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Thursday, May 17, 2012
Breakfast links: Eagles still chasing Giants

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Oh, man, do we have links. They're mid-May links, so they may not be the tastiest or juiciest links we have all year. But they are links nonetheless, and they're piping hot and ready for you on what looks to be a glorious Thursday morning. Enjoy.

Dallas Cowboys

Calvin says the Mackenzy Bernadeau hip injury, while obviously not a good thing for the player or the Cowboys, opens the door to opportunity for several of the young guard/center types the Cowboys will bring to training camp. Yeah, Bernadeau has a contract, but that doesn't guarantee him a starting spot, and if Bill Nagy or David Arkin looks stronger this year and takes some big steps, either could force his way into the starting picture.

Jonathan Bales ran the numbers to determine how important it was for the Cowboys to address the interior of their offensive line this offseason and the likelihood that a healthy Bernadeau and fellow free agent Nate Livings will help shore things up in there. Jonathan has cool graphs in his post as well, with cylindrical illustrations in team colors. If that's your kind of thing.

New York Giants

It was apparently important to the players that this Giants Super Bowl ring have some blue in it, and it does, and it's quite stunning. The Giants received their rings Wednesday night in a ceremony at Tiffany & Co. Justin Tuck said the goal now is to "make it a dynasty," which is bold talk from a team that went 9-7 and lost to the Redskins twice. But hey, it was their night, you know?

John Mara says the contract extension for Giants coach Tom Coughlin will be done "sooner rather than later." As I've said before, I'm guessing it's a three-year extension whose announcement, which will come sometime between now and the start of the regular season, will rank among the least surprising announcements in NFL history. Coughlin's going to decide when he's not the Giants' coach anymore, and he's earned that right.

Philadelphia Eagles

Sheil Kapadia looks at the bounty of talent through which defensive line coach Jim Washburn gets to sort this year. The Eagles tied for the league lead in sacks last year with a defense that relies on pressure from its front four, much the way the Super Bowl Champion Giants do, and they will try to do even better this season than the 50 sacks they racked up last season in an effort to catch those Giants and beat them at their own defensive game.

A big part of the Eagles' problem on defense last year was that they ignored the linebacker position and handed the starting middle linebacker job to unprepared Casey Matthews. They have addressed that issue this offseason by acquiring middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans from Houston. And rather than lament his chance to atone and get the job back, Matthews describes Ryan as "the leader we didn't have" on defense in 2011.

Washington Redskins

Kirk Cousins didn't want the Redskins to be the team that drafted him -- not after they drafted Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 pick in the draft. But they were, and now that the shock has waned a bit, Cousins says he's come to an understanding about the terms of his opportunity and what he needs to do to make good on it.

Griffin's opportunity, at least in the near term, includes a rush of endorsement opportunities, and he's grabbing them. He's also hawking "Go Catch Your Dream" socks like the ones he wore at the draft. If Griffin turns out to be as good as the Redskins are betting he will, he's going to be a Madison Ave. monster before it's all said and done.