Commentary

Scouts Inc.: NFC East team profiles

Analyzing team philosophies and offseason observations for NFC East teams

Originally Published: April 25, 2011
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
GarrettHoward Smith/US PresswireCan Jason Garrett get the Cowboys back to the playoffs in 2011?

Scouts Inc. takes a look at all 32 NFL teams, grouped by division, heading toward the 2011 season (whenever it arrives), examining offseason observations, the decision-makers and the offensive and defensive philosophies of each team.


NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

Offseason observations: This is supposed to be an elite team, but a 1-7 start a year ago cost Wade Phillips his job and Jason Garrett's 5-3 run as interim coach got him the permanent job. The offense should be terrific and very productive in 2011 and the defense should be more aggressive under new coordinator Rob Ryan, but as a unit they must play smarter and not give up as many big plays. It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys make a lot of personnel changes or if they keep the core of this group together for another run. This is still a very talented team.

Organizational structure: Next to Al Davis, Jerry Jones may be the most involved owner in the NFL and every player decision goes through him, although he seems to be giving his son, Stephen, a bigger voice and you can see the route of succession. Scouting director Tom Ciskowski is a blue-collar guy who keeps everything organized, but he is not out front on major decisions. The scouts and coaches have a voice, but not a lot of power. However, to Jones' credit, he will listen to all opinions before he and Stephen make a final decision.

Offensive philosophy: Garrett will continue to run this offense and call plays even though he is now the head coach. At times he is criticized for being too pass-happy in his play calling, but he has a creative offensive mind. He likes one-back sets with three wide receivers and has a tight end in Jason Witten who can go wide and play in space. Up front they like to have big blockers, but they need better talent on the offensive line. Better balance could really open up the passing game and play-action.


To see the rest of the 2011 team profiles for every team in the NFC East, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.