NFL preview 2012: The NFC East


Defensive end Justin Tuck and the Giants are back. (Bill Kostroun/Associated Press)
September 5, 2012

1

NEW YORK GIANTS

The reigning Super Bowl champions made headlines during camp for locker room antics when a Giants player tweeted a video of Jason Pierre-Paul dunking Prince Amukamara into an ice tub.

While the Giants rarely have faced a shortage of in-house drama under Coach Tom Coughlin, their play on the field under clutch quarterback Eli Manning makes them the team to beat not only in the division, but perhaps again in the NFC.

Some notable departures from last season include wide receiver Mario Manningham and running back Brandon Jacobs, both to San Francisco. The pass rush remains as intimidating as any in the league with Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck leading the charge.

David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech, Rd. 1

2

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

The question in recent seasons has become how many games quarterback Michael Vick will miss. The centerpiece of Coach Andy Reid’s pass-happy offense hasn’t played a full season since 2006, the only year of his career that he went 16 games.

With Vick on the field, the Eagles are one of the more dangerous teams in the NFC, especially if DeSean Jackson validates his big offseason contract.

Running back LeSean McCoy emerged last season as one of the league’s premier running backs. The swarming defense that had been a staple for so many years got off to a rocky start last season under Juan Castillo, but surged late to finish 10th overall.

Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State, Rd. 1

3

DALLAS COWBOYS

The Cowboys gave up the 10th most passing yards in the league last season, compelling owner and General Manager Jerry Jones to move up in the draft to select cornerback Morris Claiborne at No. 6 and sign Brandon Carr in free agency.

How well the secondary holds up will go a long way toward determining the Cowboys’ fortunes. Linebacker DeMarcus Ware often makes the job of the defensive backs less taxing by generating a fierce pass rush.

The interior of the offensive line is a mess. Free agent acquisition Nate Livings, a guard, missed most of training camp with a sore hamstring and starting center Phil Costa also missed a significant portion of camp.

Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU, Rd. 1

4

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

The honeymoon for quarterback Robert Griffin III, picked second overall in the draft, continues, but his preseason play was up and down.

Injuries have turned the offensive line into a patchwork unit. The health of those five players figures to be an ongoing concern as Griffin adjusts to the NFL. Three starters missed time in training camp.

The backfield was beaten up in August as well, with Evan Royster and Roy Helu Jr. each nursing injuries.

Linebacker Brian Orakpo hurt his left shoulder in the Redskins’ second preseason game, but an MRI exam revealed no significant damarge. He’s expected to be back for the season opener.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor, Rd. 1

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