Inside The NFC East: Minicamp Storylines

It’s been a while since we took a look inside the NFC East.  We covered their drafts during our draft recap podcast but now it’s time to get into some on the field action and team storylines for the rest of the division.  With minicamps starting very soon (for some teams right now) there will be a number of on field battles for positions as well as being able to get a look at draft and FA acquisitions.  With the CBA and how it’s currently constructed NFL teams are limited in when and how long they can hit and practice.  With those time constraints NFL Minicamps now have a great importance and are basically a condensed training camp.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS – OTA’s didn’t start off as Jay Gruden wanted it to.  First round pick and arguably the best receiver in the draft Josh Doctson went down with an apparent hamstring injury.  Although Doctson will miss some time he is expected to be back by training camp and the injury isn’t expected to be serious.  He is missing valuable reps.

The Redskins have completely revamped their secondary.  Josh Norman has come in and impressed with his work ethic.  The young guys are taking notice.  Recently signed Greg Toler is still adjusting to his new team and teammates per redskins.com.  Joining DeAngelo Hall at the safety position is Will Blackmon.  Blackmon is new to the position along with Hall.  Hall played a little safety the last season or so but now the move is full-time.  Blackmon views the position as a more “Cerebral” position.  Blackmon continued to say, “It is because you have to have depth and know your situation, range, and know what you have to do.”  “You have to be spot on – Redskins.com.”

Logan Paulsen has returned after missing all of 2015 with an injury.  He will help fill the blocking tight end position opposite Pro Bowler Jordan Reed.  Paulsen is a dependable veteran who knows his roll and doesn’t try to do too much.

NEW YORK GIANTS – Giants have a win now roster.  The question is will they?  After coming off multiple losing seasons the Giants need rebound in order to save GM Jerry Reese’s job.  Through the early part of OTA’s rookie 4th pick B.J. Goodson has been a surprise standout.  He has stood out with his play recognition and has had multiple interceptions.

The WR group has been been heavily scrutinized as who will step up and fill the roll opposite OBJ.  Giants have welcomed back Victor Cruz.  He will play in the slot.  He hasn’t played over a year and a half.  Time will tell if he can still play.  Rookie WR Shepard found the end zone in team drills and overall has done a nice job.  McAdoo has changed up from the traditional practice routine, maybe even taking a page out of disgraced ex Eagles coach Chip Kelly.  From Giants.com – “Part of Ben McAdoo’s changes to practice as the new head coach has been the use of music, including a TV timeout where a popular theme song is played.”

Most notably has been the attitude and leadership of Jason Pierre-Paul.  He’s come back a changed man and is adjusting to his new role with in the Giants defense.  He is getting used to not playing with a club on this hand as he did most of last season.  JPP said, “it’s not normal, but it’s normal for me.  I can deal with it – Giants.com.”

DALLAS COWBOYS – This is just a hunch but I’m of the mindset the Cowboys are going to have a good 2016 season.  We’ll do our schedule predictions in our upcoming podcast but I see them winning at least 9-10 games (at least) which will be good enough to contend for the NFC East.

News dropped yesterday the Cowboys are interested in former Eagles’ CB Brandon Boykin.  No news on if a signing is imminent.  The weak point of the Dallas roster is the defense with a microscope on the defensive back position.  There are a couple questions surrounding the practice sessions at Valley Ranch.  Will the Cowboys keep 4 running backs? and why is Rolando McClain absent?

Let’s start with he running backs or the four horsemen as bloggingtheboys.com calls them (equivalent to bleedinggreennation.com, an SB nation site).  From btb.com – The Cowboys may look to keep four backs on the roster including a full back.  Lance Dunbar’s position with the team may not be all that safe.  Every year he’s been with the team, he’s been hurt.”  Overall the Cowboys are much better off than there were last year entering the season.  New to the team aside from rookie standout Elliott is ex Redskin Alfred Morris.  It will be interesting to see how Jason Garrett utilizes these guys.   McClain’s absence has been frustrating to say the least.  He only signed a 1 year and per btb.com he’s not considered a team leader to begin with.  Here is a quote from Jason Garrett on the McClain situation – “We want all of our players here, sometimes situations come up where they have to deal with things.  In each of those cases, it’s family situations.  So we have to be respectful of that.  We certainly want our players here.  We believe in OTA’s.  We believe in the offseason program.  It’s not a mandatory time, though.  It’s a voluntary time.  We try to be respectful of the situations they’re dealing with.”  It’s easy to read between the lines here and it’s clear Garrett isn’t real happy about the situation.  McClain has great talent and potential.  It’s a shame he doesn’t have the head to go with it.

The elephant in the room is Tony Romo.  He has been solid so far after returning from back surgery.  He’s been there from the start and other players have taken notice.

Redskins.com, Giants.com, bloggingtheboys.com

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