NFC East Week 1 Thoughts and Standouts

    1000 1000 Sir Squatch

    By Joey Esquire

    You lazy, shiftless bastards can’t scribble out a few paragraphs and e-mail it to Squatch. Shameful. You can’t even make a list of names and call it an all-bEast team. It doesn’t even really require any real thought. Freeloaders.

    Given my position on this blog as the provider of sagacious wisdom and insight, I feel it is my responsibility to try to teach you lazy cretins a thing or two. So each week I’ll try to put down a few thoughts on the division and highlight some standout performances, good and bad. That may turn into an all-bEast team later in the season, but I don’t think there is a meaningful way to have an all bEast team after one week, and my journalistic standards are just higher than certain unnamed romance novelists.

    REDSKINS – Are the Redskins really good? Are the Cardinals really bad?

    Probably both. The Cardinals finished 2017 somehow at 8-8, but they performed more like a 6-10 team. They had the second-worst point differential in the NFC and were the 22nd ranked NFL team by overall DVOA. Hiring a stale, boring retread like Mike McCoy (fresh off running the 31st ranked Broncos offense in 2017) is the kind of move bad teams make that keep them bad. Also, lolSamBradford.

    But good teams bury the bad teams on their schedule, and this game was over by halftime. For all their other flaws, the Cardinals were the No. 1 ranked run defense in 2017 and the Redskins ran the ball at will. Chandler Jones led the league in sacks in 2017 and he was a non-factor. The best sign for Redskins fans is the fact that they dominated both lines in this game, which is how you sustain success through a season.

    EAGLES – Hurry back, Carson.

    Nick Foles’ week 1 performance on the heels of an abysmal preseason has most Eagles fans anxious for Wentz to return ASAP. Foles was terrible, and the Eagles had zero downfield offense. We should be getting used to this from Foles – he is a high-variance QB who can go 11/29 for 80 yards and 0 TDs one game and 22/28 for 406 and 7 TDs the next. I guess he should be better against the Bucs or Colts, but another stinker shouldn’tshock anybody, and neither should a strong performance.

    That said, the gap between Wentz and Foles is massive, and until Wentz gets back and shows he’s healthy, Eagles fans are going to worry each week which Foles is going to show up. And in the meantime, hurry back Alshon as well because the receivers in week 1 were pretty crappy too.

    GIANTS – Does the Giants OL stinks? Again?

    For some perspective, the Jaguars were in the conversation forthe best DL and were probably the best overall defense in the NFL in 2017. Maybe it’s not as bad as it seems. Nate Solder and Christian Hernandez can’t really be worse than John Jerry and Justin Pugh, right? …. Right?

    There were definitely some positives for the Giants in week 1. Odell Beckham is still one of the best. Saquon Barkley is legit, and that 68-yard run was outstanding. The defense didn’t play badly and the Giants had a chance to drive to take the lead late against a team that made it to the AFCCG last year. But I think the biggest concerns for the Giants coming into this season were Eli and the OL, and week 1 did nothing to quell those concerns. And Ereck Flowers looks like he will singlehandedly torpedo offensive drives all year.

    COWBOYS – Is this offense broken?

    On Sunday, Dak Prescott was indecisive, inaccurate and slow through his progressions. The playcalling of Scott Linehan and Jason Garrett was uncreative and not aggressive. The run game was mediocre at best. Are the Cowboys in a funk they can break out of? Or is this just who they are?

    The Cowboys are built to rely on a dominant run game, not a merely good one. Travis Frederick is the anchor of the OL who knows how long he will be out. But even when he returns, I’m not sure they have an offense that can take advantage of a dominant run game. Week 1 is peak overreaction season in the NFL and I don’t want to fall into that trap, but honestly I think this team is in real trouble.

    NOTABLE PERFORMANCES – GOOD

    Alex Smith – Extremely efficient first game with the Redskins.
    Redskins OL – Dominant performance in run and pass blocking.
    Chris Thompson – 128 total yards and a TD on just 11 touches.
    Matt Ioannidis – The top performer on a Redskins DL that smothered the Cardinals.
    Eagles OL –Only gave up two sacks (neither of which was on the OL) and just 4 QB hits, and dominated in run blocking late.
    Fletcher Cox – Wouldn’t know it to look at the stat sheet, but one of the best games of his career.
    Chris Long – Had 1.5 sacks as a situational pass rusher plusone wiped away by penalty.
    Ronald Darby – Julio Jones got his, but mostly against Mills or zone. Darby was outstanding all game.
    Odell Beckham –Not many WRs can beat Jalen Ramsey like that.
    Saquon Barkley –That 68-yarder was beautiful. Now somebody please block for him.
    Demarcus Lawrence – Picked up where he left off. Very active off the edge.
    Chidobe Awuzie – Solid performance by the secondary overall; allowed just 101 net passing yards to non-RB receivers.

    NOTABLE PERFORMANCES BAD

    Redskins WRs – 255 yards passing for the Redskins; just 65 of them to WRs.
    Nick Foles – His best play of the game was as a receiver.
    Eagles WRs – Alshon was sorely missed. Agholor still can’t play outside.
    Zach Ertz – Two bad drops after zero all of last season.
    Giants OL – Discussed above. They still stink.
    Evan Engram – Went silent with Odell drawing targets.
    Dak Prescott – Terrible in pretty much every way.
    Cowboys OL –Gave up six sacks, and Tyron and Collins with 5 combined penalties.
    Sean Lee – Anybody wondering why Sean Lee is suddenly bad in coverage wasn’t paying attention last year.
    AUTHOR

    Sir Squatch

    Blurry, woods living, Scotch drinking, Mythical Creature.

    All stories by: Sir Squatch

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