How I See It: NFC East Stock Watch

December, 15, 2009
12/15/09
11:00
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NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Falling

1. Marion Barber, Cowboys running back: It's honestly time to take the guy's starting job away. He's supposed to be this fierce runner, but he can't bang the ball in from the 1-yard line. In the previous week, it was his fumble that breathed new life into the Giants' sideline. He had 14 carries for 47 yards against a Chargers defense that has struggled against the run at times. I'm told by folks who watch film that Barber's leaving a lot of yards on the field. It's time to get Tashard Choice some more reps. Much more explosive than Barber at this point.

2. Nick Folk, Cowboys kicker: They've tried just about everything to pull him out of the slump, including Tony Romo's return to holder. Still, he missed a key attempt from 42 yards and he appears to have lost his confidence. I still think he'll be a quality kicker in this league, but I'm not sure it will be with the Cowboys. This is quite a tailspin he's in -- and the Cowboys have another kicker on the roster.

3. Bill Sheridan, Giants defensive coordinator: I don't see how this man will keep his job after this season. The Giants' pass rush has been anemic, and the secondary can't cover anyone. DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek had the time of their lives carving up this unit. Safety Michael Johnson apparently became fascinated with a backup Eagles tight end instead of remembering that Jackson plays for the opposing team. And Donovan McNabb made him pay by beating the Giants for a 60-yard touchdown. It has to be demoralizing for the Giants' offense to watch this group.

[+] EnlargeDeSean Jackson
AP Photo/Bill KostrounDeSean Jackson has eight touchdowns of 50-plus yards this season.
Rising

1. DeSean Jackson, Eagles wide receiver: He's replaced Devin Hester as the most exciting player in the league. He accounted for 178 yards receiving and he added a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown. He's the player for the Eagles that keeps opposing defensive coordinators up at night. And he's going to get at least one of those coordinators fired. Jackson was viewed as a character risk coming out of college. But he's viewed by his organization as the consummate teammate. He's the biggest reason the Eagles could make another run at the Super Bowl.

2. Brian Orakpo, Redskins linebacker: I kept reading where Orakpo and Andre Carter were getting all of these sacks because of the presence of Albert Haynesworth. But Big Al was nowhere to be seen while Orakpo collected four sacks against the Raiders. He's already emerged as one of the top pass-rushers in the NFC East, and there's a good chance he'll end up with more sacks than Pro Bowl players such as DeMarcus Ware, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. Orakpo's the real deal.

3. Donovan McNabb, Eagles quarterback: He makes it look so easy that we sometimes forget how well he's playing. When the Eagles fell behind 31-30, McNabb never showed an ounce of fear. He looked at his teammates and told them it was time to score again. And that's when he delivered a perfect ball to Jackson for a 60-yard score. I also thought McNabb did a really nice job of buying time on the rare occasions he felt some pressure. He's still a master of sliding around in the pocket. He's the best quarterback in the Beast right now.

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