Why the Cowboys will have to overpay for Dak Prescott

With technology and social media at an all-time high, the world in sports has evolved. Why am I bringing this up? Well, anybody who goes on Twitter (myself included) seeing sports-related Tweets or posting sports-related Tweets about teams, players, etc. is posting it right there on emotion, most of the time having a “hot take” at that moment.

For those who are saying I’m a hypocrite for pointing this out, well, I have done my share in venting and taking hot takes on Twitter (I try not to, but human emotion does take over).

Why am I bringing this up? Rewind to 2016 when the Dallas Cowboys were the toast of the town, dominating with two young rookies of Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott. Elliott was a first round pick by the Boys in the draft, but Dak was drafted in the 4th round as a backup to Tony Romo. Well, we know the story: Romo gets injured and Prescott takes over. And wins game after game after game for the Boys.

The toast on Twitter? Dak Prescott. He did no wrong. He was considered a front-runner for both rookie of the year and MVP. He had a great background story, a sympathetic one, etc. Life was good for the young quarterback. People went “there is no earthly way Romo should return at quarterback given how Dak is playing” But then…things started to change.

Dak’s Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones came out and said he wasn’t sure if Dak should remain the quarterback if and when Romo returns from injury. Nearly a week later, Dallas’s torrid run at 11-1 ended in New York, losing to the Giants. Many on Twitter went after Jones, who made the comments during that week. Other people started to question Dak’s ability to lead the team into the post-season and wondered if Dak was the right man, especially that Romo was on the mend.

Dallas kept Prescott as the quarterback and had homefield throughout the playoffs. They lost to Green Bay at home in a classic battle though Prescott did nothing wrong (more of what Aaron Rodgers was doing was the reason why Dallas lost).

After the season, it was reported Elliott would be suspended due to violating the NFL personal conduct policy. While he appealed his case and played early on, Elliott struggled as did Prescott. When Elliott had to serve his suspension, Prescott and the Cowboys really struggled. They went 3-3 without him, but the three losses were embarrassments, and were ones who were fighting for the playoffs (Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chargers) and the wins were to teams who were pretty much done for with the season (Giants, Raiders, Redskins).

Dallas finished at 9-7, but many wondered if Dak is the right guy for the job.

The next season a healthy and suspension-free Elliott came back. Dak’s numbers however, didn’t show the improvement or growth like some had believed and many questioned his ability to be that guy getting the Cowboys back to the promised land for the first time in 25 years. However, the trade of Amari Cooper helped things for Prescott as he finally got that big time receiver he lacked since Dez Bryant left after 2016. His numbers were stout after the Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper and Dallas won the NFC East for the second time in 3 years. A win over Seattle in the first round, but the Boys fell to the eventual NFC Champion Rams. Many pointed to the fact that Dak did not make the necessary plays as Los Angeles stopped Elliott on the run and made him pass. Of course, the take is “Dak is not an answer at quarterback and doesn’t deserve any contract extension that he is asking for.”

Which, the extension value? $30 million per year.

Needless to say, the Cowboys are in a bind. Is Dak worth that much in the scheme of things for NFL quarterbacks? No. But we have to realize a key issue here: he is an adequate, if not good quarterback. And in the NFL, you DO NOT let a franchise quarterback go unless you know you have another franchise quarterback right behind. Teams who haven’t that franchise quarterback are the teams who often languish at the bottom (see the Cleveland Browns pre-Baker Mayfield, Detroit Lions pre-Matthew Stafford, Buffalo Bills). Sure, they may have a year or two with some backup quarterback who has a nice run, but they still don’t sniff a post-season berth or they remain near the bottom and will continue to be that way. Prescott is at anything a constant for Dallas. Yes, he isn’t going to put up those massive numbers like a Brady, Brees, or Rodgers. But he doesn’t need to. He has to make sure he plays smart (which overall he does), and makes those needed plays to win games (still has SOME work there, but overall, he’s not the worst at it).

