New York Giants (1-0)
Next : New Orleans Saints
The Giants got more of a contribution out of some of their Class of 2016 than did the Dallas Cowboys during last Sunday's matchup. Three members of the New York rookie class have found themselves with significant roles on the team this year and all contributed to the success of Big Blue over the weekend.
It's still very early, but it appears general manager Jerry Reese may have hit the jackpot with this year's draft class. The top three picks (Shepard, cornerback Eli Apple and safety Darian Thompson) will basically be playing starting roles.
The fact that all three were able to contribute early on should serve as notice to the rest of the division that GM Jerry Reese has made great strides in retooling his franchise.
The above mentioned Shepard along with veterans Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham, Jr. combine to give Eli Manning a trio of athletic playmakers to go downfield. Peyton's kid brother has rarely had a toy chest that is as filled as he does now and if the offensive line can give him some time to work throughout the season the Giants are going to put a lot of points on the board.
"We can be explosive. We can score quickly. I think we got guys that can stretch the field and can make plays, also guys you can hit short passes and let them run a long way." - Eli Manning
If Bad Eli can be kept at bay this season things will get very interesting as the Salsa Dancer shakes off the rust and the rookie gains some experience.
The offensive line in New York was a question mark as the team broke camp, but against the Cowboys at least one member of the crew came out on top. Marshall Newhouse turned in an outstanding performance against Dallas and the rest of the line played a solid game as well. The question that Ben McAdoo and staff will want to see answered over the next few weeks is "Were they good or was it the Dallas defensive front?" The answer could have a lot to do with the success or lack there of in the Big Apple this season.
Washington Redskins (0-1)
Next Up: Dallas Cowboys
Washington was expected to be a serious threat to contend for the playoffs in 2016. The team that took the field on Monday night looked like it will have a hard time making it anywhere near the lofty expectations that the organization set for itself. The Pittsburgh offense carved up the Redskins defense like a Thanksgiving turkey and on the other side of the football Kirk Cousins and the offensive unit took most of the game to even get started.
It took three quarters for the Redskins to mount a single viable offensive attack, going 77 yards with a no-huddle offense — but by the time they figured out how to effectively move the ball into the end zone, Washington was already down 24-9.
It is still early in the season but the Redskins looked more like they were jockeying for draft position than they were for a position as an early front runner.
It is rare that DMN makes it into the BEast Report, but Gosselin takes a look at the Cowboys next opponent and it coincides nicely with the issues the Skins are having on the defensive side of the ball.
With Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith the Redskins can rush the passer. With Josh Norman and DeAngelo Hall they can cover receivers. What the Redskins can't seem to do is tackle running backs. Elliott, Morris and the Cowboys might be catching Washington at the right time.
With three starters not returning from the defensive front last season Washington finds itself in dire straits when it comes to stuffing the run and that should play right into the hands of Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris.
Josh Norman was big news when he was allowed to walk away from the Carolina Panthers, and many of us would have loved to see the Cowboys bring him in to be a shutdown corner. Perhaps Ron Rivera and the Panthers knew what they were doing because there were plenty of situations when you would have expected Washington to put their 'elite' free agent acquisition on one of the best receivers in the game, but they covered Antonio Brown with their second corner instead.
This comes on the heels of some videos of Washington's own receivers taking Norman to school in training camp. It certainly raises some questions about the wisdom of Dan Snider's investment in the off season. The answers coming from the Redskins camp sound quite similar to some of the song and dance routine that we are familiar with in Dallas.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Cleveland Browns 10
Philadelphia Eagles 29
Next Up: @ Chicago Bears
It looks like the Eagles have decided to stop the quarterback carousel of the past few seasons and roll with the draft pick that they traded up to acquire as their man. Carson Wentz drew a lot of attention from Dallas fans during the offseason, but ultimately he wound up in the last place any of us would want to see him go. He also lived up to the expectations that many saw for him during his professional debut.
Duffy gives us a good breakdown of what Wentz was able to do and of how the Eagles are game planning to get the most out of an inexperienced quarterback. It pains me to say so, but I was impressed with the work of both the player and the offensive staff in how they handled him.
You remember our old friend Jimmy K? This week he opines that the disappearance of the Chip Kelly philosophy could be the single best thing that happened to the Eagles defense during the off season.
In the past, former players who played under Chip Kelly spoke out about feeling fatigued at the end of the season, partly because of the Eagles' practice regimen, but also because of the absurd number of snaps the Eagles ran both on offense and defense (especially defense). The numbers above indicate that end-season fatigue was indeed very likely a significant issue.
Jimmy points out that the high number of snaps that Kelly's style of football forced onto the defense translates into an extra 4-5 'games' worth of plays when compared to the pace they displayed against the Browns. That leads to fatigue and it clearly explains the cause of the Philadelphia defense fading down the stretch.
There is not a quarterback in the league that would not like to have a tight end of Ertz' caliber in his arsenal. For a rookie like Carson Wentz it is even more important than it would be for a veteran passer. He will go into his first Monday night affair without that luxury thanks to a rib injury suffered against the Browns. Injured, the Eagles tight end still turned in a good performance, but now he will be sidelined at least one week.
"The rib has displaced itself underneath the collarbone, but it's not a fracture or a broken bone. It's a dangerous situation with a displaced bone because you're talking up around the neck and head area, so any type of blow again could do further damage to that. That's why it's a week-to-week deal." - Doug Pederson
Sounds painful, but I wonder if a certain tight end in Dallas would rub some dirt on it and play anyhow.