-Dallas Cowboys

Now I still am very skeptical when it comes to Romo because of the way he finished the season. All a defensive mind needs sometimes is a few game films to be able to make a new, hot QB look silly which is what I saw out of Romo at times down the stretch. I am not a defensive guru but even I could realize that once you force him to make decisions under pressure IN the pocket, he struggles. Now I am not saying he is going to be bad this year (hence the #2 spot) but if it weren't for his supporting cast, even Cowboys fans may even realize that he isn't that good. The Cowboys have the best WR duo in Owens and Glenn even though they're both getting up there in age and down there in speed. But if Owens can solve his dropitis, it will spread things out for Glenn and the Cowboys darkhorse, Patrick Crayton who I like a lot. Throw them in the mix with Witten and you have a very strong and reliable unit to make plays all over the field. The only thing that may hold this aspect of their offense back is their line of course. I'm not sold on Flozell being pro-bowl caliber and Davis can easily be beat by an above average pass rusher. The right side is good, but again nothing that will be dominant against a group of solid pass rushers.

3-New York Giants

This will be the last year that I will tolerarte inconsistencies with Eli. After this season, I will expect him to carry this offense for the next 5-6-7 years. His struggles could be attributed to inconsistent play from the line that forces him into poor mechanics, or injuries to his two most reliable targets in Shockey and Toomer, or a horrid scheme that creates no seperation whatsoever for Eli to work with according to Troy Aikman. But despite those roadblocks, Eli needs to progress himself especially with his accuracy. New QB coach Chris Palmer has been making progress with him and Eli has said he already feels more comfortable with the tweaked playbook and new instruction he is receiving. Plax has been up here during the offseason, working with Eli and there are now stories out that these two are working their tails off together to take their game to the next level. If the chemistry is there between the two, the league better watch out because it hasn't been there the past two years and they still have been a more than solid connection. Not sure what to expect out of Toomer because he is aging and coming off an ACL injury, but his role as the chains mover/posession receiver over the middle will remain the same and his probable decrease in speed won't be a big deal. Shockey is primed for a huge season as Gilbride publicly stated that his objective this year will be to get Shockey more involved early and more involved downfield. The line will be what hold this unit back IMO unless Diehl is better than expected as a pass protector at LT. If Shaffer can be brought in, I'd feel much more comfortable because once Eli loses confidence in his line, he thinks too much and is forced into mistakes.

4-Washington Redskins

I was pretty impressed by Campbell's arm strength last year and I think his ceiling is pretty high. He seemed lost at times last year but what can you expect from a youngster being thrown into the fire? A lot will depend on his ability to mentally progress and his ability to fix his accuracy issues. I'm not sure if this will be his year and I'm not sure if he has the targets he needs just yet though. I like Moss a lot and he appears to be closer to Steve Smith than most believe, but there is nothing behind him. Randle El is excellent for trick plays and I guess he is a decent slot option, but him and Lloyd as the other WR options? Thats way too weak IMO. Cooley didn't have the year most were expecting last season and while I still believe he can be a threat in the short and intermediate game, I don't see him making the progression for Campbell any easier than many other TEs in the game. Samuels is the best LT in the division, but I saw Jansen struggle a lot last year and I have a feeling he may be nearing the end. Their pass protection might be a struggle this season and again, I think it will hamper Campbell's progression.

Run Defense

1-Dallas Cowboys

The front seven of the Cowboys defense is downright scary, especially against the run when you consider the youth they have there. I may be in the minority here but I still think Ferguson is a stud as a 3-4 NT and he does the job almost as good as any other NT in the league. It starts with him, along with their abundance of DEs that may not rush the passer well, but they are stout at the point of attack and are able to occupy blockers. I like what James and Ayodele bring to the table and if Carpenter gets the nod in the middle, he'll be much better than he was last year on the outside. Ware is evolving into a premier player on the defensive side of the ball and he really impressed me last year. I put the eyeball on him in run defense he was leaps and bounds ahead of where he was at in 2005. I expect him to get even better this year and close the gap on Merriman. Will Spencer be tough against the run run right away? Probably not but I think he'll be good enough to start on the best run defense in the division, what more do you want out of a rookie? Roy Williams and Ken Hamlin both support the run extremely well and they will come up and lay the wood if a back can rip through a tough front 7. If Dallas makes a lot of noise this year, which they certainly can, I expect this unit to be the reason.

