Wednesday, October 26, 2011
NFC East All-Division Team: Week 8 update
By Dan Graziano
When only two teams play, there isn't much movement on the All-Division team, but we did shake up one of the skill positions this week. And while it may not be fair to poor Jeremy Maclin that he lost his spot as a starting wide receiver on our team on a week he spent on bye, Dez Bryant's performance was the latest sign that he's an elite, impact talent who belongs on this list as long as he's healthy.
The weekly disclaimer that no one ever reads: This is an All-NFC East team based on overall performance for the season to date. It is NOT a recap of this past week's performance. And THAT is why DeMarco Murray is not on it. Because I know some of you will ask.
Bryant-for-Maclin is one of just three changes on this week's team, which includes nine Giants, eight Cowboys, seven Redskins and three Eagles. Here's the list, with some quick thoughts once it's over.
Quarterback: Eli Manning, Giants (Last week: Manning)
Running back: LeSean McCoy, Eagles (McCoy)
Wide receiver: Hakeem Nicks, Giants; Dez Bryant, Cowboys (Nicks, Jeremy Maclin)
Tight end: Jason Witten, Cowboys (Witten)
Fullback: Darrel Young, Redskins (Henry Hynoski)
Left tackle: William Beatty, Giants (Beatty)
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, Giants; Mike Jenkins, Cowboys (Webster, Aaron Ross)
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)
I gave some serious thought to moving Mathias Kiwanuka into Brian Orakpo's outside linebacker spot. It's a tough situation, since Kiwanuka's role in the Giants' 4-3 is so different from (and so less statistics-intensive than) Orakpo's role in the Redskins' 3-4. But Orakpo wasn't at his game-changing best Sunday, and the contribution the versatile Kiwanuka has made to the Giants' early success is worth a mention.
Can't figure out cornerback. Jenkins had a good enough game to get his spot back. I still think Ross is playing better all-around than Webster is (though both are playing great), but I keep hearing all of your voices telling me he's always on the other team's best receiver, and that has to matter considering the job he's doing. We'll see what he does with Brandon Marshall this week and go from there.
Can someone in this division return a kick or a punt for a touchdown? Please? Those categories could stand some excitement.
Quarterback is close, folks. Manning has played the best, but it wouldn't be crazy for Michael Vick or Tony Romo to overtake him with a big game this weekend. Just so you know, since I'm sure that would really shake things up in the comments.
So...thoughts? What'd I screw up?