The Washington Football Team named Dwayne Haskins as the starter on Wednesday and they of course hope that remains true when they host the Los Angeles Rams in Week 5. That’s an important update to anyone marking wins and losses on the schedule — even if it doesn’t budge the pen — and so I decided to do a quick check in on the four teams that the Rams play before the Team.
Week 1 - Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys will be largely the same as the team the Rams faced in Week 15 of last season, but what changes they do have are significant. Jason Garrett was replaced with Mike McCarthy, Travis Frederick retired, CeeDee Lamb was drafted, Everson Griffen and Aldon Smith were signed. Smith has apparently looked quite good and the Cowboys are looking to replace 2019 sack leader Robert Quinn.
Having a good camp are defensive tackle Trysten Hill, cornerback Anthony Brown, rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs and receiver Cedrick Wilson. Not having a good camp: safety HaHa Clinton-Dix. Dallas has shot down the idea of signing Earl Thomas, at least in the media.
Week 2 - Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are having to do some patchwork this offseason. Brandon Brooks, one of the best guards in the league, went down for the season so they signed Jason Peters to play right guard in his place. Then left tackle Andre Dillard was lost for the year. Alshon Jeffery is considered a “maybe” to play in the first month and first round receiver Jalen Reagor, who was getting rave reviews in camp, is expected to miss this game as he has a 3-4 week recovery period from a labrum injury.
I’m told Jalen Reagor may have a small tear in shoulder— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) August 30, 2020
He will not need surgery
He’s expected to miss 3-4 weeks
I’m told there is a chance Alshon Jeffery will play in September
Another rookie receiver getting positive notes from camp is Quez Watkins, and he too showed up on the injury report recently.
Other players with some sort of injury designation right now include Carson Wentz, Lane Johnson, Derek Barnett, Javon Hargrave, Vinny Curry and Avonte Maddox. It doesn’t mean it is all serious but even without a preseason, Philadelphia has managed to come out of August fairly banged up with some key players.
Week 3 - Buffalo Bills
The player that people in Buffalo that people can’t stop talking about is fourth round rookie receiver Gabe Davis. I don’t know what to make of the notable increase in glowing reports for receivers that I’ve noticed this camp (or maybe I’m just over-estimating the reports or under-estimating how much over-hyping coaches do at this time of year) but even among all those other players in the league, Davis stands out to me.
Even with some publications being super high on the Bills trio of Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley and John Brown, I’m not so sure they can afford to keep Davis as the fourth option at that position if he’s really been as good as they say.
The Bills will look a lot like they did last season, when they went 10-6, but are hoping that if New England is worse and their young players are a bit better, they can win 12 or 13 games.
Week 4 - New York Giants
Linebacker Devante Downs may have gone from the practice squad to being a starter this season. The team is high on potential center Nick Gates, with some calling him the Giants best offensive lineman right now even though he only recently transitioned to center and may still start somewhere else. They also added cornerback James Bradberry and safety Logan Ryan to the secondary, plus fourth rounder Darnay Holmes has had positive reports at cornerback.
The hope of course is that second year QB-WR duo Daniel Jones and Darius Slayton will lead New York from 4-12 to first place, something that seems common in the NFC East. The Giants look relatively healthy headed into the season and will simply rely on younger players getting another year older — Jones, Slayton, Saquon Barkley, tackle Matt Peart, Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin tomlinson, Leonard Williams, Jabrill Peppers, Evan Engram, Sterlin Shepard and rookie tackle Andrew Thomas.
We know the Rams will face at least one division winner in the first five weeks of their schedule, but we also know they’ll face at least three teams who don’t win the division. So there’s that. At least the NFC East division winner is often not that good.