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Friday, December 30, 2011
Breakfast links: Emmitt rips Cowboys

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Oh baby. Just two more days until... well, if you don't know, what are you doing here? Mooching links? That works. Plenty for everyone.

New York Giants

Even all these years later, the Giants carry the legacy of Lawrence Taylor and the urgency to play like crazed dogs. For that reason, Ian O'Connor writes, it's up to Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul to set the tone and win the must-win game against the Cowboys this Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.

Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell believes the Giants' defense played pretty well in the 37-34 victory over the Cowboys in Week 14 in Dallas, and that the problem was just a couple of specific breakdowns in the secondary. As you'd expect, Fewell and the Giants' defense believe they have those things corrected.

Dallas Cowboys

Emmitt Smith, one of the greatest and toughest players in the history of the NFL, wonders whether the Cowboys have the mental toughness they need to be champions. Tony Romo says they do. In other news, sometimes I miss covering baseball, where there's a game every night and people have less time to jabber about senseless garbage.

As for Romo, his bruised right hand remains an issue, as he's been practicing and throwing but has yet to take a snap from center since banging his hand on Jason Babin's helmet last Saturday. My feeling on this is that Romo will undoubtedly play Sunday, but that we won't know until we see him try to throw how much the hand injury really is affecting him.

Philadelphia Eagles

Jeff McLane takes a look at the 12 pending free agents the Eagles have and the decisions that will, won't or should be made on each of them. Jeff thinks DeSean Jackson, Antonio Dixon and Derek Landri should be back, and that Trevor Laws and Owen Schmitt should not. You take a look and let me know what you think.

Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo thinks Eagles safety Nate Allen will be a Pro Bowler some day. The first thing everyone who reads this is thinking is: "Will Castillo be his coach when that happens?"

Washington Redskins

Mike Shanahan says he has no doubt he'll be back next season as coach of the Redskins, quickly adding that he hopes owner Dan Snyder feels the same way. Shanahan is two years deep into a five-year contract and certain to get a chance to see it through. As you already know, I will be talking with Shanahan today. I appreciate all of the questions I have received from you guys, and will endeavor to ask as many of them as I can.

One thing that's working the way Shanahan hopes and expects it to is the running game, where there seems to be a different star every week and rookie Evan Royster was the star this week, as it seems we can add him to the list of very good running backs on whom the Redskins plan to rely in 2012.