Thursday, May 20, 2010

Giants' main competitors have taken steps to address problems

by Vinnie Iyer
a writer for Sporting News

In contrast to the Giants, who are trying to rediscover their M.O. and mojo alike, the NFC East's other three teams seemingly already have tangible answers to pressing issues:

Dallas Cowboys
Last year's problem: Protecting Tony Romo. Romo's uncanny mobility and quick release helped limit his sacks to 34 in the regular season, but the last image was of him being dropped six times in the playoff loss at Minnesota.

This year's solution: The offensive line as a whole isn't much of a concern. It's a terrific run-blocking unit; it just needed a more regular dose of athleticism. Releasing left tackle Flozell Adams, 35, and replacing him with Doug Free, 26, is the key move.

Philadelphia Eagles
Last year's problem: Giving up big plays. There's no doubt with young stars such as LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek, Philadelphia has a great big-play offense. Unfortunately, occasional lapses from their linebackers and secondary led to yielding backbreaking long passes and runs.

This year's solution: With the first four of their 13 draft picks, the Eagles selected two defensive ends, a cornerback and a safety, intent on upgrading both their pass rush and coverage. The healthy return of middle linebacker Stewart Bradley, their best rangy tackler, also will help.

Washington Redskins
Last year's problem: Moving the ball and scoring. Washington ranked 22nd in yardage and 26th in scoring in 2009. The offensive line might've been the worst in the league, allowing 46 sacks and averaging only 3.9 yards per carry.