Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Guys You Don't Know (But You Should) NFC East Edition

Football is finally back, well training camp anyway.  The world is rejoicing.  Soon enough, our Sundays will be filled with the NFL, chicken wings and maybe a few adult beverages.  The weather gets worse and our intensity as a fan becomes greater.  Fantasy leagues are getting researched, jerseys are getting dusted off and we are all looking forward to the new acquisitions and the realization of the players we lost.  Everyone has a clean slate and every fan has a chance to think that this could be their year.  In the NFL, it is impossible to predict the future.  A team like the Bengals could make the playoffs with a rookie QB and rookie star wide out.  A team like the Rams could go from NFC West favorites to number two pick in the draft.  Everyone and their mother picked the Eagles to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  They didn't make the playoffs.  It is a crap shoot and one misstep can make or break your season.

There will always be a Victor Cruz or Laurent Robinson who will go from unknown to franchise player in the midst of one season.  They may be undrafted and wants to show every other team what their missing.  They may be a high draft pick that never panned out, but needed those extra couple years to come into his own.  He may just be a guy who has been in hiding in a terrible system that held him back.  Every team will have one, and here we predict who that will be.  These players will become household names, or at least remind us that they used to be.

New York Giants- Chris Canty
We start off with the Super Bowl champions.  Outside of New York, nobody know who Chris Canty is.  I am sure 90 percent of football fans couldn't even tell me what position he plays.  You know who Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, and Justin Tuck are.  Rightfully so, they are great players, but they would not be as great if it wasn't for the guy clogging up the middle.  Canty is the reason that every team doesn't just run it up the gut, keeping away from the defensive ends.  He doesn't get the accolades because he does the things you need for a team to thrive.  Clogs up the middle, takes on double teams, drives centers and guards nuts all game is the reason why the threesome of DEs get the sacks and tackles for loss they do.  Canty had a career high four sacks in 2011 and six stuffs, another career high.  You will see those stats go up in 2012 and he will become more of force than he already is.  By season's end, he will be in the same breath as Vince Wilfork and Ndamukong Suh.

Dallas Cowboys- DeMarco Murray
This guy was good last year.  Then he got hurt, and we forgot about him.  People in Dallas are saying this guy could become in the same breath as Hershall Walker and Emmitt Smith, iconic company.  Then why isn't he talked about as one of the great running backs for this year?  We hear about Ray Rice and Adrian Foster and Leshaun McCoy, but Murray will be better than all of them.  In fact, I think this guy will win the rushing title this year, he is that good.  Since taking the reigns at running back with a 253 yard performance against the Rams, Murray had one full game in which he had less than 73 yards.  He had three one hundred yard games in the seven in which he was a feature back.  He averaged 5.5 yards per carry for the whole season.  On top of that, he can catch the ball out of the backfield.  These are big expectations out of a young running back under the big lights (or big screen?) in Dallas, but Murray is ready to run his way into the race for best NFL running back.  This can only make Cowboys fans salivate after failed experiments with Felix Jones, Marion Barber, and Julius Jones.

Washington Redskins- Brian Orakpo
If only the Redskins weren't making headlines for the mistakes they make, this guy would already be a household name.  His 2011 stat line looks like this; nine sacks, three forced fumbles, one blocked punt, and five passes deflected.  In comparison, Ray Lewis had two sacks, two forced fumbles, and seven pass deflections.  When you beat an all time great and Pro Bowler, you should be getting more recognition.  Orakpo is already one of the best in the league, but the Redskins are going to get so much more media attention with the RGIII saga beginning in Washington.  This can only mean good things for Orakpo.  People will pay for RGIII and feel satisfied by the defense that the Redskins are bringing this year.  Shanahan will finally figure this team out, he is too good not to.  Jim Haslett is also going to utilize the defense to bring the best out of Orakpo.  After what we saw last year that could be a scary sight for the rest of the NFC East.

Philadelphia Eagles- Cullen Jenkins
Jenkins broke out last season, too bad there were too many NFC East stories to be able to pay attention.  With five and a half sacks at the defensive tackle position, he looks to take control as the next big playmaker at DT.  Jenkins started off slow, as did all the Philadelphia Eagles, but turned it up three notches towards the end of the season.  The double teams he took helped Jason Babin get an eighteen sack season.  People will be paying more attention to Babin which will open up more holes for Jenkins.  He is a huge guy at over 300 pounds and brings great experience being in his prime at 31 years old.  He will cause fits for all offensive lines that will oppose him.  Look for Jenkins to add many more sacks and tackles in the 2012 season.  Jenkins and Canty will be fighting tooth and nail to get their name out there, and hopefully you take the time to pay attention.

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