NFC East thru Week 2: Thoughts?

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NFC East thru Week 2: Thoughts? Empty NFC East thru Week 2: Thoughts?

Post by lgkehoe on Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:44 pm

Dallas Cowboys - We should have enough places in this forum to go into detail, but a couple of quick points.

  • This is not a championship caliber team, regardless of who is taking snaps. It wasn't in February, and it still is not in September, and still wont be in October. And unless there is some weird super trade netting about two or three impact players on defense, then it won't be any time in 2016.
  • I believe they have found their QB of the future. He has the physical makeup, the poise, the smarts, and the heart. But hey, Jerry is still the GM, so we'll see if and when he screws this one up. I am at least hoping its some new fabulous way, rather than his usual neglect of the defense or scapegoating a coordinator and the schemes with them. I'm near certain it will involve meddling and undermining the team's leadership in some way.
  • The vaunted running machine is still needing some fine tuning. How much of that is the QB change or the rookie RB, I am not sure. My expectation is we will find out more in the next couple of weeks as the playbook continues to open up a bit, and the staff feels more comfortable running "their" offense.
  • Thus far, the coaches once again seem challenged in getting all the talented offensive pieces working to their fullest. I am starting to wonder if Garrett has reached his peak. He was a big part of curing the locker room ailments, and he may still be the best coach specifically for Jerry. However, he does appear constantly over-matched, and the "learning on the job" grace period has expired for this fan.

Washington Slurs

  • This team will go as far as Kirk Cousins can take them, which as of week 2, does not look like that's very far. Take away Reed and contain Jackson and defensing the passing game is complete.
  • Why did they let Morris go? Their running game could not capitalize on the Cowboys defense, and that's telling.
  • Jon Gruden may be the worst head coach in the division. At some point, he is going to have to admit he was wrong and start assigning Norman to the opposition's #1.
  • The team lacks identity. I see very little to build on from this team. Wish the Cowboys could get Kerrigan, as he is the only bright spot on an otherwise uninspiring roster.

Jim Mara Giants

  • As of right now, they still have the best and most experienced QB in the division.
  • Victor Cruz appears to be back. That should open things up a bit for ODB. Donnel is capable. Best receiving corp in the division.
  • A decent running game with Jennings and Vereen providing an adequately decent, and complimentary committee.
  • The off season additions to the defense are working so far. The line is stout and the secondary is solid.
  • The job does not appear too big for McAdoo. This team has some hope.

Philthy Eagles

  • People will wonder what Cleveland was thinking. No one should blame Cleveland, though. Who could have predicted a small school QB could come in with such poise. Wentz is ready for the job. He's the only reason I am not bonkers over Prescott. Wentz appears to have the higher ceiling at this juncture.
  • Their defense is clicking. Curry looks to be rounding into his potential and Fletcher is a beast.
  • Pederson should have had a HC opportunity before. It's fitting for him that he ended up in Philly.
  • I hate to say it. I really do. But right now, this is the best team with the brightest future in the division. I hope I am making more out of the pitiful Browns and Bears matchups they've had, but the eye test says otherwise.

Overall, no one in the division is the cream of the NFC. But, the days of the NFC Least are over. The Cowboys and the Eagles have a strong youth movement going in the right direction. The Giants are their typical competitive selves. Thank goodness for good ole Dan in Washington.

My predicted standings...

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Post by MRich on Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:58 pm

'Boys need to move Dez around more. So long, Randy Gregory (14 game suspension).

I think part of the thing with Garrett is that he tries a lot of times to play not to lose. Sometimes he tries to play "ball control" and sometimes it's very conservative playcalling. I'd like to see whoever is calling the plays be more aggressive/creative. A delay draw from the shotgun on 3rd and 9 that picks up two yards is a bad play call. Until it works. ;-)

And since the Jerry/Romo thing was mentioned, we all know Jerry loves him some Romo. The problem comes when Romo's ready to come back. Garrett may not deal with hypotheticals, but I will here.

What if the Cowboys are doing well when Romo's ready to come back? Let's say they're 5-1 or 4-2. Who starts? You know Jerry's gonna want Romo to start. He's the QB getting paid big bucks. Neither he nor Jerry is going to want him on the bench making that kind of scratch.

