Wednesday of wild-card playoff week. I'll head to Giants practice to see what's what over there. But you know I won't ignore the rest of the teams in the division. Heck, I have another Mike Shanahan interview post right here ready to go. Oh, and it's All-Division Team day! The last one. Who will be quarterback? Got to mull that one over. Better have some links.
New York Giants
Osi Umenyiora's big game against Dallas in the division-clincher came with a price, Ralph Vacchiano writes, and the ankle injury that kept him out of the previous four games could cost him some practice time this week. No way he misses the playoff game Sunday against the Falcons, though. Question is how much the injury will affect him/allow him to play.
Mike Mazzeo did a post on ESPNNewYork.com looking at Victor Cruz's six most sizzling touchdown catches of the year, and asking you to pick your favorite. I'm going with the 99-yarder against the Jets, but there are some pretty strong candidates, and you can watch the highlight of each one by clicking through on Mike's post.
The next big coaching decision, now that Eagles owner Jeff Lurie has announced that Andy Reid is coming back, is what to do about defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. There seems to be agreement that he can't come back in the same role, but no one seems to know what to do with him instead. Tough to just make him the scapegoat when Reid himself gets a pass for a rotten year.
Lurie also said he'd welcome back wide receiver DeSean Jackson "if the right terms develop." As our man Andrew Brandt has written recently, the application of the franchise player designation is supposed to indicate an "intent to sign," not just freeze a guy in place for a year because a team can, and the NFLPA has its eye on these situations. So if the Eagles are serious about keeping Jackson around long term, franchising him could make sense. If all they want to do is keep him away from the Redskins, things could get dicey.
Todd Archer writes that this offseason will be the first time since he became head coach of the Cowboys that Jason Garrett has some time to prepare and implement his own program. He got the job midseason in 2010, and last year's offseason didn't happen because of the lockout. Patience, people. Garrett is a young coach with room and opportunity to grow and improve.
After Bill Polian got fired in Indianapolis, some people started asking if Jerry Jones would ever consider hiring a GM to replace ... well, himself. Jones made it clear that such an idea is not even remotely under consideration and never will be. And hey, how many other GMs have three Super Bowl titles on their résumé?
Chris Cooley says he has no doubt he'll be back in Washington next year. When I talked to Shanahan last week, he mentioned the Cooley injury as a particularly crushing one, since he liked having both Cooley and Fred Davis in the game at the same time because it allowed his offense to "set the perimeter." With two years left on his contract, my sense is that Cooley is right to have no doubt about a return.
Mike Wise writes that there's a difference between stepping back and letting your coach coach the way he wants to, as Dan Snyder promised he would when he brought in Shanahan, and just blindly letting that coach do whatever he wants as the team continues to lose games. Mike's conclusion is that, absent tangible 2012 results, Shanahan's seat needs to warm up.