Again, I don’t think Dak is worth $30 million, but to Dallas, they may have to pay him that regardless. Not having a franchise quarterback really destabilizes a franchise. And in Big D where the owner is desperately wanting to return to the glory years of the early/mid 90’s, it is not great to have massive question marks at the one position you don’t need to have the question mark.

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

Twitter

Facebook

Advertisements

The Obstructed NFC Wild Card Preview

As we sit on the eve of the playoffs, the NFC Wild Card games are going to be a couple of interesting games. We have the defending Super Bowl champions having to take the long road to a repeat. We have a team who has relied on their defense to win games again, just like they did over 30 years ago for their only Super Bowl Title. We have a team who has rebuilt and retooled for another Super Bowl run. And finally we have a team who made a big trade midway through the season hoping to catch fire the rest of the way. And they ultimately did. So we have teams set with storylines and goals so it really should be a fun start to the playoffs.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS AT DALLAS COWBOYS, 8:15 (SATURDAY), FOX

FOR THE SEAHAWKS: They got there with a revamped defense and a young one. They god rid of the major veterans from the Legion of Boom years (save really Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright) and have started over, but it really worked as the poise and focus has been there (something I felt was missing for the past three seasons in Seattle). The Seahawks will rely once again on offense with Russell Wilson who probably had his best season of his career this year (3,000+ yards, 35 TD’s only 7 INT’s with a comp. rate of 65.6). However, Wilson can be like Barry Sanders of quarterbacks where he tries to do too much and can actually lose yards now and then (51 sacks on him this year, most in his career). And Dallas is a team that Wilson can’t try to be cute with the football against as they can get after him like nobody else. However, what has made Wilson more difficult has been the presence of a run game, something that really has been missing since 2014 when Marshawn Lynch was there. Chris Carson is a back who had over 1,000 yards and 9 touchdowns. If he has a good game, it will make Dallas’s defense honest which is great for Wilson.

FOR THE COWBOYS: The Amari Cooper trade installed new life into the franchise from top to bottom. Dallas went 7-1 down the stretch with Cooper on the roster (not counting the Tennessee game). Dak Prescott was the one who benefited the most as many started to view him as a flash in the pan. Prescott completed 69% of his passes with 12 TD’s and 3 INT in that span. Ezekiel Elliott showed he is one of the game’s elite backs and can really put pressure on any team himself. And in the game against Seattle earlier this season rushed for over 100 yards. The Cowboys defense has been pretty strong all season if not spectacular. They have guys who can get after quarterbacks (Demarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, Tyrone Crawford), and a great young linebacker that is fun to watch in Leighton Vander Esch. So the front seven for Dallas will have to be a major issue for Seattle.

OUTLOOK: The key match-up is going to be Seattle’s receivers against Dallas’s secondary. The one thing about Seattle and how great they’ve been has been the play of Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett notably for the Seahawks. If the Cowboys can’t get pressure Wilson, this may be a long game for Dallas. It will also be can Wilson play without trying to do too much with the ball such as trying to extend plays. If he can avoid that, then I think Seattle is in great position to win. However, he has also been hit a lot this year again. I don’t know if the Seahawks line can stop Dallas’s pass rush. On the other side, Dallas has been a far different team than the one that lost to Seattle in what feels like a century ago. I don’t know for as good as the Seahawks defense is, if there is any one player that can stop Cooper on the outside. That may be the two things I give an edge on Dallas with and that may be enough to send them into the Divisional round. COWBOYS 23, SEAHAWKS 20