I like Romo, but it's time for him to hang up the cleats. If nothing else, for his own well-being. I mean, he's got a jillion dollars (probably), beautiful wife, couple of kids...and in the non-sports world, he's still young. He should hang it up and spend time with his wife and kids. Go into coaching, or something. Analysis. Something to keep him "in" the game, if he doesn't want to hang it up completely.

But when he's ready (or says he's ready) he'll likely be the starter. Apparently, someone in the media mentioned something about it to Dak, and Dak basically said, "This is Romo's team."

It's possible we have our future QB in Dak.

But if this team wants to get to the playoffs, let alone make a run at a Super Bowl, they'd better do some drastic improving -- and quick.

Next four games:
vs CHI
@ SF
vs CIN
@ GB

How many wins do you see there? I can get to three.

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Post by lgkehoe on Thu Sep 22, 2016 12:52 pm

Here is the thing about all of Romo's accolades...the ultimate is absent. That is not to say that his family is not the ultimate, because that is truly the greatest gift a man can have. However, the competitor in him will always wonder and likely regret not giving it every conceivable effort to reach his career goals.

Jerry wants the same thing for his own validation. Accurate or not, I bet Garrett thinks Romo gives him the best chance at his own goals, too. This is still Romo's team, and every decision-maker in that organization believes that whole-heatedly.

I truly believe Dak's readiness caught this organization by surprise. I am certain they knew he was capable as a great athlete and as a student, but they underestimated his drive. If Kellen Moore had not been injured and played adequately in the preseason, Dak would have been the third string QB, and these hypotheticals would not exist.

Ironically, Dak's capable substitution combined with a favorable record down the road will bolster Romo's opportunity for a run at a championship. Dak keeps Romo healing. Dak alleviates the pressures which would have culminated in desperation, both for Romo to get back to the field and for him to be the savior on the field.

And if there weren't so many more ifs on the other side of the ball, this would all be some fantastic story to end Romo's career. Unfortunately, like most of the ifs for this team, too many ifs have to fall in place for this defense to be anywhere near championship caliber.

If Ryan Davis can provide more pressure, if Tapper can get to the field, if Tapper is even going to matter, if J. Smith or R. Gregory can miraculously be late season additions, if D. Lawrence has progressed, if Romac can get focused, if Lee can stay healthy, if...this feels like every single year with this team.

I see two wins over the next four games. And even that is optimistic, because more than most, I think San Francisco is a 50/50 proposition.

Cincinnati and Green Bay are going to be rude awakenings for this fan base. As much as I really, really, really like Dak, the way the offense will have to keep up with the scoring will simply be too much for a rookie.

I think we're headed for a worst case scenario. Romo will be rushed back and the team will make a deceiving playoff run. At best, they'll run into a team like Arizona, Carolina or Minnesota in the NFC championship. Dak's development will be stunted. The progress stoppers will remain on the roster in starting roles. Jerry will think once again that the team is just one piece away, likely a number two WR. And then 2017 will be rinse, lather, repeat.

I hope I'm wrong, because this team is otherwise shaping up as a perennial powerhouse. They just need to understand defense wins championships. Cliche but still true.

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Post by Cowboy1959 on Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:09 pm

Great topic, lg. A lot of things to talk about.

I'll start with your last post first: for better or worse, this is Romo's team until he retires or is forced out of the game. Jerry says it, Garrett says it, and now even Dak's saying it, even if he feels differently.

But I don't think this team is set to make a deceiving playoff run--or even a playoff run at all--because its defense simply cannot match up against anyone. By rights we should be talking about an 0-2 team this week, because if Kirk Cousins hadn't had the worst day of his entire life we'd have lost something like 34-20. The defense got burned twice on deep balls, and if Cousins' aim had even been 50-50 on those we lose.

The defense is not ready to compete. And even if you figure it to get better (which I'm sure it will), how many teams can a "better" defense hang with on the remaining schedule? We may dodge a bullet this Sunday with Cutler almost certainly not playing, and we may not see Adrian Peterson in December, but unless our upcoming opponents get unreasonably unlucky we're going to face some potent offenses in the next 3 months. And considering that this team has yet to face an opponent with a balanced attack, it's hard to project that they have the horses to keep up.

