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Football season is right around the corner. The Washington Redskins report to camp this weekend, so that means we can start talking gridiron and I could not be happier. So as we begin our tour around the league, sorry it won’t be like our BCS tour, the logical place to begin is the NFC East since Walker-Sports does originate in Washington D.C. and the Skins are on their way to camp.
Yes this team fell short last year, yes their QB spends too much time in the tabloids with his idiot girlfriend, and yes they are everyone's favorite team to hate. Despite all that, they are the best team in the NFC East 2008 season. The Cowboys bring back the bulk of a squad that went 13-3 last season. Julius Jones is gone which mean teams will see more of Marion Barber III which could be trouble for opposing defenses. Felix Jones was drafted to help take some of the workload off Barber and once he learns the pro game he will look to make an impact with his quick burst.
The buzz around the Cowboys this season will be generated around Adam Jones, as he looks to return to Pro-Bowl status after a year suspension. Jones will help to sure up a shaky secondary that also features Roy Williams and Terrence Newman. Jones' biggest impact will likely be seen on special teams where his skills are often over looked. But as long as he is able to make a solid contribution on defense, then it could be the Cowboys defense that leads them to the post season success that has eluded the franchise for the last 12 years. The Cowboys have the best line backing core in the league and they will be able to put a lot of pressure on QB's which will alleviate a lot of pressure on the secondary as they work to gel together.
The Eagles had a rough season in '07. Once again, injuries kept this team from getting on track. However, coming down the stretch, they were as good as any team in the league. Donovan McNabb is back (somehow) and he has a lot to prove and he should come out with a chip on his shoulder. Lucky for Donavan, he does not have to go it alone, he has arguably the best back in the league behind in Brian Westbrook. These two will once again link up to be one of the most dominate duos in the league.
On the defensive side of the ball the Eagles have what can be considered the best secondary in the league, which should give them plenty of liberty to blitz at will. So they will look to be aggressive once again.
I'm going go ahead and say it, it is now or never for the Eagles. This team has been together more or less since 2000 and although they went to one Super Bowl, that is not the results that a team of this caliber should have. If they miss the post season again then this team should be dismantled, anything short of a Super Bowl appearance and this team should make serious changes, and that means you Donovan.
Yes the Giants are the defending Super Bowl Champions, and no one is happier than me that they knocked the Patriots off, that being said that was one of the best and biggest surprise runs in football history they went on to get there. And don't worry they had plenty of luck along the way. The Giants lost some talent on the defensive line, and it was their D-Line that led the team to the championship. Those holes will not easily be replaced. More important than anything the Giants will have a huge target on their backs because they are the Super Bowl Champions and everyone will want a piece of them. Now just because they are third in the NFC East does not mean they won’t make the post season. Just being the defending champs, playing in the NFC East and having that horrible schedule will just be too much to overcome.
The Redskins got to keep their name a little while longer and tat was the only thing that went right for this team during the off-season. The Joe Gibbs era has come to an end as he makes his return to NASCAR and after a process that was very similar to selecting a Pope the Skins landed Jim Zorn, probably the must unlikely candidate on the market. So Zorn is in, but the question has to be asked; for how long? The burning question around the beltway is will Zorn e given a chance to coach, or is he just a placeholder till Cowher comes to town. The sooner that question is answered the faster we will be able to judge this Redskins team.
On offense, the 'Skins will run Zorn's version of the West Coast Offense which we can assume is similar to the Holmgren version but no one is sure since Zorn has never called a play. More importantly the change means QB Jason Campbell has to learn yet another system making it his fifth in about seven years. He has never played in anything close to the West Coast Offense and he will need to pick it up quickly if he wants to guide his team. Luckily for Washington, they already have the personnel that are well suited to execute Zorn's system. Small speed receivers Moss and Randle El will be able to work well with quick slants ins and outs. Chris Cooley is a great TE who will enjoy working in space and he should see plenty of work. Oddly enough the one weak link may be Clinton Portis. Clinton took a lot of strides last season and the West Coast Offense could be a great fit for him since the blocking will be similar to the one he enjoyed while in Denver. The downside is his hands can be sketchy and that’s not good since he could potentially see a lot more passes.