Breakfast links: Cowboys in building mode?

July, 27, 2012
7/27/12
8:00
AM ET
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Good morning, as the NFC East blog is now coming to you live from the training camp home of the Super Bowl champion Giants. I hope that, wherever you are reading this, the storms missed you and you're OK. I present your Friday links in order of my training camp itinerary.

New York Giants

Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who had foot surgery in late May, will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list. So will defensive tackle Chris Canty, tight end Travis Beckum and linebacker Clint Sintim. No surprises among that group, and nothing new on Nicks, which is good news. The Giants initially expected him to be ready around mid-August and that remains the timetable. He's had no setbacks and still expects to play in the season opener 40 days from today.

On the day players reported to training camp, Tom Coughlin said his question was "Which team are we?" Meaning, are they the team that was 7-7 in its first 14 games last year or the team that won the next six after that, including the Super Bowl? The Giants' mission is to improve on last year's 9-7 regular-season record with the help of the confidence they gained from playing like the best team in the league once the playoffs began. It's clear Coughlin wants the team to remember the tough times, too.

Washington Redskins

Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall says rookie Robert Griffin III is "probably the worst quarterback in our division" because "he hasn't taken a snap." Fair enough. Hall's keeping it real. The Redskins have high hopes for Griffin, and Hall likes him a lot. The point is that he's a rookie, the division's other three quarterbacks are very good and accomplished, and everyone needs to remember that Griffin is at the beginning of something, no matter how great they may expect it to ultimately be.

John Keim's practice report from Thursday is exhaustive, which is no surprise if you're a regular reader of John's. He says Tyler Polumbus got first-team snaps at right tackle with Jammal Brown out, but I imagine there'll be a competition at that spot if Brown can't get health. There's lots of stuff in there about almost everyone on the roster. Enjoy.

Philadelphia Eagles

Tight end Brent Celek has a sprained knee and had to miss part of Thursday's practice. He says it's not a problem, and Celek has earned the benefit of the doubt on his ability to handle pain and injury. Right after last season ended, he had hip surgery and sports hernia surgery. Still, all of that would seem to at least be part of the reason they were looking at Visanthe Shiancoe last week before he signed with the Patriots.

And if the president of the United States wants Michael Vick to slide, Vick says, he'll slide.

Dallas Cowboys

Jean-Jacques Taylor isn't buying the Cowboys as contenders in 2012, but he is buying into Jason Garrett's program. He says Garrett is patiently and methodically building something he believes can sustain itself for a long time. It's an interesting perspective. You want your leaders to have vision, and there's no doubting what kind of team Garrett wants to have. He may not have it yet, but JJT thinks he's moving in the right direction. If the Cowboys miss the playoffs again, there will be people calling for heads to roll. But if they show improvement on defense and on the offensive line, it's likely to be seen inside the organization as progress.

Jerry Jones believes the improvements in the secondary and on the offensive line will help the Cowboys specifically in their NFC East matchups. Dallas beat the Redskins twice last year in very close games but went a combined 0-4 against the Eagles and the Giants.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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