The Washington Football Team has earned the right to some respect. They won the NFC East title in 2020, fair and square, despite a 7-9 record. Along the way, Washington created a sound foundation under new boss Ron Rivera, provided the eventual Super Bowl champ Bucs a playoff test, and spent this season with more spending and building, adding "name'' free agents Ryan Fitzpatrick, Curtis Samuel and William Jackson III while drafting linebacker Jamin Davis.
Add it all up, and “The Cowboys are the third-best team in this division,” claims ESPN's Dan Orlovsky said. “The Washington Football Team and the Giants are both better.”
The Dallas Cowboys, of course, are viewed by many as a team that can return to the top of the NFC East, despite their 6-10 finish a year ago. The logic is simple: 2020 was a lost year due to quarterback Dak Prescott's season-ending ankle surgery.
It's a logical view.
Believing in the WFT is logical, too.
Is logic what drives ESPN analyst Orlovsky, the former NFL QB?
On the TV show “Get Up,'' Orlovsky continued what is now a sort of "running bit'' featuring Cowboys-bashing. The hint to this, to WFT fans, isn't about Washington being judged as being superior to Dallas - it's about Orlovsky's claim that the Giants are also better than the Cowboys.
The Giants were also 6-10 last year.
Part of the challenge is for a national analyst to be an "expert'' on 32 teams. It's a daunting task, and one that is beyond Orlovsky here, as he rips Dallas for, specifically, not addressing D-line needs.
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“Their defensive line, last year, gave up 3.5 yards per carry before touching the person running the football,” Orlovsky said. “And they didn’t do anything to address that defensive line substantially in the draft.”
Actually, of course, the Cowboys used their top pick on linebacker Micah Parsons and did indeed draft not one, not two, but three defensive linemen. Dallas also used free agency to add pass-rusher Tarell Basham, run-stopper Brent Urban and versatile journeyman Carlos Watkins.
Whether that helps drag Dallas up from 6-10 cannot be known. But it hardly qualifies as a position group not "addressed.''
Orlovsky also stated that Washington and New York are better-coached and that he believes if Fitzpatrick or New York quarterback Daniel Jones plays well their teams will be superior than Dallas and playoff contenders. ... because "if Dak Prescott plays good football, that's still not a playoff team.''
You cannot find too many NFL analysts who believe that a Dak-led Cowboys team is a non-contender. You cannot find too many analysts prepared to praise one-year Giants coach Joe Judge for being superior to anybody. And watch the video again: You cannot find too many NFL analysts who, when they merely begin mentioning "the Dallas Cowboys'' draw giggles from the other ESPN panelists ... because they know a "bit'' is about to be delivered.
There are not many reasons to put New York on a plane with Washington. There are plenty of reasons to pick Washington over Dallas. But the biggest reason ESPN does it here?
To draw outrage from Cowboys fans who take Orlovsky seriously. And to draw giggles from fans, in Washington and beyond, who are smart enough to not do so.