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Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Breakfast links: Boys rally around Romo

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Morning, all. Another Tuesday in the NFC East, and we wouldn't let you start it without your daily serving of links.

Dallas Cowboys

In the Cowboys' locker room, there was backlash Monday against the anti-Tony Romo backlash coming from all corners of the outside world. "I'll take that guy over anybody in the league," Keith Brooking said. "Y'all might thing I'm crazy, but he's going to have an all-time year. He's going to shatter every record." Could be bravado, but for me it's a reminder that the players on a pro sports team do not view the game or its players the same way we on the outside do. The Cowboys are going to watch a lot of film this week of Romo doing a lot of great things against one of the league's best defenses, and it's not myopic of them to focus on that instead of the fourth-quarter turnovers.

Drew Pearson isn't ready to start carving Dez Bryant's Hall of Fame bust just yet. Pearson had some strong words for the second-year receiver and his inability to make it through the entire game healthy Sunday. Bryant is clearly a monster talent, but questions do remain on a number of fronts -- most of them focused off the field rather than on. When he's on the field and healthy, he's pretty tough for the other team to handle.

New York Giants

Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York says one of the most important things the Giants need to do is figure out their identity on offense. This has actually been a problem for the Giants, within games, over the past couple of years. Fundamentally, they want to run the ball and work the passing game off of that. But with Eli Manning flourishing as a passer and with options like Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham having emerged over the past two seasons, they looked to pass more a more. Now, it seems as though they'd be better off trying to focus on the run with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, but they did not do that Sunday against the Redskins. Interested to see how they come out offensively Monday night against the Rams.

In case Giants fans haven't heard enough bad injury news, Nicks is apparently struggling with some type of knee injury. It doesn't sound as though it's serious, but the Giants' luck with this stuff obviously hasn't been good, and Nicks has been dinged up in each of his first two years in the league, so it bears watching.

Philadelphia Eagles

DeSean Jackson has been playing the good soldier in the absence of the contract extension he wants, but Ashley Fox wonders how long the peace and harmony will last if the Eagles don't budge soon. Fox seems to suspect, as I do, that the Eagles and Jackson aren't very close on contract terms and that this isn't going to get solved soon. Many Eagles fans I hear from can't conceive of the team allowing Jackson to leave as a free agent, but the fact is he's no sure bet to play in Philadelphia long-term.

Eagles first-round pick Danny Watkins wants to play, of course, but he's a long-view guy who says he wouldn't want to play right guard if he's not sufficiently ready to help protect Michael Vick. The idea that Watkins can relax now that he doesn't have to worry about being ready to be the starter right away is a legitimate one, I think.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins were allowed to take Monday off following Sunday's victory, but they decided not to. Under the leadership of linebacker London Fletcher, they reported to team headquarters to watch film and get their treatment and workouts in. It's all part, they say, of a culture change they believe is going to pay huge benefits this year. It's also the latest in a burgeoning string of reasons for Redskins fans to feel good about their team.

Mike Shanahan is also hopeful that he'll have a full-strength secondary for Sunday's game against the Cardinals, as safety LaRon Landry could be nearing a return from his hamstring injury. Shanahan also doesn't expect the ankle injury Brian Orakpo suffered Sunday to keep him out of next week's game.

Lots more on the docket Tuesday, including the 2011 debut of Stock Watch and our weekly live chat at noon ET. Be there or you'll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life ...