clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Around the NFC East: Cowboys, Redskins, Eagles storylines

Let’s catch up with what’s going on around the Giants’ NFC East rivals

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz during his NFL debut on Sunday.
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s take a quick respite from talking about the New York Giants to see what the Week 1 fallout has been like for the Giants’ NFC East rivals.

Dallas Cowboys (0-1)

In Dallas, they are still wondering how the Giants did what they did to the Cowboys on Sunday. Basically, the Giants handled Dez Bryant and they won the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball when it mattered most.

Film Review: Cowboys O-line struggles make Zeke look human | Inside The Star

For all the questions which surrounded the Dallas Cowboys going into the season opener, the one unit which we thought we could count on would be the offensive line. Heralded as the strongest unit in all of football, the run game was supposed to excel on Sunday, and carry the Cowboys to success while quarterback Tony Romo was missing.

But then this top unit ran into a wall. Led by Damon Harrison and Jonathon Hankins, the New York Giants defensive tackles gave All-Pro Center Travis Frederick and potential Pro Bowler La’el Collins fits on Sunday.

We knew that the Giants defensive line would be a tough match-up given their size and talent, but I had expected Frederick and company to get the better of the two on most occasions. Unfortunately, Sunday might have been Frederick’s worst performance as a Cowboy.

Note: There are a few nice GIFs in this post Giants fans will enjoy.

Sturm's Marinelli report: Gashed in the middle of the defense | SportsDay

The Giants cranked up a running game we didn't really realize they had and pushed the ball down the field twice when it counted most. Once to take the lead was just complimenting Eli and his crew through the air. But the killer was the final Giants drive that took the clock and all the timeouts away from the Cowboys.

It was a classic 4-minute drill. This is not as famous amongst fans as the 2-minute drill, because it is pretty much the opposite. Instead of trying to score quickly, you are trying to bleed the clock dry. This is best done on the ground so that you don't stop the clock. The problem is that the defense knows you want to run and that means it is a matter of might. Can your guys block theirs?

With Terrell McClain, Cedric Thornton, and a healthy Tyrone Crawford, I was optimistic that the Cowboys would be fine in these situations. But, if any part of your preseason confidence should be rattled, it might be what we saw in those final 2 drives. A fresh Cowboys defense was gouged repeatedly.

Hot Topic: Will the Cowboys be able to get Dez Bryant more involved against Washington? | Blogging The Boys

A loss in the season opener brings a lot of questions and speculation about the Dallas Cowboys. The fact that the defeat at the hands of the New York Giants was so agonizingly close just makes it worse. There are a lot of hot button issues this week, but one of the most sizzling is what happened to Dez Bryant?

As Jim Scott discussed, there were three times during the game when Bryant failed to make plays that could easily have altered the outcome. He has come through on similar occasions many times in the past. But he also was targeted only five times in the entire contest, out of 45 passes thrown by Dak Prescott.

So what was going on?

Washington Redskins (0-1)

The defending NFC East champs opened with a discouraging (for them) 38-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football.

Redskins' Jay Gruden says Kirk Cousins still a 'young QB' | ESPN

Cousins completed 30-of-43 passes for 329 yards and two interceptions in Washington’s 38-16 loss to Pittsburgh on Monday night. But it was the plays Cousins didn’t make that stood out as well. He threw incomplete to tight end Jordan Reed and receiver Jamison Crowder on consecutive plays in the first quarter -- both were open -- that could have produced touchdowns. Instead, they settled for a field goal.

But Gruden says nights like Monday are part of the growing process for Cousins. Though he has been in the NFL since 2012, Gruden said his number of starts do not make him done growing.

“That’s still a young quarterback to me. He’s still growing,” Gruden said. “You look at some of the best quarterbacks in the league -- Big Ben [Roethlisberger], [Tom] Brady and Eli [Manning] -- these guys have a ton of starts under their belt. Tons of experience, and they’ve seen a lot and been through a lot, and they still have their problems every now and then.”

Dez Bryant ‘can’t wait’ to square off with Josh Norman | Washington Post

“I can’t wait,” Bryant told the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday. “I think it’s going to be exciting for both sides. We look forward to playing some great football.” ...

In July, Norman offered words of praise for Bryant to ESPN. “He goes after the ball like no other receiver does like that, besides Julio [Jones],” Norman said (via the Morning News). “There are a handful of guys, but he is more or less making a play out of no play. That’s kind of his game, man. He’s a game-changer in that aspect.

“He’ll let you know about it and I like playing against guys like that, I really do, because you get the most out of that battle. It makes you want to do more than you thought of yourself. He brings it out of you. I love challenges like that.”

“The feeling’s mutual,” Bryant said Tuesday. “He has earned his respect in this league. When you go up against a guy like that, you’re going to have bring your best because if you don’t, he’ll get the best of you.”

Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)

Could Nelson Agholor be turning a corner for the Eagles? | Bleeding Green Nation

Nelson Agholor had a dismal rookie season. The first-round pick was the fourth wide receiver off the board in 2015. He finished his first season as a pro with 22 catches for 283 yards and one touchdown, the kind of output you expect from a borderline fourth or fifth wide receiver, not a man taken to be a starting wideout for the next eight years. ...

Agholor was targeted at least four times in seven games last year. In those seven games, he never managed to catch four passes. He was targeted five times on Sunday, and he caught four of those five passes.

NFL analyst Steve Mariucci raves about Eagles' Carson Wentz | Lehigh Valley Live

"There were a couple plays in that game that made you go, whoa, this kid's got something special," Mariucci said Tuesday on a conference call along with fellowNFL Network analyst LaDainian Tomlinson. "He missed a lot of the camp because of a broken rib, so it's 4th and 4 in this game, a big play near the red zone, and they get full blitz. He knows he's short a guy in protection because he's in an empty set, and he gets stuck through an Agap. And somebody hit his ribs as he threw a completion for a first down. Hit him right in the ribs. I was going oh, my God, is he going to get up?

"The very next play is a touchdown pass. So he really showed that, especially to Cleveland because they had a chance to draft him and they chose not to, to show that he's got a little something to him"

Wentz finished Sunday with a 101 passer rating with two touchdowns and 278 yards while completing just under 60 percent of his passing attempts.