NFC East Stock Market: Week 7
The NFL regular season is more volatile on a week-to-week basis than the Stock Market. One team that lost by several touchdowns the week before can follow up with a blowout victory. Players who are responsible for the blame one week could be responsible for a game-winning play the next.
With Week 6 in the books, let’s take a look at three NFC East players who saw their stock rise, and three NFC East players who saw it fall as we look ahead to Week 7.
Nolan Carroll, cornerback, Philadelphia Eagles
When the Eagles traded cornerback Brandon Boykin this offseason, they expressed confidence in Carroll’s ability to hold down the starting job on the outside. Through the first six weeks, Carroll has been the Eagles’ top coverage corner, and he had his best game of the season in Week 6. Carroll jumped a pass in the flat from Giants cornerback Eli Manning and returned it for a 17-yard pick-six. He allowed just five receptions for 39 yards on eight targets. Carroll was matched up with Odell Beckham Jr. for most of the game, and he allowed Beckham just one catch for five yards.
Christine Michael, running back, Dallas Cowboys
When the Cowboys resumed practice Monday after their Week 6 bye, running back Christine Michael was taking the majority of first-team reps at running back. The Cowboys are looking for a boost in the run game, and Michael has an excellent opportunity to prove himself as a starter right away. Michael is easily the most athletically gifted running back on the roster. At 220 pounds, he put together an impressive NFL Combine that included a 43-inch vertical and a 10-foot-5 broad jump. Michael has averaged 4.8 yards per carry on 54 career carries, and he will running behind an offensive line that is arguably better than any line he ran behind while with the Seattle Seahawks.
DeMarco Murray, running back, Philadelphia Eagles
For the first time in an Eagles uniform, DeMarco Murray rushed for over 100 yards in a single game. The rushing leader from 2014 has taken a while to get going, but the Eagles might have found something they can rely on with Murray — the power running game. After being stopped for just 12 rushing yards in the first half on sweeps and stretch plays, Kelly opted to use more power-run plays with Murray in the second half, and he responded with 97 yards. He finished with 109 yards rushing on 22 carries. Murray might not be the exact schematic fit that Kelly originally envisioned he would be, but it’s an excellent sign that Kelly was willing to stray from his system to put Murray in the best position to succeed.
Kirk Cousins, quarterback, Washington Redskins
Before the start of the 2015 regular season, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden made the decision to name Cousins his starting quarterback because he gave the team their best chance to win. With eight interceptions through just six games, Gruden’s opinion is starting to lose pull among the fanbase. The Redskins are built to win football games by controlling the clock with a strong run game, a strong run defense and a defensive front that can generate pressure. This is not an offense that can make up for costly turnovers. Don’t be surprised if the Redskins turn to backup quarterback Colt McCoy if Cousins can’t cut down on the turnovers.
New York Giants’ offensive line
The Giants had allowed just three sacks through the first five games before allowing three sacks in Week 6. Entering the season, there were concerns with the Giants’ pass protection after they lost their best lineman — Will Beatty — to a torn pectoral muscle. Those concerns were quelled after a hot start, but the Eagles might have figured out the best way to attack this offensive line. Starting right guard Geoff Schwartz and right tackle Marshall Newhouse combined to allow two sacks, one quarterback hit and seven total pressures in Week 6. Beatty is expected to resume practicing this week, but if he can’t get ready in time for Week 7, the Giants may have to use an extra tight end to help block the right side.
Brandon Scherff, right guard, Washington Redskins
When the Redskins selected Scherff with the fifth-overall pick in the 2015 draft, they were expecting a lineman who could jump in as an immediate upgrade along the offensive line. After struggling at right tackle in the preseason, the Redskins kicked Scherff over to right guard. Scherff has since struggled in pass protection, and he had his worst game of the season in Week 6 when he allowed one sack, two quarterback hits and four additional quarterback hurries. The Redskins are too injured along the offensive line to consider making a change, but they might have to find a way to give Scherff more help in pass protection.
*All statistics on quarterback pressure and yards allowed in coverage are provided via Pro Football Focus