EAGLES AT BEARS, 4:40 (SUNDAY), FOX

FOR THE EAGLES: Well, it has a small ring to it. Starting QB is injured and backup comes in and gets them to the playoffs. Philadelphia who had been somewhat lying in the weeds all season, strung a winning streak near the end of the season to defend their Super Bowl title. Nick Foles gets the nod, hoping to keep that magic like they had last season. But this time they have to do it away from Philadelphia and do it in a hostile environment in Chicago. Tough task to take. But Foles has Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, and now Golden Tate to have a formidable passing game. However, the lack of a running game is very problematic this year (28th in the league in rushing yards) and going against the #1 run defense in the league in Chicago. This right here, if Philadelphia has no luck whatsoever, the game could not last very long. Foles however has been solid, but again, Chicago’s defense is excellent against the pass and opportunistic as well. So the Eagles will need to do something on defense such as getting interceptions and fumbles. That means the Eagles front four need to put pressure on Mitch Trubisky to have a shot. Trubisky had a great sophomore season, but hasn’t been tested in playoff time yet. The Eagles will have to force Trubisky into making some errors and stop the tandem of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. It’s a tough task to do doing everything on Chicago’s fairly balanced offense.

FOR THE BEARS: Chicago will rely on their #1 defense to get them to Atlanta in February. They are one who relies on getting turnovers and making those big stops especially from keeping the drive from extending into longer drives. With the Eagles having a non-existent running game this season, the Bears may not have to worry much on that and focus on going after Foles. In that case, you can see it being a long game or Philadelphia’s offense. With the Bears offense, Trubisky will have to play smart and not try to take major chances down the field if he is pressured. He threw for 12 INT’s (not bad) but it seems like those INT’s have come at times where he’s been under the gun and tries to do too much a la Russell Wilson. It may have to come with experience for him as the Bears have’t seen the playoffs for a good while. But I think to take pressure off of Trubisky, both Cohen and Howard will have to be actively involved in the offense so Trubisky has a great chance. When they are involved, Trubisky fares far better than when that aspect is shut down.

OUTLOOK: This is the one game that I feel “comfortable” in my pick. Chicago’s defense is tough across the board and Philadelphia right now is really one-dimensional. That bodes well for the Bears who can just get after Foles. As for the other side, if Trubisky plays smart and doesn’t turn the ball over, then I don’t see it being much of a game. The only way Philadelphia wins is if Chicago makes mistake after mistake. I don’t see it happening. Chicago has been a pretty disciplined group all season. Maybe a concern should be the special teams notably with Cody Parkey on the Bears. If it does, I don’t know if it affects this game. BEARS 27, EAGLES 10

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

Twitter

Facebook

Looking at the Three Major NFL Trades This Week

The NFL Trade Deadline is approaching and we are actually getting something happening that we’ve never really seen before at the Trade Deadline in the NFL: Trades.

This week we saw three moves being made that really impacted teams who are hoping to play some January football.  We will look at all of them and figure out the impact of the trades for the teams involved.

RAIDERS TRADE AMARI COOPER TO COWBOYS FOR 2019 FIRST ROUND PICK

For Dallas:  The Cowboys needed a WR as the passing offense is a disaster, so it makes sense on that issue.  Adding on, Tavon Austin (whom Jerry Jones compared him to Michael Irvin-not kidding on that either) has been injured while the tandem of Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson, and Michael Gallup won’t resemble that of the Falcons, Steelers, and Saints receivers that’s for sure.  It’s been said that Jerry Jones was REALLY involved on getting Cooper there and when Jerry REALLY wants a certain player, he will get that certain player.  But is Cooper worth a first round pick?  He has the ability to be a #1 receiver and an elite one at that.  His first two seasons were excellent and considered elite (155 rec, 2,223 total yards, 11 TD), but the last two years, as he’s been dinged up, he has struggled tremendously (especially this year in the Raiders lost season).  He has only 22 catches for 280 yards and 1 TD.  Now Dallas hopes that a better atmosphere instead of the toxic one out in Oakland right now will do the trick.  But though it is one pick, that is a first rounder.  If Cooper produces like he did in 2015 and 2016 then yes, a pick well spent.  But Dallas was burned before 10 years ago when they traded a first rounder to Detroit for Roy Williams, who pretty much did nothing after joining the Cowboys.  So in other words, high-risk, high-reward for Dallas with this move.  That said, they probably could have made a better offer than that for Cooper.  GRADE: C+