2-New York Giants

The Giants were amongst the league leaders in run defense halfway through the year until the unit was ripped apart by a different injury each week. Barry Cofield came out of nowhere and played an excellent 4-3 NT which allowed Pierce the room to make plenty of tackles. Robbins had a career year not only in the pass rush department, but also against the run with his quick first step that got him into the backfield and cause disruption. Strahan and Umenyiora are amongst the best run defending DEs in the league and that is why they are regarded as the best duo in the league to some. Moving Kiwanuka to OLB will be a learning curve and might be a struggle, but I think the struggles will reside in pass defense more so than playing the run. He was exceptional against the run last year showing the ability to shed blocks and take proper angles, thus I have to believe he will do the same thing as an OLB as well. The WILL position will make or break the run defense IMO with the likes of Mitchell and Wilkinson not exactly spelling a ton of confidence in me, but neither of them will be horrid to the point where it will affect our defense to a deep degree. Like the Cowboys, our safeties are a liability in coverage to be kind, but they support the run well and have a knack for forcing the fumble.

3-Washington Redskins

It was tough for me to put the Skins ahead of the Eagles here, but the Skins LB core bought me over. While Fletcher has lost a step and is near the end, he is still the best LB the Skins have had in the middle since Pierce was there. Put him in the mix with one of the better SAMs in the game (Washington) and an up and comer (McIntosh) and you could have a very much improved unit against the run. The problem however lies with the line where there are simply no bodies that can occupy blockers. Yes, Daniels is tough against the run but he is not an every down player and he too is on the decline. Even if Griffin comes back strong, he is more of a pass rusher and doesn't do much against the run and when you have Salave'a along with some mediocre at best DTs playing beside him, there could be trouble because tight games are won and lost in the trenches and there are not may O-lines that could not push around these guys. But you can't forget about Taylor and Landry whom I fear because they love to come up and lay the wood on a ball carrier. Safeties are not that big of a factor against the run....unless of course your safeties are Laron Landry and Sean Taylor.

4-Philadelphia Eagles

Hey, if I'm wrong about this line against the run then I will admit it. But as of right now, their line is going to get eaten up and Trotter is the only LB on that team worth noting. Sure, he MIGHT be the best MLB in the division but when you look in front of him and look to his left and right, you cannot honestly say their run defense is going to be tough. Now, Spikes was a nice addition but he is not the Spikes of old, not even close actually. A few years of aging and a nasty injury have slowed him down more than just a little bit, and I was hoping the Giants would not get him. Gaither, McCoy, Gocong, Bradley....I mean those guys just don't strike fear into me at all. Plus, they lost a safety that was awful in coverage, but supported the run very well and are replacing him with.....Gaddis? That won't help their run defense either. If there is one thing that will hold the Eagles back other than McNabb's knee, I think it will be this run defense which might come back to haunt them down the stretch in tight games.

Pass Defense

1-Philadelphia Eagles

The best CB duo and the best safety still resides in Philly and the loss of an underachieving SS in coverage won't mean a thing. Brown and Sheppard had another strong year in 2006 and they are both entering their prime. I think James will take a big step this year now that he is fully healthy and back inthe routing of things. Him as a nickel back makes that formation very strong. Dawkins is still the stud he always has been at safety and even though he is old, he is one of those guys that I will not downplay until he actually has a poor season. It will be interesting to see who plays next to him though but honestly, whoever it is won't be much worse than Lewis against the pass. The pass rush will be strong yet again with loads of pass rushers at DE and DT. Johnson is arguably the best in the business in calling blitzes to pressure the QB and there is no reason to think they will not continure to excel there.

