How I See It: NFC East Stock Watch

December, 8, 2009
12/08/09
11:00
AM ET
NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Falling

1. Wade Phillips, Cowboys head coach: Phillips' defense had performed well for several weeks, but it was victimized by the big play against the Giants. How do you explain the 260-pound Brandon Jacobs taking a 5-yard flip pass in the flat and racing 74 yards for a touchdown? Yes, the Cowboys may have been in a man coverage, but there has to be a safety available to make that play. Gerald Sensabaugh tried to make an arm tackle on Jacobs and it didn't work out. Phillips also heads the list because of his stubborn refusal to acknowledge that his team has struggled in December. He's not attacking this issue head on -- and I think that's a problem.

2. Flozell Adams, Cowboys left tackle: He's emerged as one of the dirtiest players in the game. Some of that nastiness at his position actually helps the team, but jogging across the field to push a player in the back at the end of the first half is disgraceful. He's trying to say he still thought the play was going on. Please. Adams and Justin Tuck already had a running feud going back to a Week 2 tripping penalty on Adams. If he doesn't watch it, Adams is going to get himself suspended. Then the Cowboys' offensive line will really be in chaos.

3. Redskins' playcallers: Some people say that Jim Zorn takes over the playcalling inside the red zone. Others simply say he puts those plays in the game plan for Sherm Lewis to call. Well blame it on whomever you want. The Redskins had the ball first-and-goal at the Saints' 4-yard line in the fourth quarter with a chance to ice the game. A touchdown makes it 37-23. Instead, the Skins played for a field goal and Shaun Suisham missed it right. Feel free to call Suisham the goat in the loss but I'm going with the conservative playcalling.


Jim Luzzi/Sports Imagery/Getty ImagesBrandon Jacobs' 74-yard touchdown catch changed the momentum Sunday for the Giants.
Rising

1. Brandon Jacobs, Giants running back: His 74-yard dash down the sideline after a short catch erased the momentum the Cowboys had gained by going ahead, 17-14. Jacobs looked a lot more like himself in banging into the line of scrimmage with reckless abandon. He didn't wait for things to develop. He just crashed through the line, picking up key first downs. He also showed excellent leadership before the game, whipping his teammates into a frenzy.

2. Domenik Hixon, Giants wide receiver/return specialist: Hixon finished last season as a starting receiver and he began '09 in that role. But the emergency of Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks has reduced Hixon's role, allowing him to focus on the return game. Hixon had studied the Cowboys' gunners all week and he knew how aggressive they were closing down his angles. When he was able to break a tackle and escape to the right side, it was clear sailing for a 79-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. The play effectively put the Cowboys away and caused one of the wildest celebrations we've seen from Giants coach Tom Coughlin.

3. Michael Vick, Eagles quarterback: It was a nice homecoming for a guy who was the face of the Falcons' franchise for six years. Vick had his first touchdown run and pass for the Eagles. Perhaps Andy Reid is finally showing us his full Wildcat plan. Or maybe he was just letting Vick have a little fun against his former team. Either way, it was a good day for Vick and the Eagles. And completing the long pass to Reggie Brown reminds prospective employers that Vick can still get the ball downfield. I know it wasn't a perfectly thrown ball, but it was still a significant completion.

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