You may know Jason Katz from his published football work on sites like FantasyPros. You may also know him as a member of our Handicapping Group. You may also know him, or will get to know him as a die-hard Dallas Cowboys' fan.
I asked Jason to follow the Cowboys for us all year...for fandom and fantasy. I did so, because he's convinced, like most fan(atic)s that thinking something good will happen will jinx it to not make it so. I have a different theory -- when I see a jinx potential, I pour it on to reverse the jinx. I see a jinx and yell 'this is a jinx' just to spit in the face of the jinx. The Dallas Cowboys are going to win the Super Bowl this season, and I am not a biased fan...and the more I say it...the more it's likely to come true...and the more l say it...the more likely Jason loses sleep and hair follicles.
Jason is a talented young writer, so please enjoy him manically following the 'Boys...but also sharing fantasy ideas, as his blood runs FFM green and CFM crimson.
Follow more of Katz's work on Twitter: @jasonkatz13
Before we jump into week 1 action, we had the Hard Knocks finale last week. This was uncharted territory for everyone as 2017 is the first year without the interim roster cut to 75. Teams went straight from 90 to 53 after the fourth preseason game.
Throughout the series, Jameis Winston has appeared to have a really good grasp on the coverages and defensive schemes. That makes it all the more puzzling as to why he so frequently throws the ball into double coverage.
The fourth preseason week is actually my favorite of all the preseason. None of the starters risking injury. No guys just going through the motions. Everyone on the field (for the most part) fighting for their jobs. Every year Hard Knocks zeros in on the guys on the roster bubble. We hear about these cuts on TV. We read about them on twitter. These are real people losing their jobs. It’s intriguing to watch unfold and you can’t help but root for these guys.
Sefo Liufau never really had a shot at making the team. The scene of him getting cut wasn’t really heartbreaking because you knew it was coming.
Jeremy McNichols getting cut was not surprising based on his play. McNichols understood that his inability to grasp the playbook was the reason he got cut. It was the right move. I still think he can play in the NFL, but he has a long way to go. It was a bit surprising to see how annoyed the Bucs’ front office was at McNichols deciding to sign with the 49ers’ practice squad.
Riley Bullough was a nice story in camp, but Cameron Lynch is just the better player with the higher ceiling. That’s the unfortunate nature of the NFL. Bullough is a hard worker and knows the playbook, but there is nothing he could do to be as physically gifted as Lynch.
Onto week 1…
Andy Reid outcoached Bill Belichick. Plain and simple. Kareem Hunt is legit, but he’s never doing that again. The Chiefs are a Super Bowl contender. No, Tom Brady is not done. I suspect he is once again…angry.
Corey Davis’ first catch answered any doubts as to how talented he is. He is going to emerge as Marcus Mariota’s top target before long. He looked healthy and ready.
Rob Kelley is terrible. He is going to cede more and more work to Chris Thompson if Thompson keeps making ridiculous after the catch moves for touchdowns.
I understand why Bill O’Brien benched Tom Savage for Deshaun Watson, but the real problem is their awful offensive line. The Texans are going to be a mess this year because of their QB situation.
Todd Bowles punted down two scores with four minutes to play. He’s getting criticized. I’m not sure why. This move is in line with every action the Jets have taken this year – furthering their effort to lose all the games.
Chuck Pagano decided to not challenge a clear Marlon Mack touchdown. The Colts proceeded to get blown out. I would be shocked if Jacoby Brissett didn’t start next week.
Pete Carroll is such an awful coach. Seattle just runs and runs and runs despite it going nowhere. Meanwhile, on the Seahawks final drive of the first half, Mike McCarthy inexplicably called two timeouts when he mathematically could not get the ball back and allowed Russell Wilson to put a field goal drive together.
With 2:51 left in the game, McCarthy accepted a defensive holding penalty instead of an offsides penalty. Aaron Rodgers had to step in and take the offsides, overruling McCarthy, and taking 1st and 5 over 1st and 10. Then, Pete Carroll literally threw away 40 seconds by calling timeout with 2:45 left on the clock, allowing the Packers to run the clock down to the two minute warning on the next play. This literally should never happen. It’s math. If your team is trying to conserve time and a play ends between 2:50 and 2:41 on the clock, you do not call timeout…ever. It’s that simple. There is no justification for making this mistake because it requires no thought or analytical processing. You just look at the clock and instantly know what to do…unless you’re Pete Carroll and you’re terrible at your job. Ultimately, Rodgers converted the first down so it didn’t matter, but that is unacceptably poor coaching.
Onto the Cowboys…
A lot of missed throws early on for Dak Prescott. He got better as the game went along, but the Cowboys left a lot of points on the board. They dominated the entire first quarter, but only led 3-0. The Cowboys were aided by a really bad pass interference call on Landon Collins against Dez Bryant on the Cowboys final drive of the first half, but I’m not complaining. I was most pleased to pickup that extra field goal before the half as well.
Three things are certain in life: Death. Taxes. Jason Witten against the Giants.
Paul Perkins might be the worst starting RB in the NFL. He literally does nothing well. I was so happy to see him on the field and even happier when he got the ball. He’s the primary reason the Giants’ really impressive opening drive of the second half only resulted in three points.
The Cowboys not getting into field goal range after they had that first and 20 in the 4th quarter was really bad offense. They only needed seven yards on three plays and they didn’t run the ball or throw it underneath once.
The Anthony Brown pick was really close to a catch the other way. I’m surprised the refs made the call so quickly and even more surprised it was confirmed on replay; I expected it to stand.
All in all, a great win for the Cowboys. They needed to beat the Giants after last year’s losses, but by no means was it a perfect game. I was encouraged by the defense, but this Giants offense is really bad so it’s hard to know whether it had more to do with the Cowboys playing well or the Giants being awful – perhaps a little of both.
Anthony Lynn is off to a stellar start in his coaching career. He challenged a first quarter Keenan Allen catch and then asked Keenan if he caught it, and Keenan promptly shook his head “no.” Philip Rivers then walked to the sideline less than pleased. Lynn then managed to burn all three of his timeouts by the six minute mark in the first half.
What a game this turned into, though. The Broncos tried to do #chargersthings against the Chargers. But ultimately, no one does #chargersthings better than the Chargers. They managed to almost run out of time despite having two full minutes to go about 30 yards. Then, after their rookie kicker, Younghoe Koo, drilled the game tying field goal, but was “iced” by genius rookie head coach Vance Joseph, he proceeded to have his second attempt blocked. The Chargers cannot escape their past.
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