NFC East: Which Offense Should Be Most Feared In 2014?

DeSean Jackson

Bruce Kluckhohn- USA TODAY Sports

To put it nicely, the NFC East isn’t exactly going to be feared for their defensive play. With that being said, let’s just go ahead and put the defenses aside for a second and take a look purely at the offense in the NFC East. Realistically, most people are probably focused in on the offensive juggernauts that we can find on teams like the Philadelphia EaglesWashington RedskinsDallas Cowboys and even the New York Giants for that matter anyways, right?

The NFC East has simply been known as an “offensive division” for the last few seasons, and a large part of that is just because of how bad the defenses have been. If you don’t believe me, check the stats from last season. The Redskins, Cowboys, Giants and Eagles, in that order, were all ranked in the bottom half of the NFL last year in total points allowed.

So, let’s go ahead and just ignore defense for now, and talk about which offense we should fear the most in 2014. The immediate answer for most is likely going to be the Eagles or the Redskins, for obvious reasons, but not so fast.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles have Chip Kelly, as well as their young quarterback in Nick Foles, who showed a ton of promise in 2013. They also get Jeremy Maclin back from injury, but let’s not forget that they lost DeSean Jackson, who really was the player who opened the field up for everything. For me, the most important player on the Eagles is LeSean McCoy, and it always will be. McCoy’s job did get a whole lot tougher after Jackson left town though.

I’m taking the highly touted Eagles out of the mix as the most feared offense, and ranking them third in the division.

Washington Redskins

Speaking of Mr. Jackson, welcome to Washington! The Redskins fans nearly lost their minds with excitement when Jackson chose to come to Washington. I think the rest of the NFC East fans lost their minds as well, because it’s just another headache to deal with (in a good way for Redskins fans that is). If Pierre Garcon can stay healthy, and Alfred Morris continues to run how he has, this offense will be downright scary.

Then why am I not choosing the Skins as the most feared offense in the NFC East? The question mark around Robert Griffin III. I absolutely loved RGIII’s game in his rookie season. I mean I loved it to the point where I just watched Redskins games to see what he’d do next. But what do we expect from him this season? Is the knee 100 percent? And if it is, can he avoid taking those big hits and the potential for injury himself?

I don’t like the question marks surrounding RGIII, and while I think the Redskins will be a top 10 offense, I’m ranking them second in the NFC East.

New York Giants

Not enough weapons, still not a consistent sure thing at running back, and Eli Manning coming off of his worst season ever. I’ll pass.

Dallas Cowboys

Oh no. I can hear the moans and groans from the Cowboy haters out there already. Unfortunately, this is the most offensively talented team in the NFC East. Now, please note that I’m not saying this team is going to win the NFC East. I saw their defense last year, and I know what I’m getting myself into with that.

Tony Romo is back and ready to go for starters, and his new favorite target in Dez Bryant is turning into an absolute terror for defenses. Put that in with the sure-handed Jason Witten, and whichever wide receiver that they draft (because they will draft one), as well as the fact that Scott Linehan is calling plays, and it’s going to be scary. This pass game is going to be nearly impossible to stop.

Now, before I get too excited about the pass game, let’s not forget about DeMarco Murray. Murray made the Pro Bowl last season and topped 1,100 yards while playing in only 14 games. He’s playing for a contract this year, which makes him even scarier.

With all of that being said, yes, I am taking the Cowboys as the scariest offense in the NFC East for the 2014 season.

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  • Chris Velie

    Of course it’s all about staying healthy…

    • Jeff Smith

      I agree, that stands true with each team. Shoot, if Maclin ends up not being able to regain form and Sproles isn’t as large of a factor as people think he’ll be, then the Eagles may struggle offensively.

  • WEUer

    What about Tony Romo’s back? I don’t think it’s fair to question the integrity of RGIII’s knee and not even mention the integrity of Romo’s back. In fact, I don’t think it’s fair to point out pluses and minuses of the other teams but only point out the pluses for the Cowboys. Other than Romo, you also praise Scott Linehan but fail to acknowledge the mess that is the Jerry Jones-controlled front office and coaching staff and how Linehan will fit in there. I also don’t think you addressed Chip Kelly well; you acknowledged the Eagles have Kelly, but then dismissed Kelly simply because DeSean Jackson is gone. I’m not going to argue about DeSean’s importance to the team because that’s been done plenty around the internet, but I do think you have to address the Kelly factor more thoroughly than that, if you’re going to mention him.