For Oakland:  The nightmare for Raiders fans continue as Gruden now shipped off his offensive star.  While I get the idea that the Raiders weren’t Super Bowl material, they were at the very least competitive with those guys.  Unless Gruden is trying to pull like an Atlanta Braves where they sell off their top stars and pile up the picks to have a great future in their new home in Las Vegas, this is just a head-scratcher in what they have been trying to do since the Khalil Mack trade.  That being said, getting a #1 for Cooper right now is not too bad.  Of course while they do have three first round picks, it doesn’t seem like aside from their own pick (which could be the first overall), Oakland won’t be seeing those picks near the front of the draft.  I guess because they got the first round pick from Dallas, that is fine, but the team is in disarray because of Gruden.  GRADE: B

Apple

GIANTS TRADE ELI APPLE TO THE SAINTS FOR A FOURTH AND SEVENTH ROUND PICKS:  

For New Orleans:  The Saints need help at corner and Apple, who had played decent this year despite the Giants woes, fits that need.  Is it a risk?  Yes, but giving up a 4th and 7th rounder isn’t a massive risk.  Apple has gotten a new attitude this year which has been considered a positive by Giants personnel so this may be a great move for New Orleans if he plays well and is up to snuff.  Given New Orleans is Ohio State Pro, he may fit in perfectly.  And if the Saints are able to take down the Rams (New Orleans and Los Angeles are probably the favorites to win the NFC right now), it is because they have to slow down the Los Angeles offense which is top notch in both the run and the pass.  He fits the bill.  GRADE: A-

For New York Giants:  Many felt like Apple turned the corner with the Giants this year so it was a bit surprising.  The defense isn’t the problem nor was Apple.  We can figure out what the issue is with the Giants of why the struggles are there.  Getting a 4th and 7th rounder I felt is a little bit of selling low on him unless Pat Shurmur was just fed up with him and we don’t know it.  I really don’t get this move for the Giants besides the whole “we are going to rebuild a la Oakland.”  GRADE: D

Detroit.jpg

GIANTS TRADE DAMON HARRISON TO LIONS FOR 5TH ROUND PICK:

For the Lions:  Detroit needs depth on the line as well as finding guys who can stop the run (Detroit is ranked 30th against the run in 2018).  Adding to the fact that Ezekiel Ansah has been injured for most of the season, the Lions desperately needed help as Matthew Stafford is in the midst of his prime years and probably the Lions best chance to be a legit threat in the NFL.  Harrison fits this bill.  Now Detroit owes him a lot of money but partly because they had some left over after Haloti Ngata left the Lions for the Eagles for LESS money, they could afford it.  Harrison will be with tackles Da’Shawn Hand and A’Shawn Robinson and could be a huge veteran presence on a young line.  To me, this could be a trade for Detroit that could change their season in a good way.  GRADE: A

For the Giants:  Yep, rebuild.  Moving contracts out, getting picks (though late round picks), etc.   But a 5th for Harrison?  I guess because Detroit is eating the contract that it was either pay the contract or pay for a pick.  But honestly, a guy like Harrison’s caliber doesn’t necessitate a 5th round pick.  I honestly don’t know what the Giants are doing really at this point.  At least the Raiders are getting picks near the top of the Draft.  GRADE: D

That’s it for this time.  Let’s see what the deadline holds later this week.

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

Twitter

Facebook

The Obstructed NFC East Preview-2018

Like for college football’s premier conferences, I am also going to get in my NFL preview fix.  Of course, every year the league has those surprise squads and teams that dramatically fall off so my previews normally go ker-plunk by Week 2 of the regular season (or the pre-season sometimes).  Like the others, I will start with the champions division of the NFC East where the Super Bowl champion Eagles reside.  It is somewhat strange to stay that, but on a personal note, I’ve always liked the Eagles since I started watching football.  Maybe because of the colors or the fact I’ve never been fond of Dallas, Washington, or New York and they’ve always been the underdog for the longest time in that division.  But anyway, I’m going to be as objective as much as possible for this division.

