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Preseason Confidential: NFC East Intel


The Washington Redskins got through their preseason home opener with a 24-13 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, here's a look at the headlines around the rest of the NFC East.





Headline:Michael Vick Named Eagles Starting QB

One of the NFL's last quarterback competitions has been decided, as Eagles head coach Chip Kelly named veteran Michael Vick the team's starting quarterback to start the season.

What this means for the Redskins: The Washington Redskins now have three weeks to prepare for the Vick-led Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. This will be no easy task, as Kelly is likely to implement a mobile, up-tempo offense and the Redskins will have no NFL game film to study. On the other hand, Vick left something to be desired in his play last season and the Redskins may feast on an aging quarterback past his prime.


Headline:Will Chip Kelly's Offense Work In The NFL?

Every time a successful college coach attempts to bring college principles and scheme to the NFL, a host of "experts" lines up to defend the status quo of the "pro style offense." Chip Kelly's up-tempo Oregon offense is no different in that regard.

What this means for the Redskins:

The Redskins will get first crack at proving that the pro style apologists are correct. Until Week 1, and probably for a long time after, we still will not have an answer as to whether or not the Oregon offense works at the NFL level.

Recent failures of integrating college fundamentals into the NFL include the Wildcat offense, which proved to be nothing more than a gimmicky fad for an anemic Miami Dolphins offense.

Recent successes include the Pistol formation, which the Washington Redskins rode to an NFC East Championship and the San Francisco 49ers took the Super Bowl. The read-option, also previously taboo in the NFL, has now made major inroads to NFL playbooks.

All of this hand-wringing will be for nought if Kelly abandons his collegiate principles and adopts a more traditional offense. Nothing is certain at this point.





Headline:Victor Cruz In A Walking Boot

Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz is at least temporarily shelved with a bruised heel that has him getting around in a walking boot and crutches.

What this means for the Redskins:

Probably not much.

This is a short-term injury unlikely to be a factor when the Redskins finally face the Cowboys in December. But his short-term absence from the lineup could dig the Giants a hole for the first few games of the season.

The Giants face the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 of the regular season, a matchup in which Redskins fans have an increasingly hard time deciding a rooting interest.

Should Cruz fail to recover in time, the Redskins could be sharing the division lead with the Cowboys heading into Week 2.


Headline:Do The O-Line Shuffle

With starting center David Baas uncertain for the regular season opener, the Giants are prepared to have veteran guard Keith Boothe slide to center, David Diehl shuffling to guard and rookie Justin Pugh bouncing over to right tackle.

What this means for the Redskins:

Again, probably not much.

Then again, uncertainly on the offensive line can breed major problems for the rest of the offense, as the Redskins have witnessed first-hand in recent years. By comparison, the Redskins starte 15 games with the same unit last season and experienced consistent success.

Shuffling centers leaves the center-quarterback exchange in limbo, further boosting the Dallas Cowboys' opportunity in Week 1. Inserting a rookie at right tackle should have Anthony Spencer licking his chops.

The only long-term ramifications of such a move are injuries. But again, the Redskins will not face the Giants until Sunday, Dec. 1.





Headline:Offense Moves To Zone-Blocking Scheme

Following the lead of their archrival, the Washington Redskins, the Dallas Cowboys have elected to move to a zone-blocking scheme on offense. This could move former highly-touted right tackle Doug Free inside to the guard position.

What this means for the Redskins:

Whatever the Cowboys choose to do, they will put it on tape for the Redskins to study over the Week 5 bye week before their first contest of the year.

The Dallas Cowboys have had inconsistent results with a power running scheme in recent years and want to take advantage of the O-line's athleticism.

Phil Costa has likely lost his starting center job to Travis Frederick with Nate Living taking over at left guard. This means the Redskins will be facing off against a different line than they beat in Weeks 12 and 17 last year, but should be at full strength with Jarvis Jenkins back from suspension.




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