As long as yours was really here at SB Nation, and it’s been a long time, Blogging the Boys’ Dave Halprin and I exchange ‘5 questions’ twice a year. Well, the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys will play Monday night. So here we go again.
And: What did Cooper Rush do against the Bengals that helped Dallas win? Is it sustainable?
Dave: Cooper Rush has done the things you really hope a backup QB will do when entering the starting role. Number one is he didn’t flip the ball. Everyone knows that turnover is a killer and the quickest way to get out of a spare QB. Rush had some very close calls on some passes during the match, but was lucky to avoid disaster. Secondly, he was calm and composed, especially on the last drive to win the game. He never seemed over his head and was able to hear when needed. Finally, he made some quality shots when needed. He was able to put the ball on the money and allow his catchers to make easy catches.
Is it sustainable? Probably not long term or it would be reckless for an initial job somewhere. But still for a few weeks? He didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to beat the Bengals, it wasn’t like he had a superhuman game, so maybe he can repeat it a couple of times.
And: Likewise, did Jerry Jones make a mistake in his approach to Dak Prescott’s injury? What’s the latest in terms of expectations for his return?
Dave: Jerry Jones was certainly the most optimistic in predicting a timeline for Dak Prescott’s return, but he is certainly not alone in predicting that Prescott could return before the initial 6-8 week timeline. The reason for this is that when they performed the actual surgery, the damage was less and at a point where it could heal faster than the initial diagnosis. Basically the fracture did not extend from the thumb to the wrist joint, reducing recovery time by a few weeks or more. Right now I would say that maybe the Eagles game in mid-October could be a return date. It has been speculated that maybe even the Rams game in the previous week, but no one knows for sure at this time.
And: There are some who believe Tony Pollard is actually a better running back than Ezekiel Elliott. If you were to drive with one of those guys, which one are you taking. How come?
Dave: The interesting thing about the debate between Elliott and Pollard is that they are two very different running backs. Elliott is really a power back with some wobble. He almost never finishes a run by going backwards and will turn a two-yard gain into five yards just by leading the pile. He is also one of the best pass protection running backs he has ever seen. He can really pick up the blitzes and take them out. Pollard is a touchdown waiting to happen when he touches the ball. Take it to a certain space and you really have something. He can also work as a quasi-receiver and not be out of place. But that’s a hindrance when it comes to protecting the quarterback in blitz situations.
So it’s a bit difficult to choose because they both bring very different elements to the team. But, if forced, I would take Pollard because in the NFL you need big offensive plays to consistently win, and Zeke really doesn’t provide that anymore. Pollard yes, so I’d chip my offense around his abilities.
And: The old stand-by. If you could take a Giant player and put him in the Cowboys lineup, who would it be? How come?
Dave: If it weren’t for kicker Brett Maher who had a good start to the season, I would have said Graham Gano. Cowboys kicking issues were a real problem, but Maher did a great job in the first couple of weeks. I’ve always enjoyed Leonard Williams ‘play and the Cowboys’ defensive tackles have never been able to become a real force in the middle, so let’s put Williams in there and really turbo-charge the defense. (I know he’s hurt, but that’s just in general).
And: Giants are favorites here. It’s been a while since it happened against Dallas. Does Cooper Rush’s magic continue? Do the Giants come to an unexpected 3-0? Who wins and why?
Dave: This is truly a blast game. Confidence is an important factor in the NFL and the Giants certainly have a lot of it after a 2-0 start. They also have the advantage on the home court. You could easily pick this game either way, but I’m going to be a homer and take the Cowboys for a reason: Micah Parsons (and the defense). Parsons is simply unblockable at times and the Cowboys defense is playing really well as a unit. They are vulnerable to running at times (again those defensive tackles) and Barkley could definitely take advantage of that, but they will put a lot of pressure on Dainel Jones. Enough to make a difference in a very tight game.