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NFC East Roundtable: Cowboys version

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Bloggingtheboys_medium Finally, the NFC East Roundtable you have been waiting for. Today, Big Blue View trades questions and answers with Dave Halprin of our Dallas Cowboys blog, Blogging The Boys.

I think you will find Dave's answers well reasoned and thoughtful, not like the rantings of some of the Cowboy trolls we find over here occasionally.

Anyway, here you go.

1. BBV: The NFC East is brutal in terms of the depth and quality of its teams. Can you think of another division that is even close in terms of talent and competitiveness?

I think the AFC South would be only other one that has the quality of teams at the top of the division and depth throughout. The NFC East has returned to its former glory as a division that produces Super Bowl winners and everybody in the division is considered a dangerous team for any opponent. The intra-division wars are about as good as it gets in the NFL right now. I like the AFC South, there are some real quality teams over there, but I'm sticking with the NFC East as the best.

2. BBV: Was the Giants Super Bowl victory a fluke?
Fluke is probably not the right word. I still don't think they were the best team in football last year, but they did what many surprise winners have done – get hot come playoff time and ride that momentum to a championship. There's nothing wrong with that, it doesn't make you any less of a champion. In the NFL, you actually have to beat you're opponents on the field to advance and the Giants did that. Surprsing? Maybe. Fluke? no.
3. BBV: What new player on any of the teams -- draft pick, free agent or trade acquisition -- will make the biggest impact within the division this season?

Zach Thomas will really help the Cowboys in the middle against the run. He looked great in camp and preseason so far. Assante Samuel in Philly could be another guy. I'll also keep an eye on Jason Taylor to see if he, like his partner Zach Thomas, is still capable if dominating.

4. BBV: Your team will win the division, and possibly the Super Bowl, if ...
Tony Romo stays healthy, Adam Jones gets reinstated and plays up to his potential and Wade Phillips/Tony Romo finally figure out what's holding them back in the postseason.

5. BBV: Your team will finish last in the division if ...

Injuries decimate this team or somehow the team chemistry starts to unravel. We got a lot of high-profile, out-sized egos in our locker room and some of them come with shady pasts. So far, everything has blended very smoothly but if that chemistry turns explosive, we could have trouble.

6. BBV: What team in the NFC has the best shot at keeping an NFC East team out of the Super Bowl?

I think Seattle's chance might have past them by and the Vikings would be the obvious pick if they had good QB/WR play. Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay leaves them as a question mark. How about New Orleans? They fell apart last year but there is still a lot of talent on that club.

7. BBV: Give me one player on your team everyone else might not know about, but who could wind up making a name for himself this season.

Miles Austin, a three-year UDFA who has been hanging around at WR and looks like he might finally be getting it. He has all the physical tools you need to be a great WR; fast, big, ability to get open, but he's had problems with consistently catching the football. Over training camp and the first preseason game, he's looked very sharp and Dallas is searching for deep threat opposite T.O. which neither Patrick Crayton nor Sam Hurd can provide. It's kind of a longshot, but keep your eye open for Austin.
8. BBV: Rank the starting quarterbacks within the division.

Tony Romo – Still has to win in the postseason, but if I had to pick a QB from these four for my team going forward, I'd take Romo.

Donovan McNabb - I think time and injuries have taken a little luster off of McNabb, but he's still a very good QB.

Eli Manning – Great job in the playoff/Super Bowl run, but he's had some rough years with the Giants. If he does something great again this year, he's moves up rapidly.

Jason Campbell – Looks like he has a ton of potential, but he's still behind the other guys in the division right now.

9. BBV: Rank the coaches within the division.

Andy Reid – Has been so consistently good with the Eagles. I don't like his offense but he gets it to work and usually has a good defense.

Tom Coughlin – He moves up to second by virtue of the playoff run and Super Bowl win. He's had some success in the past but he was on the verge of being run out of New York for losing the team. But whatever he did last year, it was the right move and he won big.

Wade Phillips – The only flaw on Wade as a coach is he can't win in the postseason, and that didn't change last year. He's got to get it done this year in the postseason or he'll always be remembered as a good coach who failed when it mattered most.

Jim Zorn – We just don't know about him so he has to serve his time at the bottom.
10. BBV: Finally, what is your predicted order of finish in the NFC East? Why?
Cowboys – Without being too much of a homer, I really do believe on paper the Cowboys have the best roster in the division and in the conference. They won the division last year; the regular season isn't their problem, it's what comes after.

Eagles – I think they'll rebound and have a pretty good year if McNabb stays healthy.

Giants – They get the post-Super Bowl blues. I know the Giants fans hate when people say this, but I'm not convinced they can do it again. Yes, I'm convinced they whipped the Cowboys in the playoffs last year, but I need to seem them put together a consistent year, not an uneven run followed by a brilliant playoff run.

Redskins – New coach and a QB who is still learning, and now must learn a new system gives me doubts. I think they'll be a quality team, they are just stuck in a brutal division.

Our thanks to Dave, and all the SB Nation NFC East bloggers, for taking part in our little 'Roundtable' exercise. Hope you have enjoyed it.