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NFC East Preview


No division in the NFL had as much drama in the off season. The Giant’s quarterback situation unfolded before millions. And we don’t even know if Bachelor Jesse Palmer will make the team now! (AND his fiancé cut him) Welcome Eli Manning & Kurt Warner. What about Coach Gibbs returning and acquiring Clinton Portis & Mark Brunnell. Or what about Philadelphia grabbing Terrell Owens to improve a hole in their offense. And finally, Dallas (the most improved team in the league last year) swapped for Keyshawn and have a QB controversy brewing. Wild off seaon. Expect more during the season.

New York Football Giants (2003 Record: 4-12, and one unsuccessful bachelor)

It all fell apart last year and it was ugly. Jim Fassel is out and Tom Coughlin is in to take what appears to be a talented core back towards glory…just don’t look for it this year.

QB Kurt Warner (St. Louis)
C Shaun O’Hara (Cleveland)
WR James McKnight (Miami)
K Bill Gramatica
OT Barry Stokes (Cleveland)
OT Ed Ellis (San Diego)
LB Barrett Green (Detroit)
LB Carlos Emmons (Philadelphia)
DT Martin Chase (Washington)

Head Coach Jim Fassel
QB Kerry Collins (released)
RB Dorsey Levens (released)
K Mike Hollis
C Chris Bober (Kansas City)
DT Cornelius Griffin (Washington)
LB Dhani Jones (Philadelphia)
LB Mike Barrow (released)

Draft/Draft & Trade
1.04 QB Eli Manning (Ole Miss) (via Phil Rivers Trade)
2.02 OG Chris Snee (Boston College)
4.01 LB Reggie Torbor (Auburn)
5.04 S Gibril Wilson (Tennessee)
6.03 WR Jamaar Taylor (Texas A&M)
7.02 OT Andrew Strojnykrzyzewski (Duke)
7.52 DE Isaac Hilton (Hampton)

Overall Outlook
For 2004, it doesn’t look like a Fantasy bonanza. Warner is past his prime & Manning is green. Both will play behind a terrible line. The receivers are solid in Amani Toomer, Ike Hilliard, and Jeremy Shockey but the QB situation won’t help them get opportunities for touches. Tiki “Loose Hands” Barber might see a reduced role as Ron Dayne will get more attempts to recreate the Thunder & Lightning magic of a few years ago. Did I mention that the O Line stinks? The Giants will struggle to hang into the Wildcard race.


Dallas Cowboys (2003 Record: 10-6, lost in Playoffs 1st round to Carolina 29-10)

The Cowboys made the playoffs behind a strong defensive effort. The Offense is no Fantasy playground. The QB situation is muddy with Quincy Carter, Drew Henson, Chad Hutchinson, and Vinny Testaverde attempt to make the roster. Rookie Julius Jones doesn’t excite anyone except Bill Parcells. Keyshawn is in and Joey Galloway is out. But who will get him the damn ball?

QB Vinnie Testaverde (AARP)
QB Drew Henson (New York Yankees)
WR Dedrick Ward (New England)
DE Marcellus Wiley (San Diego)

RB Troy Hambrick (Oakland)
CB Mario Edwards (Tampa Bay)
DE Ebenezer Ekuban (Cleveland)
OL Ryan Young (released)

2.11 RB Julius Jones (Notre Dame)
2.20 OT Jacob Rogers (USC)
3.20 OG Stephen Peterman (LSU)
4.25 CB Bruce Thornton (Georgia)
5.12 Sean Ryan (Boston College)
7.04 CB Nathan Jones (Rutgers)
7.15 WR NW Oklahoma
7.22 Jacques Reeves (Purdue)

Overall Outlook

You never like to count out a Parcells team, especially one built with a solid defense, but I think they will struggle in a competitive division and with a tougher schedule. Bottom line from a Fantasy perspective is that everyone on the Cowboys is questionable and the team will struggle for the playoffs unless the “D” remains a force.

Washington Redskins (2003 Record: 5-11 and a failed experiment)

Money can’t buy you everything –ask last year’s Redskins. Joe Gibbs is back as is optimism in the nation’s capital. Mark Brunnell will battle Patrick Ramsey at QB and Clinton Portis will get the mail. On paper, they may have everything…but we’ve seen that before.

QB Mark Brunnell (Jacksonville)
RB Clinton Portis (Denver)
WR James Thrash (Philadelphia)
TE Brian Kozlowski (Atlanta)
TE Fred Baxter (New England)
TE Walter Rasby (New Orleans)
DT Cornelius Griffin (New York Giants)
DE Phillip Daniels (Chicago)
LB Mike Barrow (New York Giants)
CB Shawn Springs (Seattle)
CB Walt Harris (Colts)
CB Ralph Brown (New York Giants)

Head Coach Steve Spurrier
CB Champ Bailey (Denver)
DL Brandon Whiting (San Francisco)
DE Bruce Smith (released)
LB Jesse Armstead (Carolina)
DL Bernard Holsey (released)
DT Martin Chase (New York Giants)
S David Terrell (Oakland)
WR Patrick Johnson (Cincinnati)
RB Trung Canidate (released)
TE Byron Chamberlain (Denver)

1.05 S Sean Taylor (Miami, FL)
3.18 TE Chris Cooley (Utah State)
5.19 OT Mark Wilson (Cal)
6.15 OT Jim Molinaro (Notre Dame)

Overall Outlook

I like Gibbs and the talent. The schedule should be favorable and the division weak. They could be really interesting. Look for Brunnell to start. And Ladell Betts will provide a nice compliment to Clinton Portis. Laveraneus Coles & crew will continue to spread the field. This may be better than the presidential election.


Philadelphia Eagles (2003 Record: 12-4, Lost NFC Title Game…AGAIN)

Getting to the NFC Title Game three years in a row is a great accomplishment…a great empty accomplishment. The Eagles were weak at receiver but that won’t be an issue by T.O. Duce Staley moves to Pittsburgh but Buckhalter and Westbrook will pick up the slack.

WR Terrell Owens (San Francisco)
DE Jevon Kearse (Tennessee)
LB Dhani Jones (New York Giants)
QB Jeff Blake (Arizona)

RB Duce Staley (Pittsburgh)
QB A.J. Feeley (released)
WR James Thrash (Washington)
CB Tory Vincent (Buffalo)
CB Bobby Taylor (Seattle)
DE Marco Coleman (Denver)
LB Carlos Emmons (New York Giants)

1.16 OT Shawn Andrews (Arkansas)
3.26 CB Matt Ware (UCLA)
4.33 S J.R. Reid (South Florida)
4.35 OG Trey Darilek (UTEP)
5.30 FB Thomas Tapeh (Minnesota)
6.20 QB Andrew Hall (Delaware)
6.27 CB Dexter Wynn (Colorado State)
7.26 OG Adrien Clarke (Ohio State)
7.41 RB Bruce Perry (Maryland)
7.42 C Dominic Furio (UNLV)

Overall Outlook

From a Fantasy perspective, this offense looks explosive with Donovan McNabb, Correll Buckhalter, Brian Westbrook, Terrell Owens, and David Akers. My concern is that they have been weakened below this level by free agency that last 2 years and the depth will be tested against a tough schedule. Even if the “D” isn’t quite as good, this will be fun to watch.

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