I've been doing my random thoughts from each Eagles game so far, but this week I figured I'd switch it up a bit and turn my attention to our division rivals, since I've been able to see all but 2 of their games so far this season. Cowboys fans... Read no further:
Ø Before the season started last year, back before the Eagles traded for Jason Peters, I remember wondering how exactly the Eagles were going to block the Giants' D Line. They had Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, Chris Canty, Barry Cofield, etc etc. Deep... and talented. At the time, many pundits were saying the Giants were the best team in the NFL, based on the strength of their offensive and defensive lines. As silly as that sounds now, at the time, I kind of bought it. And then... they just weren't that good. Well, news flash: Their defensive line... Yeah, it's good again. Their defense is currently #1 in the league in yards allowed (244.6 per game), and is 3rd in sacks (19). Most disturbing is the play of a guy that I had always believed was overrated in the first place, and soon-to-be finished after his lingering knee injury and general bad attitude, Osi Umenyiora. Give credit where credit is due - So far this season, Umenyiora has 6 sacks... and 5 forced fumbles. I'll repeat that last part - Osi Umenyiora has forced 5 fumbles so far this season - 2 against Chicago, 2 against Houston, and 1 against Carolina. The Giants won all 3 of those games. Am I worried once again about the Eagles ability to block the Giants' D Line? I sure am.
Ø If somebody were to tell me that after Week 5 the Redskins were going to beat 3 teams with the level of talent of the Eagles, Cowboys, and Packers, I'd have laughed in their face. And yet, they lost to the freaking Rams? Really? I have no idea what to make of this team. Are they good? Are they bad? I'm thinking more bad than good, but I'll say this - They're finding ways to win the close ones.
Ø The Cowboys are an absolute mess. Their O Line can't block anybody, their defense has grossly underperformed, they've had 2 epic disasters (the fumble return at the end of the first half against the Redskins and the TD celebration penalty against the Titans), their 3-headed monster running game is 24th in the league in yards/game and has a combined 1 TD on the ground, their kicker is extremely unreliable (although he can run fast and bench press a lot of weight), the "best TE in the league" (as I've been told) isn't playing even remotely like it, and their special teams have been bad. They're 1-3, including a loss at home after a bye, and their next 2 games are at Minnesota and then home against the Giants. Hang on... I need a cigarette. I could go on, but I think that's good enough for now. Do I like kicking the Cowboys when they're down, you might ask? Yes. Yes I do.
Ø OK, having said that bad stuff about the Cowboys, I will say this... I reluctantly admit that Miles Austin is hands down the best WR in the NFC East (and is easily top 5 in the NFL), and to my complete surprise, Roy Williams is actually putting together a decent season so far.
Ø For a small guy (5'9, 198) Ahmad Bradshaw is a very tough runner, and he fights hard for every yard he gets (449 of them so far in just 5 games, just FYI). But maybe he fights too hard for every yard - He has 3 fumbles so far this season (lost all 3), and once defenses in the NFL see a weakness there, they will absolutely go after the football like piranhas. On this same theme, Brandon Jacobs' days as a feature NFL running back are over. But if he can keep his mouth shut and be content to contribute as a role player, he's a guy that could be a great asset to that team as late-game sledge hammer type that just buries tired defenses. Did I mention I'm worried about the Giants? Well... I am.
Ø The Cowboys are getting absolutely no production whatsoever from their entire 2009 draft class, which was 12 players deep. A quick look at those players - Jason Williams, Robert Brewster, Stephen McGee, Victor Butler, Brandon Williams, DeAngelo Smith, Mike Hamlin, David Buehler, Stephen Hodge, John Phillips, Mike Mickens, and Manuel Johnson. In fairness, Phillips was looking like a solid player in the preseason, before he tore his ACL. Otherwise, the only other player that even sees the field with any regularity whatsoever is Buehler, and although I'll certainly give him credit for his ability to generate touchbacks, I'll take just about any kicker in the league over him when it comes to actually... you know... kicking field goals.
Ø OK, now I'm wondering which draft class is worse... the Cowboys' 2009 class, or the Redskins' 2008 class, which consisted of the following players: Devin Thomas, Fred Davis, Malcolm Kelly, Chad Rinehart, Justin Tryon, Durant Brooks, Kareem Moore, Colt Brennan, Rob Jackson, and Chris Horton. It's way too early to tell yet, but I'm leaning toward the Cowboys' 2009 class.
Ø Back in the 90's, Ed McCaffrey was the guy in the NFL that always seemed to be on the wrong end of vicious hits. I thought long and hard who that player was in the 00's, but couldn't really think of anyone. However, the leader out of the gate in this new decade is Kevin Boss.
Ø And finally, I hate myself for doing a power ranking, but here are my current NFC East Power Rankings - 1 - Giants, 2 - Redskins, 3 - Eagles, 4 - Cowboys.