Wednesday, December 19, 2012
All-NFC East Team: Week 16 update
By Dan Graziano
Washington's Robert Griffin III has had a stranglehold on the quarterback spot on the All-NFC East Team for months now, but after he sat out Sunday with an injury, his backup won in Cleveland and Dallas' Tony Romo beat the Steelers, this became a very tough call for the first time in a while. I really think it's a two-man race, and I think Romo's candidacy is legitimate.
Romo has 4,269 passing yards. Griffin has 2,902. Even if you add in their rushing yards, Romo still leads significantly in total yards, 4,318 to 3,650. He has 22 passing touchdowns and one rushing (23 total) while Griffin has 18 passing and six rushing (24). Griffin has a significant edge in the interception department, having thrown only four to Romo's 16. And while Romo's only thrown three in his past seven games, this isn't a last-seven-games team. It's a year-to-date team.
Which reminds me about the disclaimer no one ever reads: This is an All-Division Team based on overall season performance to date. It is not -- repeat, NOT -- simply a list of the players who performed the best in this past week. That's why Kirk Cousins isn't on it.
Griffin is, though, by a surprisingly tight margin over Romo. He still has the better overall numbers everywhere but in yardage, and he did win the head-to-head matchup on Thanksgiving, which I think is a worthy tiebreaker for now. But if Griffin has to miss another game and/or Romo stays hot, this could change next week. Last year, it was Romo vs. Eli Manning for this spot, back and forth all year, and the final game of the regular season decided it. Could that happen again?
Anyway, here's the team, with some more thoughts after.
Quarterback: Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (Last week: Griffin)
Running back: Alfred Morris, Redskins (Morris)
Wide receiver: Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys; Victor Cruz, New York Giants; (Bryant, Cruz)
Tight end: Jason Witten, Cowboys (Witten)
Fullback: Henry Hynoski, Giants (Hynoski)
Tackle: Trent Williams, Redskins; Will Beatty, Giants (Williams, Beatty)
Guard: Evan Mathis, Philadelphia Eagles; Nate Livings, Cowboys (Mathis, Chris Chester)
Center: Will Montgomery, Redskins (Montgomery)
Defensive end: Jason Pierre-Paul, Giants; Jason Hatcher, Cowboys (Pierre-Paul, Hatcher)
Defensive tackle: Barry Cofield, Redskins; Fletcher Cox, Eagles (Cofield, Cox)
Outside linebacker: DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Cowboys (Ware, Spencer)
Inside linebacker: DeMeco Ryans, Eagles; Perry Riley, Redskins (Ryans, Riley)
Cornerback: Brandon Carr, Cowboys; Josh Wilson, Redskins (Carr, Prince Amukamara)
Safety: Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, Giants (Rolle, Brown)
Kicker: Dan Bailey, Cowboys (Bailey)
Punter: Sav Rocca, Redskins (Rocca)
Kick returner: David Wilson, Giants (Wilson)
Punt returner: Dwayne Harris, Cowboys (Harris)
- That second guard spot is a three-way toss-up for me between Livings, Chester and Chris Snee, and I've been looking at Livings for several weeks now. The Cowboys' line has been a wreck for much of the season, but Livings has been a bright spot and has played well overall.
- I honestly thought about Washington's Rob Jackson at outside linebacker, and I think the way Spencer's playing, it'd be Ware's spot he'd take. But I didn't want to deal with the wrath of Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com if I dared to take Ware off the team. And I don't think he deserves to be taken off the team. Let's just say it says a lot about the way Jackson's playing that it was worth thinking about.
- I've explained Hynoski over Darrel Young plenty of times -- real, real, close, both excellent, Hynoski blocks a little bit more consistently. Both awesome. I wish one of them played cornerback, since I'm looking for good suggestions there.
- Final story and then I'm out. In the Redskins' locker room after Sunday's game, I went over to talk to Cofield. He was talking to someone else but saw me out of the corner of his eye. "Graziano," he said, and shook his head. "Bout time I made that All-NFC East Team." Don't think we're not doing important work here, people. We're providing motivation.
As ever, I welcome your thoughts.