Eagles

(1) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 

LAST SEASON:  13-3 (1ST PLACE, NFC EAST, WON SUPER BOWL).  

KEY ADDS: DT-Haloti Ngata (FA-Detroit), LB-Corey Nelson (FA-Denver), WR-Mike Wallace (FA-Baltimore), DE-Michael Bennett (Trade-Seattle) TE-Dallas Goedert (Draft-South Dakota State), LB-Paul Worrilow (FA-Detroit), TE-Richard Rodgers (FA-Green Bay)

KEY LOSSES: DT-Beau Allen (FA-Tampa Bay), RB-LeGarrette Blount (FA-Detroit), TE-Trey Burton (FA-Chicago), CB-Patrick Robinson (FA-New Orleans), K-Caleb Sturgis (FA-Los Angeles Chargers), TE-Brent Celek (released), DE-Vinny Curry (released-Tampa Bay), WR-Torrey Smith (Trade-Carolina)

The Eagles capped a dream season last year of winning the Super Bowl, despite being really underdogs as a first seed.  That was in part because of Carson Wentz going down, but Nick Foles stepped up.  Philadelphia as many have suggested has the best top-to-bottom roster in the NFL despite key losses in the off-season and should be good to go.  The offense is going to click especially if Wentz comes back 100% healthy and if not, Foles is ready to go.  The defense is a strong defense in all three levels from the line through the secondary.  Adding Michael Bennett will help out, but a question will be is he going to implode on himself like he did in Seattle in his final season.  But overall, this is a very stacked team and really have a great balance.  It is hard to think they will have a major drop-off, if any in 2018.  They may not go 13-3 again, but we are talking maybe 12-4 and a bye in the first round barring key injuries.

KEY QUESTION:  WILL THE EAGLES HAVE ANY SUPER BOWL HANGOVER?  It’s possible, but I don’t see them being that team.  They have that vibe that they want to show that last year wasn’t a fluke.

MY PREDICTION:  12-4.  A couple of intriguing road games for the Eagles in 2018 as they visit New Orleans and Jacksonville.  Won’t be easy to win those.  But aside from that, they should be firing on all cylinders.

Giants

(2) NEW YORK GIANTS

LAST SEASON: 3-13 (4TH PLACE)

KEY ADDS: RB-Jonathan Stewart (FA-Carolina), OT-Nate Solder (FA-New England), LB-Kareem Martin (FA-Arizona), OG-Patrick Omameh (FA-Jacksonville), WR/KR/PR-Cody Latimer (FA-Denver), DE-Josh Mauro (FA-Arizona), FS-Michael Thomas (FA-Miami), CB-William Gay (FA-Pittsburgh), WR-Russell Shepard (FA-Carolina), LB-Alec Ogletree (Trade-Los Angeles Rams), P-Riley Dixon (Trade-Denver), RB-Saquon Barkley (Draft-Penn State), G-Will Hernandez (Draft-UTEP), LB-Lorenzo Carter (Draft-Georgia), DT-BJ Hill (DT-NC State).

KEY LOSSES: DE-Jason Pierre-Paul (Trade-Tampa Bay), QB-Geno Smith (FA-Los Angeles Chargers), RB-Orleans Darkwa (FA), RB-Shane Vereen (FA), G-DJ Fluker (FA-Seattle), LB-Jonathan Casillas (FA), WR/KR-Dwayne Harris (Released-Oakland), OT-Bobby Hart (Released-Cincinnati), WR-Brandon Marshall (Released-Seattle), WR-Tavarres King (FA-Minnesota), OG-Justin Pugh (FA-Arizona), C-Weston Richburg (FA-San Francisco), P-Brad Wing (Released), LB-Devon Kennard (FA-Detroit), CB-Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Released)

