By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Cowboys and Giants are the odds on favorites in the NFC East entering the 2017 season. But the Eagles and Redskins aren’t far behind, as the division is expected to be one of the toughest in football for the second straight season.

Former Eagles president and now excellent Twitter follow Joe Banner, is very optimistic about the franchise where he spent most of his NFL career.

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“I would not even hesitate to think the Eagles have as good of a chance, if not better, than anybody in that division to win it,” Banner said Wednesday, just hours after the Birds signed running back LeGarrette Blount, on the 94WIP Carlin & Reese Show.

Listen: Joe Banner on the 94WIP Carlin & Reese Show


Banner talked about all three of the Eagles’ NFC East opponents.

Dallas Cowboys

“I think Dallas is still gonna be good, but I’m not sure that they’re not going to take a little bit of a step backwards.”

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New York Giants

“I’m not excited about what the Giants have done. I think they were good and they’ll be good, but people that think picking up [Brandon] Marshall is a big deal — I just. He’s not the best guy in the locker room and I think his best days are behind him and their offensive line is still a big problem.”

Washington Redskins

“Washington will be interesting to see. They’ve had all the changes in the front office, they lost a couple players, but they’ve kept a bunch of players and seem to continue to add some personnel decisions that were pretty good in spite of the problems with the GM.”

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Banner, 64, who will be inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Hall Of Fame next week, was largely responsible in bringing Donovan McNabb to Philly in 1999. Banner says the Eagles still use the same three key characteristics to evaluate quarterbacks.

“What we defined as the key characteristics of a quarterback, is still what the Eagles still believe,” Banner said. “You have to pass a minimum threshold on arm strength and stuff like that, but fundamentally the most successful quarterbacks in the NFL are really smart, and they’re really accurate, and they’re generally very good leaders.”

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Banner says the Eagles believe Carson Wentz has all three of those qualities.