The Friday links need no introduction.
The success of the Redskins' offensive line so far this year is a direct result of the fact that four of the five starters played together last year and aren't spending as much time learning each other anymore, Rich Campbell writes.
Rick Maese takes a look at the Redskins' defense at the bye, noting accurately that there are many more bright spots than areas of concern. His point about the defensive line depth, a preseason concern after the Jarvis Jenkins injury, is well taken. They seem fine there with what they have but likely couldn't absorb another injury without it having some noticeable effect. Overall, though, there's reason to hope the Redskins' already very good defense can get even better as those safeties get healthier.
The Giants' coaches say Mario Manningham is still one of their starting wide receivers, which has been a big issue this week because Manningham got benched and Victor Cruz had a second straight big game Sunday. Frankly, I've been surprised by how many people care about this distinction, given the large number of three-receiver sets the Giants use and the likelihood that Manningham, Cruz and Hakeem Nicks will all be on the field at the same time. Eli Manning is likely to throw to whichever one's open, right? Not whichever one's a "starter."
Justin Tuck is generally a genial, friendly, expansive interview subject, but he's down these days. This neck injury is really upsetting him, doesn't seem to be getting better at the rate at which he'd prefer and could keep him out of another game Sunday.
There's a chance that Laurent Robinson remains in the mix for the Cowboys at wide receiver even after Miles Austin returns from his hamstring injury and Dez Bryant gets fully healthy. He's impressed the coaching staff since his arrival.
In case you were wondering if there was anybody left outside the Cowboys' locker room who still liked Tony Romo after last week, we present Troy Aikman, who still thinks Romo is going to end up doing "really great things."
Jason Babin has a lot to say about the fine he got for hitting 49ers quarterback Alex Smith on Sunday, including that the NFL should "get better linemen" if it wants to protect the quarterback better. Babin has seven sacks this year, so there are clearly few if any offensive linemen who've been able to contain him. As for the complaint... hey, everybody complains and rips the league office when they get fined. He sounds like his mission is to encourage the people doing the fining to be more independent thinkers. Entertaining guy, Babin.
Marcus Hayes writes that the Eagles are looking to defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins for leadership on the defensive side of the ball. They miss former safety Quintin Mikell, a powerful locker room voice who left via free agency and signed with the Rams, and while Jenkins is only in his first year in Philly, he won a Super Bowl with the Packers last year and isn't shy about calling out his team, as he did after Sunday's loss.