I think the talk about Romo "needing" to retire is a red herring. It's likely that he's setting himself up for some serious pain later in life, but that die is already cast, isn't it, so the only question here is whether the incremental risk of future injury is enough to deter him from coming back until he either wins a Super Bowl or ages out. That's both a medical question and a point of competitiveness for Romo himself. I think if we were talking about concussions instead of broken bones his decision may have already been made for him, but in this case I wonder if the risk of "catastrophic" injury is high enough to make it a clear enough call, and I'm not hearing anything from a medical standpoint that indicates anything like that.

lg, you answered a question I posed in another topic, i.e., whether Dak's performance makes the Cowboys more or less anxious to get Romo back into action. I'm not sure I agree with your conclusion, but I also can't make a case against it, either. I think it comes down to how deeply the Cowboys feel that Dak has proven his readiness. They are certainly playing with house money right now, but the Cowboys certainly haven't faced a top-flight defense yet. And if the Cowboys are at all concerned that Dak's remarkable run has got to end sometime, they may bank these wins while still being antsy to get Romo on the field. You'd like to think that the organization would step back and realize that this season may not be about what they may have hoped it would be about back in July, but when has Jerry ever thought that this team wasn't just a step away from 1992?

As you so accurately noted, there are way too many "ifs" around this team to believe with any reasonable certainty that it will be able to even make the playoffs, much less compete well in the them. And harking back to your original post in this thread, there are at least two teams right now who look better than the Cowboys in their own division.

The Giants look to have made a series of very smart investments in their defense, and if Jerry wants to look for a template of how to handle next offseason, he would do worse than emulating the Giants. Of course, the Cowboys won't have anything near $200 million to put into a defensive upgrade (as if Jerry would even if he could), so they have got to continue to hope that the guys they've been drafting and signing will grow under Rod Marinelli's tutelage. And it would help mightily if the guys they paid premium picks to get can stay on the field. The Randy Gregory situation is shaping up as a complete disaster, as it seems he's much more troubled than even the Cowboys believed. Whatever you think about how marijuana should be handled by the NFL, considering that it's legal in 2 states, the guy seems so deeply into smoke that who knows how well he will be able to perform as time goes by. He's a total write-off for the second straight season, and considering their recent run of failure with second picks, the Cowboys keep shooting themselves in the foot. That's just bad, bad front office management. It's Jerry trying to hit a gusher from a dry well. And if Jaylon Smith never recovers, or never recovers enough to regain his former level, then this defense will be set back another year. How many years can the Cowboys waste before the other parts of this incipient "perennial powerhouse" begin to age out of their prime?

But I was talking about the Giants, so let me get back to them. Right now they look like the best team in the division, and they seem to have the most overall talent and balance across their offense, defense, and ST. Plus, they have the best QB in the division right now. But the Giants have been known to fade as the season progresses, and let's face it: they didn't overwhelm the Cowboys on opening day. If Beasley holds onto a pass he normally would have caught at the 3-yard line, the Cowboys score enough to at least force the Giants to score one more time for a win or OT. And, who knows, but if Lance Dunbar and Terrence Williams don't go brain-dead on the final drive, perhaps Dan Bailey gets a chance to win the game anyway.

I'll give the Giants the early edge on the division, but I need to see more to consider them the presumptive division champ. Still, we're already a game behind them in both the standings and the tie-breaker, so at the very least we need to beat them at Giants Stadium to consider ourselves on par with them.

The team that's starting to worry me is the Eagles. They are getting the type of play out of Carson Wentz that I don't think even they were projecting. Yes, they've played two marshmallows so far, but Wentz has still transcended the level of play needed to beat them, and he's building up a reservoir of confidence for both himself and the team. That often snowballs as a season goes along.

He was practically surgical on Monday night, and if this is who he is then we're looking at a long 10-15 years of competing against the Eagles. We'd better hope that Dak is up to the task. I'm not sure how you calculate that Wentz has a bigger upside than Dak, but if you're right we're going to need some more offensive firepower to keep up over the next decade. That makes the Elliott pick look a little smarter.

