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Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Breakfast links: Cowboys know the score

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

All four NFC East teams are back in action this week, so we turn directly to the links, which never take a bye week.

Washington Redskins

Rex Grossman and Fred Davis got some practice time together last week when they both found themselves at the Redskins' team facility during the bye. Davis says he's eager to get back to the way things were in the first couple of weeks of the season. Remember? When he was the second coming of Jerry Rice?

I wondered, when Al Davis died Saturday, what Mike Shanahan would have to say about him, since the two were obviously nothing close to friendly after Davis fired Shanahan in Oakland and the two bickered about money. Shanahan offered a simple, classy statement saying he never met anyone with more passion for the game and that he "learned a lot" from Davis, and I imagine he'll leave it at that.

Dallas Cowboys

Anthony Spencer is a more serious, focused and determined player this year than he was in 2010, and it's showing on the field. Could it have something to do with the fact that he's playing for a contract?

Jason Garrett is so determined to stick with his idea of "situational football" in practice that he has added scoreboards to the Cowboys' practice fields at Valley Ranch to help keep the team focused on the fictional situations he's creating for them every day.

New York Giants

Justin Tuck clearly isn't happy about former Giants teammate and current ESPN analyst Antonio Pierce apparently calling out him and Brandon Jacobs for not playing in spite of their injuries. Tuck says he and Pierce have discussed the matter, and that Pierce doesn't understand the extent of Tuck's injury. Jacobs has nothing to say on the matter, since he apparently only talks on Thursdays. You know, like every other backup running back in the league does.

The Giants haven't changed their philosophy on the importance of running the ball. They just haven't been able to make it work so far this year, and they're as curious about why that is as the rest of us are.

Philadelphia Eagles

Things have gone from ugly to uglier in Philadelphia, where heads continue to be called for. Kevin Callahan says the first thing the Eagles need to do is fire rookie defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and the second is to move head coach Andy Reid into a GM role. Neither of those things is about to happen during the season, by the way.

Jeff McLane argues for scrapping the "Wide 9" defensive philosophy the Eagles adopted for the first time this season, and he's clearly right that they don't have the linebackers or safeties they need to make it work effectively. Reid says it worked better in the second half against the Bills, and he's right. The defense actually did manage to make a couple of stops and get off the field in the second half, and turnovers by the offense cost the Eagles the game. But the Eagles' defense takes too long to get going, and they simply can't wait until the second half every week for the scheme to start working.

It's Tuesday, which means we'll chat at noon, we'll have Power Rankings in the afternoon and Stock Watch as well. Keep checking back for all of the Tuesday goodies.