2-Dallas Cowboys

The best CB in the division resides in Dallas in Anthony Henry. JK TNew don't flip out. Seriously, Newman is arguably the best player on the defensive side of the ball in this division IMO. I put the eyeball on him last year and I came away very impressed, he is one of the few CBs in the game that has true shut-down ability. While I am not in love with the likes of Roy, Hamlin, Henry, and Glenn in coverage, they are still a respectable core that can get the job done. It is finally becoming apparent to Cowboys fans that Roy is not bad, but downright awful in coverage and while I like Hamlin, I'm not sure he is the CF they need in that secondary. Henry/Glenn will add another year to their bodies and they may struggle down the stretch again, but like Hamlin they can still make plays and hold their own. I expect the pass rush to improve under Phillips in year one with the likes of Ware and Spencer likely combining for 20+ sacks. There does however need to be a better rush from the line though, and we'll see what Phillips can do with Spears who still has the tools to be a great player.

3-New York Giants

This unit was incredibly tough to watch last year, very frustrating. They seemed to be at their worst on 3rd down with absolutely nobody within arms length of any of the receivers. Now that Tim Lewis is finally gone, the team will play to the players strengths and implement more press coverage. Madison is not what he once was in Miami, but he played well when playing the press scheme and I have to think he can bring his game to a higher level than where it was last year. I actually expect Ross to win the other CB spot and while he may go through some rookie struggles, he will upgrade the position right away. We needed a playmaker back there that could come down with the ball as well as run downfield with WRs and those are two things he can do. Demps and Wilson had a rough year and while I expect them to still be picked on as the weakness of our D, the staff has been making an emphasis on Gibril getting back to where he played as a rookie when he didn't have to think so much, just read and react. The pass rush is going to be dynamite this year unless of course we go through another storm of injuries. Osi is primed for a huge year, Spags is going to have fun with Kiwanuka as a blitzing backer, and Strahan has something to prove. They might not be good enough to hide our secondary issues, but they will hinder them enough to make the unit average instead of terrible.

4-Washington Redskins

The lack of pass rush here is the main reason I have them ranked last. One of the worst pass rushes in NFL history gets upgraded with....um, nobody? There is some promise at CB with Rogers and I think Springs/Smoot could do well on the other side, but they are not good enough to play with such a horrid line. Landry and Taylor will make it tough for passing plays across the middle for a variety of reasons, but Taylor struggled last year and you cannot deny that. Was it a fluke or has he been figured out in coverage? Landry was decent in coverage at LSU and while I compare him to a young Brian Dawkins...he too will need help in that department. They don't compliment each other very well in coverage and with QBs having all day to pick that secondary apart, there could be some huge plays downfield week in and week out.

Special Teams

*I don't feel like typing much more, so I'll just rank them.

1-Philadelphia Eagles
2-Dallas Cowboys
3-New York Giants
4-Washington Redskins


2007 NFC East Predictions

1-Philadephia Eagles (11-5)

I think McNabb is going to have a huge year despite the knee recovery he is undergoing. The maturation of that line will make things a lot easier and Westbrook is evolving into a star, if he isn't one already. The defense may be getting a little on the old side with the best player at each level well into their 30's, but they are still going strong and haven't showed any signs of slowing down. Best coaching staff as well.

2-Dallas Cowboys (10-6)

A lot will be on Romo's shoulders this year and I am anxious to see how he responds. I'd be suprised to see him play at a high level all year, but I think that could be minimized by a strong, strong defense and a nice supporting cast on offense.

3-New York Giants (9-7)

Questions all over this place, more so than any year in recent memory. LT is still unsolved although I am not worrying too much about it because Diehl has played good enough there if nobody else steps up to the plate. Eli has to take that next step and Jacobs has to prove that he can get the job done as a full time back. The defense will be better without the injuries of course and a new scheme that the players are raving about right now.