However, as with Dak, we really haven't seen anyone take the full measure of Wentz so far, so the jury's still out. But I agree that the Eagles seem to be at least a year ahead of schedule all across the board, and these early wins are putting a lot in the bank that may pay off down the road. And considering that their defense is better than ours, we have a way to go to catch up. We'd better hope that our OL and our RBs get themselves into gear, because the Eagles have a history of being rough on our QBs. They've been knocking our QBs out of games since the 1960s, and I'm sure they'll be more than willing to add Dak to that collection. If they have an Achilles heel, it's that Chip Kelly did a masterful job of emptying the cupboard of talent, and Doug Pederson started his coaching career at a real deficit. Still, the Eagles have made some good moves that are paying off for now. The Eagles are another team that often fades in the stretch, so we'll see if they can maintain their level of play when they start meeting better opponents.

I wouldn't sleep on the Redskins. Last year they were 2-4 and counted out, and then went 7-3 in the stretch, including 4-0 to close out the season. I still haven't figured out if Jay (not Jon) Gruden is a good coach or has just gotten lucky, but he's the coach on the shortest leash in the NFC East this year. If he can't get this team back to the playoffs I don't think he gets another year to build. He almost singlehandedly ran RG3 out of town, a player who Daniel Snyder was personally close to, but if his chosen QB can't win, I can easily see Snyder deciding to scrap the entire thing and move on from both Cousins and Gruden.

Still, the Redskins have always managed to be the gnats at the barbecue, hanging around and being annoying, and sometimes getting their way. They're down right now, and the morale looks bad, but winning is a great deodorant according to the great John Madden, and if they get a signature win like last season's miracle comeback against Tampa Bay, it could change the entire mindset in D.C. Cousins has played poorly so far, but I still don't see anything to suggest that this is a permanent condition for him, especially since last year's performance suggests otherwise. If he could do it once, he can certainly do it again. And, not to beat a dead Redskin, but they were thisclose to being 1-1 and having the entire dynamic changed.

I've always liked Ryan Kerrigan as well and would love to see him in a Cowboys' uniform. But it's very unlikely he'll ever play anywhere else, as he's perhaps the closest thing to a franchise player on that team.

Right now, the Cowboys' focus has to be on these next 2 games, which are both very winnable. If they can get to 3-1, they should be able to withstand going 0-2 the next two weeks. At 3-3 the Cowboys will be very much alive, and by that point they'll get into the meat of the schedule with some additional players back in the fold. Still, the schedule after that looks like a win-one/lose-one proposition for the rest of the season, so unless they surprise someone along the way without dropping a game they shouldn't lose, I can't see anything better than 8-8 this year. I don't think that's going to be enough to get a ticket to the tournament.

Things are starting to get interesting. For better or worse, this is going to be another rollercoaster ride.


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Post by lgkehoe on Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:33 pm

Oops...yes, [i]Jay[/i ]Gruden!

I don't give the Redskins nearly as much credit. They'll play the same schedule, except they get the Cardinals and the Panthers, instead of the 9ers and the Buccaneers. That's the difference between last and second to last in the division.

And I guess I should have worded it differently...I dont think we are "headed" to the worst case scenario, but meant only to elaborate on what that worst case scenario is. Romo may, just may mean a couple of more wins above that 8-8, but progress will be stunted on many levels, including bolstering the false hope. Leave it to this team to hurt itself by winning.

But let me play devil's advocate, just for the fun of it. I have a good feeling about Ryan Davis. I think he just got lost in a crowded unit, and thus, his departure from Jax. Now, he may just be a one trick pony, but he has some great footwork, and a high motor. He is definitely an RKG, and I do think he will elevate the pressure on opposing QBs. He wont be a DeMarcus Ware, but he will disrupt enough to make it ever so slightly easier on the secondary.

This defense is not better or worse than the defense in 2014. With an inevitably improved running game, I think the TOP continues to get better for the offense, and the strategy of protecting the defense works again.

That's all I got for the devil, so, as of week 2, I still think the Cowboys end up taking third in the division and out of the playoffs.

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