Soyez les bienvenus!!!
Some of you may remember this series from last year. Hopefully, I'll make you forget that series. It started out okay, but because I started it in the last six or so weeks of the regular season it eventually became a series of articles praising Dez Bryant and how good he was. Which is perfectly okay. This year I'll just point out the things I took away from the game. There won't be any magic numbers like 3 or 10, or 23, or whatever you think is a nice, neat number. It really is just a collection of the things I thought. Please make note that I'm only doing this for the games that I can actually watch. So, for example, I won't be able to do this next week since I have to watch the Redskins play. Sigh. Anyway, without further ado, here are the things I think.
Yay. Way to start off your first fanpost in the year. Remind me next year not to start with the most controversial draft pick. Anyway, I really only noticed him on two plays. Both were positive. Whether by design or luck (I'm leaning toward the former), I didn't really see him get blown up on blocks too often. What I did notice, however, was his first catch as a Cowboy (sorry, guys, no NFL All-22...I'm just a high schooler who really can't plop down that kind of money). If I recall correctly, it was a highly contested catch for about 7 yards near the left sideline. There was a defender draped all over him, but he came down with the ball. I was pleasantly surprised that when the Cowboy emerged it was Gavin Escobar. The second play I noticed him on was on a run play by Demarco Murray. The NBC announcers incorrectly attributed the block to Jason Witten, I believe, and I think Escobar did a real nice job of getting in the guy's way to give Murray a little more daylight. I'm not saying he's going to be the next Jason Witten, just that when I did notice Escobar it wasn't because he got pancaked, run over, or anything like that. He's not even close to good yet, for now he's JAG, but I just like that for the two plays I noticed him he wasn't stinking it up.
EDIT: I forgot something HUGE. He showed very good awareness when he recovered Phillip Tanner's fumble in our own half. That ball couldn't have been out more than a half second when he recovered it. It probably saved us 3 or 7 points.
Jason Witten and Miles Austin
Clearly, the Giants' gameplan going into the season opener was to stop Dez Bryant. And it worked. Sadly enough for my fantasy team, he put up a miserable 4 catches for 22 yards. However, I really couldn't have cared less. By double teaming Bryant and locking him down, less resources were given to defend Miles Austin and Jason Witten. Witten had a great game, with 8 catches for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns. Miles Austin had 10 catches for 72 yards. If you're going to take away Dez deep, I can assure you that Austin and Witten will murder opposing defenses on options, slants, and out routes.
The offensive line, from the eye test, held up very well tonight. But the right side of the line is really still, quite glaringly, the weak spot on the line. I'll go over the individual linemen and tell you what I thought of them---please remember I have no film to go off of, so I guess you could invalidate me right there.
Did an excellent job all night long, holding JPP at bay. He played low, with good, solid leverage. On the Romo-nearly hurt play, he could've done a better job maybe, but really did just fine by pushing JPP past and away Romo if Romo had had the room to step up.
Meh. No film, no judgement. A holding penalty, but I don't think he was a liability, either.
Great job in the middle of the line. I've never seen Romo get so much time consistently. Smart, good strength, I think he's a keeper for the next decade.
Can we puhleaaze get Brian Waters in here? On the first sack, he did a pitiful job of trying to hold his man back. Look at the play again. The ball is snapped, and he gets just mowed on his way into the backfield. Still, he was part of a line that did an admirable job all night, so I guess he gets a pass from me.
I thought he did okay. I really did. There were a few replays that showed him getting shoved back near Romo, but even when he did, he usually held just long enough for Romo to get the ball out.
This line isn't perfect by any means, but hopefully with the addition of Brian Waters, it'll finally be able to take the next step so that Romo can, instead of feeling pressure on 2 out of 5 pressures, maybe 1 out of 10. :D
He got burned. Twice. At least. And each time he got burned, it resulted in a ridiculously long gain of yardage. Cases in point: The first long pass from Eli to Nicks, Claiborne's responsibility was to funnel the ball towards the middle, where Bruce Lee would have been had Nicks gone any further and towards Allen if any deeper. The ball was thrown well, hard, and fast, but it really shouldn't have been longer than maybe 20 yards. If we had been lucky, maybe Allen would've knocked the ball out. We'll never know, because Allen took an absolutely atrocious angle to the ball, stumbled, and left Nicks to run down the field practically uncontested. Hopefully he this is just a consequence of fewer practices and doesn't spread further down the regular season.
Capitalization...Both on Offense and Defense
The offense has to do a better job of capitalizing on turnovers. Essentially, they scored 10 points off of four turnovers. That's pitiful. Turnovers are great, but they don't do much if you don't score afterwards. The defense, as well, struggled to get off the field towards the end of the game, unable to stop the Giants offense near midfield on a critical 3rd and 5. The defense and offense must work together and capitalize on the mistakes made by opposing teams more often.
So those were the things I thought. What are you guys thinking?