Once upon a time, the NFC East had a handful of Pro Bowl quarterbacks. Eli Manning brought home two Super Bowls with the Giants, Tony Romo was a perennial Pro Bowl level player, and even Kirk Cousins went to a Pro Bowl as Washington’s signal caller. Donovan McNabb was the man under center in Philly for a decade, reaching six Pro Bowls, five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl.
The quarterbacks in the NFC East are not what they once were. Not even close.
Sure, there’s potential at the quarterback position for each team in the division, but only one has proven he has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback.
Let’s take a look at each team’s quarterback situation and rank them from best to worst.
1. Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott, Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci
Say what you want about Dak, but he clearly won the Wentz vs. Prescott debate. It is what it is, I’ll take this one on the chin and keep yelling “Dallas sucks!” every chance I get.
Right now, Prescott is clearly the best quarterback in this division. In the five games Dak played in before getting injured last season, he totaled 1,856 passing yards, nine touchdowns to four interceptions, while completing 68 percent of his passes. He was on pace for a career year.
With his new $240 million contract, all eyes will be on Dak in 2021. He’s expected to be ready once training camp starts, which is obviously great news for Dallas fans (bad news for us). With a wide receiving corps that consists of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup, along with Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard behind him, if everyone stays healthy, Dak has one of the best groups of skill position players in the entire NFL.
There’s no excuse for him not to perform at a high level this season.
2. Washington Football Team
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen
I was reluctant to place Washington ahead of the Eagles — by season’s end, the Eagles could be in this second spot. But as of right now, Washington’s quarterback situation is a bit better. Long-term, the Eagles probably have the edge, but Ryan Fitzpatrick has proven he’s a competent NFL quarterback. Jalen Hurts has shown flashes, but it’s illogical to say he’s a proven quarterback just yet.
At 38 years old, Fitzpatrick has been a journeyman quarterback essentially his entire career. For a quarterback who’s bounced around as much as he has (nine teams over his 16-year career), he’s been fairly competent. Last season in Miami, he was the best quarterback on the team. Miami elected to put Tua Tagovailoa under center mid-season, but it was because he was a first round pick, not necessarily because Fitzpatrick was playing poorly.
Even after Tua got the call, Fitz was called on numerous times throughout the year to provide the offense with a spark. The Dolphins decided to ride with Tua this season, and now Fitz is in Washington. He’ll be inconsistent at times, but he’ll certainly provide some fireworks throughout the year.
3. Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco, Jamie Newman
Jalen Hurts is the biggest question mark at the quarterback position in the division this season, but he’ll have the opportunity to solidify himself as a starting caliber QB.
In 334 offensive snaps last season, Hurts accumulated 1,061 passing yards, six touchdown passes, four interceptions with a completion percentage of 52 percent. On the ground, Hurts totaled 354 yards with a 5.6 yards per carry average and three touchdowns. He has all the tools to be a franchise quarterback, along with the intangibles needed to lead a franchise. We just don’t know for certain that he’ll put it all together this year.
Nick Sirianni‘s history in working with multiple quarterbacks with different skill sets should help him when developing the offense around Hurts this year. Hurts will also have a solid cast of skill players around him.
The tenth overall pick DeVonta Smith should have an impact from day one, Jalen Reagor has potential to be a solid No. 2 receiver, Dallas Goedert has shown the ability to be a top-10 tight end in this league, and Miles Sanders is on the cusp of becoming a premiere running back. Not to mention an offensive line that, when healthy, has already proven to be one of the best in the NFL.
We’ll find out what Hurts is truly made of in 2021.
4. New York Giants
Daniel Jones, Mike Glennon, Clayton Thorson
Sorry Danny Dimes, but as of right now you’re the worst starting quarterback in the NFC East.
After a solid rookie season in which Jones threw for 3,027 yards and 24 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, he regressed badly in 2020. Jones totaled 11 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 2,943 passing yards with a 62.5 completion percentage.
The Giants organization seems to be giving Jones one final year to prove himself, with the additions of Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Kyle Rudolph, and John Ross. Running back Saquon Barkley is one of the most explosive backs in the football, but he’ll be coming off a torn ACL, so it’s hard to say what kind of impact he’ll have.
Their offensive line is where things may fall apart for Jones and the Giants offense. They struggled for a large portion of last season and the organization neglected to go out and add any substantial talent to the group.
There’s a good chance Jones isn’t the Giants quarterback past this season.
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