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NFC East The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Week 2

Steve Shoup

By Guest Writer Nick Clarke:

 

The NFC East bounced back from a three loss performance in week one with a three win showing in week two.  Although the Redskins saw their starting quarterback and top receiver exit early in the game, they pummeled Jacksonville to a 41-10 victory.  The Giants continued their ineptness on offense and special teams, while Dallas enjoyed a solid game from all three phases of the game in route to a 16 point road win.  The Eagles pulled their tale of two teams act again, coming back in a thrilling win on the road.

 

The Good    

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Nick FolesDarren Sproles.  Foles to Sproles.  Expect more of the dynamic duo, especially with Chip Kelly’s demonstrated desire to create plays to have Sproles in open space.  With defenses so focused on containing LeSean McCoy, Kelly will keep dialing up looks that disguise Sproles and let him escape into the open field.

Entering the season, the Dallas Cowboys’ defense was supposed to be historically bad, yet of the limited action the defense has seen thus far, they look anything but bad.  I would describe the defense as very solid.  Rolando McClain is doing his best to make Cowboys’ fans forget about Sean Lee’s absence, against Tennessee last week; McClain had seven tackles, an interception, a quarterback pressure, and a tackle for a loss.  McClain just pops on tape and has everyone in Dallas excited about a reliable defense.

The Redskins finally saw some return on their investment in their defensive front seven, in which they have specifically invested a lot in Jason Hatcher, Ryan Kerrigan, and Brian Orakpo.  They combined for ten sacks, four of which came from Kerrigan.  It would certainly help the Redskins’ chances without RGIII if the pass rush was able to come alive and finally reach its potential.

Overall, the Giants continued to disappoint, but they did have one small bright spot; their tackling.  The Giants’ defense only missed two tackles the entire game, they hadn’t missed so few since week seven of last season.  The Giants were plagued last year by poor tackling last year, and if there’s anything decent to take from their horrific start to the 2014 campaign it would be their vast improvement in tackling.

DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys’ offensive line looked like men among boys against the Titans.  The Cowboys’ offense is scary to think about if Murray and the run game can develop into the league’s best.  Even with the commitment to feed Murray in week two, we still saw Mr. Bryant get in on the action.  Dez found himself covered by two Tennessee defensive backs within one foot right from the get-go, right from the first play in fact.  Dez managed to finish the day off with ten receptions and a trip to the end zone, one he’s made so many times over the past three years.

Although the Eagles run defense was clearly suspect throughout the game, the defense came up with some clutch turnovers and made stops when it needed to.  The Eagles will have to rely on their potent offense over the course of the season, but if the defense is able to make stops and create late game turnovers, they could end up playing well into January.

 

The Bad      elinew

Victor Cruz dropped a crucial fourth quarter drive extending pass, Eli Manning threw two interceptions, and the Giants’ secondary let Drew Stanton connect with Fitz six times.  The Giants aren’t doing much good these days, Cruz attributes the rough start to “execution”, promising it will be better,  Cruz and the Giants are going to need a lot more than promises to avoid a similar start to the season as last’s.  Eli has to rediscover his mojo and limit his mistakes if he wants to have the Giants in contention to win the worst division in football.

Tony Romo doesn’t look right, whether it’s rust or his surgically repaired back, we don’t know.  The Cowboys are unwilling to admit anything is wrong with Tony, and you’d like to believe them, but after two weeks of bad decisions, questionable footwork, and poor arm strength, it’s clear to even the most casual observer that Romo is still behind the eight ball.  I tend to believe the problem is more due to rust than anything and given time he will look like the old Romo again, but if the Romo and the Cowboys are withholding an injury this could be a tough season for an offense with so much promise.

Dropped interceptions, one of the more frustrating plays to watch as a fan, were a common theme of the Redskins’ route of Jacksonville.  Obviously, they didn’t necessarily need the turnovers, but it’s a good habit to get into.  The Redskins had ten sacks, and with an explosive pass rush like that, the secondary will continue to see chances to make game changing interceptions or pass breakups, and eventually there will come a time where they won’t be playing Jacksonville and actually do need the turnovers.

 

The Ugly    NFL: SEP 14 Jaguars at Redskins

It appears as if the Giants fans have already had enough with the Giants’ early season foibles.  MetLife stadium erupted in Boos as Victor Cruz, who so often hears “Cruzzzzz”, only heard Boos this past Sunday.  New York is not a forgiving or friendly place to play unless you’re winning, and well the Giants are going to need to do more of that if they want to start hearing more Cruzzzzes than Boos.  The Giants need the crowd more than ever, and with the players right and left calling the fans out to be better, it should make for an interesting relationship as the year goes on.

Robert Griffin III dislocated his ankle and very well may have played his last snap this season, or as some would say in a Redskins’ uniform.  I think to say his career is over with the Redskins is a huge overreaction, but I also think the Redskins’ four to five week timetable is not close to accurate.  Right now, it looks like RGIII will sit out the remainder of the season whether it’s because of Cousins’ good play or because he needs a full year to get right, RGIII has probably played his last snap of the 2014 season.  It’s tough for fans to believe after his third serious injury in as many years, that he will soon rediscover his electrifying rookie play, but he could use a year off to get his mind right and commit to being a pocket passer.

It’s tough to write something good about Dez Bryant without having to explain a little bad, and well week two was no different.  Bryant, who is a vocal sideline leader, had a mini fit after Romo didn’t see him wide open on what looked to be a sure touchdown.  Bryant did not let his emotions completely take over like in Detroit last season, but he did have complete control over them as he was visibly upset as he walked off the field and was unable to immediately put the play behind him.  Clearly Bryant is maturing everyday as a route runner, team leader, and man, just ask anyone in the Dallas Cowboys facility, but if Dez really wants to shed his diva label, he is going to have to cut out the fits in any capacity completely out of his repertoire.

 

 



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