Football.com's Big, Bad NFL Preview Series: NFC East
By Corbin Smith
The NFC East has traditionally been a powerhouse division that features multiple Super Bowl contenders, but competition within the division declined in 2012. The Washington Redskins, led by talented rookie QB Robert Griffin III, overcame a 3-6 start to win out and take the division crown with a 10 win campaign. For Washington, it was a monumental step for a franchise that has not enjoyed much success in recent years, but the team's fast rise can be partially atrributed to subpar play from division rivals. The New York Giants started off red-hot, but a late season collapse ended up costing them a playoff spot while the Dallas Cowboys continued to stay average with another .500 season. As for the Philadelphia Eagles, the team once again failed to live up to preseason hype and limped to a four win season, costing long-time coach Andy Reid his job and pushing several high-priced veterans out of town.
Entering the 2013 season, one thing remains clear in the NFC East: the division does not have an elite team. The Giants could develop into a dangerous playoff team, but they could also flounder again and miss the playoffs. Dallas continues to underachieve and basically has the same roster as last year, so expectations should be tempered. Washington could win the division again if Griffin III comes back fully healthy after tearing his ACL, but the team has other injury concerns, especially in the secondary. And while new coach Chip Kelly could make the Eagles a surprise contender thanks to his fast-paced offensive attack, the defense looks like a major problem and the team continues to lose players to season-ending injury. Every team in this division has flaws, but with so much uncertainty, the NFC East should be a fun race to watch all season long.
I don't think Kenny Phillips is much of an option. He couldn't get on the field in the Eagles camp. They felt their younger guys were better, which is not saying much.
What about now that Andre Brown went down?
As soon as the Eagles cut him, I thought the same thing. He's not as good as Brown, but he's familiar with the system and if he can stay healthy, he's better than anything they have in house.
I expect to see the Giants bring Kenny Phillips back into the fold now that the Eagles have cut him.
I still see the Giants as a division front-runner, but losing Stevie Brown to a torn ACL will be a big blow for this team. (His injury happened shortly after I submitted this piece for publishing) After other teams make cuts, the Giants might need to look for possible free agents who can step in for Brown.