50 random NFC East thoughts/predictions for the 2011 season

1 – Anthony Spencer will have one awesome game early in the season, which will inspire Jerry Jones to give him a contract extension in which he wildly overpays.  Spencer will be released less than 3 years later.

2 – The Giants won’t lead the league in giveaways this season like they did in 2010.  They also won’t lead the league in takeaways like they did last season.

3 – Kurt Coleman will lead the Eagles in tackles, partly because he’s really good, but also because he’ll have to.

4 – This could be London Fletcher’s last season.  He probably won’t be headed to Canton, but he should be.

5 – Jason Pierre-Paul is suddenly expected to have a monster year.  I think he’ll be good, but people need to calm down a little bit there.

6 – If Keith Brooking isn’t a starter, will he still do his dumb pregame thing?  I mean… After yelling “We’re gonna hit them in the mouth, we’re gonna bloody their nose, we’re gonna eat their babies,” etc, you can’t really cap it off by saying “Alright guys, I’ll see you in the locker room after the game. 1-2-3 WIN!”

7 – For the past year or so, I’ve been killing the Redskins for changing from a 4-3 to a 3-4 when they had players that perfectly fit their 4-3 scheme.  The Redskins basically said to their players “You adjust to what we want to do,” rather than adjusting their scheme to fit their players’ strengths.  It would almost be hypocritical to not criticize Eagles OL coach Howard Mudd for trying to do the same.

8 – What’s the best 1WR-2WR-TE combo in the NFC East?  Gotta go with the Cowboys there on the shoulders of Jason Witten.  But the Cowboys have absolutely no depth at WR behind those guys, and TE depth, once thought to be a strength, really isn’t anymore.

9 – Tim Hightower will have 1,400+ yards from scrimmage.  What the hell are the Cardinals thinking?  Hightower for Vonnie Holliday and a late 2012 pick?  Seriously?  And I’m as big a believer in Kevin Kolb as you’ll find, but Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2?  Really?  The NFC East is treating Arizona like that guy in your fantasy football league that doesn’t have a clue.

10 – With an OL that includes 2 rookies and a 2nd year guy with just 109 NFL snaps under his belt, Tony Romo better beef up his life insurance.  Ditto that for Michael Vick and the two rookies at C and RG that he’ll be playing behind.

11 – The Redskins will not finish last in the division.

12 – Is Jay Ratliff still an awesome player?  I’m not sure I saw it in 2010.  He’s a guy I’ll be watching closely the first few weeks of the season.

13 – The Redskins’ defense, at least on paper, looks pretty good to me.  They’ll be in the Top 20 this year, statistically.  That may not sound like a big deal, but it is considering they were 31st last season.

14 – The Cowboys’ “3 bullies” will combine for 5 sacks or less.  Departed Cowboy Stephen Bowen will have at least 4 on his own.

15 – Giants LT William Beatty, assuming he doesn’t get hurt, will lead the division in penalties.

16 – Redskins fans will complain excessively about Brian Orakpo being held by opposing offenses, when Trent Cole, DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora are held just as much.

17 – Marion Barber.  Marc Colombo.  Leonard Davis.  Roy Williams.  And now Andre Gurode.  Terence Newman, you might be next.

18 – Speaking of Roy Williams and Marion Barber, what in the hell are the Bears thinking?

19 – Let’s come back to Newman: Last year, per Football Outsiders, Newman was targeted 83 times and gave up 9.1 yards per target, or roughly 755 yards on the season.  Mike Jenkins was targeted 80 times and gave up a staggering 10.5 yards per target, or roughly 840 yards.  By comparison, the Eagles starting corners, again per Football Outsiders, fared slightly better.  Nnamdi Asomugha was targeted 31 times, and gave up 5.9 yards per target, or roughly 183 yards.  Asante Samuel, meanwhile, was only targeted 36 times, and gave up an astoundingly low 3.2 yards per target, or roughly 115 yards.  Also, despite being targeted just 36 times, somehow Samuel picked off 7 passes, often times when he wasn’t even the defender being targeted.

