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Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Breakfast links: Jerry and Jason

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

T-minus five days until Giants-Cowboys for all of the NFC East marbles. How will we get there? We'll follow the links.

New York Giants

Giants coach Tom Coughlin was in a downright giddy mood as he addressed reporters Monday. He limped to the podium as a result of whatever leg injury he sustained when Giants running back D.J. Ware ran into him on the sideline Saturday, but he joked a lot about the injury -- even cracking that he'd had to cut Ware from the team for injuring him and said he doesn't plan for it to limit him in any way as he prepares for Sunday.

The Giants are hopeful they could get a trio of injured players -- defensive end Osi Umenyiora, wide receiver Mario Manningham and tight end Jake Ballard -- back in time for the division title game. But Monday was too early in the week to know for sure, and nothing more will be known on any of them until Wednesday's practice. Umenyiora did some sort of light work at the field house with a trainer Monday morning, but I can't vouch for the extent of it. Coughlin didn't sound real hopeful when asked about Umenyiora in his news conference.

Dallas Cowboys

Everything becomes an issue in Dallas, and so the fact that Jerry Jones showed up on the sideline during the first quarter Saturday obviously led some to conclude this had something to do with his opinion of Jason Garrett's coaching. Garrett says that's not the case, and the fact is there's no real reason not to believe him. Jones is a big believer in continuity at the head coaching spot. He's shown patience with every coach he's ever had but one, and he never misses a chance to talk about how much he regrets that one. Garrett's job is in no danger whatsoever, and frankly I can't understand why people keep insisting on talking as though it is.

Dez Bryant has a new agent, having switched from Eugene Parker, who shepherded him through the draft process and negotiated his rookie contract, to Drew Rosenhaus. Fans get panicky about what this means, when a player switches to Rosenhaus. But Bryant's not going anywhere for at least two more years anyway, and my guess is the only real impact this has is that Bryant will be extremely wealthy as long as he stays healthy and productive. But I guess you could have assumed that anyway.

Philadelphia Eagles

Bob Grotz strongly disagrees with Andy Reid's announced decision to play all of his starters in Sunday's season finale against the Redskins. In particular, Bob believes LeSean McCoy's injured ankle should keep him on the sideline. Bob feels so strongly about this that he thinks, if Reid won't sit McCoy down, team president Joe Banner should step in and order him to do it. If that were to happen, I believe it would portend bad things in the long term for the relationship between Reid and the team. Maybe even in the short term, honestly.

And Bob Ford thinks the Eagles are kidding themselves if they consider this season anything other than a failure, no matter how strongly they're finishing it. I mean, he's right, but what are they supposed to do? If they were hanging their heads and not trying, they'd be getting ripped for that. It's not ridiculous to think there might be some 2012 value in finishing 2011 with a stretch of games that allows these guys to feel like good football players again.

Washington Redskins

Mike Shanahan said Monday that the Redskins turned out to have less depth on the roster than he thought they had when he took over as coach in 2010. But one position at which he feels very deep is running back. With rookies Roy Helu and Evan Royster having impressed in the second half of this season and starter Tim Hightower due back from injury in time for next season, the Redskins should have a lot of options at running back going forward, which is a very good thing.

John Keim addresses the less-depth-than-Shanahan-thought thing and also the quarterback question in his notes. He thinks that Kyle Shanahan's recent talk about the importance of limiting turnovers sends a clear signal that the Redskins don't think Rex Grossman can be their starting quarterback again next year.