NFC East Preseason All-Americans: Offense edition

NFCE

QB: I think all three of these guys are close, and then there’s a big dropoff to whoever starts for the Eagles. If RG3′s knee was healthy, I would lean toward him, and obviously if we were talking about “Who would I rather have over the long term,” RG3 would be the clear choice. But for 2013, give me the guy I trust the most.

RB: Pete Prisco of CBS penned a Top 100 list (I’m not linking to it) that had Alfred Morris listed as the 41st best player in the NFL, 42 spots ahead of RG3 at 83. LeSean McCoy did not make the list… at all. It’s kind of funny how perception of players goes. In 2011, McCoy had 1309 rushing yards on 273 carries and 20 total TDs. People were calling him a clear-cut Top 3 RB. In 2012, McCoy’s entire offensive line was lost for the season and the Eagles were playing from behind in every game, and suddenly McCoy’s talent is gone? Ridiculous.

Alfred Morris had an awesome rookie season, and his “see hole, hit hole, break tackles” style of running fits in perfectly with what the Redskins do on offense. But he’s not as good as LeSean McCoy.

For the record, I strongly considered putting David Wilson ahead of DeMarco Murray, but I’m just not comfortable yet with Wilson’s ability to do the “little things.” However, Wilson is one of those guys who could wind up being the #1 guy on posts like these in a year or two.

WR: Here was Dez Bryant’s second half of the season last year:

Dez

Note the YPA. An outstanding YPA for a QB is around 8. Dez averaged 12.2 yards every time he was targeted during the 2nd half of the season last year. Incredible.

I’ll try to sum up the rest of the bunch as briefly as I can:

  • Hakeem Nicks: When healthy, I like him slightly better than Cruz.
  • Victor Cruz: Predictably came back down to Earth last year,but still put up big numbers. The number that bugs me a little with Cruz is that he only had a 7.6 YPA in 2012.
  • DeSean Jackson: Nobody realizes it because the Eagles were so awful last year, but DeSean made some progress last year. According to PFF, he had 1 drop last year on 75 targets. If he can package that consistency with his big play ability of a few years ago, he could be special again.
  • Pierre Garcon: Awesome fit for the Skins’ offense. He’s like a running back once he catches the ball.
  • Miles Austin: So good when healthy, which is rare.

The notable omission here is Jeremy Maclin, who is talented, but doesn’t block, doesn’t like catching the ball in traffic, and rarely fights for YAC.

TE: Jason Witten is still clearly the top dog here, although I believe his lofty stats are wildly overrated. It’s a tough call between Brent Celek and Fred Davis for that 2nd spot. I’m a huge Davis fan, but for now I’ll side with Celek’s health and intangibles. I also like the Giants’ Brandon Myers, mind you. I just like the other guys more. Rookies Zach Ertz (Eagles) and Gavin Escobar (Cowboys) will also be players to watch this season. The NFC East is loaded with TEs.

TE/H-back/FB: Because these 4 offenses do different things and employ different positions, we have one oddball position. Darrel Young was a big part of what the Redskins did last year in the running game. I don’t think he gets enough credit. James Casey should be a nice fit in Chip Kelly’s no-huddle offense, and may be a guy who can create mismatches for opposing defenses. Ditto that for Redskins rookie Jordan Reed, who is an extraordinarily intriguing rookie with YAC ability.

LT: Last year, Trent Williams finally became the force that he should be. He was, in my opinion, the Redskins’ 2nd most important player in 2012. Jason Peters, meanwhile, was so freaking good (as in best offensive lineman in the league) in 2011 that I just can’t put him behind Will Beatty or Tyron Smith just yet, even after suffering a double ruptured Achilles. Beatty is a legitimately “plus” starting LT in the NFL. Smith is really talented and shows flashes of being an elite LT, but he has yet to put it together. At some point, he’ll probably be the best LT in the division, but he’s not there yet.

This is the most talented position in the division, by far.

