Monday Afternoon Blitz Package
December, 6, 2010
By Matt Mosley | ESPN.com
The New York Giants held serve at home against the Washington Redskins and are on a crash course for a division showdown with the Eagles at New Meadowlands Stadium. But first, the Eagles have to get past a Dallas Cowboys team that is 3-1 under interim coach Jason Garrett. Let's take a take a look at the most pressing issues coming out of Sunday's games:
- I think Jason Garrett became the permanent head coach of the Cowboys following that 38-35 win over the Indianapolis Colts. It would be against NFL rules for owner Jerry Jones to remove the interim tag from Garrett's name at this point. But Jones is obviously pleased that things are headed in the right direction, but he also has to be a little disgusted that it took such a drastic move to inspire these players.
- Rookie linebacker Sean Lee finally arrived Sunday in that win. Lee had two interceptions, including one in overtime that set up the game-winning field goal. We may be just noticing Lee's improvement, but he won the respect of his teammates months ago. Hearing players such as Jay Ratliff and Keith Brooking gush about Lee lets you know how far he has come. Brooking talked to him during minicamps about slowing down and reading the plays before launching his body into the action. Now, Lee is showing us why the Cowboys were so thrilled to land him in the second round.
- Dez Bryant underwent successful surgery on his broken right fibula this morning, according to ESPNDallas.com's Todd Archer. I think a lot of folks were excited to see if Bryant could play through the lull he's hit over these past three games. But now he'll face a long road of rehabilitation. The fact that Jim Maurer, Britt Brown and Greg Gaither are perhaps the best athletic trainers in the business will help Bryant immensely. Brown is known for pushing players to the brink, and I'm sure he won't take it easy on Bryant.
- We talked about the Giants needing to start faster all week. Eli Manning and this offense scored touchdowns on their first two possessions. It looks like the Giants' running game showed up just in time for the frigid December weather. The winds were swirling at New Meadowlands Stadium on Sunday, so the Giants dialed up Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw in the first half. Jacobs had a 39-yard carry on the second play from scrimmage and then he finished off the drive with an 8-yard run. He's shown a lot of maturity since having meltdown early in the season. And this Jacobs-Bradshaw combination is starting to remind me of the old "Earth, Wind and Fire" group from 2007.
- Justin Tuck said he taught Jason Pierre-Paul everything he knows, and now the rookie is responding in a big way. Tuck joked with Pierre-Paul a few weeks ago that he needed to start earning that $20 million contract with a few sacks. And the rookie from South Florida has responded with four sacks in two games. He added a pass deflection and recovered a fumble against the Redskins. He's always had freakish talent, but now he's starting to figure where he needs to be at all times. Tom Coughlin asked him to be a star against the Jaguars, and apparently that little pep talk paid off.
- What an absolute mess of a team this is right now. This was a non-competitive situation early in the first half. The Redskins don't have any firepower on offense. I liked how James Davis hit the line of scrimmage Sunday, but this offensive line isn't consistent enough to get things done on a weekly basis.
- Why is Albert Haynesworth still on the team today? The defensive tackle once again tried to show up his coach after the game. He told reporters that he was completely healthy and wanted to be on the field. But Shanahan is still trying to show that no one's above the team. Well, it's too late to win that battle. It's time for the Skins to cut their losses and release the player. I can't see how he'd have any trade value at this point, and he's just a toxic presence in the locker room.
- Devin Thomas, take a bow: I'm not saying he didn't deserve to be released in Washington, but the guy played an unbelievable game against his former team Sunday. That was one of the best special teams performances you'll ever see. Tuck went up to him and asked him how in the world the Giants got him. But Thomas really said some nice things about Shanahan after the game. I thought that was a classy move on his part.