Today's question: The Philadelphia Eagles spent a lot of money and resources to rebuild their secondary. Are they any better equipped to handle Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham Jr. and DeSean Jackson?
Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys: From the Bryant perspective, I would say no. Of course, I might say no if they added Darrelle Revis as well. To me, the Byron Maxwell signing is a signal of desperation. The Cowboys made a similar signing in 2012 when they paid Brandon Carr $50 million. I get that you’re going to have to overpay in free agency to get players, especially cornerbacks, but I don’t think the Legion of Boom will crater without Maxwell. Bryant is just a nightmare for any cornerback, as is Beckham and to a lesser degree Jackson. The best way the Eagles can handle Bryant is to affect Tony Romo. I thought Fletcher Cox was the best defender the Cowboys played last year. Connor Barwin can be a dangerous pass-rusher too. If those guys up front play better, then that rebuilt secondary will be a lot better.
Dan Graziano, New York Giants: We’re talking about Maxwell, Walter Thurmond and second-round pick Eric Rowe as additions to the Eagles’ secondary, basically replacing Bradley Fletcher, Cary Williams and Nate Allen. I don’t think Fletcher, Williams or Allen are guys who’ll be too terribly missed, so the question is whether the three new guys are sufficiently significant upgrades. Seems like a lot of expensive deck-chair-shuffling to me, but we’ll see. What I find interesting is that this isn’t like the offensive side of the ball, where Kelly is jettisoning players he inherited and didn’t like. Fletcher and Williams were guys Kelly brought in when he got to Philly, and they didn’t work out. Kelly’s offensive coaching chops are well established, but I think it’s fair to say he’s still tinkering with how to build and operate a consistently successful NFL defense.
John Keim, Washington Redskins: They are potentially better equipped to handle passing attacks -- and they need to be after allowing an NFL-worst 13.2 yards per reception last season. I’m not convinced that Maxwell is a No. 1 corner, but I know he has the long arms and size Kelly likes. So that helps. They’ll also possibly have a rookie in Rowe starting and that always leads to some growing pains and there are questions at strong safety. So the Eagles might be better, but will it be good enough?