Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Breakfast links: Deconstructing DeSean
By Dan Graziano
It is Tuesday, which means we chat, we Stock Watch and we Power Rank. But before we do any of that, we feast. On links.
Jay Ratliff tells Calvin Watkins that the loss in Philadelphia four weeks ago was, for the Cowboys, "a wakeup call, and we need to take things more serious and get out there and just do our jobs." They've not lost since, and as I wrote Monday, one of the keys for the Cowboys the rest of the way is their ability to maintain their seriousness of purpose.
The Landry Hat correctly points out that the Cowboys' running game was not itself without fullback Tony Fiammetta, who missed Sunday's game with an undisclosed illness and didn't practice Monday either. I thought it really showed up when they tried to run between the tackles (as you'd expect), and if Fiammetta has to miss another game Thursday, I'd expect the Cowboys to try and stretch the Dolphins' defense out and use DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones in space as much as possible. Long-term, though, they'll hope Fiammetta can come back from whatever it is that's bugging him, because their ability to pound the ball with Murray is one of the key reasons the offense was able to take off over the past few weeks.
New York Giants
Wow, the Giants were a cranky bunch on Monday. I mean, I was cranky, too, but I was under the impression that most of the Giants' players and coaches got more than four hours of sleep Sunday night after the game. I may have been wrong. They apparently pulled no punches in their team meetings. They used words like "irritated" when talking about the game. And Tom Coughlin took some shots at the people who had picked his team to win the game because the Eagles were using their backup quarterback. Grumpy Giants.
The hunt for bright spots from the loss has led many of the Giants' players to rookie cornerback Prince Amukamara, who had an interception in his first NFL game and ran LeSean McCoy out of bounds just short of the end zone on his 60-yard run that iced the game late in the fourth quarter. Good hustle, even if it had no real impact on the outcome.
DeSean Jackson's contract push continues to not go exactly as he'd hoped, and his uneven performance Sunday night had fed into some of the old criticisms he can't shake. Bob Ford writes that Jackson has "soft hands, rock head," and somehow Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee decided, unprompted, to call Jackson a "punk" on Twitter during the game. Josh Scobee, for goodness' sake. On the flip side, Marcus Hayes believes the Eagles fed off Jackson's energy in Sunday's win.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Andy Reid says Michael Vick gets the starting quarterback job back from Vince Young once Vick is healthy again. He just doesn't know whether that means Sunday.
The Redskins are using rookie running back Roy Helu plenty, even if they're not using him as the "starter." Mike Shanahan says it's because he doesn't want to give the young man too much responsibility too soon, which makes some sense. This is a long-term project in Washington, remember.
Turns out Jabar Gaffney just joined Twitter last week, and he's already told a heckling fan to kill himself. That's quick work. I'm personally not a fan of Twitter hecklers -- mine or anyone else's -- but they're a fact of Twitter life, and pro athletes can't be running around telling the paying customers they have no lives and should kill themselves. Just let it go, Jabar. Just let it go.