Friday, September 24, 2010
Final Word: NFC East
By Matt Mosley
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 3:
Rediscovering the run. The Dallas Cowboys are determined to run the football against the Houston Texans on Sunday in an effort to keep Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson off the field. Offensive line coach Hudson Houck has gone back to the basics with his guys in order to have them mentally prepared and to stop getting penalties. I think you'll see a different Leonard Davis against the Texans. He hasn't been moving his feet enough and it's allowing way too much penetration. This will be a hostile environment and an adequate running game would make life easier on Tony Romo.
Keith Bulluck will face the Titans for the first time since leaving Tennessee after 10 seasons.
Rolle with it. Now that Giants safety Antrel Rolle has called everyone out after two games with the organization, where do we go from here? Rolle came off looking like a selfish jerk complaining that Tom Coughlin likes to arrive at games too early. Now, defensive end Justin Tuck is trying to nip this thing in the bud. I think the defensive line will have a huge game against the Titans. The big thing is maintaining gap responsibility. If Jonathan Goff doesn't show enough discipline, Titans running back Chris Johnson will make the Giants pay. Keep your eye on Giants linebacker Keith Bulluck in this game. He can't let his emotions get the best of him against his former team. I think he'll do a good job of helping Goff make the proper adjustments because he knows this offense so well.
Rediscovering the run, Part II. The Washington Redskins will attempt to find some semblance of a running game against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. I loved watching film of Skins left tackle Trent Williams from last Sunday's game against the Texans. His roll blocks were giving Mario Williams & Co. fits. This may be the week where Clinton Portis finds some room on the back side. And if that happens, Donovan McNabb should have success in the play-action game. Santana Moss could go off against the Rams. I like how offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is moving him around quite a bit. I think he's most dangerous in the slot. Look for Shanahan to dial up some double moves from Moss, who is playing with a lot of confidence right now. I'm also anxious to see how DeAngelo Hall's defense plays.
Vick's renaissance. I heard something about a quarterback change for the Eagles this week. Expect the Jacksonville Jaguars to bring a lot of pressure up the middle against Eagles center Mike McGlynn. The inexperienced player had trouble making calls against the Detroit Lions and the Jags will try to confuse him again this week. Andy Reid acts as if Michael Vick is having the greatest stretch in league history. I'm anxious to see how Vick performs against a team that has reviewed his six quarters. And if he stinks up the joint, will Reid think about flip-flopping again? Fortunately for Reid, most of the national media has rushed to his defense.
Containing Andre Johnson. It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys approach the Texans wide receiver in this game. They've had some success shutting down top receivers such as Carolina's Steve Smith and Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson in the past, but Johnson's better than both of those players. The Texans love to get Johnson on the move and try to hit him on crossing routes. It will be more important than ever to finish tackles Sunday. When Terence Newman couldn't tackle Devin Hester, the Bears wideout raced down the sideline to set up a touchdown in the fourth quarter. One of our most devoted readers, Darren Woodson, told me before the season that tackling would be a problem for this secondary. And I'm afraid Woody was onto something. Please enjoy the games this weekend and let me know if there's anything else I can do for you.