Are the Cowboys less talented than the Eagles?
By Tyrone Starr
Despite what is being perpetrated by the media, the talent gap between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys should actually be reversed.
ESPN.com recently posted an article, accessible to only Insiders, ranking the best overall rosters in the NFL going into the 2016 NFL season.
If you have insider access, you can read the entire article here. For those of you who don’t, four of the top five teams likely won’t surprise you.
The New England Patriots, fresh off their sixth straight season with 12 or more wins and thirteenth straight double-digit win campaign are at the head of the class. Green Bay, Carolina and Pittsburgh follow them.
Those are also not shocking choices given that the Packers have made the playoffs in seven straight years, Carolina has done so in three consecutive years and Pittsburgh has made the playoffs in six of the last nine years.
All of them have also been to or won a Super Bowl since 2010.
The fifth team, however, is not only shocking, it’s laughable to Dallas Cowboys’ fans.
Coming in at number five is none other than the Philadelphia Eagles.
The only thing worse is that the Cowboys do not show up on the list until seven spots later at number twelve. This begs the question, is Philadelphia really that much better than Dallas? Are they even better at all?
Let’s look at this with objective eyes and not the goggles of a homer.
First of all, they list each team’s five best players. For the Eagles, it’s defensive end Fletcher Cox, left tackle Jason Peters, safety Malcolm Jenkins, defensive end Brandon Graham and quarterback Sam Bradford.
Cox and Peters are legit upper echelon type guys. Jenkins and Graham are solid starters but not stars and if Bradford is one of your five best players, there is no possible way you can have the fifth best roster in the entire league.
For the Cowboys, the “fab five” are tackle Tyron Smith, guard Zack Martin, center Travis Frederick, linebacker Sean Lee and quarterback Tony Romo.
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Smith, Martin and Frederick have all earned All-Pro honors in their young careers, Lee made his first Pro-Bowl and Romo is widely considered, at worst, one of the ten best quarterbacks in the league.
The Cowboys five versus the Eagles five is no contest. Cowboys win.
Also of note, somehow receiver Dez Bryant is not considered one of the Cowboys five best players. Not only does that speak to the depth of the roster for Dallas, it also means that the sixth best Cowboy would be, at worst, the third best Eagle.
That’s another Big W for Big D.
Consider as well that the Cowboys have a better stable of running backs (Ezekiel Elliott, Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris) than the Eagles (Ryan Matthews, Darren Sproles, Kenyon Barner) a far better starting tight end (Jason Witten over Zach Ertz) and maybe the best kicker in the game in Dan Bailey and the chasm grows larger and larger.
If you’re scoring at home, that’s the Cowboys with the better starting quarterback, all-around depth at running back, starting wide receiver and tight end, all-around depth on the offensive line and kicker.
The Eagles make up some difference defensively across the line and also in the defensive backfield, particularly at safety. Otherwise, is their linebacking corps really that much better than the Cowboys? I think not.
Lastly, the article states that another five starters for the Eagles (linebacker Nigel Bradham, guard Allen Barbre, receiver Nelson Agholor, linebacker Jordan Hicks and cornerback Nolan Carroll) all should be replaced. Dallas has just two in linebacker Anthony Hitchens and cornerback Morris Claiborne.
Not only does this prove the point that the Eagles linebacking unit isn’t very good, it also points out that they essentially have five guys that should not be starters.
I’m not exactly sure how a team that has made the playoffs just once since 2011 can own a top five roster. Maybe former head coaches Chip Kelly and Andy Reid were just that bad, who knows?
More likely, it’s that their organization along with those who write articles like these overvalue their talent level. All that really matters is what happens on the field. I’ll take the team that has won two of the last three and five of the last eight.
That would be your Dallas Cowboys.
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