NFC East storylines have dominated the NFL media this week. The New York Giants benched two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning in favour of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. The Philadelphia Eagles skipped their midweek practise to rest 13 injured players. The Dallas Cowboys waived 2017 first round defensive end Taco Charlton.
NFC East writer Clara Lilley examines the implications of these week 3 stories in the competitive east coast division.
Danny Dimes time
Eli Manning’s tenure as starting quarterback in New York has ended. Manning has played 234 games since being drafted in 2004 out of Mississippi State, ending his career with a 116-116 win record. He took his final snap as QB1 in the 14-28 loss against the Buffalo Bills. He threw 2 interceptions, fumbled and showed little ability to make plays or escape pressure.
For the Giants entering the season, it was clear head coach Pat Shurmer’s decision to start rookie Daniel Jones was less of an if, but a when. The rookie out of Duke silenced critics in the preseason with his throwing precision, eye for space and ability to make plays. Allowing him to start, in addition to Manning’s sideline guidance, has the potential to turn the Giants’ 0-2 start around.
For the Giants organisation, this is their chance to make amends for the losing records of the past two seasons. For general manager Dave Gettleman, this is his make or break year to show that he has the ability to lead the organisation. Gettleman made a number of decisions fans and players haven’t agreed with. He let safety Landon Collins sign with the rival Washington Redskins during free agency. He then facilitated the trade of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Pro Bowler pass rusher Olivier Vernon to the Cleveland Browns for Jabrill Peppers, Kevin Zeitler, and a 1st and 3rd rounder in the 2019 NFL Draft. This followed merely days after claiming he would never trade OBJ.
This decision benefits the Giants in numerous ways: it can salvage Gettleman’s career, give Daniel Jones the breakout he has the potential for and let Manning leave on a high note.
2017 first round pick defensive end Taco Charlton was released by the Dallas Cowboys this week.
Defensive end Robert Quinn’s roster exemption return expired on Wednesday, giving Dallas the freedom to cut dies with Charlton.
The decision to waive Charlton came after two years without promise. He had four sacks in 27 games with seven starts in Dallas, but was inactive for the first two games of this season. Last year, he missed three games because of a shoulder injury that required offseason surgery. He also had ankle surgery.
After a slow start in the preseason, Dallas preferred last year’s fourth-round pick, Dorance Armstrong, and this year’s fifth-round pick, Joe Jackson, because of their versatility. It also game down to numbers: the Cowboys had paid running back Ezekiel Elliot the highest running back contract in NFL history. Charlton expected more, and the Cowboys were not able to offer that to an injury prone defensive end.
On Monday, Charlton posted and deleted “Free me” on Twitter. He followed up, “Trust me the last thing I want to do is have to go to social media to get what I want so I can play football again.” It looks like Dallas heeded the advice and got what both parties wanted. Charlton has signed for the tanking Dolphins, and Dallas have their finances in check.
Eagles Down: a team plagued with injury
The Eagles did not practise on Wednesday ahead of their match up against the Detroit Lions. Coach Doug Pederson elected to issue a padless walk through instead.
Corey Clement, Dallas Goedert, DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Timmy Jernigan, and Jordan Mailata did not participate in any practise. Currently, 28.3% of their active roster is dealing with some kind of injury.
With receivers Jeffery and Jackson out, this leaves limited options for quarterback Carson Wentz to throw to. Fortunately, the Detroit defense has allowed over 100 yards rushing this season. This gives Pederson the option to switch to a run heavy offense while the receiving weapons are out.
Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan’s broken foot doesn’t look promising for a position already lacking depth. 4 time pro bowl tackle Fletcher Cox is also suffering a foot injury and did not make an impact in the week 2 matchup against Atlanta. Without their leading tackles, it’s likely the Lions game will have to focus on defensive matchups further downfield, making for a high scoring game.
The Eagles will play two games in four days, with a Thursday night game versus the Green Bay Packers following Sunday’s game against the Lions. The tight turnaround played a part in Pederson’s decision to give his players a rest during the Wednesday. Hopefully the much needed break early on in their schedule gives the Eagles the chance to recuperate before the season heats up.
Clara is an avid NFL fan, with a passion for the off the field stories that inform the plays on the field. She used to host a former comedy podcast ‘Ice Up Sun’ combining her love of the game with astrology. She currently contributes to NFL Girl UK. A long suffering Tennessee Titans fan since 2010, she’s hoping this will finally be their year.
Twitter: @yellilaralc Instagram: @yellilaralc
Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports