Breakfast links: Return of Chris Cooley

October, 22, 2012
10/22/12
8:00
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A good Monday morning to you, and welcome to a new week in the NFC East. As most of you know, we do the links in order of division standings, and that means the Giants are going to be listed first for at least the next two weeks after they escaped Sunday with a victory over the Redskins. Should the Giants beat the Cowboys in Dallas next Sunday, they would start to look as though they were in control of things in this wacky division. Of course, that's a long way off and predictions don't even come out until Friday, so let's just go ahead and have some links, shall we?

(Note: The Eagles are listed ahead of the Cowboys due to the common-opponents tiebreaker, since they're both 1-0 in the division. Their common opponents so far are the Giants and Ravens. The Eagles are 2-0, Cowboys 1-1.)

New York Giants (5-2)

The Giants tend, usually, to be somewhat aggressively unimpressed with their opponents. They feel, in general, as though the outside perception of their competitors is often too positive and that, as a result, the outside perception of themselves is insufficiently respectful. All of that said, the players on the Giants' defense came away extremely impressed by what they saw from one Mr. Robert Griffin III.

Chris Canty started the game and said the knee injury that kept him out for the first six games of the season gave him no trouble at all. A positive development for the interior of the Giants' defensive line, which has played well in Canty's absence but could, like any line, use reinforcements as the season goes along.

Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)

Jeff McLane looked back at a wild bye week for Eagles coach Andy Reid -- a week that included the firing of his defensive coordinator and learning the cause of death of his son. The Eagles get back to work this week and things should feel more normal.

The Eagles' defensive line could get a boost from the surprise return of defensive tackle Mike Patterson, who's expected to practice today and would, if he can return to game action following offseason brain surgery, add another starting-quality talent to the Eagles' defensive line rotation.

Dallas Cowboys (3-3)

The Cowboys won Sunday, which is really all that matters, especially on the road against a team coming off its bye week. But the general feeling among those who saw the game was that they weren't all that impressive. Tim Cowlishaw explains.

This was an odd one: Former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs gave the Cowboys their Saturday night pep talk at the team hotel in Carolina. I think what's weird about it is that the speech seemed designed to help the Cowboys feel better about screwing up the clock management at the end of the previous week's game in Baltimore, which means it seemed aimed at coach Jason Garrett, which means I wonder why all of the players had to hear it. But Jerry Jones is an odd cat. Also interesting in this anecdote is that Jones seems to indicate that Gibbs was the one who gave him the idea that the head coach should be one of the coordinators.

Washington Redskins (3-4)

With Fred Davis out for the season following a torn Achilles injury in Sunday's game, the logical thing for the Redskins to do was bring back former tight end Chris Cooley. And they are. Cooley should help, even though he doesn't offer what Davis offers as a big-play receiving threat at this point in his career. He knows the offense and loved his role in training camp helping bring along young guys in new roles like Niles Paul. The Redskins will benefit from his return.

Dan Daly writes that, while the Redskins' offense looked Sunday as though it could hang with anyone in the league, the issue is that the team remains incomplete, and the defensive weaknesses remain glaring.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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