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Monday, August 29, 2011
Breakfast links: Giants man in the middle

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Dallas Cowboys

Tight end Martellus Bennett is going to miss two to four weeks with a sprained ankle and therefore might not be ready for the Sept. 11 season opener against the Jets. Losing Bennett impacts the Cowboys' passing game because it might inhibit their ability to use tight end Jason Witten as their slot receiver if he has more blocking responsibilities. The Cowboys are counting on their depth at tight end to help offset their lack of depth at wide receiver.

Jerry Jones seems almost giddy about the rookies on the Cowboys' offensive line. Kevin Kowalski isn't likely to be the starter once the season begins, but Jones seemed pleased with his performance in Saturday's game. Still seems strange, the treatment of Andre Gurode. Why fly him with you to Minnesota only to make him sit there and watch someone else do his job? Ugly business sometimes.

New York Giants

Mike Garafolo checks in with Jonathan Goff, who's shown signs this preseason of improving in pass coverage. I personally think this is a big question-mark spot for the Giants. There aren't too many positions at which you can point and say, "Yeah, the Giants are actually better there this year than they were last year." As good? Sure. Maybe not too much worse? Absolutely. But better? Not too many. If Goff can show improvement in his second year as a starting middle linebacker (not an outrageous idea, certainly), that would be one.

Victor Cruz was the star of the show in last year's Jets-Giants preseason game. He believes he's come a long way since then and hopes he can star again as he continues his bid for more playing time at wide receiver this year.

Philadelphia Eagles

In the wake of Todd Herremans' move from left guard to right tackle, Les Bowen assesses the remaining issues on the Eagles' offensive line -- specifically whether Jason Kelce is or should be leading the supposed "competition" between himself and Jamaal Jackson for the starting center's job. If Kelce proves to be a complete disaster (as he appeared to be at times Thursday night), then they can always just slide Jackson back in there. But Les is right -- they don't seem as though they want to do that.

The Eagles' receiving corps is gaining strength and depth, it would seem, with two weeks left before the start of the regular season. If Jeremy Maclin and Steve Smith really are both going to be ready, it'll be fascinating to see how this offense operates and who gets the targets.

Washington Redskins

Mike Shanahan was known in Denver for his zone-blocking offensive lines. Implementation of that scheme and those concepts didn't go so great in Shanahan's first year in Washington, but things seem to be improving in the second. It does amaze me a little bit that Washington's is the offensive line about which I've written the least in this preseason. Does that say more about what they're doing there or the number of question marks with which the other three teams are dealing?

On the other line, however, the Redskins' options for replacing promising rookie Jarvis Jenkins look grim. Jenkins is out for the season with a knee injury suffered in last week's preseason game, and his playing time will be taken by some combination of Kedric Golston, Doug Worthington and Darrion Scott. "Obviously," Shanahan said, "you cannot replace a player like that."