    • Jeff Smith

      Good points. The main reason why I didn’t address Romo’s back is because he’s already back at voluntary workouts. We’ve seen Romo get injured, and recover from injuries multiple times, but a knee injury is a completely different beast, especially for a mobile quarterback like RGIII.

      As far as the Jerry Jones-controlled front office, that won’t affect the Cowboys’ offense. Their offense is going to be the key reason why they win games, and that’s all I’m pointing out in this article. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Cowboys are a bit all over the place, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a ton of talent on offense, as well as a new play caller who loves to air it out.

      For the Chip Kelly topic, I do think the Eagles offense has a ton of talent, but Jackson’s ability to open up the field is going to be sorely missed. Kelly is brilliant at offensive game planning, but the explosion aspect is what makes them so scary in my opinion. LeSean McCoy is a stud, but I do think that the Eagles need to draft a speedy wide out.

      I’m not saying by any means that the Eagles aren’t the better TEAM, but I do believe the Cowboys are the better OFFENSE in terms of talent and ability. Regardless it’s all an opinion though and that’s what makes it so enjoyable to talk about!

      • Crystal AC

        I would think that the offenses that produce on the field are more important than the most talented ones.

        While the Cowboys do boast a formidable offense, WEUer’s point about Romo’s back is a HUGE concern. This is his second back surgery in two years, which potentially cost the Cowboys the opportunity to make the playoffs. He did make mini camps but he’s still listed as injured. At least RG3 is starting the season off of the injury report.

        RG3 is a mobile QB but he didn’t miss any games this past season due to injury. Their new head coach is pass-oriented to so I doubt we’ll see RG3 run much at all except to extend plays. His style of play is what it is, but it would be unfair to judge him before seeing him in this new offense. He also won’t be responsible for making so many play now that he’ll have weapons like: Garcon, Morris, Jackson, Reed, Roberts.

        The Eagles produced last season and they won the division with one of the most explosive and efficient offenses in the NFL. Losing Djax was a big deal but I think we should give Crip Kelly the benefit of the doubt that he’ll still manage to win games w/o him.

        The Giants did a lot this off season but I don’t think they’ve done enough to put a winning product on the field. Eli played like the worst QB in the league last year and if he didn’t have those 2 rings, NYC would be calling for his head. They still need help at WR, TE, OL and I don’t know if they have filled those holes with the off season moves. Draft will help but you’re not always going to find talent that you can plug in to start immediately.

        I rank the offenses in this order: Eagles, Redskins, Cowboys, Giants

        • Jeff Smith

          The Eagles and Redskins’ offenses are both going to be strong, but you’re right about RGIII not missing games because of injury. He missed games for an even worse reason though- because he wasn’t getting the job done.

          Chalk that up to Mike Shanahan if you’d like, or the fact that his injury was still nagging him. His ability to throw the ball in year two was a whole lot different than in year one. I mean, we’re talking about a fairly big drop in completion percentage, an increase in both interceptions and fumbles in fewer games played, his QBR dropped quite a bit, and his QB Rating did as well. A QBR of 40.2 puts him with Jason Campbell, Kellen Clemens, and Matt Schaub. A QB Rating of 82.2 puts him right there with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Cassel. That HAS to be scary going into a new season.

          Now, talking about the Eagles- I do still think their offense will be very strong, and will be right there with the Cowboys, but here’s what worries me. Foles losing Jackson means that the field doesn’t open up nearly as much as before. While Foles had an incredible season, does anyone realize that he went 11/29 for 80 total years in a 17-3 loss to the Cowboys…who had the worst defense by a long shot last season? How does that happen, how do you not torch that defense just like, well, basically everyone did?

          I’m not as sold on Foles as everyone else in America is, and maybe I’m way off, but I’m really concerned about how he does without Jackson there.

          • Crystal AC

            “A QB Rating of 82.2 puts him right there with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Cassel. That HAS to be scary going into a new season.”

            It’s not scary at all. He was playing with busted mechanics because he spent the entire 2013 off-season rehabbing. Now he is spending the 2014 off-season doing what he has NEVER done in his entire NFL career: fixing his mechanics after knee surgery, building rapport with his receivers, and getting the reps that every other QB in this division has gotten over a full summer. For a QB that has sort of been at a disadvantage for the past two seasons, it’s amazing what he was able to accomplish. I’m VERY excited to see what he can do with an even playing field.

