NFC East Notes: Redskins, Bryant, Giants

After surprising many with a 10-6 record in 2012, the Redskins stumbled to disappointing 3-13 record in 2013 while regressing on both sides of the ball. While Washington fans are surely hoping a rebound season is in the cards, Rich Tandler of stifles that hope with a dose of pessimism, listing several reasons that the Redskins could flounder once again this year. Pointing to a rookie head coach in Jay Gruden, injuries along the defensive front, and a offensive line in flux, Tandler cautions that this year’s ‘Skins might more closely resemble 2013’s team than the squad of two years ago.

  • In an assessment of the Redskins’ 2013 draft class, John Keim of points to the team’s top two selections, cornerback David Amerson and tight end Jordan Reed, as successes, but notes that Washington hopes to get more production out of a few later-round picks, such as safeties Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo, and linebacker Brandon Jenkins.
  • Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus takes a in-depth look at both quarterbacks who started games for the Redskins last season (Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins), and writes that although Griffin was among the league’s best on short passes, he struggled with deep balls and utilizing play-action. Cousins (whose small sample size should be taken into account) performed well against the blitz, but was below-average when using deep dropbacks.
  • As part of a series breaking down the Cowboys position-by-position, Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News analyzes the team’s receiving corps. Because new offensive coordinator Scott Linehan likes to feature his best playmaker, Sabin expects Dez Bryant to receive even more chances to catch the ball. Of course, more impressive statistics for Bryant, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal, will lead to extremely hefty contract demands.
  • The Giants ranked near the bottom of the league in both kick and punt return average, but New York special teams coach Tom Quinn is excited about the team’s options in 2014, and he singled out three players who could add explosiveness to both units, per Dan Graziano of “You’ve got three different types of returners when you talk about [Odell] Beckham [Jr.], [Trindon] Holliday, and [Quintin] Demps,” Quinn said. “Obviously, with the speed of Holliday and the shiftiness, the undersized guy. And then you’ve got Demps, who’s got a little more size and does that the straight-line speed. And then you’ve got Beckham, who’s probably a combination of the two. We’re real happy with all three of those guys.”
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