Last year the Giants season was summed up in one word: hospital.  They were injury plagued and some of the players probably could have been checked in to an asylum as well.  The team had injury woes, chemistry woes, and a coach who was just out of his element.  And rumbles of Eli Manning being in his final season really progressed.  However with a new coach in the mix with Pat Shurmur, and some of these head cases gone while making a nice splash in the market for free agents and a great draft, the Giants should get back on solid footing.  Now how much of a contender will be a question, but the running game should improve tenfold with Saquon Barkley and the reliable veteran in Jonathan Stewart in the mix.  The defense should improve with Alec Ogletree being acquired from the Rams.  However, the thing that still could sting the Giants are the attitudes, namely of Odell Beckham, Jr. Eli Apple, and Janoris Jenkins.  Those three, who are expected to play a part in their rebound, have got to grow up at some point.  If not, then another season goes by the window in New York, and it may be Eli’s last season or one of his last seasons.

BIG QUESTION: CAN ODELL BECKHAM STAY FOCUSED AND KEEP HIS COOL FOR THE GIANTS TO GO FAR?  He hasn’t proved he can.  Last year he kept saying he wanted to be the highest paid player in the NFL, but questions abound of his weekday partying during the playoffs against Green Bay in 2016 and then his whole video of being with a woman who was doing cocaine in bed didn’t help matters.  If Beckham can zero in and be one of the top WR’s in the game while not imploding on his team, the Giants are a sleeper in the NFC.  If he continues the antics and they fall back because of it, it may be time for New York to move on from him.  And remember this, Eli won two Super Bowls with the likes of David Tyree and Mario Manningham.  So having an elite WR to take you to a Super Bowl isn’t necessary.

MY PREDICTION:  9-7.  The Giants, barring another year of a rash of injuries, should be a threat.  They could win 10 games as a couple of games on the schedule I can see go either way (New Orleans).  But they won’t be an easy team to take down, especially if they are gelling.  

Dallas

(3) DALLAS COWBOYS 

LAST SEASON: 8-8 (2ND PLACE)

KEY ADDITIONS: WR-ALLEN HURNS (FA-Jacksonville), WR-Deonte Thompson (FA-Buffalo), OT-Cameron Fleming (FA-New England), DE-Kony Ealy (FA-New York Jets), LB-Joe Thomas (FA-Green Bay), FB-Jamize Olawale (Trade-Oakland), WR-Tavon Austin (Trade-Los Angeles Rams), DT-Jihad Ward (Trade-Oakland), LB-Leighton Vander Esch (Draft-Boise State), G-Connor Williams (Draft-Texas), WR-Michael Gallup (Draft-Colorado State)

KEY LOSSES: FB-Keith Smith (FA-Oakland), WR-Dez Bryant (Released), WR-Brice Butler (FA-Arizona), WR-Ryan Switzer (FA-Oakland), OT-Byron Bell (FA-Green Bay), OG-Jonathan Cooper (FA-San Francisco), DT-Benson Mayowa (Released-Arizona), LB-Anthony Hitchens (FA-Kansas City), LB-Kyle Wilber (FA-Oakland), CB-Orlando Scandrick (FA-Washington), TE-Jason Witten (retired)

Dallas will look very different on offense as there will be no Dez Bryant or Jason Witten.  With Dak Prescott as the guy in Dallas, it is the changing of the guard.  But last year’s season was thrown off because of the Ezekiel Elliott suspension.  Had Dallas not had that, they may have sneaked in to the playoffs.  But even with Elliott there, Dallas had holes, notably on defense as they couldn’t get much pressure on teams and really make those key stops to win games.  It was somewhat of a red flag the year before in their divisional loss to Green Bay.  With Bryant and Witten gone, the Cowboys revamped the receiving corps of bringing Tavon Austin and Allen Hurns as Dallas hopes those guys can make the offense complete (at this point I’m just nodding my head and smiling and thinking “sure”).  The defense especially against the pass is a concern still as the Cowboys gave up good bit of points though the yardage was down and didn’t get many turnovers because of it.  I don’t see the Cowboys really making strides on defense especially when they have to see the Eagles and Giants 4 times while they see Atlanta, Detroit, New Orleans, and Houston (all teams who have quarterbacks who can throw).  It may be the difference between a playoff spot or a top 10 pick.

