Today's question: Last year against NFC East teams, the Eagles averaged 30.3 points and 417.7 yards per game. Is there any reason to think Dallas, Washington and New York have come closer to countering Chip Kelly’s offense in Year 3 of his tenure?
Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys had no answer for Kelly’s offense on Thanksgiving, giving up 464 yards and 256 of them on the ground. The pace of play and a short week left them grasping at straws. In the rematch, however, the Cowboys were much better (294 yards, 75 on the ground) and essentially clinched the division. The Cowboys’ focus for the offseason was to improve the defense. They added Greg Hardy, who will miss both Eagles games as of this writing because of his 10-game suspension. They drafted Byron Jones and Randy Gregory. They will welcome back Sean Lee. I do think the Cowboys have closed the gap a bit on Kelly’s offense, but the Eagles will be dangerous for every foe.
Dan Graziano, New York Giants: Not one NFC East team finished in the top 18 in the league in total defense last year, and I don't expect that the division will feature great defense this year, either. The Redskins and the Giants both changed coordinators, and Washington beefed up its defensive line a bit with the additions of Terrance Knighton and Stephen Paea. But the Giants’ defensive reinforcements consist of the expected returns of Prince Amukamara and Jon Beason from injury. New coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has an awful track record since leaving the Giants in 2008, and more significantly, he has major personnel questions to answer at safety, cornerback and on the defensive line. Over in Dallas, the defending division champs added Hardy, but he’s currently suspended. Maybe if Lee can stay healthy and Gregory can produce, they're a little tougher up front, but fundamentally, no, I think Kelly's offense will still score points here and the division’s best hope is that all of the chronically injured guys he signed have trouble staying healthy.
John Keim, Washington Redskins: It depends on whether Sam Bradford is healthy. The potentially scary part is that Kelly hasn't quit tinkering with his offense. So he’s taking what he’s done and, in his mind, doing it with better players. The Redskins did an excellent job stopping the run last season in their first meeting (54 yards on the ground). There was something different about LeSean McCoy last season, and now Kelly has DeMarco Murray, who might be a better fit. I remember talking to one former defensive backs coach during the year and he felt the Eagles’ offense should be easy to stop. But when you pair that system with all the option and package plays with excellent talent, then it’s real difficult. I know the Redskins feel they're much better in their nickel personnel groups, with a few players they feel can play well. One way to slow that attack is to have good depth on the defensive line. The Redskins are crossing their fingers that they have it.