With the Dallas Cowboys headed to play the Oakland Raiders in their first pre-season game (finally), there is not as much to report on. So it seems like a good time to take a look at what has been going on with our three beloved and so very well respected rivals in the NFC East, the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Washington Redskins.
First off, all of them have completed a pre-season game (just like everyone else in the blasted league except Dallas and the Raiders - not that I feel cranky or anything). Just to give you a quick recap of each one:
Redskins 7, Buffalo Bills 6. Generally a sloppy and poorly executed game. Robert Griffin III did show what he was capable of on the lone scoring drive, completing three passes in a row, including the scoring one to Pierre Garcon. Otherwise, just lots for the team to work on.
Eagles 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 23. In an emotional game in the wake of the death of Andy Reid's son Garrett, the Eagles had a much more productive game, including a drive for a game-winning field goal let by backup quarterback Trent Edwards. But many Eagle-loving hearts skipped a few beats when Michael Vick went out of the game after hitting his throwing hand on the helmet of a teammate. X-rays were negative, and it is hoped (by them) that Vick will be back in fighting form soon.
Jacksonville Jaguars 32, Giants 31. In another one point game, the Giants came out on the short end of things when they gave up 18 points in the second half. The score was of course not that meaningful, and Eli Manning had a somewhat workman-like outing, but the team did have some muffed punts which got head coach Tom Coughlin's dander up.
After the jump, a trip to our sister SBN sites to see what is going on there post-game.
In the report on the latest day of practice (day 12 for them), there was a litany of minor injuries, which is a reminder that this is typical of training camp. The most troubling issue for them was probably the continued issues catching punts, with WR Jerrel Jernigan muffing another one.
The punt return issues may seem a relatively minor one in the overall scheme of things, but it also is getting the blame for the loss to the Jaguars. The team had planned on Jernigan and rookie Jayron Hosley handling the duties, but now they are also considering rookie Rueben Randle and veteran Domenik Hixon.
During a press conference, Coughlin singled out two second year defenders, one for praise and the other for concern.
Linebacker Mark Herzlich: "I thought he played well and he played a lot. He had many opportunities and we're encouraged by the way he played. He wasn't perfect, he did some things that he's like to have back but he is physical and he will go in there. He is smart and he can get you lined up."
Cornerback Prince Amukamara: "I was disappointed, obviously, that he gave up the play when he was playing outside end on man coverage and got beat to the outside. He made an outstanding play when he knocked the ball out and we were able to recover when Justin got the ball back for us. You know, he just got a taste and he'll have to play a lot more going along. We need to put him in situations that he hasn't been too often, and it's the play-in-and-play-out, it's the ability to decode what the other guy is trying to do. Have a sense and instinct about what's coming. That only comes with more time."
Meanwhile, there is a torrid love affair going on between the Giants' fan base and a certain free agent signee you might have heard of. In a front page article that would have certainly aroused the wrath of our own Bigham, they quoted from an Inside Football piece about the one and only Martellus Bennett, who said he was so happy to be away from the Cowboys he "almost cried".
"When I was with Dallas, it used to be a little discouraging because I'd be like, ‘Damn, I worked on my routes all summer, and then I get to the game, and I didn't get to run that many routes.' Here, I felt like everything I worked on during the off-season would be put to use in the offense. So I kicked it up a couple of notches because I have a lot riding on this season and on myself."
Obviously, he was so mistreated with Cowboys. Outside that little catching-the-ball-in-key-situations thing, of course.
It was a rough week for the quarterbacks. In addition to Mike Vick banging his hand on a helmet, backup quarterback Mike Kafka suffered a broken bone in his non-throwing hand when someone stepped on it. As a result, rookie Nick Foles has been taking snaps with the second team. Given the propensity of Vick for injury, backup quarterback is no small concern with the Eagles. The initial prognosis for Foles is guardedly optimistic for now.
One of the suspicions around here is that the Eagles have an unhealthy fixation on the Star. It was not really surprising to see an article about the tryout Jamaal Jackson had with the Cowboys, but also on the front page was coverage of Jeff Lurie's divorce settlement. It was pertinent to the team, since it dealt with who wound up with control of the Eagles (Lurie retains all voting rights and management authority), but what I noticed was the very subtle hint that Dallas is always on the mind of the Eagles. Click here and see if you can find the hidden clues in the picture on the article.
I will admit that, of the three sites I talk about here, Hogs Haven is my favorite, mostly because I find their coverage closest in approach and depth to ours here at BTB.
Maybe my opinion was colored by the fact that the top article when I went there was a projection of the 53 man roster. This is the kind of opinionated but nuts-and-bolts stuff that I can sink my teeth into. Of note: We are not the only NFC East team with issues on the OL, including center.
The reaction to the opening game post also speaks to a bit of a battle going on at wide receiver. With RGIII and a bunch of new receivers, the 'Skins are facing some significant challenges, and it looks like the team will be up and down. Perhaps it is a sign of the changing times, or something to do with John Mara and cap penalties, but I actually feel a bit of sympathy for their situation. However, with a little rest and therapy, I'm sure I will get over it.
They also had a nice article about the "studs and duds" from the first game. In addition to RGIII, the writer was very happy with Pierre Garcon, who is already shaping up to be the number one target in the receiving game, left tackle Trent Williams (who gave them a scare when he went out with a foot injury, but he seem to be all right), and nose tackle Chris Baker. Not so much: OT Tyler Polumbus, WR Brandon Banks, and Niles Paul, who the team is trying to convert from WR to TE, if I read things correctly.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled obsession about the Star.