BIGGEST QUESTION: WHEN DOES JERRY JONES COMPLETELY ABDICATE HIS THRONE AS GM?  Probably never until the Good Lord comes to take him.  It is more when SHOULD Jones step down and the answer has been since 1994.  The good moves Jones has made is when he was overruled in some aspect save Dez Bryant.  Remember, he was talked out of drafting Johnny Manziel and drafted Zack Martin.  But other moves (i.e. signing Darren McFadden, drafting Felix Jones, Quincy Carter, etc.) is on his watch and firing Jimmy Johnson because he got more credit for those Super Bowl wins shows how inept the guy is.  Honestly, he may have been talked out of keeping Bryant at that contract.  He needs to let his son take over as he really has more of a sense than Jones does.

MY PREDICTION: 7-9.  Dallas is just that team that isn’t bad at all, but not good like many still want to believe.  Just “average.” 

Josh

(4) WASHINGTON REDSKINS

LAST SEASON: 7-9 (3RD PLACE)

KEY ADDITIONS:  QB-Alex Smith (Trade-Kansas City), WR-Paul Richardson (FA-Seattle), LB-Pernell McPhee (FA-Chicago), CB-Orlando Scandrick (FA-Dallas), QB-Kevin Hogan (Trade-Cleveland), DT-Daron Payne (Draft-Alabama), RB-Derrius Guice (Draft-LSU), OT-Geron Christian (Draft-Louisville)

KEY LOSSES: QB-Kirk Cousins (FA-Minnesota), CB-Kendall Fuller (Trade-Kansas City), S-Su’a Cravens (Trade-Denver), C-Spencer Long (FA-New York Jets), WR-Terrelle Pryor (WR-New York Jets), LB-Will Compton (FA-Tennessee), TE-Niles Paul (FA-Jacksonville), DE-Trent Murphy (FA-Buffalo), WR-Ryan Grant (Indianapolis)

Washington like most years, made a splash in the off-season trading for Kansas City QB Alex Smith, thus ending the polarizing career of Kirk Cousins in the Capital.  To me, it was dumbfounding on a few instances.  First, the Redskins traded up-and-coming CB Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs.  Second, the ceiling on Cousins is far higher than the ceiling on Smith while I think Cousins is a better fit in Jay Gruden’s system than Smith is.  And given Smith’s scrambling prowess, leaves him up to injury especially at age 34.  And despite not having a real go-to WR, Cousins netted 4,000 yards and used the weapons to the best of his ability.  I don’t see Smith being that kind of quarterback.  Also, Cousins was sacked 41 times last year.  And given how Washington struggled to protect him, a quarterback like Smith may end up getting hit more than Cousins did.  And while the Redskins have Josh Norman, having a corner on the opposite side of him has now become a problem.  And again, if you look at that schedule, Washington has to see the Eagles, Giants, Falcons, Saints, Texans, and Packers while having one of the worst run-stopping defenses in the NFL in 2017.  I don’t see Washington improving any on defense and if anything may have took a step back.  Maybe they’re hoping all the Alabama guys they drafted the last few years (Payne, Ryan Anderson, and Jonathan Allen) find that Alabama formula to help out Norman and Ryan Kerrigan.

KEY QUESTION: WILL THIS BE JAY GRUDEN’S LAST SEASON IN WASHINGTON?  I think so, even if the Skins are 8-8 and in the playoff hunt.  There are too many questions right now despite being in the “win now” mode when they traded for Smith.  Not really Gruden’s fault, but this team just doesn’t put a scare into anybody.

MY PREDICTION: 6-10.  They may not be bad either, but they aren’t a team that will sneak up or pose a threat to the NFC powers like Philadelphia, the Rams, Atlanta, Minnesota, or New Orleans right now.

