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> The Rodney Dangerfield Of The Nfli Read This Paragraph
post Wed 20 Feb 2019, 07:49
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in a Yahoo Sports article recently:Those four words in the middle Youth Chase Roullier Jersey , “a weak division, sure,” caught my attention.This year, 2018, saw a resurgence of the rather generalized assumption that the NFC East is a ‘weak’ division.That claim seems to surface anytime the Redskins sit at the top of the division.I read it in 2012, when RG3 led the team to a division title.I read it again in 2015, when Kirk Cousins led the Redskins to another division championship. It resurfaced again this season when a healthy Alex Smith led the team to a game & a half lead on the rest of the division.But it’s not just journalists and pundits who proclaim the weakness of the NFC East — its loudest critics are often its own fans in DC, Philly, Dallas and New York.We often decry the division as being competitive and wildly unpredictable when it comes to the 4 teams in the division, but ‘weak’ when it comes to playing outside the division.I thought I’d briefly explore the question: Is the NFC East a “weak” division in 2018?Regular season W-L recordsEvery NFL team plays 16 games per season, but 6 of those are against division opponents.That leaves 6 other games inside the same conference, and 4 games against a division from the opposing conference — ten games in all outside the division for each team.That’s 40 non-divisional games for each conference in a season.What happened in 2018?Based on this analysis, the AFC South, led by Houston and Indianapolis, was the strongest division in the 2018 regular season, winning 23 of 40 non-division games (57.5%).The NFC East ranks 6th out of 8 divisions, sitting one game under .500.You can see, though, that the margins are quite thin; just 3 games separate 2nd place and 6th place in this analysis.For those who might not trust my calculations, here are the detailed breakdowns for each team and each division:SuperbowlsOf course, only one division can boast the Super Bowl champion in any given season.This year, the Lombardi Trophy resides in Philly Womens Zach Brown Jersey , which puts it in the NFC East.woo hoo.Of course, if we want to take a medium to long-term view, no division can boast more success than the AFC East, because no team has had more success in the past 20 years than the Patriots.Looking at a 20-year period, here’s how the divisions shake out:AFC East (5)Patriots (SB 36, 38, 39, 49, 51)AFC North (4)Ravens (SB 35, 47)Steelers (SB 40, 43)NFC East (3)Giants (SB 42, 46)Eagles (SB 52)AFC West (2)Broncos (SB 33, 50)AFC South (2)Colts (SB 41)Saints (SB 44)NFC West (2)Rams (SB 34)Seahawks (SB 48)NFC South (1)Buccanneers (SB 37)NFC North (1)Packers (SB 45)Over the past 20 years, the NFC East stacks up fairly well, having won 3 superbowls, behind only the AFC East (Patriots) and the AFC North (Ravens & Steelers).You might accuse me of ‘cherry picking’ the dates a bit, but I really didn’t.If we took the longer term view and looked at the past 32 seasons, then we would add 7 superbowl titles from the NFC East in those 12 seasons, giving our division 10 Lombardi trophies in 32 years. If we stuck with round numbers, then it would be 8 league championships in 30 years.If we shorten the time frame, the NFC East has 3 Championships in 11 years — which is the highest total, or 2 in 10 years Youth Tress Way Jersey , which ties for the most (with the AFCN & AFCE).So, at both shorter term and longer term — at 10 years, 11 years, 30 years and 32 years — the NFC East has either the most Lombardi Trophies of any division, or is tied for the most.By picking 20 years, I actually put the division in the least attractive light.2018 playoffsThe first thing to note is that the NFC East is one of the 4 divisions in the NFL to send two teams to the playoffs this season.With the Texans and Seahawks eliminated, only the NFC East and AFC West still have two teams alive, and the NFC East is the only division to have a 2-0 record in the current playoffs.BalanceStrength is sometimes looked at by focusing at the top of the division, and when we do that, the NFC East looks pretty bad.Only the AFC North (Ravens) and NFC East (Cowboys) have division winners with only 10 wins.But when you look down the standings, things appear better.The Eagles finished in second place with 9 wins.Only the Colts and Chargers — the two other Wildcard teams that won in the first round of the playoffs — had more wins.The Redskins finished in third place, with a 7-9 record.Only one third-place team (the Titans) finished with more than 7 wins.Among the last-place teams, only the Lions and Bengals finished with more wins than the Giants.Five games separated the top team (Dallas) from the last-place team (New York); only the AFC North (4 games) was closer.In summaryWe often hear that the NFC East is a “weak” division — we especially hear it whenever the Redskins sit atop the standings.It is certainly true that the division did not excel in terms of its regular season won-loss record against non-division opponents, yet two divisions (AFCE, NFCW) did even worse, and only 3 games separate the 2nd place and 6th place divisions.But the NFC East boasts two playoff teams among the 8 teams still in the hunt for a Super Bowl trophy, which is well-above the odds.I haven’t even discussed individual players.When you start listing those players: Adrian Peterson, Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Daron Payne, Jon Allen, Michael Bennett Authentic Mason Foster Jersey , Haloti Ngata, Fletcher Cox, Demarcus Lawrence... well, you get the idea... there’s plenty of talent in the division.The NFC East is the home of the reigning Super Bowl champion — a team that is still in the hunt for its second consecutive league championship.If you look back over eleven years or thirty-two years, the division has