Team identities: NFC East


Four weeks of the season is enough time to get a read on what each team is known for. Around The NFL will look at the identity for all 32 teams after the first month of the season.

Cowboys build best OL in football

Like most football fans, I'm not really qualified to evaluate offensive line play. But weekly excursions into Game Rewind reveal an undeniable truth: This Cowboys offensive line is the most fun-to-watch group in years. Tyron Smith is the most physically gifted left tackle in the league. When he gets his hands on a defender, it's over. Doug Free and Travis Frederick are great run blockers. Ronald Leary may not be a Pro Bowler, but he tosses folks around. Because of the big uglies up front, Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant are primed for huge seasons.

The new Eli Manning

The face of the franchise has undergone a facelift. The old gunslinging Manning who took big chances and made big mistakes down the field is gone. Now Eli looks calculated, composed and cold-blooded while picking apart defenses with shorter passes. It doesn't hurt that he's suddenly getting great protection. There's no telling if the new Eli will last all season, but his transformation in September is one of the most surprising stories of the year.

Wide-open receivers

When you think of the Philadelphia Eagles under Chip Kelly, what do you see? This is a team defined by its historically fast tempo, its rarely changing formations, and its staying power in games. But those aren't things you see. The true identity of the Eagles can be viewed by dialing up the All-22 footage on Game Rewind each week, then seeing Eagles wide receivers roaming free in opposing defensive backfields. No other team or scheme gets their receivers wide open more consistently. Now it's just on Nick Foles to take advantage.

A very special special teams

Forget the quarterback controversy or the offense loaded with talented, mercurial players. The Washington Redskins remained defined by perhaps the most consistently bad special teams unit in the history of the sport. Coaches and players have changed, but the Redskins have a rare ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by getting punts blocked, missing field goals and giving up return touchdowns. This has to end eventually, right?

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews "Thursday Night Football" and discusses the biggest surprises in the season's first quarter. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL Now.