With NFL teams getting ready for the grind of training camp. Today we will be taking a look at each NFC East team’s offensive x-factor. These players will need to play big roles for each teams offense for them to succeed in a division that has a new champion every season.
Dallas Cowboys – Dak Prescott
Yes, Mr. 69.8 CMP% and 104.9 QBR Dak Prescott! Tony Romo is gone, he may still have a locker with his name on it but he isn’t going to be stepping through those doors anytime soon. Unless Prescott gets hurt. The reason for this decision is Prescott runs the biggest risk on the offensive side of the ball for the Cowboys to lay an egg during his second season. Teams will have a full offseason to look at the strengths and weaknesses of his game and figure out ways to confuse him with their defensive schemes. He will also have two new players at the left guard and right tackle positions on his offensive line to deal with as well. With these obstacles, everyone expects his touchdowns (23), 69.8 CMP%, and 104.9 QBR to go down this year while and his interceptions (4) go up from last year. Prescott if he wants to continue to build on his successful season he will need to continue to grow as a quarterback in the NFL by studying defenses so he can take more risks throwing the deep ball, tighten up his accuracy, and cut down on his hesitation when throwing the ball. If what we are hearing so far out of Dallas is true then he shouldn’t have the anticipated sophomore slump and will be a legitimate X-factor.
New York Giants – Paul Perkins
For all of the offensive weapons on the outside, the Giants gave Eli Manning the biggest hole in this offense is their running game that ranked 29th in the NFL. Rashad Jennings proved to be ineffective in relieving pressure on Manning with a horrible (3.3) yds carrying average on (181) carries and (593) yds rushing for the season. The Giants saw glimpses of what they may have in running back Paul Perkins throughout the season and what they saw must have been good enough to not use a pick on a running back until the fourth-round rookie Wayne Gallman. Perkins has the ability to be a three-down back, he can run outside and between the tackles, catch passes out of the backfield, and he held up pretty well in pass protection. During his rookie season, Perkins averaged (4.1) yds carrying on (112) attempts and (456) yds rushing. Perkins also averaged (10.8) yds per catch on (15) receptions for (162) yds, but the most impressive stat Perkins had was (1) fumble. The only stat missing from Perkins effective rookie season was touchdowns (0) and if Perkins can get that stat up to go along with being the lead back he will be the Giants biggest X-factor.
Philadephia Eagles – Alshon Jeffery
Here is another situation where a team brings in receivers to help their quarterback but this time biggest X-factor for this offense actually is a receiver. Carson Wentz had a problem with receivers inability to get open and dropping (24) catchable balls which ranked them 7th highest in 2016, but unlike the Giants, the Eagles had the 11th ranked rushing attack in the NFL. Adding Alshon Jeffery to this receiving core gives Wentz a sure-handed big-bodied receiver with the ability to get open and score touchdowns. A player of Jeffery’s ability with (304) catches, (4,549) yds, and (26) touchdowns in his career give Wentz a player that can scare teams around the league and force them to have to plan for him. Jeffery’s only problem is the injury bug seems to strike him often only having played in a full season twice in his career but during those two seasons Jeffery’s piled up (174) catches, (2,554) yds, and (17) touchdowns. If Jeffery’s can stay healthy he can take a lot of pressure off of Wentz and give the Eagles the X-factor they have been missing for a long time, a true receiving threat.
Washington Redskins – Rob Kelley
Now I know what you’re thinking. The loss of Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon should make the receivers the X-factors for the Redskins but they already have players that can help pick up the slack. The biggest problem the Redskins had last season was an inability to run the ball and pick up much-needed short yardage. The loss of Alfred Morris to the Cowboys last season and Matt Jones continuing to have fumbling issues led to Rob Kelley taking over as the starting running back and doing a pretty good job. During his time as a starter, Kelley compiled (151) attempts, (601) yds rushing, on (4.2) yds per attempt. Kelley’s ability to run between the tackles and use his power to truck defenders gave the Redskins offense the boost it needed to really open up the playbook. Unfortunately, the Redskins play calling lacked consistency, if they can change this and give Kelley a real opportunity to run the ball 20 times a game he will be an X-factor in wearing down defenses and gaining those crucial yards.
These offensive X-factors for each team have the ability to transform their offenses. For each of these teams, they better hope that they can do it?