20 – In a related note, Samuel will pick off 10+ passes this season if he can say healthy.

21 – OJ Atogwe has the best profile pictures in sports.

22 – Bigtime year upcoming for Mario Manningham.  Thinking 1,100 yards and 10 TDs.

23 – Alan Ball was an unmitigated disaster at FS for the Cowboys this year, but he’ll been a decent nickle/dime corner.  Nickle if the Cowboys cut Newman, dime if they don’t.

24 – Brandon Jacobs has a career per carry average of 4.6.  Ahmad Bradshaw has averaged 4.8 for his career.  Neither will be north of 4.5 this season.

25 – Osi Umenyiora will have 8 sacks or less in 2011.

26 – Felix Jones finally puts it together and has a good season.  Rushes for over 1,000 yards, catches 50+ passes.  Stat line similar to Shady McCoy’s 2010 season.

27 – DeMarco Murray will barely see the field, at least early in the season.

28 – The Cowboys defense is in for another really tough year.  They were 23rd in yards allowed in 2010.  They’ll be worse in 2011.

29 – Shady McCoy will have the best offensive numbers in the NFC East this season.  Think Brian Westbrook in his prime.

30 – Apparently, Phil Costa went to my old high school.  I wonder if he would have tired to give me a wedgie if we went to school together.

31 – I’m rooting for Jeremy Maclin to have a monster season.  I don’t care if that sounds biased or not.  Great kid.  Deserves it.

32 – I would advise LaRon Landry to just keep his mouth shut before he faces DeSean Jackson this year.

33 – Prince Amukamara is set to return mid-way through the season. The ideal situation would have been to ease him into action gradually, but Prince will be forced to play way more than Perry Fewell would like, due to the absurd number of injuries to the Giants CB rotation.  Expect Prince to get toasted early and often in his first tastes of NFL action.

34 – If Michael Vick gets hurt early in the season, the Eagles will put Vince Young in even though Mike Kafka is currently the better option.  Also, on a side note Cowboys fans, Kafka > McGee.

35 – I don’t know if John Beck or Rex Grossman will start for the Redskins Week 1, and I’m not sure if I even care anymore at this point.  However, Mike Shanahan will change his starting QB at some point this season, and not necessarily because of injury.  Maybe twice… and maybe not even back to the original guy.

36 – Trevor Laws gets cut, signs with the Giants.

37 – The NFC East rookie of the year (not that there’s actually an award for that) will be  Ryan Kerrigan.  I took the following video of Kerrigan at the NFL Combine, and I must have been shaking like a crack baby.  If you can watch this without getting nauseous, you’re a better man than me.

38 – Martellus Bennett, upon return from his high ankle sprain in 2-4 weeks, may find that the #2 TE job is no longer his.

39 – You know how teams just avoiding throwing at Nnamdi Asomugha for so many years because it was simply easier to pick on the other side?  I think I sorta covered that earlier.  Corey Webster better prepare for a very boring season manning his corner.

40 – Matt Dodge, and not Steve Weatherford, will win the Giants punting job.

41 – The Eagles will trade Joselio Hanson for either a 4 or a 5.

42 – Speaking of slot corners, Orlando Scandrick got paid WAY too much money.

43 – Michael Vick may very well “regress to the mean,” as many are predicting.  But so will their atrocious red zone defense, which was historically bad.  In fact, the Eagles’ red zone defense was the worst since the 1988 Oilers, a team that doesn’t even exist anymore.

44 – Giants and Cowboys fans might argue that the Redskins overpaid for Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen, respectively, and I’d be inclined to agree.  However, there’s little question those two guys will massively upgrade their DL.  I don’t think Redskins fans will be missing Ma’ake Kemoeatu anytime soon.

45 – The Giants aren’t really going to use Bear Pascoe as a FB again this season, are they?

