Friday, August 26, 2011
Breakfast links: Vick backs up his line
By Dan Graziano
Two preseason games in the books from Thursday night, two more to come Saturday, so let's see where things stand in the NFC East with a little thing we like to call the breakfast links.
The Cowboys' offensive line picture gets a little bit cloudier with an injury to Phil Costa, who'd been doing a good job filling in at center for the injured Andre Gurode. Costa's play this preseason had him in line to start either at center or potentially left guard, but now it appears as though Gurode is the center and Montrae Holland is the guard if both are healthy. Bill Nagy remains a threat at either position if he continues to impress Saturday night.
Lots of talk in this story about Dez Bryant and what he and the team see as his improved maturity and professionalism this offseason. This is going to be an issue throughout Bryant's career, I imagine, as reputations are nearly impossible to shake and he's got a tough one. He's saying all the right things and seems to be impressing the right people in his own locker room, at least. We know the kid had stunning talent, and if he can keep these extra issues from mattering, that'll be best for him and the team.
New York Giants
Newly signed cornerback Brian Williams is expected to play for the Giants on Saturday. Tom Coughlin said the main reason the team signed Williams was his experience, and their expectation that he could learn their defense quickly. With all of the injuries the Giants have suffered at the position, Williams is going to get a chance to play and show what he can do after a couple of years as a backup.
Matt Dodge didn't like being booed at the Giants' first home preseason game Monday, but he has shrugged it off. Here he talks about the competition between he and Steve Weatherford, the support he's received from Coughlin since he got to New York, and other things on the mind of a punter fighting for a roster spot.
After getting knocked around due to their ineptitude in Thursday night's preseason game, Michael Vick defended his offensive line, especially rookie Jason Kelce, who was beating himself up. Shows good leadership from Vick, who was one of last week's goats and obviously doesn't see the benefit in engaging in blame-assignment after a meaningless preseason game.
If you thought LeSean McCoy caught an unusual number of passes in this game, you weren't alone. They noticed in the Eagles' locker room, as well, and the party line was that you take what the defense gives you. McCoy is clearly a weapon in the passing game -- this is not news. But on a night like this one, when Vick didn't get any time to find receivers downfield, it was encouraging for the Eagles to see him so in sync with his best running back.
It sounds as though the injury to rookie defensive end Jarvis Jenkins could be worse than initially thought, which would be a shame, since Jenkins has been one of the pleasant surprises of training camp and preseason. Jenkins will have an MRI on Friday and hope it comes back clean, but he was fearing for his ACL on Thursday night after the game.
Dan Daly tries to decipher Mike Shanahan's clues about his deliberations on the Redskins' quarterback situation. Shanahan isn't offering many in his news conferences, though I still think as long as John Beck doesn't fall flat on his face he's the guy. And we don't know how much, if at all, Beck or Rex Grossman will play in next week's preseason finale.