I'm not buying the NFC East this season. I know there's a ton of history, star players and big media markets involved, but I have yet to see any empirical evidence as to why any of these teams should be feared. In fact, the division has given us an array of quarterback meltdowns and uneven performances and it seems as if someone is going to win it by default.
As things stand, at the quarter-point of the season, the biggest thing the 1-3 Eagles might have going for them is that they still get to play five more games against their mediocre-at-best divisional foes. They all leave plenty to desire.
To review, the division-leading Redskins, to their credit, took care of a beaten and thin Giants team in the home opener. They then had to scramble to save a game at home against lowly Arizona, gave a game away at Dallas via some vintage Rex Grossman (plenty more on him to come) and then tried like heck to give away a 17-0 lead Sunday at winless St. Louis, thanks in large part to another hefty serving of Sexy Rexy's shenanigans. And, thus far, that's the class of the division.
Romo goes back to goat
The Eagles have just one win despite owning a second-half lead in every game. The Giants were lucky as heck to overcome the Rams at home, and were outplayed for a good portion of that game, then needed a fortuitous call for Victor Cruz to sneak out of Arizona with a win. And don't even get me started on Dallas. The only reason Grossman is flying somewhat under the radar is that Tony Romo keeps making such egregious blunders down the stretch, like the two pick-sixes he tossed Sunday to go along with his gifts to the Jets earlier this season.
So you guys tell me, where is the quality win amid all of this pedestrian football?
I understand we're in an era of parity, but I dare say the fans of the NFC East would expect a little bit more. At the very least, the results of the NFC East-NFC West Challenge have been more mixed than most would expect, if not in terms of wins and losses, certainly in the merit of play.
And one of the biggest reasons why is that few quarterbacks in the NFC East seem to have any inclination to hold on to the football, especially at crucial times. Shockingly, Eli Manning -- a man hell-bent on giving the ball away in 2010 -- has been the only quarterback in the division to actually protect the pigskin thus far.
Grossman is already responsible for seven giveaways, putting him among the most in the NFL. Romo and Vick are right there with six each. Vick has fumbled a whopping seven times -- remember, he hasn't been playing full games -- his replacement, Mike Kafka, has already thrown two fourth-quarter interceptions, putting him among league leaders, tied with guys like Romo and Grossman.
I know the Redskins are off to a great start -- and the defense is markedly improved and the offensive line is much better off and they have made great strides. But a mistake-happy quarterback can undermine all of that, and over a 16-game sample size, based on what I have seen this season, and throughout his career, Grossman is just the guy to do just that. Even in this division, I don't think you can win it with that kind of quarterback play.
Grossman, when playing with the lead this season, has completed 47 percent of his passes with one touchdown and three interceptions for a 46.9 passer rating. He is 26th in the NFL, throwing an interception on 3.5 percent of his passes. He's tied for 23rd in passer rating (and remember, that includes his glowing Week 1 performance) and has gotten worse every week.
The Redskins are definitely much improved ... but not enough to get over quarterback mistakes week after week. And Romo? He's right there with Grossman, tossing an interception on 3.3 percent of his passes. Romo has a poor 59.9 rating in the fourth quarter when the score is within seven or fewer points.
The Eagles don't have much of anything to feel good about right now, with injuries also mounting. But in this division, I'm not ruling anything out, and through four weeks, I'm not ready to crown anyone, either.