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NFC East issues to resolve ahead of the 2014 NFL season

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This time we continue our pre-season look around the NFL divisions with the NFC East. Last season the Eagles were the only NFC East team to make the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

The Cowboys and the Giants were both incredibly sub-par whilst Washington ensured a 3-13 season as they finished bottom.

How's it going to play out in 2014 though? Let's take a look at some of the biggest questions hanging over the teams and players as we go into training camp.

Cowboys Defense

The defensive side of the ball makes uncomfortable reading for Cowboys fans. Last
season the defense was awful giving up 6,645 yards and that defense has lost its best players. When DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher departed in free agency the Cowboys lost, respectively, their all time leader in sacks and last season's leader in sacks.

This was bad enough but at least these were big losses forced upon the Cowboys by the
salary cap situation. So whilst they hurt they were expected and could be accounted for.

What the Cowboys couldn't have planned for was the injury to middle linebacker Sean
Lee in OTAs. Lee was expected to be a leader on defense and with his injury the Cowboys defense is now dangerously limited.

The Cowboys defense needs to come together in training camp. There are plenty of places available, plenty of chances, some lesser known players need to seize the moment.

Will the West Coast offense work for the Giants?

Last season was a tough one for Eli Maning. In an awful 2013 Manning threw a
league high 27 interceptions and only 18 touchdowns. The hope is that Ben McAdoo's west coast offense will relieve some of the pressure on Manning and allow him to bounce back from last season's nightmare.

Manning has stated himself that his experience with the west coast system is limited. Will the change in system resurrect Eli's career? It should be interesting to get some idea in training camp.

Replacing DeSean Jackson

The Eagles offense was one of the most exciting in the NFL last season. With Chip Kelly at the helm, the Eagles offense is always going to be exciting but the departure of DeSean Jackson in free agency has added an extra layer of intrigue.

Last season Jackson's pace provided Philadelphia with a dangerous vertical threat as the wide receiver picked up 1,332 off 82 receptions at an average of 16.2 yards per reception and nine touchdowns.

That's a lot of yards that the Eagles and Chip Kelly will need to replace. It will be fascinating to get some early glimpses of how Jordan Matthews, Darren Sproles and Zach Ertz are brought into the Eagles new offense.

QB health

Depending on how Tony Romo, Eli Manning and Robert Griffin III come back from injuries the NFC East could be one of the most exciting attacking divisions or it could be one of the weakest.

How will Tony Romo's back hold up? Will Manning's ankle restrict his movement? Will
RGIII's knee prevent him from being the dynamic dual threat QB that he was in his rookie year? One thing is for certain though, the health of Messrs Romo, Manning and Griffin III is going to be one the biggest things to watch in the NFC East training camps.

Washington's Defense?

Much like the Cowboys, Washington's defense last season was abysmal as it allowed 478 points and 5665 yards. The Redskins have lots of work to do on defense. In terms of the pass rush, ex-Cowboy Jason Hatcher will be crucial to the team whilst top draft pick outside linebacker Trent Murphy will need to adapt quickly to the NFL.

There are also plenty of positional battles with a three way battle between Robinson,
Sharpton, Jordan shaping up for the right to play next to Perry Rile at inside linebacker.

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Topics:
NFC
Washington Redskins
Eli Manning
Philadelphia Eagles
Tony Romo
Robert Griffin III
New York Giants
NFL
Dallas Cowboys

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