Those Sunday night games can make for a late night for any east coaster, especially if you are working said game and do not leave the stadium parking lot until 3am. Now that I am home from the Cowboys-Redskins tilt and have sufficiently downed enough coffee to get the neurons firing, here are my observations - fantasy and otherwise - from the SNF clash and the rest of the NFL
1) The Cowboys plan of screens and passes to the flat over runs – especially when the ground game was working – and deep middle passes - when the Redskins were using their backup free safety who can't cover – made no sense. Jason Garrett's stock continues to plummet from his once lofty perch of Cowboys head coach in waiting.
2) It wasn't just that Dez Bryant was targeted a team-high 12 times, but the Cowboys clearly game planned to get him the ball.
3) Injury is the only thing that will hold Miles Austin back from another monster year. Or unless he uses all his energy trying to keep up with the Kardashian's.
4) The Cowboys offensive line is in such shambles that they can't even bench – or cut - Alex Barron – after three holding calls, including the crushing one that negated the winning score on the final play.
5) Plenty of folks already looooove rooting against Dallas and if possible that intensity grew stronger when the TV cameras showed Ohio native and now Miami resident LeBron James in the house rooting on his favorite team.
6) The preseason talk about Marion Barber looking refreshed entering the season were accurate.
7) The preseason concerns that Barber nor Felix Jones would receive enough touches to be a weekly fantasy starter were not removed and perhaps ratcheted up since neither had more than 11 in a game where the Cowboys dominated time of possession.
8) Dallas entered the season as a sexy pick by some to reach the Super Bowl and they were a 3-point road favorite Sunday night. Even though said game was against a hated division rival and thus you can, as they say, throw out the record books when these teams play, it did represent the Cowboys best chance for a road win for a while. Their next road game is at the Texans in week 3, followed by games at the Vikings, Packers, Giants and the Colts. Dallas will likely not be favored on the road again until Week 16 when they travel west to face the Cardinals.
1) Chris Cooley and Santana Moss each had six grabs, the rest of the team had three total. It will be that way most weeks.
2) DeMarcus Ware got the best of Skins LT Trent Williams on some plays, but it wasn't all bad for the rook, not at all.
3) Clinton Portis' ability to pass block makes him invaluable, or at least Shanahan thinks so, which is all that matters.
4) The winning ugly performance by Donovan McNabb, who alternated laser mid-range throws with low or bounce passes, only enhanced his reputation as the best worst quarterback in the game, maybe ever
5) Devin Thomas looks to be joining the Redskins long list of WR busts, but like Desmond Howard, he is finding his niche as a kick returner
6) The final holding call was accurate, but it also shows that Brian Orakpo's reputation as a premier pass rusher is such that he gets that call.
7) Whether you want to give all the credit to new coach Mike Shanahan or not – and granted the rug was almost pulled out from under them at the buzzer – the Redskins would have lost this game under the previous regime.
8) Say what you want about Albert Haynesworth's attitude, but it continues to make no sense for the Redskins to play him at nose where clearly is not comfortable. Here is the truth that nobody is willing to say; Mike Shanahan is building this team for a 2-3 year (before he flips the keys to his son Kyle). The reason he has not cut Haynesworth is not because of the money. It is because Shanahan's best chance at winning is with 92 on the field and because he knows this to be true, he is embarrassing and taking it out on the big man whenever he can.
1) No breakout fantasy free agent running backs this week - unless you are in a truly shallow league and Darren McFadden is available - but Packers backup Brandon Jackson is the number one waiver wire pick up this week. Starter Ryan Grant suffered an ankle sprain and has already been ruled out for week two against the Bills, who ranked dead last against the run last season. Jackson has RB2 appeal.
2) No team is as pass-heavy as the Eagles and they might even be more so now that they lost FB Leonard Weaver (knee) and C Jamaal Jackson (triceps) for the season. Those losses will hurt the Eagles pass protection, but will crush their ability to run inside, not to mention around the goal line. All of that could mean that using a mobile QB, say Michael Vick, is their best bet going forward. Big decision for Andy Reid right off the bat, one I think sooner or later ends with Vick under center at the start of games, not just as a change of pace.
3) Arian Foster was the fantasy headliner as the Texans RB went over 200 yards and scored three times against the Colts. In between patting themselves on the back for drafting him, fantasy owners should give a shout out to the group that really made Foster shine, the Texans much improved offensive line. Somewhere David Carr is manically laughing at that thought.
4) The Hakeem Nicks breakout season has begun. Obviously three touchdowns a week won't be the norm, but the talented receiver making big plays each week will be
5) San Fran, let's call that your mulligan. As I queried during the preseason, how can receivers Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree be so highly thought of and yet everyone questions the play of their QB Alex Smith.
6) Considering his combination of production and explosiveness, Chris Johnson might be the most fun fantasy player to own of all-time. Still, didn't his 142 rushing yards and two-TD performance seem rather casual. I mean, who outside of Tennessee is even talking about him today? Maybe the most ho-hum major statistical game ever, especially for week one. Wow is his bar set high.
7) At some point doesn't someone need to remind Brad Childress that he has Adrian Peterson on his roster and he needs to make All Day the focal point of the offense. Let Brett Favre pout if need be, but especially without Sidney Rice, that offense needs to run through Peterson, literally and figuratively.
8) Kudos to Pittsburgh for getting a win over an improved Atlanta squad and doing so without Ben Roethlisberger. However they will now need to play without another starters as LT Max Starks (high anke spain) is out for a month. As for the Falcons, I am still waiting to see with my own eyes this great quarterback named Matt Ryan I keep hearing about. Not saying he can't play, but NFL MVP, really?