46 – I think I might keep a running tally of how many times announcers call Casey Matthews “Clay” Matthews this season.  I would set the over/under at 15, but I’m not sure how long Casey will keep his job as a starter.

47 – Don’t be surprised if the Giants pick up two corners when teams cut down to 53, not just one.

48 – If Steve Smith is ready to go Week 1, truly is healthy, and produces right away, the Giants front office is going to have some serious egg on their face.

49 – Tashard, please, for the love of God, no matter what charity it might be for, you don’t ask the opposing QB for an autograph right after the game… especially after a loss.  And don’t let him pat you on the head afterward like you’re his little buddy.

50 – The Eagles will win the NFC East… handily.

33 Comments

  1. CJ says:

    Jimmy, great stuff as usual. Can’t find too much to argue (particularly hopeful your RB projections come true, as I have McCoy, Jones, and Hightower in fantasy). Some comments/questions:

    1. Re: Running backs: are you as worried as I am about the general lack of cohesion on both lines? One key to OL, besides technique, is consistency/longevity, so both teams are taking a huge gamble with inexperience at Center.

    2. Point 14 is a joke right (D Ware will end up less than 5 sacks? or are the “bullies” not including Ware?), and point 19 is sarcasm (Eagles CBs fared “slightly” better, at -4 yards/attempt?), right?

    3. Kafka a better option than Young? Because he knows the offense I assume, but Vick wasn’t as “familiar” with the offense as Kolb ought have been.

    4. Just a semantic point: the Oilers do still exist, in Tennessee. Personally, I agree with your rhetoric (if you move a team to a new city, it should be considered a new team), but all the team history/records get transferred to the new city. Exception that proves the rule: When Indianapolis got the Colts, they took the team, personnel, unis, and history (basically everything except the stadium). When Baltimore got the Ravens, they retained the Browns personnel, but the team colors and history remained in Cleveland.

    1. packimop says:

      Na Ryan said “three bullies UP FRONT.” Ware plays LB – wasn’t referencing him.

      1. packimop says:

        And Vick had a full year in the system before he took over, VY has had less than a month.

      2. “3 bullies” are Kenyon Coleman, Marcus Spears, and Jason Hatcher.

        1. CJ says:

          Ahh thanks for clearing that up re: bullies.

  2. Nico (A Fine Messi) says:

    Do you WATCH skins games? Orakpo gets held on EVERY PLAY! :D

  3. TransplantedFan says:

    You’re really down on the Giants. With all the injuries, I can’t say you’re wrong necessarily. But I wouldn’t be shocked to see them start the season 6-2 or 5-3, have everyone saying that the NFC has to look out for the Giants, hear Justin Tuck talk about how this is proof that nobody respected them but they are still a quality team that is going to make some noise, then watch the team suffer two heart breaking losses in a row, listen to the Giants players talk about staying disciplined while Giants fans bemoan the fact that they “gave the game away” and then finish 8-8.

    I still think the Redskins are in line for the Suck for Luck sweepstakes.

    1. Faris Toosy says:

      Sir, if you believe the Redskins are in for the ‘suck for Luck’ sweepstakes, you will be in for a terrible shock!

    2. CJ says:

      Seahawks are far and away the preseason “Suck for Luck” winners. they’re trotting out Tavaris Jackson and/or Charlie Whitehurst, and still have the audacity to charge full price tickets

  4. phillychaos says:

    LMAO at #6! I’m actually hoping that has-been does start.

  5. brisulph says:

    #51. brisulph runs out of nails for the NYG coffin.

  6. bonanzatex says:

    Jimmy, you are such a homer…no mention of the ‘overepaid’ Micheal Vick…give me a frickin’ break.

    1. For one, I posted this before the news broke, but I’ll tackle that point anyway: Is $36M guaranteed really all that much in comparison to the other QBs around the league?

  7. deg0ey says:

    Agree with your points about Kerrigan. Was probably a bit optimistic, but I was hoping for a while that the birds would move up and take him. I’m not at all happy about having to face him twice a season, especially with the O-line trouble at the moment.

