Breakfast links: Manning getting comfy

September, 29, 2011
9/29/11
8:00
AM ET
A little groggy this morning. Was up late watching baseball, which ... wow. But I know you gotta have your links.

Dallas Cowboys

Jason Garrett says Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson is "arguably the best player in the National Football League," and Johnson is a main focus of Dallas' preparation for Sunday's game. Practice squad receiver Andre Holmes is 6-foot-5, same height as Johnson, and the Cowboys are using him this week in practice to try to simulate Johnson's ability to out-jump defenders for the ball, especially in the end zone.

I'd thought, if Dan Bailey could kick the ball into the end zone Sunday with David Buehler on the shelf, the Cowboys could cut Buehler, get down to one kicker and pick up a roster spot. But Jerry Jones says it's not happening, and Buehler's in no danger of losing his job.

New York Giants

Eli Manning admits it took him a while to develop rhythm and a comfort level with the Giants' offense this season as he adjusted to life without Steve Smith and Kevin Boss. But since the second quarter of the Rams game, he's looked like a different guy, and he thinks the key was to stay patient. He'll have to stay as patient going forward as he was Sunday in Philadelphia, where he waited for his shot at big plays and then hit them. Eli gets in trouble when he tries to force a big play.

Sam Borden's got a look at the Giants' goal-line defense, which was another key to the win Sunday and represents the kind of thing in which they'll need to and should be able to rely on as the year goes along.

Philadelphia Eagles

Michael Vick sounds like a different guy than he did Sunday, saying things like, "I'm tired of letting my guys down" and promising to do whatever he can to finish games from here on out. Phil Sheridan wonders if NFL players lean too much toward trying to tough out injuries. He may have a point, but it's doubtful that's going to affect Vick as much was watching Tony Romo on Monday night apparently did.

The Eagles are making another switch at linebacker, in case you didn't hear, sending Casey Matthews to the bench and replacing him at the weak side with fellow rookie Brian Rolle, who says he'd like to get a chance to cover 49ers tight end Vernon Davis on Sunday. Well, hey, you might as well find out how good you are right away, huh?

Washington Redskins

Sick of all the praise Romo's getting for toughing out that victory over the Redskins on Monday? Well, Brian Orakpo's right there with you. "I mean, they tried to make it seem like the guy was hospitalized the night before the game," said Orakpo, who left the same game with what the team said were cramps. Orakpo's point seems to be that Romo played the way Romo always does, but I guess I'd counter by saying people reacted the same way people always react to Romo's performances, be they good or bad. Over. People always over-react to Romo.

DeAngelo Hall has thought about it, and he's not as upset as he was Monday about the decision to zero-blitz Romo on third-and-21 Monday night in Dallas. Says he'd have done the same thing if he were faced with the same situation in Madden. That's got to be nice for Jim Haslett to know.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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