LG: Evan Mathis is a no-brainer here, and then… yuck. I like Kevin Boothe, but in a perfect world I’d prefer him to be a versatile backup. Kory Lichtensteiger is a JAG, although he is a JAG who has developed continuity along the Skins’ OL.

C: This one was an extremely tough call for the top spot. Give me the uber-athletic Jason Kelce here, even recovering from a torn ACL, over Will Montgomery. If you’re a Skins fan and you like Monty better, I won’t argue at all. And hey, the Cowboys rookie makes the cut!

RG: Chris Snee looked like he was heading into decline, and while he isn’t as good as he was a few years ago, he did have a bounce back season in 2012. Chris Chester is an overlooked player. He hasn’t missed a snap in the last 2 years and is really good in the run game. Todd Herremans kicks back inside to guard from RT, and should do so with ease. It’s a strong position group when Herremans is the third best RG in the division.

RT: The pecking order at RT goes Rookie, Rookie, Doug Free, and then whoever starts for the Redskins. Gross.

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24 Comments

  1. Great post! That was interesting.I like your quality that you put into your post.Please do continue with more like this.

  2. Phillyboijr says:

    Actually, it goes rookie, rookie……newborn baby seal, then Doug Free at RT.

  3. ” I also would not be shocked if he was an all pro this year.”

    That would be a neat trick… 33 year old QB making all-pro for the 1st time in his career…..Of course he would 1st have to find a way to stay on the field.

    1. Dan in Philly says:

      I just remember a few years ago when Vick was the runner up MVP. And of course last year he was bad when he played. I just don’t know what to expect, but I won’t be shocked either way.

  4. dannymac056 says:

    Point taken- a play where he pulls and matches up against a LB doesn’t do much for me- but yes definitely the most athletic Center here. Ideally, you’re not gonna pull the Center often- Chip will do that a little, and he’ll be a great fit for Chip’s stuff I think.

    However, this is a quote that sums up my feeling on that example (I think from Jim McNally, Jets OL consultant at a clinic in Baltimore)- “I don’t care how good your guy is at getting to the 2nd level if he can’t handle the 1st”

    He’s not terrible, I just have never seen anything that puts him above guys like Monty or Baas. Both of those guys can anchor reasonably well one-on-one with the NTs, which is way more valuable than athleticism.

  5. Dan in Philly says:

    Give McCoy and Jackson a pass for a terrible OL, but not Vick?

    1. That’s a little over-simplified for my taste, but sort of, yeah. If you look at the majority of the bad plays Vick made last season, they were not the fault of the OL.

      1. Dan in Philly says:

        You may be right, but when your OC designs plays which take a while to develop and the other team blitzes the ever living hell out of you and you worry about getting creamed as a result, it may affect your overall play even if you have time. we will see. I am not convinced Vick will be on the team in the fall, but I also would not be shocked if he was an all pro this year.

      2. gotpong says:

        Also, Shady and Desean weren’t bad, they just weren’t great, where Vick was flat out terrible. And ya a rookie outplayed him with a worse line, with less offensive weapons and with a team that had no reason to try and showed it. If you want to chalk it up that Vick had a bad year or two, that maybe a bit of it had to do with a coach on his way out, ok. But to kid yourself by saying that Vick’s bad play doesn’t have anything to do with him and to give him a pass would just be silly.

        1. AJ says:

          How exactly did Vick get outplayed by a rookie. Last I checked, they played about the same number of games, and the rookie only won one against the worse secondary in the league. Not to mention, he got the Skins twice (2nd or 3rd worst secondary).

      3. Bill says:

        Even if you are not down on Vick, who are going to put him ahead of on that list? Romo? c’mon…

        Now if there were 4 spots on that list, that might spark some debate.

  6. Joe D says:

    LT is a stacked bEast position, bout how about WR? Cruz, Nicks, Bryant, Jackson and Garcon? A lot of play making ability there.

    1. Bob says:

      Austin too.

    2. It does look really impressive. However, when you start to go around the league and look at the WR position, there are a lot of other divisions that are better.

