On Monday, we talked about the mad rush off of the Cowboys bandwagon in light of the way the team has performed in their preseason games and offered a few reasons why that change in direction was premature. All of those reasons had to do with the Cowboys themselves, but there are external reasons why everyone might want to take a deep breath and resist throwing themselves off the top of JerryWorld just yet.
Have you looked around at the rest of the NFC East this preseason? Whatever problems the Cowboys have had putting together complete performances thus far have been mirrored by the other teams in a division that a lot of people thought the Cowboys would win before the preseason got underway.
The Giants closed the 2009 season with a defense incapable of stopping a Pop Warner team and haven't shown much improvement thus far. They have a new coordinator in Perry Fewell, whose read and react scheme may be a poor fit for a team without much athleticism among their linebackers. They've also had injuries to three-quarters of their starters this summer, not a good sign for a veteran team that couldn't go the full 16 games last year.
Up in Washington, Donovan McNabb is hurt and the 'Skins haven't shown much ability on the ground even though they completely overhauled their offensive line this offseason. Mike Shanahan has been very conservative with playing time for his starters, which raises the question of how ready they'll be to execute a totally new system when they face the Cowboys in Week One. You imagine they'll be better, simply because they actually have a coach this time around but the Redskins haven't answered many of the questions we had about them when training camp began.
Those of you who consider the Cowboys' offensive line an abomination should take a look at what the Eagles will be trotting out this season. Center Jamaal Jackson hasn't played at all in preseason, they haven't picked a starting right guard, left guard Todd Herremans is coming off foot surgery and left tackle Jason Peters routinely gets beaten by pass rushers when he isn't jumping offside. It's enough to make you wonder if they shouldn't be starting Michael Vick because at least he'd have a shot at running for his life.
You could come up with a list of positives for each of these teams as well, just as you could find nice things to say about several members of the Cowboys, which just underscores the real point of this exercise. It isn't about figuring out who has had the worst run in August, but to point out that everyone has enough flaws that it is silly to draw any sweeping conclusions from awfully small amounts of actual football.
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