One of the great things about the NFL we'll miss during the upcoming lockout is our ability to lose any sense of reality on a weekly basis. In one fateful night in Landover, Md., the Cowboys went from Super Bowl contenders to America's favorite punchline.
Before Sunday, Alex Barron was known mostly for being a first-round bust for the St. Louis Rams. He was a tall, quiet man who whispered during interviews and seemed to waver at the point of attack. But after attempting at least two choke-holds on Skins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo -- the final one nullifying an apparent game-tying touchdown -- Barron has become the face of the Cowboys' Week 1 ineptitude.
I'm not here to tell you everything's going to be OK, but I will remind you that we were prepared to run Wade Phillips out of town if he'd lost that Kansas City game last season. Miles Austin descended from the heavens (Bergen County) to rescue that '09 team, so it's probably premature to give up on this season. Now, let's all gather at the NFC East watercooler, where I'll be sharing exclusive nuggets that will immediately be retweeted to the greater NFL community and parts of Palo Pinto County.
Andy Reid's butchering this Kevin Kolb-Mike Vick situation:
The budding Wilford Brimley of NFL head coaches has only himself to blame for this quarterback controversy. Kolb played poorly in the first half, but it's not like he had a chance to find any rhythm when the old Wildcat himself, Vick, kept jogging onto the field.
Reid and his right-hand man/apologist Marty Mornhinweg love to revel in their offensive genius, which has a way of undermining the game plan. Kolb attempts 10 passes in the first half, suffers a concussion and now his job's in jeopardy because Vick ran wild in the second half. I'm sure the fact that the Packers spent little time preparing for Vick had something to do with his success. Reid has reiterated that Kolb's his starter, but his actions tell a different story. Keep your eye on this situation.
Perry Fewell has restored hope to the Giants' defense:
The Giants didn't look great in a 31-18 win over the Panthers, but it was a lot better than that 41-9 loss to the same team in last season's regular-season finale. Fewell, the team's new defensive coordinator, has helped this defense regain its swagger. The Giants were awful at safety last season once Kenny Phillips suffered an injury. General manager Jerry Reese responded by signing Antrel Rolle to a lucrative contract in free agency and then he brought in veteran Deon Grant. Now it's a position of strength for the Giants.
And former Cowboys defensive end Chris Canty set the tone for the Giants early in Sunday's game by knifing through the line and body-slamming DeAngelo Williams. If he can stay healthy this season, Canty's going to be a breakout star.
My NFC East power rankings after Week 1:
1. New York Giants -- My Super Bowl pick is headed in the right direction. And the fact that the Saints, Vikings and Cowboys weren't that impressive in their debuts bodes well for Big Blue.
2. Dallas Cowboys -- Against my better judgment, I'm going to trust in this locker room. I believe that Keith Brooking and his teammates will use the Washington game as an early wake-up call and bounce back against Jay Cutler and the Bears.
3. Washington Redskins -- Give Mike Shanahan credit. He found a way to win despite his offense not giving him much at all. His unusually white teeth offer a glimmer of hope to Skins Nation.
4. Philadelphia Eagles -- This team's already imploding. If they go on the road and lose to Detroit, you're staring at a five-win season. I'm serious. Reid has really butchered this quarterback situation -- and we're one week into the season.
What is Jason Garrett's obsession with the bubble screen?
Even though the official scout of ESPNDallas.com and ESPN 103.3, Bryan Broaddus, said everyone on the offensive line not named Barron played pretty well, Garrett insisted on calling quick passes instead of working the middle of the field against the Skins' safeties. The Cowboys had some success on the ground, but Garrett abandoned the run for no apparent reason. Once he shows his face at Valley Ranch this week, we'll ask him about that.
Matt Mosley covers the NFC East for ESPN.com and the Dallas-Fort Worth sports scene for ESPNDallas.com.