4-Washington Redskins (6-10)

A young QB is in a situation that just doesn't seem too attractive right now. Unless I am wrong about his accuracy and they have a replacement for Dockery and Jansen can get back to where was a couple years ago, I see that offense struggling. The defense will be decent but their line will let them down in more ways than one.



Alright ladies, let's get this going!!!!
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Old 05-08-2007, 09:51 PM    (permalink
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Helluva post, I'll disect it later. Been waiting for this... Tired of browsing your team forums. The Cowboys forum has turned into a huge homer fest and I'm sick of it.
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Old 05-08-2007, 09:54 PM    (permalink
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Nice post. I'll work on the AFC West as soon as I finish my draft write-up. Which will happen sometime after I start it. Hmmm...
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Old 05-08-2007, 09:58 PM    (permalink
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Can't wait NIP!
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:01 PM    (permalink
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I being a Redskins fan would like to argue that the redskins have the best running game in the division. Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts are now both proven 1000 yard rushers behind an offensive line that has been together for 3 years, the only question mark for the skins rushing game will be how well Todd Wade steps in and replaces Dockery.
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:02 PM    (permalink
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An AFC South thread would be absolutely boring and non-confrontatial. Considering that such is the criteria for a rivalry thread, it would be a waste.

btw, nice write-up Number Osi
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:03 PM    (permalink
Eagles own the NFC East
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good post dude... no homerism at all but one thing i disagree with, Eagles 4th in run defense. We have a better D-Line then the Redskins, and we also got Takeo Spikes whose a very solid OLB. We could be worse but i dont know...

My predictions:
1. Eagles 12-4
We have improved our defense via FA and added Curtis to the offense despite losing injury prone Stallworth.

2. Dallas Cowboys 9-7
They have made some upgrades, however I question the teams transition to a strict coach in Parcells to a very laid back one in Wade Phillips who can't match Parcells in coaching ability. Was Tony Romo a fluke?

3. Washington Redskins 7-9
I think they arent as bad as their record from last season shows. They had some injuries, and had a bad QB situation with struggling Brunell and young Campbell. I think Campbell will make strides this season, however on defense they really needed to upgrade their pass rush and D-Line but they failed to.

4. New York Giants 6-10
They lost Tiki Barber, replaced him with Droughns... Can Jacobs take the full work load? Did they solve their problems at LB? Can Ross upgrade the secondary right away? Their offensive line got worse without Pettigout, and they still have Coughlin has coach. How will Eli play to is the question.
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:05 PM    (permalink
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sigh..most overrated division each year. Cowboys suck..Giants suck..Skins are dumb and Eagles are pretty good

wanna talk about an East team? Come see AFC East..blow you out anyday
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:05 PM    (permalink
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It annoys me when people say the Redskins did nothing to upgrade their pass rush situation.
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:06 PM    (permalink
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I being a Redskins fan would like to argue that the redskins have the best running game in the division. Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts are now both proven 1000 yard rushers behind an offensive line that has been together for 3 years, the only question mark for the skins rushing game will be how well Todd Wade steps in and replaces Dockery.
I agree, Redskins should no question be number 1 running team. Our run defense was, and probably still will be average at best when healthy. Our pass though was already good and just got better with Landry.

Bump up run offense
Bump down run defense and bump up pass defense.

Other than that, good assessment.
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:06 PM    (permalink
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Start an AFC North one someone.
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:07 PM    (permalink
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Portis, Betts, Blaylock, Rock, Sellers over Westbrook and Hunt any day.
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:08 PM    (permalink
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Running Game
1. Redskins - Two legit starters
2. Eagles - Simply Westbrook
3. Cowboys - Added a runblocker in Davis, but Barber and Jones aren't stars yet.
4. Giants - I see the potential for greatness in Jacobs, but I'd be a homer to rank us higher due to potential.

