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Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Breakfast links: Giants back on the road

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Good morning. Four days until the Giants' playoff game in Green Bay. The Cowboys are shuffling their coaching staff. The Eagles and Redskins are quiet, but we all know that never lasts. Let's have some links, shall we, and talk it all over?

New York Giants

Ohm writes that this year's Giants are trying to channel some of the "road warrior" mentality that the 2007-08 Super Bowl team had -- the "us against the world" attitude that helped them win four games away from home to claim the Lombardi trophy. These Giants haven't played a game away from MetLife Stadium since their Dec. 11 victory in Dallas, and the Packers have beaten them twice in the past 13 months. But they remain confident, which is one of their greatest assets right now.

Chase Blackburn was going to be a substitute math teacher but had to put that on hold when the Giants called in November to ask him to come back and play linebacker for them, Steve Politi writes.

Philadelphia Eagles

Jeff McLane says the speculation about potential changes to the Eagles' defensive coaching staff is nothing more than that at this point, especially while Andy Reid is on vacation and hasn't spoken to the media since the season ended. Could Steve Spagnuolo return as defensive coordinator? Sure. But Jeff's sources say it's "premature" to assume it'll happen.

And while DeSean Jackson looms as perhaps the most important roster decision the Eagles need to make this offseason, Paul Domowitch posits that the Eagles' offense could survive just fine if Jackson were to go elsewhere.

Dallas Cowboys

Todd Archer writes that the coaching moves the Cowboys made Tuesday -- replacing longtime offensive line coach Hudson Houck with Bill Callahan and replacing longtime secondary coach Dave Campo with Jerome Henderson -- may have come a year too late but were wise decisions. Not to discount the significant contributions Houck and Campo made to the organization, but these are the kinds of forward-looking moves the Cowboys need to make to address and correct their weaknesses.

Jean-Jacques Taylor says the success that former Cowboys coach Wade Phillips has had this year as defensive coordinator with the Houston Texans proves that the players, and not Rob Ryan's scheme, are the problem with the Cowboys' defense. Don't think there aren't roster moves coming with these coaching changes.

Washington Redskins

Linebacker Brian Orakpo had surgery on his left shoulder, which he injured in the season finale in Philadelphia. No word on how long it will take Orakpo to recover, but his Twitter review of the surgery certainly sounded upbeat. Who knows? Could be the pain meds talking. Brian, your words are hurtful!

Rich Campbell takes a look at the personality contrast between head coach Mike Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett -- an odd couple that came in to Washington together and seems to be working together quite nicely as the Redskins rebuild their defense.