Monday, December 26, 2011
Breakfast links: Giants' run game picks up
By Dan Graziano
One week to go in the NFC East, one game for all the marbles. You can't start a week like this without your links.
New York Giants (8-7)
The Giants still have the worst rushing offense in the league at 88.1 yards per game, but they've been much better lately, averaging 100.3 rush yards per game over their past three. After totaling 6 rush yards in the first half Saturday against the Jets, they poured on 109 in the second half, and their ability to win the physical battles up front that they weren't winning earlier in the seaosn was a key to their ability to control the game late.
The NFL will not be looking into the postgame exchange between Giants running back Brandon Jacobs and Jets coach Rex Ryan, according to Jenny Vrentas. Dumb situation that arose between two hotheads who should have just ignored each other. The Star-Ledger has reported that Jacobs started it by yelling, "Time to shut up, fat boy!" But like the league, I'm done with this situation. Said what I had to say.
Dallas Cowboys (8-7)
The Cowboys think they may have found a spark in the kick return game with Dwayne Harris, who averaged 42.5 yards on his two kick returns against the Eagles. The return game is an area in which the Giants can be vulnerable, so this is something to watch in Sunday night's game. It's been a problem area for the Cowboys for much of this season.
The Cowboys like to have a veteran backup quarterback behind Tony Romo, but with Jon Kitna injured, Stephen McGee got his first significant first-team action of the season in the hopes of showing the team that he's ready to be Romo's No. 2 next season. He wasn't all that great, but Jerry Jones said it was a tough situation for a young player to find himself in, and that he saw some things from McGee that he liked.
Philadelphia Eagles (7-8)
Once the Giants game went final Saturday and the Eagles were officially out of the playoffs, it was the Cowboys who took their foot off the gas. But Bob Ford wonders why the Eagles didn't do the same, since they were putting Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy and some other key 2012 pieces at risk by leaving them out there against DeMarcus Ware and the Dallas defense.
As Jonathan Tamari writes, Sunday's regular-season finale could be the final home game as an Eagle for wide receiver DeSean Jackson. The situation with Jackson, whose hopes for a contract extension suffered during his disappointing season, is one of several fascinating offseason scenarios about to play out once this Eagles season comes to its actual end.
Washington Redskins (5-10)
Jason Reid tried but struggled to remember all of the good things that have happened for the Redskins this year while he watched one of their most perplexing losses of the season. I can see that. Given the quality of the opposition, I'm not sure the Washington defense has had a worse game this season. Not sure how much that means for the future -- could mean nothing at all. But it sure was weird.
Rich Campbell says that while Rex Grossman has done a capable job as the Redskins' quarterback, his turnover issues are too much to overlook, and that the team once again finds itself at a quarterback crossroads as the season comes to a close. It has to be the Redskins' No. 1 offseason priority to upgrade that position. Even if a rookie's back there next year throwing interceptions, at least it'll ideally be somebody they think has big-time franchise-QB upside. Ideally.