Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Breakfast links: Patience with coaches
By Dan Graziano
After a long, late night in the City of Brotherly Love, what better way to wake up than with a steaming plate of links?
New York Giants
The Giants hope they're getting healthier, and while the team offered little insight into the conditions of injured running back Ahmad Bradshaw and injured receiver Hakeem Nicks, Adam Schefter's source tells him Bradshaw "will definitely be back soon," possibly as soon as Sunday's game in San Francisco. Remember, Bradshaw's played through foot problems before. I think the most likely outcome here is that he plays, but he gets a smaller share of the carries relative to Brandon Jacobs the rest of the way as they try to get as much out of him as they can without hurting him worse than he's already hurt.
Want to know what Tom Coughlin's favorite Eli Manning throw from Sunday's game was? Would it surprise you to learn that it was a pass that fell incomplete? Probably not. Improved decision making has been a key element of Manning's big year, and the play in question was one that might have gone differently for him a year ago.
Todd Archer looks at Jason Garrett's first 16 games as a head coach and concludes that Garrett is firmly in control and has the team headed in the right direction. People have actually been asking me (after a win!) whether there's a chance Garrett gets fired if the Cowboys finish under .500 this year. There is not. Jerry Jones is determined to show patience, and he likes what he sees in Garrett, even if (as is always the case with young people new in their jobs) he has some learning, growing and improving to do.
Jason Witten says it's time for the Cowboys to start to "stack up" some wins and get some separation between themselves and the rest of the middle of the NFC pack. Witten said this two weeks ago, too, and then they went out and lost to the Eagles. Doesn't mean it's any less true, and who knows? Maybe it'll work this time.
The Eagles had a chance, for the second week in a row, to play their best when the lights were the brightest. This time, as Bob Ford points out, they flopped. Last week, when they played the Cowboys on national TV on Sunday night, Andy Reid used the prime-time platform as motivation. Whether he tried again this week, I don't know. But something was definitely different.
Like many who were in attendance, Jeff McLane wondered what happened to the Eagles' pass rush against a Bears team that hasn't been tough to pass rush against. This game broke a streak of 31 games in a row in which Jay Cutler was sacked at least once. Jason Babin said the Bears did a good job of emphasizing protection and keeping extra men in, and when the Eagles did get through, Cutler found a way to make a play. The defensive line has been good, but this wasn't their night.
Are the Redskins rebuilding under Mike Shanahan? Of course they are. Does he like to use that word? Not necessarily. There was a lot of talk Monday about where the Redskins stand as a franchise in Shanahan's second year, but there's going to be patience shown here, too. Shanahan was given a five-year contract to build something sustainable, and he's just begun.
Dan Daly doesn't think these coaches are being creative enough to address the deficiencies and other issues on offense within the course of the game. Maybe, but I still say there's only so much you can do when you don't have enough good players.