We’ve always said that it’s best to wait 3 games before making an assessment of a team’s/season’s prospects. We were excited about 1-0, and most of what we saw from that first game is still there. The coaching and competitiveness is refreshing. It’s why I am blogging. We have a story.
The Week 3 loss to Dallas brings the team back to planet Earth at 2-1. Each game this season has seen its fair share of highs and lows. Consider:
Tennessee. Trailing 13-0 at the half with little going right for the offense. Barkley explodes in the second half for a gutsy win.
Carolina. Blown opportunities on turnovers. ~60 yards of Offense in 6 drives. Then the Offense gets enough together to bring the team back for a narrow win.
Dallas. The stadium erupts as Barkley puts the team ahead 13-6, only to see Dallas get 17 unanswered and take control of the game.
What is the one constant from the Preview, from 0–1, and now at 2-1? It’s still a rebuild. To quote that eminent philosopher Denny Green, they are who we thought they were. Whether this team goes 10-7 or 4-13, it’s a rebuild. Kadarius Toney is still missing in action. Golladay is our worst fears, a bust. The Offensive Line, which did give us some reason for optimism in Week 1, has reverted to ugliness once again. The liability at LB cannot be hidden by Wink’s schemes forever. The DL suffered from Leonard Williams’s absence. And the rest of the WR corps is threadbare.
The Daniel Jones story is interesting. I still believe he is not the answer at QB. His pocket presence and lack of poise are still there. He still can’t go through his progressions and read the field as well as required by a franchise QB. Yet he showed everyone a ton on Monday night. Yes, Jones looked as good as I’ve seen him in a loss than anything we’ve gotten from him in the past 3 years. Despite having no pass protection, he did more than manage the game. He made plays. Many plays. Enough plays to actually win this game, if he had any support. We always know he can run the ball. He did that again. But incrementally, there were a few passes that were nothing short of elite. I do not believe he can do that consistently; at least in this game he showed that he can. I am not ready to change my mind on Jones as this team’s future… and certainly not with one game’s inspired play. This is why it’s a full season for Jones’s Daboll/Schoen audition.
I saved the most important part for last. Their names are Neal and Thibodeaux. It’s way too early to make any pronouncements but it wasn’t a good start. Both need time. Thibodeaux, returning from injury, playing his first NFL game ever, should not have been expected to do much. But we do want Neal to do better. Frankly, I’d almost rather see the team struggle while these two flash, but let’s give them time to find their legs. Everyone is using Andrew Thomas, who was bad his first half of his rookie season, as a template. Coach these guys up.