It is time once again for our weekly look at the enemy. Okay, it is a day early, but I have to be at a hearing tomorrow, so here it is.
Preseason week number one is in the books for all 32 teams, which means that we now have a slight picture of how things are looking for our beloved rivals from around the BEast. Granted everything is pure vanilla, but still we can begin to develop a feel for our foes. While much remains the same in both the Big Apple and the Nation's Capitol; the City of Brotherly Love will be much different. No matter, it behooves us to keep an eye on those teams that the Cowboys will have to beat on the road to the promised land. Once again we turn our attention to the rest of the NFC East.
- Rookie Damontre Moore has been turning heads throughout training camp. On Saturday night he did not disappoint Giants fans with what he brought to his first match up against a different colored uniform. According to PFF, the third round selection out of Aggieland graded out as the highest G-man on the field. Moore created havoc for the Pittsburgh Steelers all night long on defense. He also brought his A-game to special teams with a blocked punt. Ed Valentine at Big Blue View has more on "Damonster" and a bonus look at former Cowboy Dan Connor here.
- Something that should have DeMarco Murray and the rest of the Dallas running backs smiling is the way the Giants run defense struggled against the Steelers. An inability to stop the run plagued Tom Coughlin's charges at the end of 2012; and so far it appears that they have yet to find the answer to the problem. Again from Ed Valentine's work we have this quote of Coach Coughlin:
"Our first defense had what we call two wins and seven losses against Pittsburgh’s running game and that’s a big objective for us coming in and we’ve got to shore that up and be able to stop the opponent’s run," Coughlin said during a Sunday conference call.
- On an offensive note; the OTA holdout by Victor Cruz seems to have little effect on the Manning to Salsa Boy connection. Early in the game, Eli hit Cruz for a 57 yard trip to the dance floor. Manning and Rueben Randle also seemed to be in a rhythm as well.
- A defensive secondary that has struggled, may have just taken another blow. In one of the relatively few camp injuries that the Giants have experienced, safety Antrell Rolle was carted off the field Monday with an injury to his left ankle. As of this writing, an MRI has been done but the team has not commented on the results.
- In the absence of starter Robert Griffin III, back up QB Kirk Cousins has stepped up his game. Unlike his brief appearance last year, this time around the second year quarterback is showing a strong command of his job. Dan Chiarrocchi addressed this in his game recap:
A would-be three-yard play doesn't sound particularly impressive, but with a collapsing pocket, Cousins never panicked, progressed through his reads and delivered an accurate throw to Paulsen in the flat. To see Cousins go through his progressions and find the right read with limited time is encouraging.
- Like our rival from New York, the Redskins starters, and their primary reserves, struggled to stop the run. They got lit up for 103 yards on just 13 attempts Thursday night. That breaks down to 8 yards per attempt. Both Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene burned the Skins defense for long TD runs.
- The Washington secondary did experience a bright spot of sorts, Second round draft pick David Amerson displayed very good coverage when he was matched up with veteran Kenny Britt. Amerson was in Britt's pocket most of the night.
- One thing that should be of concern to Cowboys fans is the Washington pass rush. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett found a way to get all three of his pass rushing OLBs on the field at the same time. Against the Titans he deployed Ryan Kerrigan as a three technique; Brian Orakpo and rookie Brandon Jenkins were manning their normal posts. Although he is undersized for the position, Kerrigan's quickness offset that, and Ryan gave Chance Warmack a rude welcome to professional football. UkRedskin gives us a nice look at how Haslett's scheme works, complete with pictures.
- Now for the latest Bobby Trey update: It looks like RGIII will finally be allowed to take the field for some serious football work.
Two sources familiar with the situation-- but chose to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak on the matter-- both said Griffin's activities were set to increase this week. One source said that includes drills versus an 11-man defense, and that could happen as soon as Tuesday.
Head coach Mike Shanahan has not confirmed this increased activity, but hinted last week that Griffin may soon participate in more drills as long as there are no setbacks. Thus far, Griffin has only participated in seven-on-seven passing activities and a few other drills.
- The biggest news coming out of the bird house still revolves around the quarterback. On Friday night, both were on display and Chip Kelly indicated he is pleased with both men. Both led touchdown drives for the Eagles. Mike Vick brought the big play element with his 47 yard strike to DeSean Jackson while Nick Foles brought consistency as he captained a 66 yard, 10 play scoring drive. The consensus is that overall Michael Vick was the winner in round one. JasonB of BGN breaks down the QB battle for the feather fluffers.
- The Patriots and Eagles put on a defensive struggle Friday night. No, I don't mean one of those classic slugfests, rather both teams made a dedicated effort to out struggle each other. If you watched the game you know exactly what I mean. Cary Williams summed the Eagles defense up when he stated his opinion of his new team.
Right now I don't know if there's anybody out there in the league that fears this defense, especially after last week.
- The best statement I can make about the Philly "D" is that they struggled in coverage and were non-existent against the run. The only highlight I noticed while watching them was that sophomore Vinny Curry is developing into a small beast as a pass rusher.
- With the recent visit of the injury bug, especially at the receiver position, the Eagles may have gotten some good news. Former Ram Greg Salas has upped his game. From Mike Kaye at BGN;
Wide receiver Greg Salas is not just a practice player. The young wide-out made plays, even with G.J. Kinne. Salas scored the first touchdown of Barkley's young career on a bubble screen where he got literally no blocking. The Hawaii alum also caught a 35-yard reception from Kinne
- The Eagles also went outside the organization to find receiving help. On Monday they completed a player for player deal with the Houston Texans. Philly sent Nate Menkin, an offensive lineman, to Houston in return for wide out Jeff Maehl. Maehl is a former Kelly guy from Oregon, where he had 77 catches for 1076 yards and 12 scores. Tight end Clay Harbor has also been getting reps at receiver for the Eagles.
Carolina @ Philadelphia Thursday
Dallas @ Arizona Saturday
Indianapolis @ New York Giants Sunday
Pittsburgh @ Washington Monday
If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.