Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC East [Print without images]

Monday, October 17, 2011
Breakfast links: Giants' 'positive energy'

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Good morning, all. Our humble division went 2-2 on Sunday, which seems about right when you look at the standings. Don't worry. We'll sneak up on them. As long as we stay true to our links, which continue to come your way in order of current standings:

New York Giants (4-2)

Tom Coughlin said Sunday's win was about "positive energy," which was in short supply around the Meadowlands last week. Things have a way of turning around dramatically from week to week in this league, and just like that Ahmad Bradshaw went from disgruntled afterthought to happy workhorse. The Giants don't play again for two weeks, but they'll do so with at least a share of first place after taking care of business against a game Buffalo Bills team.

It seems like the Giants' defense is about very little other than sacking the quarterback, but cornerback Corey Webster made sure to stand up for secondary Sunday, and his two interceptions were critical parts of this critical Giants victory. Webster didn't play a perfect game, but he made plays when he had to.

Washington Redskins (3-2)

Jason Reid writes that Rex Grossman's poor play has made the Redskins' quarterback decision easy for coach Mike Shanahan. You know how I feel about this. If they switch to John Beck, it's not as though anyone expects that he won't put Shanahan in the same position two or three weeks from now. The Redskins will win or lose with their defense and their running game, and if those things aren't right, it's not going to matter who the quarterback is.

Here's the stuff that matters more for the Redskins than quarterback: Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger looks as though he's out for the season. Left tackle Trent Williams has a high ankle sprain and will miss some time. Tight end Chris Cooley has a broken hand and won't likely play for a while. The group around and in front of the quarterback is more important to Shanahan's system, and that group took some big hits Sunday.

Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

Injury issues for the Cowboys' offense as well, as Jerry Jones says left guard Bill Nagy looks done for the season and running back Felix Jones is hurt yet again -- this time with a high ankle sprain. The Cowboys' inability to pick up first downs with the run game hurt them in the fourth quarter of the loss at New England, though it's unclear whether a healthy Jones would have been able to help if they'd called the same plays for him that they called for Tashard Choice and DeMarco Murray.

The Cowboys' mental mistakes Sunday took the form of a season-high 10 penalties, including two on Anthony Spencer, who's having a very nice season but didn't have his best game Sunday.

Philadelphia Eagles (2-4)

The hero of the Eagles' victory Sunday was probably running back LeSean McCoy, whose remarkable ability to find holes where there don't appear to be any allowed the Eagles to eat up clock and preserve their second-half lead even as they found themselves unable to score against a tough Redskins defense. McCoy is having a monster season and is rightfully taking his place in the public consciousness among the very best running backs in the NFL.

Kurt Coleman's season had a rough start, and he got benched for it. Then Jarrad Page had a rough couple of games, and Coleman got put back in the starting lineup. How do you take advantage of a second chance? Well, Coleman and his three interceptions Sunday might have just written the book on that.