Overall the expectation levels for all 4 teams will always be high and always have that “win now” mode, especially in Dallas and Washington.  Those two have gaping holes on the roster right now while the Giants biggest enemies may be themselves.  It looks like it’s Philadelphia’s to lose once more and maybe another Super Bowl return for the city of Brotherly Love.

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

Twitter

Facebook

 

Winners and Losers of Week 10

WINNERS

Los Angeles Rams

How bout’ them Rams? Yes, you heard that correctly, the Rams are 7-2 for the first time since starting 7-3 in 2003 after week 10. They ended up finishing that season 12-4 (losing in the divisional round of the playoffs). On Sunday, Jared Goff looked like an elite QB throwing for 355 yards and 3 TD’s, two of those touchdowns were thrown to Robert Woods who has had the best two weeks of the season. He also caught 8 for 171 yards. Look for the Rams to extend their streak to 5 as they head to Minny to take on the 7-2 Vikings.

New Orleans Saints

Instagram-Ingram pounded the defenseless Bills for 131 yards and tallied 3 touchdowns. Alvin Kamara also had a 3 yard touchdown, as the Saints scored five times in their first six possessions. The saints defense limited the Bills offense 198 yards and only 10 first downs which is phenomenal and the ideal type of defense you want week to week. The saints also set a franchise record by recording 6 rushing touchdowns. The saints will fly back to the dome to take on the Redskins. Look for the Saints run game to continue its dominance against a lousy Washington defense.

LOSERS

New York Jets

“The Goddamn Jets” yes folks, the goddamn jets is back because this week, they lost to their 2016 starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown could not beat his former team that he started for in 2016 as well. I guess you can say it was the battle of aging quarterbacks but that is an understatement because this game was in favor of the Jets to run over the Bucs because 10 days ago the Jets dominated the Bills which pointed to this game being an easy win. The jets ended up punting the ball seven times resulting in having more punts, then points for the first 59 minutes. Jets head to the bye with no playoffs in site.

Dallas Cowboys

No Zeke, and no Tyron Smith it had to be painful for those two watch this game as the Cowboys lose to the Falcons 27-7. The whole next man up mentality did not really take affect at all throughout this game. People were saying that the Cowboys would be fine without Elliot for the next 6 games but it seems that, that is not the case. It is a level of concern that should be brought up with at the team meeting. Dallas has the weapons to win without him and Dak needs step up and use his arms and legs to fire this team up to win at least 3 of the next 5 games to keep the playoffs in reach but the high flying 8-1 Eagles come to town looking to improve to 9-1.

Ezekiel Elliott “likely to play all season”

With all of the craziness that is going on in the United States between what is left from Hurricane Harvey and the rest of the Southeast United States preparing for Hurricane Irma, there was some clarity provided by the Texas court system in the Ezekiel Elliot case.  This all broke within the past few moments as Adam Schefter had the scoop:

This only provides one of many answers in a very murky situation from the start.  Jerry Jones and Cowboys fans are viewing this as a win since the Ezekiel Elliott suspension would have majorly affected their season.  In 2016, the Cowboys were able to pick up 5.1 yards per carry when Elliott was on the field compared to a mediocre 3.8 yards per carry when he was off the field for any reason.  Elliott quickly became a star before our eyes in 2016 and he is looking to build upon what he built during his rookie year.  He has all the same surrounding pieces except for right tackle Doug Free.  Entering his 3rd season, La’el Collins will take over at right tackle while Chaz Green will slide in to the left guard position, who is also entering his 3rd season with the Cowboys.

While it looks like Ezekiel Elliott will likely be able to start every game this season, the Cowboys young running back needs to learn a lesson from this entire situation. As a young athlete with fame, money, and starpower, he must be extra cautious in these types of situations for his career, but also his personal life.  There is still a lot that we do not know about this case yet, but the issue of his playing time and earning potential in this season currently seems to be stable once again.