NFC East teams looking for new leadership

NFC East teams looking for new leadership
January 09
09:14 2020

2019 was a very down year for the NFC East. As a matter of fact, besides the Eagles, the division has been struggling for the past few seasons. As a sign that things need to change, three NFC head coaches have been let go this year.

First on the chopping block was Jay Gruden, former head coach of the Washington Redskins. After an abysmal 0-5 start to the season, Gruden was let go. This year was preceded by five underwhelming seasons where the Redskins only made the playoffs once. Washington has some good young talent on their roster and did not seem to respond well to Gruden any longer, so a move had to be made.

Next to be fired was New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur. In his two seasons at the helm, Shurmur led the Giants to a 9-23 record. The Giants never sniffed the playoffs, but all of the blame can’t be put on Shurmur.  

An aging and declining Eli Manning, injuries to star players, a depleted roster, the trading of Odell Beckham Jr,, and the pressure of starting a rookie quarterback all contributed to the failures in New York. Shurmur just happened to be the fall guy in this case. I’m not sure in what direction the Giants will go now.

Last, but definitely not least, the Jerry Jones and the Cowboy organization have finally decided to cut ties with Jason Garrett. The team and Garrett had several meetings last week to apparently discuss his tenure with the organization. Everyone could see the writing on the wall with this firing, I just think Jerry Jones was having a tough time letting Garrett go due to their deep bond.

In my years as a football fan, I have never seen the division in such a downward spiral. Traditionally, the NFC East is one of the toughest divisions in all of football. In total, the division has 13 Super Bowl titles combined, so to see the division with only one team with a winning record is sad.

I am used to seeing multiple teams in the division winning double digit games and sending multiple teams to the playoffs. For the last two seasons, it seems like a race to see who will finish at .500. The owners of the Giants, Skins and Cowboys saw that a change needed to be made to bring this division back to prominence.

The Philadelphia Eagles were not much better than everyone else in the division, but they won the games necessary to make the playoffs. Plus their head coach, Doug Pederson, brought the only Super Bowl championship to the city two years ago, so he has a lot of leeway. The Eagles dealt with some devastating injuries to their offense this year, so to make the playoffs was a success for them.

The Redskins are the first of the three to hire a new head coach. Ron Rivera, former head coach of the Carolina Panthers, was signed to a five-year deal to be the new head coach of Washington. Many fans and analysts are applauding the hire due to Rivera’s leadership qualities and the strong bonds he builds with his players.

Rivera has also hired former head coach Jack Del Rio to be his defensive coordinator, so the Redskins coaching staff looks to be on the rise. Now let’s see if owner Dan Snyder can stay out of the way and let the football people make the proper decisions as far as the draft, free agency and the depth chart. If he just signs the checks and stops trying to emulate Jerry Jones, the team will be successful under Rivera. The Redskins also have the second pick in the draft, so an impact player could be on the way to help next season.

The Giants have a lot of work to do to fix their issues. Their defense is porous, the skill positions need serious upgrading, and they need to find the right head coach that can not only fit the team, but also the city of New York as well. They seem to have their franchise quarterback in Daniel Jones; now the object is to surround him with enough talent to win games. The Giants have the fourth pick in the draft, so who knows what direction they will take.

The Cowboys are an interesting case. They are loaded with talent on offense and defense, they just need the right coach to bring it all together. Their biggest problem has been consistency. One week they look like Super Bowl contenders and the next they look like a last place team. 

One thing is for sure, the division has nowhere to go but up. With a little luck and the right coaches in place, the NFC East will be back as one of the best divisions in football, sooner rather than later.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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