Wednesday, November 30, 2011
All-NFC East Team Week 13 update
By Dan Graziano
The New York Giants are dropping in the standings and on the NFC East All-Division Team, where they lost two of their spots this week following Monday night's horrendous performance against the Saints. This week's team includes nine Cowboys, seven Eagles, seven Redskins and four Giants, which may not look totally fair since the Giants have two more wins than the Eagles and Redskins have, but that's not what this is based on. This is based (ATTENTION! Disclaimer That No One Will Read!!!) on overall individual position-by-position performance to date. It is not, repeat NOT, a list of Week 12 awards. That's why Roy Helu isn't on it.
In a couple of cases as noted below. I may have used a Week 12 performance as one of several factors to help decide a close competition. But in no case was Week 12 performance the only determining factor in whether a guy got, kept or lost his spot. Okay, maybe one. But even in that one, as you'll see, it's not as though it was a clear-cut deal to begin with.
Anyway, quarterback stays the same. Tony Romo and Eli Manning are still very close, both having great years and both having played leading roles in their teams' successes. But Romo's team is having more success, especially lately, and he gets the nod for the second week in a row.
The rest of the explanations follow the team.
Quarterback: Tony Romo, Cowboys (Last week: Romo)
Running back: LeSean McCoy, Eagles (McCoy)
Wide receiver: Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, Giants (Nicks, Cruz)
Tight end: Jason Witten, Cowboys (Witten)
Fullback: Darrel Young, Redskins (Young)
Left tackle: Jason Peters, Eagles (Peters)
Left guard: Evan Mathis, Eagles (Mathis)
Center: Will Montgomery, Redskins (Montgomery)
Right guard: Danny Watkins, Eagles (Watkins)
Right tackle: Tyron Smith, Cowboys (Smith)
Defensive end: Trent Cole, Eagles; Jason Pierre-Paul, Giants (Cole, Pierre-Paul)
Defensive tackle: Jay Ratliff, Cowboys; Cullen Jenkins, Eagles (Ratliff, Jenkins)
Outside linebacker: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys; Brian Orakpo, Redskins (Ware, Ryan Kerrigan)
Inside linebacker: London Fletcher, Redskins; Sean Lee, Cowboys (Fletcher, Lee)
Cornerback: Terence Newman, Cowboys; Asante Samuel, Eagles (Newman, Corey Webster)
Safety: Kenny Phillips, Giants; Gerald Sensabaugh, Cowboys (Phillips, Abram Elam)
Kicker: Dan Bailey, Cowboys (Bailey)
Punter: Sav Rocca, Redskins (Steve Weatherford)
Kick returner: Brandon Banks, Redskins (Banks)
Punt returner: Brandon Banks, Redskins (Banks)
- No position upsets me more each week than cornerback, which has been played poorly almost all year by almost everyone in the division. I thought Webster's performance Monday night was bad enough to justify taking away his spot. All of the talk in the Giants' locker room Monday night in New Orleans was about how they believed the effort was there, but watching the game again on tape I thought Webster was an exception. He looked like a guy who wanted to be somewhere else. Newman had a lousy game, too, on Thanksgiving. We'll never forget both of his arms wrapped around Brandon Marshall's neck as Marshall made the touchdown catch anyway. But I'll leave Newman where is is because at least egregious pass interference represents an effort to stop someone. Why Samuel? Well, I consulted Pro Football Focus for help here, since I can never find any good candidates for cornerback, and they have Samuel rated as the 12th-best cornerback in the league this year. The next-highest-rated corner in the division is Newman at No. 34. So I'll go with them.
- I also took Weatherford's punter spot away from him for his dumb fake-punt attempt -- the one Tom Coughlin openly ripped in his postgame news conference. Weatherford/Rocca is a close race anyway, so that wasn't the only factor, but it was a enough of a tiebreaker for this week, for me.
- The Cowboys' newcomers are interesting cases. DeMarco Murray's no threat right now to overtake McCoy, who has him by 216 yards and nine touchdowns. But if, for example, this toe injury McCoy has were to cost him a game or two, the youngster would have a chance to make it interesting. I also thought about Laurent Robinson for one of the wide receiver spots, since as much as I love Nicks he's not exactly having his greatest year. If Robinson keeps producing this way once Miles Austin comes back, you never know.
- Weekly honorable mention to Todd Herremans, who's the third-best offensive lineman in the division but can't get one of the tackle spots because Peters and Smith have been too good. Sorry, Todd. No offense.
- And a couple of intra-team switches at safety and outside linebacker. I can only assume that the competition for a coveted spot on the All-Division Team is providing extra motivation and friendly competition between Sensabaugh and Elam in Dallas and between Orakpo and Kerrigan in Washington. What can I say? Happy to help, fellas.
So there it is. Let me know what I got wrong.