Wednesday, October 19, 2011
NFC East All-Division Team: Week 7 update
By Dan Graziano
The New York Giants are in first place in the division, so it should come as no surprise that Giants players dominate this week's edition of the NFC East's rolling All-Division Team. Only two changes from last week's team, but both changes were additions of Giants players -- specifically at left tackle and cornerback. This week's team features 11 Giants, six Redskins, six Cowboys and four Eagles, so it roughly reflects the standings, I guess. Not that it was intended that way.
First, the disclaimer that most of you won't read: This is meant to be an All-Division team for the entire season to date -- not simply a review of Week 6 games. For that reason, you will still see some players who haven't played in a few weeks, because they haven't been overtaken by the stellar play of anyone on the list behind them. I'll explain after the team, which is what you came for anyway.
Quarterback: Eli Manning, Giants (Last week: Manning)
Running back: LeSean McCoy, Eagles (McCoy)
Wide receiver: Hakeem Nicks, Giants; Jeremy Maclin, Eagles (Nicks, Maclin)
Tight end: Jason Witten, Cowboys (Witten)
Fullback: Henry Hynoski, Giants (Hynoski)
Left tackle: William Beatty, Giants (Jason Peters)
Left guard: Evan Mathis, Eagles (Mathis)
Center: Will Montgomery, Redskins (Montgomery)
Right guard: Chris Snee, Giants (Snee)
Right tackle: Tyron Smith, Cowboys (Smith)
Defensive end: Trent Cole, Eagles; Jason Pierre-Paul, Giants (Cole, Pierre-Paul)
Defensive tackle: Jay Ratliff, Cowboys; Rocky Bernard, Giants (Ratliff, Bernard)
Outside linebacker: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys; Brian Orakpo, Redskins (Ware, Orakpo)
Inside linebacker: Sean Lee, Cowboys; London Fletcher, Redskins (Lee, Fletcher)
Cornerback: Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, Giants (Webster, Mike Jenkins)
Safety: Kenny Phillips, Giants; LaRon Landry, Redskins (Phillips, Landry)
Kicker: Dan Bailey, Cowboys (Bailey)
Punter: Sav Rocca, Redskins (Rocca)
Kick returner: Devin Thomas, Giants (Thomas)
Punt returner: Brandon Banks, Redskins (Banks)
- One of the two changes this week was at left tackle, where I believe Beatty has played well enough in the two weeks Peters has missed to supplant him. This looked like Trent Williams' spot before he left Sunday's game with an injury, and I'd have been perfectly happy leaving it to Peters if I didn't think Beatty earned it. But while he still looks a little too grabby for me in pass protection, I readily admit that it's possible every tackle does the same thing and I've just been watching him extra closely because I think his performance is a big key to the Giants' season. Fact is, he's getting the job done and he's been an asset in the run game -- especially this past week, after Ahmad Bradshaw chewed him out.
- The other change was at cornerback, where I put Ross back in and just rolled with both Giants. Again, I don't think anyone in this division is playing cornerback especially well this year. But Ross and Webster have been very solid and have earned their spots ahead of the erratic Eagles and Cowboys. Josh Wilson of the Redskins gets an honorable mention here, but Week 6 wasn't his best game, and I think it cost him a chance to move into the spot I gave to Ross.
- Kept Cole in at defensive end, though once again I gave serious thought to Jason Babin or Osi Umenyiora. Cole's missed two games, but I think his body of work in the first four was outstanding enough that he still deserves recognition as the best in the division for the year so far.
- Similarly, Snee stays in at right guard after missing the game with a concussion. Not a lot of strong candidates at right guard this year in the East.
- I thought about one of the Eagles ahead of Landry at safety, but while Nate Allen is getting close and Kurt Coleman's big game deserves some recognition, Landry's a different sort of presence out there. And I thought about giving Todd Herremans the right tackle spot, even though he played left tackle Sunday, in honor of his all-around value this season. But while Smith played his worst game of the year to date, he's been the better all-around player this year, so he keeps the spot.
- And at the skill positions, not a lot of questions. While Bradshaw has finally surpassed Michael Vick as the division's second-leading rusher, he's still not close to McCoy. Manning is leading in every important passing category (and is 4-2), Witten is unchallenged at his spot and Miles Austin is still making up ground on Nicks and Maclin after missing a couple of games with his injury.
So that's it for this week. Let me know what I messed up.