produced the largest number of Super Bowl champions in the league.Over ten years or thirty years, the division is tied for that honor, and, in the end, championships are the real measure of quality.Only by cherry picking 20 years can we find a time frame that pushes the NFC East down to 3rd place behind the Patriots and the NFC North.Finally, except for the AFC North, where the Ravens took the division title with 10 wins and the Bengals brought up the rear at 6-10, the NFC East is probably the most competitive division, where no team has repeated as division champs since the Eagles last did so in 2004.Can the Redskins Defense Finally Stop Athletic Tight Ends From Killing Us in the Passing Game? The NFL landscape has shifted towards the “move” tight end. Commonly refereed to as a “Joker”, this hybrid breed of new-age pass catchers are much more jumbo receivers than they are traditional “Y” in-line tight ends of the past. Former Saints Jimmy Graham seemed to be the trend setter at the position when he arrived in the NFL in 2010. Although he’s 6’7” 265 pounds, the former University of Miami basketball player was often seen split out, where he could use his size, deceptive speed, and excellent route running ability to cause mismatches for linebackers and safeties. During his first full season as a starter in New Orleans, Graham caught 99 passes for 1310 yards and 11 touchdowns. He would go on to post similar type numbers over the next few years, causing a rather awkward situation when he became a free agent after the 2013 season. The Saints placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on him, paying him as a tight end (his listed position), but his camp felt he should be paid like a wide receiver (where he often lined up in the Saints offense). The difference in average salary was around 5 million per year under the tag. His case went to arbitration Youth Jamison Crowder Jersey , and it was ruled that he was indeed a tight end for purposes of the franchise tag. Although Graham was not the first tight end since the turn of the century to be used like this, he was viewed as sort of a pioneer for this new, hybid breed who was about to take over the NFL. Our very own Jordan Reed is another great example of this hybrid “move” tight end. The Redskins use a healthy Reed in many different positions in an attempt to create mismatches in the passing game. Even more traditional in-line tight ends like Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Kyle Rudolph and Tyler Eifert are often split out in an attempt to do the same. These athletic jumbo receivers have caused havoc for opposing defenses. They are too big to be covered by a corner, and too fast to ask a linebacker to try and stay with them. Teams are now turning to a hybrid safety/linebacker (often referred to as a dime linebacker, or a STAR backer), to be a specialist in covering these types of tight ends.The Redskins have been abused by tight ends over what seems like the last seven seasons. Ever since we switched to the 3-4 defense in 2010 under then head coach Mike Shanahan, tight ends have feasted on our defense. This season, in our division alone, we face Zach Ertz (Eagles) and Evan Engram (Giants), two of the better move tight ends in the NFL, twice. We will also see Ricky Seals-Jones (Cardinals), Jimmy Graham (Packers), Greg Olsen (Panthers), O.J. Howard (Bucs), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Jaguars) and Delanie Walker (Titans). So, will the Redskins be able to match-up with these pass catchers?Our starting linebacking corps in our 3-4 base defense consists of Mason Foster and Zach Brown. Neither are particularly good in coverage. While Brown has the speed and athleticism to run with many NFL wide receivers (never mind tight ends), he’s much better in zone coverage than trying to turn and run the seam with a guy like Zach Ertz. If Foster somehow ends up getting matched up one-on-one with a TE, it’s game over!Second year safety-turned-linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons is the best coverage linebacker the Redskins have. He has the length, size, speed and fluidity to run with these move tight ends. The issue is Josh Norman Jersey , Harvey-Clemons is a reserve linebacker, and will sometimes only be used in nickle. If teams pass on first and 10, which many do, he most likely wont be in the game.This leaves our safeties as viable options. Both D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson absolutely have the ability to match up with an athletic tight end in off-man coverage. The issues is, smart offensive coordinators will see this shift, and can use these move tight ends to pull coverage away from their receivers, often allowing one-on-one coverage on one of the outside receivers running a deep route. Young players like Adonis Alexander, Quin Blanding and Troy Apke, who all offer a nice combination of size, hip fluidity and speed, may be able to provide some coverage ability as an added defender shading a tight end in sub packages. But again, the issues arises when we are in a base defense, and these extra defensive backs are not on the field. The only solution that comes to mind is to roll with a traditional 4-3 under base defense, or play a 3-4 with a underneath robber. Both options would allow a defender to match up with a tight end (one in a man look, and the other in a rolled-up zone) in an attempt to try and negate these dangerous pass catchers.Again, the problem still arises that when you roll the safety down in an under coverage, it takes away some of that deep help. Sure, you can have your MIKE drop high-hole, but with either Foster or Brown, that is not their strength. Hopefully defensive coordinator Greg Manusky can come up with an scheme to stop these tight ends from gashing the Redskins defense this season, and end what seems like a decade-long epidemic. Custom Houston Texans Jerseys
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