NFC East Team Grades
Dallas Cowboys: C
The only true way to assess the Cowboys is by calling them exactly what they are – average. I believe the great Forrest Gump once said something to the effect of, “Life is like the 2012 Dallas Cowboys, you never know what you’re gonna get.” Through the opening four games, Dallas has alternated wins and losses, defeating the Giants and Buccaneers while getting beaten badly by the Seahawks and Bears.
After a brilliant outing in the opener, Tony Romo has struggled mightily in his last three games, tossing seven interceptions. To be fair, his receivers have not helped him out – Dez Bryant is never on the same page, Jason Witten has already dropped a season’s worth of passes, the offensive line is still terrible and DeMarco Murray can barely go forward at times.
On the bright side, the investments made in the secondary have paid off thus far. The Cowboys rank No. 1 in the league against the pass, holding opponents to 169.5 yards per game.
New York Giants: C-
The defending Super Bowl champions survived a brutal opening six quarters to post a 2-2 mark at the quarter pole. However, both losses came at the expense of division rivals. In what will be an already stacked NFC, the Giants can ill afford any future losses to the Eagles, Cowboys and Redskins. The Giants have withstood a mountain of injuries, losing Hakeem Nicks, Chris Canty, Terrell Thomas, Prince Amukamara and Kenny Phillips among others for various lengths of time.
Eli Manning has played well for the most part, throwing seven touchdowns and ranking second in the league in passing yards. Martellus Bennett has added a new element to the passing attack with three touchdown catches, and Victor Cruz has shown no signs of a sophomore slump, catching 32 passes for 388 yards and two scores.
But, the Giants have failed to generate the explosive pass rush most assumed they would have, amassing eight sacks thus far. Without premium production from their trio of defensive ends, the Giants have looked vulnerable in coverage.
Philadelphia Eagles: B+
With seven wins in their last eight regular season contests, the Eagles remain one of the league’s hottest teams. But, it can be argued they are the sloppiest 3-1 team in NFL history. Michael Vick threw six interceptions and committed three fumbles in the first three games. He has been sacked 11 times to date, an indictment on a porous offensive line missing left tackle Jason Peters for the season.
But, for as many turnovers as they have surrendered, they have created nearly as many – seven in total. The Eagles’ defense has been tenacious and aggressive under embattled second-year coordinator Juan Castillo. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie already has three interceptions, filling the void of the departed Asante Samuel. Jason Babin and Trent Cole have combined for four sacks.
If the offense can be more responsible with the football, this team could be extremely dangerous.
Washington Redskins: B
The hype is legit; Robert Griffin III is the real deal. There’s just a different energy in Washington this season with RG3 leading the way. Sure, he will go through his struggles as every rookie quarterback eventually does, but so far, Griffin has thrown and run for 1,322 total yards and eight touchdowns. He and fellow rookie standout Alfred Morris have turned the Redskins into one of the league’s most potent ground attacks, leading the NFL with 175.5 yards per game.
However, despite the optimism and two early wins, the Redskins still have many questions. They do not play a division opponent until Week 7 and have beaten two teams with a combined record of 1-7. Injuries have begun to mount as well, with running back Roy Helu and defensive stalwarts Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker all on the injured reserve for the remainder of the season.