      1. NYG_Slater says:

        Alot of divisions have better wr cores? Gut feel says no, but lets see.

        Gunna list the guys I feel deserve to be mentioned… Not in order, just a group, Gunna Capitilize my bluechip WR’s. Will try to add young guys with upside.

        NFC
        East– DEZ. Austin (considered making him bluechip). DJAX. Maclin. CRUZ. NICKS. Garcon. Randle. Avant. Moss.

        West– FITZGERALD. Tavon austin. PERCY. Rice. Crabtree. Than a bunch of okay 2/3′s and developmental guys (Brian Quick, Manningham, Tate, Baldwin. Jenkins)

        North– MARSHALL. MEGATRON. NELSON/COBB (Bluechip type production, but I attribute it mostly to Rodgers). James Jones. Jeffery. Burleson

        South– JULIO JONES. RODDY WHITE. Steve Smith (getting older, was a bluechip) COLSTON. VJAX. mike williams. lance Moore.

        AFC
        East– Not even going to bother.

        West– Floyd. BOWE. Baldwin. WELKER. Thomas. Decker

        North– Torrey Smith (Will be a bluechip soon, need to see another year). Jacoby Jones. AJ GREEN. Sanu. Josh Gordon. Sanders. Brown.

        South– A. JOHNSON. WAYNE. Hilton. dhb. Blackmon. Kenny Britt.

        Bluechipers are debatable. Also, I might have missed a few guys. While NFC North/South might be better for now, i’d take the NFC east because the bluechips are younger

  7. Will B. rated out much higher then any of the other LTs in the Div. this yr.. Glad to see u moved him up from 4th to 3rd… still way off IMO though.

    1. Yeah, that was an error. I pasted the wrong screen shot in there initially.

      RG3 was in the top 3 in the league in holding onto the football. Over 3 seconds on average. Without context, Beatty is going to grade out higher on PFF because Eli gets the ball out so quickly, but just in watching them week in week out, I thought Williams was better. But I do really like Beatty too.

      1. That was true of Eli (Most pressured QB in the league) in 2011 but I believe it was the opposite in 2012. The Giants got very “long pass play” happy last yr to their own demise.

  8. dannymac056 says:

    Division is also solid at FB. For my money, Hynoski is among the top 2-3 blocking FB’s in the game, but the other guys do all the other stuff better. Except dance.

    The division is bad at C, but I don’t get Kelce, never been impressed with him- he’s weak. Baas is straight up better, and he’s just an okay player himself. Montgomery is better than both, but you’re right- it’s all close, and none are amazing.

    I also like Chester a bit more than Snee, but again- nitpicking.

    Great writeup, these are always fun.

    1. No doubt.. Hynoski has the highest success rate of all FBs.

    2. You’re right. There are times when he can be bullied, but here’s what he gives you (from the great IgglesBlog)

      http://www.igglesblog.com/iggles_blog/2012/09/browns-non-video-rewind.html

      Let’s show something better for Kelce. The guy still has trouble anchoring inside against the really huge DTs — the Ravens have one of those? — but his work in space is impressive. Here’s an outside zone play. Look at who’s blocking whom:

      http://www.igglesblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c248053ef017744b9acab970d-450wi

      That’s right, we’re asking our center to pull around two guys and seal that linebacker inside, as the receivers run everyone else off. One second after the snap, the three key guys are all even with each other and Kelce has to beat everyone to the spot:

      http://www.igglesblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c248053ef017d3c0a4716970c-450wi

      Which he does:

      http://www.igglesblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c248053ef017d3c0a4802970c-450wi

      And that’s how you finish a block:

      http://www.igglesblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c248053ef017c31dc028d970b-450wi

  9. Mandmeisterx says:

    I’d take the LT’s of this division against any other position in any other division.

    1. I’d have to think about that, but it’s very possible. No matter who you leave off the top 3, you’re leaving off a really freaking good player.

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