Passing
1. Eagles - McNabb obviously, Westbrook helps
2. Giants - Eli has way more weapons with Moss and Smith expected to step up
3. Cowboys - Owens and Glenn are older, not sure how much longer they can last
4. Redskins - Very speedy WRs, but nobody that can really go over the middle. Campbell is not there yet.

Run Defense
1. Cowboys - Great LB corp. in Carpenter, Ware, and Spencer
2. Eagles - Takeo Spikes + great young DTs
3. Giants - Shaking up the LB corp a bit, added DT depth.
4. Redskins - LBs are old, DT depth is lacking

Pass Defense
1. Eagles - Great young corners + Dawkins
2. Cowboys - They didn't play up to their potential last year
3. Giants - Young and athletic guys in Ross, Webster and Wilson
4. Redskins - Great safties, don't like their corners

Records
1. Eagles 10-6
2. Giants 9-7
3. Cowboys 9-7
4. Redskins 5-11
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:08 PM    (permalink
Eagles own the NFC East
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I agree, Redskins should no question be number 1 running team. Our run defense was, and probably still will be average at best when healthy. Our pass though was already good and just got better with Landry.

Bump up run offense
Bump down run defense and bump up pass defense.

Other than that, good assessment.
Yeah thats true easily surprised he put Eagles for best running game, Skins got a perrenial pro bowler, and a guy who could start on a lot of teams.
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:08 PM    (permalink
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Yeah the run game is a little mixed up. I think this order is more accurate:

1.Washington
2.Philladelphia
3.Dallas
4.New York
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:09 PM    (permalink
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nice read.... i find this division the hardest to gauge

check your pm's number 10!
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:10 PM    (permalink
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Also Skins special teams I think is really good other than Kicker but Suisham showed promised. Frost bounced back last year and is an above average punter, Randle El is arguably the most dangerous return man in the division, Thrash and Rock are some of the best gunners in the league, and Rock and Ladell each had kick return TD's last season. I know you don't want to put the skins #1 at anything but they have run game for sure.
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:12 PM    (permalink
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Regarding the running game-

The Eagles line is better then Skins line, and that was before the departure of Dockery. Add that to the fact that the Eagles have the best RB in the division.....
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:13 PM    (permalink
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Regarding the running game-

The Eagles line is better then Skins line, and that was before the departure of Dockery. Add that to the fact that the Eagles have the best RB in the division.....
Eagles O-line is better at pass blocking, I don't know about run blocking.
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:15 PM    (permalink
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I'd take a back capable of 1500+ yards and a back who ran for over 1,000 yards in 9 games over Westbrook a guy who has never rushed for over 1250 yards. Betts almost had as many yards as him last season. Sure Westbrook gives the huge advantage in the passing game but running game skins take it, our line is fine Todd Wade is average at worst. Our left side of the line Chris Samuels, Randy Thomas, Rabach were opening 10 yard holes last year.
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:19 PM    (permalink
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:19 PM    (permalink
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I'd take a back capable of 1500+ yards and a back who ran for over 1,000 yards in 9 games over Westbrook a guy who has never rushed for over 1250 yards. Betts almost had as many yards as him last season. Sure Westbrook gives the huge advantage in the passing game but running game skins take it, our line is fine Todd Wade is average at worst. Our left side of the line Chris Samuels, Randy Thomas, Rabach were opening 10 yard holes last year.
I'd take Westbrook over Portis any day.
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:21 PM    (permalink
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I'd take Westbrook over Portis any day.
Me too. Westbrook is more dynamic.
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:22 PM    (permalink
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Sounds good my fellow Bengal.
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:23 PM    (permalink
Eagles own the NFC East
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Eagles O-line is better at pass blocking, I don't know about run blocking.
We have one of the best run blockers in the game... Shawn Andrews.
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