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Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Breakfast links: Cowboy kids all right?

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Morning. It's eight days until the start of the NFL's regular season, 11 days until the first NFC East games of the year, and we are counting it down the only way we know how: Link by link.

Dallas Cowboys

Remember, Jerry Jones says, Tony Romo got knocked out of the 2010 season playing behind a veteran offensive line. So what's so wrong with going young there? Sure, it's spin, but it's a worthwhile point that someone you all know very well made yesterday before he even heard Jones mention it -- how much worse can the kids be than what they already had there?

While everyone expects Orlando Scandrick and his new contract to eventually replace Terence Newman in the starting lineup at cornerback, Jason Garrett says that's not happening now. Garrett says he likes Newman and Mike Jenkins as his starting corners and Scandrick in his nickel role, and there are no plans to change it, assuming Newman and Jenkins get back from their injuries sometime soon and actually play.

New York Giants

Mike Garafolo writes that the last time Eli Manning failed to throw a touchdown pass in the preseason was 2004, his rookie year. Mike also demonstrates, with the help of a really cool Star-Ledger graphic that uses different Eli faces (interceptions are upside-down Eli faces!), that the Giants haven't been completing passes over the middle this preseason. It could be because they're still working on finding something reliable in the slot. Could also be that preseason doesn't mean anything. Soon, we'll find out for real. Anyway, click on that graphic. Star-Ledger graphics are excellent, and I'm not just saying that as a proud alum.

The great thing about Tom Coughlin is that he's going to give it to you straight without worrying about his players' feelings. Jerrel Jernigan was clearly a fiasco on punt returns Monday night, and Coughlin said as much on his conference call Monday. There's a chance they could use Aaron Ross, who's now a starting cornerback, to return punts instead, though Coughlin admitted he's hesitant to do that because they need Ross so much now in the starting lineup. Ross hasn't always been the healthiest guy in the league, you know.

Philadelphia Eagles

Amid all of the expected angles on the Michael Vick contract story, Jonathan Tamari actually spoke to Vick's creditors and offers a story about how the new deal affects Vick's rather messy personal finances. Good thinking, Jon.

Evan Mathis said he signed in Philadelphia expecting to be a starter, which he is now, at left guard, after the options at right tackle all fizzled out and they had to move Todd Herremans over there. The Mathis signing got lost amid the bigger-name Eagles signings late last month, because he's an offensive lineman and because those guys have bigger names. But as it turns out, that may have been one of the more important signings they made.

Washington Redskins

I wouldn't be surprised if the Redskins found another defensive lineman to add to their mix once the cuts all come in this weekend. But right now, it sounds as though they're comfortable going with what they have there, even with promising rookie Jarvis Jenkins out with a torn ACL.

And, as expected, Malcolm Kelly was one of the cuts the Redskins made Tuesday to get down to 80 players. The 2008 second-round draft pick had a world of talent, the old Redskins coaches and new Redskins coaches agreed, but he just could never get healthy enough to stay on the field and show it. Kelly is just 24 years old, but the injuries have him considering hanging it up and doing something else for a living.