Monday, March 19, 2012
Breakfast links: Pressure's on Vick now
By Dan Graziano
All right, well, it was a bit of a quiet weekend in the NFC East. A guard here, a backup quarterback there, a wide receiver leaving the champs for the conference runner-up. That was about it, and each of our four teams will enter the second week of free agency with more work left to do. I will, of course, be here to chronicle and analyze it all for you, just as soon as I have my links.
Calvin Watkins writes that the Cowboys have some interest in linebacker Erik Walden, a former Cowboys draft pick who had a nice year for the Packers but made the wrong kind of headlines last November. I guess I'll just leave his ugly alleged transgressions alone for now and say, yeah, he'd help the pass rush.
Clarence Hill has nothing but praise for the Cowboys' targeted approach so far in free agency. You know by now that I agree with him. Critique each individual signing if you must, but (a) we don't actually know how these guys are going to play and (b) picking out players you like because you believe they fit what you do is a lot better than just grabbing for the most recognizable names. Interesting nugget in Clarence's column: He seems pretty certain they'll go after guard David DeCastro in the first round of the draft.
New York Giants
Ohm runs down the Giants' options for a No. 3 wide receiver now that Mario Manningham is in San Francisco. These include waiting out the free-agent market and finding a bargain, drafting someone like Baylor's Kendall Wright with the No. 32 pick in the draft or just finding the solution internally, as the Giants like to do, from a group that includes Ramses Barden, Jerrel Jernigan and Domenik Hixon. My guess is they'll do at least one of the first two, but not in such a way as to rule out the internal solution as a possibility.
Prince Amukamara showed up on crutches at an autograph session over the weekend and a report got out that he'd had surgery on the foot he broke last year in training camp. Turns out it was a different kind of procedure -- an injection, like the ones Ahmad Bradshaw gets for his broken foot. So not surgery, but still, don't you have to wonder now if this is an issue that lingers as Bradshaw's has?
I've consistently been amazed, since the Eagles' disappointing 8-8 season, at the extent to which quarterback Michael Vick has escaped blame. Not that it was all Vick's fault, of course, but his interceptions were a huge part of the problem, and that doesn't get harped on nearly as much as does Juan Castillo's defense or DeSean Jackson's pouting or Andy Reid's refusal to call enough plays for LeSean McCoy. But Sheil Kapadia's a sharp guy, and he writes, in the wake of the Evan Mathis re-signing, that it's going to be very hard for Vick to escape blame if it all goes wrong again.
Jeff McLane doesn't think the Eagles will be able to lure Stephen Tulloch away from Detroit or pay Curtis Lofton what he wants, so he runs down some other options for the Eagles at linebacker on the free-agent market. Yeah, London Fletcher's name is in there. And, yeah, it should be. Jeff points out that Fletcher will be 37 at the start of the season, which would generally be a turn-off. But anyone who's watched and been around Fletcher knows that he's an unusual case and still at the very top of his game. And what do the Eagles care about 37? Don't they have to win this year?
Rex Grossman is under no illusions about his role on the Redskins' 2012 roster after signing another one-year contract with the team. He knows they're planning to draft their new franchise quarterback, and that said quarterback is certain to be the starter. And he says he'll be happy to help.
LaRon Landry's drawing interest, The Washington Post reports, from the Jets, Patriots and Lions. But this is only a Redskins story in that Landry is a guy who once played for the Redskins. At this point, if he were to return in 2012, it would be a complete shock.