I can tell you what I saw from Wednesday night, a bunch of top-line stuff, and what does it mean? I think the Giants are going to be there at the end, and the I think Dallas showed a lot by winning the fourth quarter and winning the game. So before I get into the Eagles' side of things, here are some observations from the opening game at MetLife Stadium ...
- Eli Manning is a great quarterback. He has a tremendous feel for the game, he is clutch on third down and his passes are extremely accurate. He works the pocket so well. I can't stand the guy, but he's a great player who has the rings to prove it.
- DeMarco Murray had a marvelous rookie season for the Cowboys and he's coming off an injury and he has a ton of ability. I'm just sure he can make defenders miss. Give him a hole and, yeah, he has the acceleration and the vision to get up and through the hole. But make him change direction and I'm not so sure. That 48-yard gain in the third quarter was a great run, though.
- The Cowboys showed me something along their offensive line. There are four players at new positions up front for Dallas. Tyron Smith is a super talent at left tackle, isn't all there yet, and is going to be great in time. Dallas held up well in the opener, though, especially with starting center Phil Costa knocked out out the game with a back injury.
- Signed as an unrestricted free agent that nobody really talked about, Keith Rivers could have a real impact for the Giants at linebacker. He seems to be the one who is looked at as the Giants' playmakers there.
- Why do the Cowboys always have great kickers?
- Tony Romo hasn't changed, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. He's a good quarterback. Throws a nice ball. But you put pressure in the man's face and and Romo is going to struggle. Romo runs a good huddle, he works a good two-minute drill before the end of the first half and he can make every throw. But he can't handle pressure well. Give him a chance to run out of the pocket and create, and he'll do it, as he did on the touchdown pass to Kevin Ogletree to give Dallas a 14-3 advantage. And the third-down throw to Ogletree on third and long to clinch the game late in the fourth quarter was just perfect. Drop back and throw it. Well done.
- If you want to attack the Giants defense in the passing game, go after the linebackers. There are opportunities for big plays. Their cornerbacks didn't look very good, either, but with that pass rush, and it will come around, the Giants are going to be good on defense.
- Weird night for kickoffs. wasn't it? Maybe there won't be as many touchbacks as we anticipate. I feel good having
Brandon Boykinin that position.
- Is anybody crying about the replacement refs today? In the third quarter Victor Cruz clearly put his two hands in the back of a Dallas defender and was penalized. It was a penalty, sorry. Dumb for Cruz to block there.
- It just didn't look like the Giants were all that pumped for the game, did it?
Now, about the Eagles. Where are they right now? We're creeping closer to Sunday, to the opening game against the Browns and the biggest temperature gauge to me is the one that measures intensity, focus, hunger. I want to know how much the Eagles want it, how much they need to open the season with a victory.
We can talk all we want about matchups -- and we will, because there is an awful lot of time to fill between now and Sunday -- but the truth is that if the Eagles play to their maximum ability and they play with great urgency, well, let's take our chances any day with that in the bank.
The Eagles returned to the practice field on Wednesday and everything went according to the blueprint. Everyone -- save wide receiver
Between now and Sunday, we'll all pretend that we know what's going to happen against the Browns. We don't, of course. We know that both teams have enough unknowns to make for a truly eye-opening first game.
I'm just excited to have the season here. Everything from this point on is a week-to-week proposition and wins are valued and treasured and enjoyed for a day or two until the following game nears.