So every Tuesday at noon ET we open up a SportsNation chat room and we do this thing where you guys ask me questions and I answer them. We call it the weekly NFC East chat, and it's oodles of fun. Those who don't come and join in... well, they're beyond hope at this point. So rather than fill them in with the highlights, I present these chat highlights for those of you were there, so you can relive all the fun we had together.
Wesley from Woodstock, Va. believes that, due to his lofty draft position and the attendant hype, Robert Griffin III will be targeted by defensive players in 2012 for "welcome to the NFL" hits. Considering this, Wesley wanted to know if I thought the Washington Redskins' current backup plan of Rex Grossman and Kirk Cousins was sufficient.
Dan Graziano: I don't know how much better a backup QB situation can get, actually. Grossman is the exact right guy to be backing up RG3 right away -- a QB who knows the offense and can help with the new guy's education (as long as the rookie ignores the parts about throwing it to the other team 20 times a year). And Cousins is a well-regarded young guy who'll be learning along with the starter. I think they've backed him up just fine.
St8prop from Atlanta saw a rumor that the Baltimore Ravens had offered the New York Giants a third-round draft pick for disgruntled defensive end Osi Umenyiora and wondered, if the Giants don't trade him, whether it would be because they believed they could do better in compensation picks for losing him to free agency next year.
DG: I think if they don't move him it's because they determined the value of keeping him on their roster outweighed what was offered. They don't NEED to move him. They're not worried about his discontent affecting what they do, and he showed last year that he can still make a major impact when he does play. And he's cheap.
(Ed. note: Please also remember that, if the Giants lose Umenyiora in free agency next year, their compensation pick wouldn't come until the 2014 draft, and it would depend on who else they lost in 2013 free agency and which players they signed as well.)
DG: You mean passing TDs? I'd go with Eli Manning there, taking everything into consideration including his weapons and the relative states of the Giants' and Cowboys' running games.
So then Talon from Muncie, Ind. asked me to "elaborate on the state of NYG & DAL running games."
DG: Well, the Giants were last in the league, Ahmad Bradshaw has chronic foot injuries and Brandon Jacobs had 40 percent of their carries and is now gone. I think it's fair to say the state of the Giants' run game is questionable.
Mark from Los Angeles said he thought Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick "started getting a little lazy" after signing his big contract last offseason and wondered what his state of mind is going into this season.
DG: I don't agree with "lazy" as a characterization of Vick from what I saw last year. I felt all along that the Eagles needed to see some development and maturation from him as a leader, and while he showed some of it late in the year, I don't think he showed enough of it early. I do not ascribe that to laziness, though. I think he works very hard. I just didn't feel that he showed enough improvement in his specific areas of weakness. That could be because he doesn't identify those areas correctly, or because more work needs to be done in them than he or we are willing to admit, or any number of reasons.
And Gavin from Maryland asked how much of an upgrade new Dallas Cowboys fullback Lawrence Vickers would be over Tony Fiammetta, who got a lot of press last year for his role in the run game once DeMarco Murray got hot.
DG: The folks I talked to around the time of that signing all liked Vickers a lot better than they liked Fiammetta. I think by the end of the year, the consensus was that the midseason success of the Dallas' run game was much more Murray than it was Fiammetta, in spite of what some believed while it was happening.
Enjoyed it, as always. Though we didn't hear back from our old buddy Jack from Raleigh. I hope we didn't scare him off.