- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. This morning's links will be lighter than usual, since we'll all be eating plenty later on. Meantime, know how thankful I am for my wonderful job and for the time I get to spend here online mixing it up with all of you each day. I hope you all enjoy a wonderful holiday with friends and family.
The Cowboys were one of three teams to put in a claim on quarterback Kyle Orton, which seemed to confuse some people who hadn't read Todd Archer's item in Wednesday morning's links saying they should. Two reasons: First, it seems clear that backup quarterback Jon Kitna has a somewhat serious injury, meaning the Cowboys don't have the reliable veteran backup they like to have behind Tony Romo. And second, they knew the Bears were going to claim him, and the Cowboys could be competing with the Bears for a playoff spot. Doesn't matter. The Chiefs claimed him, too, and they had higher waiver priority than either Dallas or Chicago.
Rob Ryan says the Cowboys' defensive problems are all in the red zone.
I have written many times, here and elsewhere, that I dispute and fail to understand the reasons why fans boo their own favorite team for poor performance. Brandon Jacobs seems to agree with me, which makes me ... well, I don't know how it makes me feel. But the premise that fans would pay all of that money for tickets and parking and then boo a team or a player for not playing well still baffles me. I'd boo if I felt the player or team wasn't putting forth a full effort or really trying their best to win. But I don't think that's the case with Jacobs. In particular, I don't think you can get on a running back for failing to find holes that don't exist. The running game problems for the Giants are all offensive line-related, and there's nothing Jacobs can do about them. However, I was discussing this on Twitter on Wednesday with a follower of mine named Albert Guendi (@albertguendi), and he said the main thing that bothers Giants fans about Jacobs is the number of times over the past few years he has said or done something to indicate a lack of enthusiasm for playing football in general and for the Giants in particular. And so I can kind of understand that Jacobs has eroded his benefit of the doubt with fans. Still don't get why you'd sit there and not want to build up your favorite team or player rather than rip on them for losing. But I can get why Jacobs might not longer be a player about whom Giants fans feel much affection.
Michael Vick has been able to throw the ball a little bit this week, according to Andy Reid, though it remains to be seen whether he'll play Sunday. He didn't practice Wednesday, and if he doesn't practice before the weekend I'd personally bet on a second consecutive start for Vince Young. Either way, they're getting a soft Patriots pass defense Sunday and should be able to take advantage, as long as the receivers are healthy. Problem is, they're not. DeSean Jackson missed practice with a foot injury and Jeremy Maclin has shoulder and hamstring problems. The Eagles literally can't afford to lose another game, and so they're going to have to hope they can out-physical opponents up front on the lines the way they did Sunday night against the Giants.
Running back Evan Royster says it was rough, waiting around all year on the practice squad for his shot at actual carries in an actual NFL game. But he's on the active roster now, and if you don't think he's going to get a shot to carry the ball, you haven't paid much attention to the way Mike Shanahan has been using his running backs this year or, really, ever. He obviously doesn't think Ryan Torain can handle every-down duties. He obviously doesn't think Roy Helu is or should be anything more than a change-of-pace guy just yet. So I'll bet you see Royster get a real and serious look at some point -- whether it's this week or sometime in the final five.