The winner of the how-to-order-the-Friday-links contest this week is Michael from Nashville, who suggested tying the order to fantasy sports. I went to the ESPN fantasy football page and looked up the points leaders from last year, and the links are hereby provided in order of each team's highest-scoring fantasy player from 2011.
Tom Coughlin says "it's probably going to be close" when asked whether Hakeem Nicks will be ready for the regular-season opener. Nicks broke his foot in practice Thursday and is scheduled to have surgery today to insert a screw into it. The Giants' say the estimated recovery time is 12 weeks, which would be the middle of August, and Coughlin said Nicks is confident he can make that. We shall see.
As I wrote Thursday afternoon, if there's a positive to take out of the Nicks news it's that the Giants will be able to give more offseason and preseason reps to wide receivers Domenik Hixon, Jerrel Jernigan, Ramses Barden and Rueben Randle, and extended looks at those players will help them determine which, if any, is best suited to replace free-agent defector Mario Manningham as the No. 3 receiver behind Nicks and Victor Cruz. Hixon says he's feeling good and ready.
The concern with the Eagles is that Michael Vick's history says he's likely to miss at least a game or two due to injury this season. And if he does, there's very little in the way of experience among the backup options behind him. Jeff McLane breaks down the Eagles' backup quarterback situation, which should be Mike Kafka at this point.
As Sal Paolantonio reported the other day, second-year center Jason Kelce will be taking over the responsibility for making the protection calls at the line of scrimmage. The Eagles gave Vick that responsibility last year, and shifting it to Kelce will give Vick less about which to worry, and I think that's probably a good thing.
Jean-Jacques Taylor writes that third-year wide receiver Dez Bryant has had a nice, blissfully quiet offseason and that he's on the verge of greatness. As we discussed many times last year, Bryant is a physical mismatch for almost anyone who tries to cover him, even at the NFL level. It's about committing to his own development and route-running, and once he does that he'll be as good as anyone.
And yeah, two from ESPNDallas.com this morning, as the crew there debates whether the Cowboys can beat the Vegas over/under of 8.5 wins for 2012. I bring this up as a preview to the "Dream/nightmare scenario" posts that are coming from each of our division's teams this morning. So, you know. Look forward to that.
In a bit of irony, the Redskins (and the Cowboys) are among the defendants in the NFLPA's collusion case against the league for the spending practices during the uncapped 2010 season. It's ironic because the union says the only way it found out about what it alleges to be collusive behavior was because the league punished those teams for not adhering to the secret agreement regarding 2010 spending. What you should take from this, once and for all, is the fact that the union's collusion case is in no way whatsoever aimed at helping the Redskins and Cowboys getting any relief of those cap punishments. That part of this case is over, they will pay the penalties and that's really it. I promise. No matter how nicely you guys ask.
The Redskins put Robert Griffin III's locker between those of London Fletcher and Brian Orakpo, which LaVar Arrington says could be crucial to the rookie's development. One of the Redskins' strengths as a team is the veteran leadership they have in their locker room, and they'll surely want to put Griffin in the best possible position -- literally as well as figuratively -- to benefit from that.