OXNARD, Calif. - The Dallas Cowboys have their Pro Bowl-caliber QB here at training camp in Oxnard, so this isn't about a Cowboys connection with anybody beyond Dak Prescott in that regard.
But this is about the awareness of a "balance of power'' in the NFC East - and how the Cowboys, coming off a 6-10 season but hopeful of a complete turnaround in 2021 - need to be aware of what's going on elsewhere.
Like, in Philadelphia. With the Eagles.
And, like, in Houston, With the Texans - with Deshaun Watson planning to show up to camp there.
When it comes to the evaluation of opposing football teams (beyond the simple advanced scouting that is commonly done), there is an old-fashioned and bull-headed notion that goes something like this:
"We don't care what they do. We only care what we do.''
It's a bumper-sticker. A meme. Something for Grandma to stitch on a pillow.
But it's not smart. And for teams that are smart, it's not true.
And that's why the Dallas Cowboys ought to be keenly aware of what's going on with Watson.
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Does a dark cloud again hover over The Star?
We have no doubt that Watson is preparing to play NFL football in 2021, even if he does nothing at all in this Houston Texans training camp - a camp at which he will be in attendance, in large part to avoid $50,000 daily fines as he awaits rulings on his legal issues ...
And as he awaits a trade, maybe to the Philadelphia Eagles.
And that's a reason for the Cowboys to care. Because Watson in green represents a real threat to the balance of power in the NFC East.
We have written often at SI that the Eagles are among the teams that have expressed interest in a Watson trade ever since he made it clear he wanted out of Houston. That desire has obviously ebbed with the legal issues. But the desire remains, at some level.
In fact, Eagles insider Howard Eskin on SportsRadio 94WIP Midday Show actually puts a number on it."I’ve talked to people in Houston,'' Eskin reports. "And they are all but resigned to the fact that they’re going to have to trade him. ... There are only three teams, in talking to people around the league, that I know of, that really have a strong desire. That would be Denver, Miami ... (and) the Eagles have the three first-round picks, and that’s what they’re gonna have, and this is the prediction I’m going to make: based on the information that I got, when — and I’ll say WHEN — he is traded, I think there is a 90% chance that he will be with the Philadelphia Eagles.''
As we've said often, the pieces do fit for the Eagles. A “90% chance” Watson is going to end up in Philly? We're hesitant to actually put odds on it. But the process begins with Watson continuing to ready himself to play ... and showing up for camp ready to avoid being fined.
And therefore, in Dallas? As it stands right now, the NFC East likely seems a two-team race. If the Dallas Cowboys can handle the WFT, they can probably win the division, led by Dak and this offense.
But Watson in the division? That's another threat. That's another tough-to-handle foe. That's another reason to be aware - and to be wary.
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