            Nick Foles and the Eagles’ offense have a lot to prove after last year. Crip Kelly says the system can work with anyone so we’ll find out.

            You didn’t respond to my comments about Tony Romo. You picked the Cowboys as the #1 offense but haven’t provided enough evidence to support your argument.

          • Jeff Smith

            Well, for Romo- we saw after his last back surgery that he’s able to come back from injury without much of an issue. Can it be different after the second back injury? Possibly. Will it be different? Probably not. If Romo is already throwing the ball with the “same zip” as he has in the past, during VOLUNTARY workouts, then there’s very little to worry about from Romo.

            For the offensive numbers though, take into account that Dallas scored 27.4 PPG, which is a full touchdown more than the Redskins last season, and 0.2 less than the Eagles, who just lost their most dynamic playmaking wide receiver.

            Also, let’s not forget about the Cowboys adding Scott Linehan as offensive coordinator, as he’s not shy at all about airing it out and letting his playmakers get the ball as much as they can possibly handle it. All things point to a huge offensive year from Dallas, especially since their defense will be below average and they’ll be playing keep up quite a bit, and have plenty of shootouts.

            The numbers are not only there to support it, but the information behind the Cowboys’ offense this coming year should leave people to just expect even more points than in the previous season (even though they ranked 5th last year). People are massively underestimating what losing Jackson will do for guys like Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin.

          • Crystal AC

            Last year is last year and the Redskins were terrible in all phases of the game. This year they have a healthy QB and offensive weapons to put up points. They also have a head coach that was the offensive coordinator for a team that had the 2nd highest red-zone efficiency percentage in the NFL with the Bengals. I’m expecting a HUGE improvement in their PPG. Probably similar to their PPG in 2012 when they won the division.

            However, the Cowboys front office and coaching situation is a train wreck. Having another new offensive system in however many years is not what good teams do; especially with an aging, injury prone QB. Romo will do a lot (maybe too much) to cover up the teams deficiencies but it’s taking its toll. There is a reason that Jones brought in so many QBs to compete. They’re thinking about the future w/o Romo that may come sooner than people expect if you guys keep running him into the ground.

          • Jeff Smith

            Well, I agree that last year was last year, but in the same regard, two years ago was two years ago. If we aren’t going to expect similar results from the prior year, we can’t just expect them from two years before right? (I mean when you mention the Redskins from two years ago)

            As far as the Cowboys’ front office and coaching situation, that seems to be a common trend for why people believe the offense will struggle, but it’s been this way for years now, and their offense hasn’t been the issue under Romo. As far as the “injury prone” quarterback, no injury has ever caused an issue for more than 1-2 or 3 games except for ONE season with Romo.

            Lastly, the reason why they brought in two quarterbacks who are 100% not starters in the NFL, is because Kyle Orton is debating retirement. If he was to retire and they didn’t bring in Weeden and Hanie, they would be completely left out to dry at the back-up quarterback position. It has zero to do with replacing Romo.

          • Crystal AC

            The only reason I brought up two years ago is because you spent quite a bit of time talking about the performance of an injured QB and how that would play a role in his performance this season. He’s healthy now so there’s no reason for me to believe he’ll have the same issues as last year or that I shouldn’t expect him to be as accurate a passer as his rookie season.

            I call Romo injury prone because he’s missed more games due to injury than RG3, yet you act like there is more risk for the Redskins having him than the Cowboys face having Romo.

            I guess we’ll know about the QB situation when the season starts. As far as I know, the Cowboys have usually gone into the season with only 2 QBs. If they have 3, it’ll be obvious that they are worried about Romo’s durability.

          • Jeff Smith

            Your first paragraph is exactly my thoughts on Romo. I can’t really add much more on that except that anyone who has seen him play knows that he’s rebounded from injuries incredibly well.

            Obviously Romo has missed more games to injury than RGIII has, he’s played nine seasons in comparison to two. RGIII has missed four games in two years, while Romo has missed 16 games over three years (with one year missing 10 games). This comparison can’t even be made yet.

            The Cowboys go into the season with three quarterbacks if they have one who they’ll be trying to improve (like Stephen McGee from years ago). I’m sure they’ll cut down to two quarterbacks, but may possibly keep three if they draft one or try to save Weeden’s career.