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Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Breakfast links: Tackle talk

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Happy Flag Day, everyone. No matter what we do these days, we have offensive lines on the brain. Fired-up Friday was about left tackles. Last Thursday's column was about offensive lines. Power Rankings, which come out today, rank the best left tackles in the league. And lo and behold, this morning we find a Pro Football Focus ranking of left and right tackles based on a stat it has called "pass-blocking efficiency." The stat purports to measure the amount of pressure each lineman gives up and is calculated by "Sacks added to three quarters of Hits and Hurries, divided by the amount of snaps in pass protection multiplied by a 100, or: ((Sacks + (0.75 * Hits) + (0.75 * Hurries)) / Pass Pro Snaps) * 100"

You know, for those of you who like a little complex math first thing in the morning.

Anyway, the left tackle at the top of the list is Miami's Jake Long, which makes me feel better because I ranked him first in the league in the left tackle Power Rankings. The NFC East representation on the list doesn't make me look as good. Dallas' Doug Free ranked as the fifth-best left tackle in the league in pass-blocking efficiency last season according to the formula, two spots ahead of Philadelphia's Jason Peters. And Washington's Trent Williams, whom I ranked ahead of Free in Friday's debate post, ranked as the ninth worst. The Giants' David Diehl ranked third worst, incidentally, which I think helps explain Eli Manning's interception numbers a bit.

They also do right tackles here, with New York's Kareem McKenzie faring quite well and Dallas' Marc Colombo ... not so much. It's an interesting breakdown of one critical aspect of tackle play and provides a little data for our ongoing debate. As you chew on that, I'm hitting the links:

Dallas Cowboys

Because I know how you Cowboys fans love your Tony Romo golf updates, here he is qualifying for the Wisconsin State Golf Association Match Play Championship. Hey, gotta do something, right? I salute him. I remember guilt-free golf as a newly married guy before the kids came. Enjoy it now, Tony!

Oh, and in case you missed it, Jason Witten came in at No. 36 on this much-discussed NFL Network list of top 100 players as voted on by other players. One more Cowboy to go on this list, and it's DeMarcus Ware, who's ranked ... somewhere up higher. They're only telling us a little bit at a time, you know. And you say we're stretching for content during the lockout.

New York Giants

Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese said they wouldn't rule out a return of Plaxico Burress to the Giants. This was, presumably, before they read this.

Ralph Vacchiano says Eli Manning expressed "tempered enthusiasm" for the player workouts he and the other Giants had last week at Bergen Catholic High School. Personally, I've never known Eli Manning to express any other kind of enthusiasm.

Philadelphia Eagles

Jonathan Tamari wonders if Andy Reid has a Dirk Nowitzki-like, career-capping moment in his future -- a title celebration that would erase the only remaining criticism of his coaching career in Philadelphia. I mean, it'd be nice. The whole "He hasn't won a Super Bowl. Enough said" argument sure does seem to be getting old and overused.

Tony Dungy directly addressed a question about Burress potentially landing in Philadelphia along with Michael Vick, another player with whom Dungy worked as a mentor during and after his stay in prison. "I don't know that that would be the case," Dungy said.

Washington Redskins

Looks as if the Redskins are at least considering the possibility of moving their team headquarters from Virginia to Maryland. The current facility in Ashburn, Va., is not up to current NFL standards and needs an upgrade. Surely, if Daniel Snyder can get Prince George's County to help him pay for a new one, that would pique his interest.

The 2010 Redskins may not have won a lot of games, but they sure did make a lot of people mad. Santana Moss is the latest from the team to be sued, as he now stands accused of defaulting on a lease for a dry-cleaning business his family ran in Miami. Reason No. 8,437 the lockout needs to end soon.

Hey, make sure you have a good breakfast. Big day today. We're chatting at noon.