    Have to say, though, I think he would have been better as a 4-3 DE rather than a 3-4 OLB – but he’s probably going to be a beast either way.

  8. DerfDiggy says:

    But will the Eagles win that elusive lombardi trophy?!? Lol…predict that.

    1. Ha, I might be willing to go out on a limb and predict the Phillies, but I’m not touching that one with a ten-foot pole.

    2. DerfDiggy says:

      Sorry..that was uncouth…:(

  9. Tracer Bullet says:

    It’s a goddamn shame that Laws, who finally looked like he’d turned the corner, probably won’t make the squad when Abirmiri will remain on the payroll even though he hasn’t contributed shit since the day he was drafted.

  10. Immynimmy says:

    Laws to the Giants would suck. I was really hoping for a breakout year for Laws, something around the lines of 5.5 sacks and ~10 TFL. With his injury issues he may not even play half the year.

    1. Number5 says:

      “With his injury issues he may not even play half the year.”
      …Exactly why the Giants want him ha….

  11. WeNeedLinemen says:

    First, an admission, I am Redskins fan. That said, I think you’re wrong about Orakpo, he did get held more than the others, but it was his fault.

    Well, ultimately it was the Refs fault for not calling it, but Orakpo’s style was giving linemen the opporunity to cling on. Orakpo would get his an shoulders too close to the tackle’s chest. Guys like Cole and Ware were significantly better at keeping some separation from their blocker. Orakpo says he has worked on keeping the blockers hands off him, so maybe the situation will be better this year.

    1. greenage says:

      Ha, You were right Jimmy. It all ready started. 1 prediction down 49 to go.

  12. Number5 says:

    Love it :)

  13. Jason-E says:

    #49 What charity? I thought he said it was for his nephew?

    1. Oops, you’re right:

      http://www.sportsgrid.com/nfl/watch-tashard-choice-gets-michael-vicks-autograph-after-game/

      “Twitter exploded over the autograph (he’s trending after a 33 yard game), and it was originally speculated that Choice has a charity called “Helping Hands” for which he sells game-worn signed gloves for–that clearly would be a noble cause. Choice has since tweeted that the glove was in fact for his three-year old nephew. Fair enough, although the prudent move would’ve been to do it behind closed doors.”

  14. D3Keith says:

    Nice, this is one of my favorite posts so far. Definitely your most balanced effort to date — good and bad predictions for all four teams — although I’d still be able to pick out which team you like if it was my first visit.

    I’m bullish on the Redskins; they aren’t flashy, but they finally have the personnel to run what they want to run, the zone-blocked Shanahan run plays and the Haslett 3-4. Think Herman Boone in remember the Titans; doesn’t matter how fancy your stuff is if you just do what you do well. They’ll still get beat by more talented teams but they’ll be in about 12 games in the fourth, winning somewhere around half of them. Maybe even Week 1, Giants fans.

    I guess I’m going to have to come around on Manningham. I thought he was kinda meh, their third best guy, but the numbers and everyone I respect says otherwise. I’ll watch more closely. Meanwhile, I notice Ratliff whenever the Cowboys play and that’s not always true of interior DL.

    Laws playing the role of McDougle?

    OJ Atogwe pics = classic.

    1. “although I’d still be able to pick out which team you like if it was my first visit.”

      Ha, yeah, I think every post is like that.

  15. Switzbeats says:

    Sam Hurd is the best of the Dallas castoffs they picked up at least he is a stud on ST

  16. Switzbeats says:

    Fucking right about this one too

    18 – Speaking of Roy Williams and Marion Barber, what in the hell are the Bears thinking?

  17. Switzbeats says:

    Awesome post, I agree with about 80% of them and especially #s 10, 16 and 32.

    Not so much on #50

  18. Euler.is.a.pimp says:

    Should definitely review this at the end of the season. Great post.

    1. Ha, thanks pimp. I’m thinking I’ll settle for 50%.

%d bloggers like this: