All-NFC East Team: Week 14 update

December, 7, 2011
12/07/11
9:50
AM ET
Alert! We're changing quarterbacks again!

After two weeks in the top spot, the Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo this week slides ever-so-slightly behind the New York Giants' Eli Manning for the starting quarterback spot on the NFC East All-Division Team. As I have written for many weeks now, the race between Romo and Manning is as close as it can possibly be in almost every single category. But I'm not going to split the vote. I'm going to make a pick. And the Week 13 performances slid Manning slightly back in front of Romo for the season, for me.

The disclaimer that no one will read: This All-Division Team reflects performance for the entire year to date. It is not -- repeat, NOT -- simply a list of awards for Week 13 performance. That's why Mitch Petrus isn't on it. Any changes made due to Week 13 results of performance are made because said results or performance, added to the prior 12 weeks' body of work for the players in question, warranted a change.

That's what happened at quarterback, which could very easily swing back and forth between Romo and Manning the rest of the way. It seems to be the king of all NFC East debates -- Romo vs. Manning -- and on it rages. You guys are going to love this week's Hot Button.

But first, this week's All-Division Team, followed by some notes.

Quarterback: Eli Manning, Giants (Last week: Tony Romo)

Running back: LeSean McCoy, Eagles (McCoy)

Wide receiver: Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, Giants (Nicks, Cruz)

Tight end: Jason Witten, Cowboys (Witten)

Fullback: Darrel Young, Redskins (Young)

Left tackle: Jason Peters, Eagles (Peters)

Left guard: Evan Mathis, Eagles (Mathis)

Center: Will Montgomery, Redskins (Montgomery)

Right guard: Kyle Kosier, Cowboys (Danny Watkins)

Right tackle: Tyron Smith, Cowboys (Smith)

Defensive end: Jason Pierre-Paul, Giants; Trent Cole, Eagles (Pierre-Paul, Cole)

Defensive tackle: Jay Ratliff, Cowboys; Cullen Jenkins, Eagles (Ratliff, Jenkins)

Outside linebacker: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys; Ryan Kerrigan, Redskins (Ware, Brian Orakpo)

Inside linebacker: London Fletcher, Redskins; Sean Lee, Cowboys (Fletcher, Lee)

Cornerback: Asante Samuel, Eagles; Corey Webster, Giants (Samuel, Terence Newman)

Safety: Kenny Phillips, Giants; Gerald Sensabaugh, Cowboys (Phillips, Sensabaugh)

Kicker: Dan Bailey, Cowboys (Bailey)

Punter: Steve Weatherford, Giants (Sav Rocca)

Kick returner: Brandon Banks, Redskins (Banks)

Punt returner: Brandon Banks, Redskins (Banks)
  • So you don't have to go back and count, it's eight Cowboys, seven Giants, six Eagles and six Redskins. And no, I don't take that into account or try to make sure it's even. That's just the way it's worked out.
  • Kerrigan moves back in front of Orakpo in the race for that second outside linebacker spot. It's a neck-and-neck race kind of like quarterback is, and I thought Kerrigan was a bit better Sunday. They're both studs, and if Washington is building a defense around its pass-rushing linebackers, it's doing a good job. It's also worth noting that the Cowboys' Anthony Spencer is playing well enough to get into the conversation for that spot alongside teammate Ware.
  • London Fletcher is special. He's on here every week, almost automatically, and therefore never gets mentioned. All he's doing is racking up tackles, playing his guts out on every down and setting the tone for that Redskins defense and all of the young players around him. Someday, if Perry Riley turns out to be great, he's going to look back and be very grateful for the opportunity to learn next to someone like Fletcher.
  • And cornerback remains a wasteland. Nobody's playing it well. I left Newman on there last week and then he went out and played basically his worst game of the year. I have no idea how to pick the cornerbacks for this team and so once again I am leaving it to Pro Football Focus, which grades Samuel as the No. 17 corner in the league and Webster at No. 37 -- the two best rankings among NFC East corners. For Week 13 specifically, it rated Orlando Scandrick and DeAngelo Hall as the best. What can I tell you?
  • Kosier takes the right guard spot from Watkins because he's been healthier and playing better and it's probably pretty important to point out his level of responsibility for Smith's instantaneous and brilliant success as a rookie playing next to him.
  • Finally, Pierre-Paul is an absolute thrill to watch. He's the best defensive end in the division, and along with Orakpo and Kerrigan he makes a case for second-best defensive player in the division behind Ware. He's huge, hyper-athletic and getting better play by play. It's frightening to think how good he can become.

So let me know. What'd I get wrong?

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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