Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Breakfast links: Six weeks to go
By Dan Graziano
Yes, six weeks from tonight, the Giants and the Cowboys will begin the NFL season at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. It's coming. It may be coming slowly, but it's coming. Meantime, you can always count on the links.
Man, Sean Lee sure gets it about Penn State. In spite of his loyalty to his alma mater, Lee actually believes the most important part of this whole sad mess is the victims, and he's fine with the heavy sanctions and the removal of the Joe Paterno statue as long as it all helps make sure nothing similar ever happens again.
Dez Bryant's college coach says "we were with him all the time every step of the way" at Oklahoma State. Obviously, that's tough for the Cowboys to do, but the trick to fixing what ails Bryant is finding ways to better monitor what he's up to when he's not with the team. Not sure how that can work for a grown professional athlete (as opposed to a collegiate one), but that's surely at least part of the team's goal.
New York Giants
Ohm's position-by-position camp preview looks at tight ends, including the possibility that Christian Hopkins is this year's Jake Ballard. We've not touched on Hopkins much here when discussing the Giants' tight ends, but given the team's and Eli Manning's record of developing guys on the roster into productive players, we can't overlook Jerry Reese's assertion that Hopkins might be one this year.
Not catching one single pass during his rookie season is not what Jerrel Jernigan expected, and he tells Paul Schwartz that troublesome stat got his attention. Jernigan understands he's not at Troy anymore, and says he wants to work to earn that No. 3 receiver spot vacated by Mario Manningham.
The Eagles announced this morning that they have signed former Cowboys punter Mat McBriar to a one-year contract. This is interesting because they appeared to like punter Chas Henry last year during his rookie season and because the reason the Cowboys hadn't yet brought back McBriar was health. One of the best punters in the league before last season's foot injuries, McBriar obviously showed the Eagles he's healthy enough to kick during camp. The move could simply be for camp depth and/or to push Henry. But given McBriar's track record when healthy, it at least raises the possibility that the Eagles could make a change at the position this year.
Special teams coach Bobby April says the team may use DeSean Jackson less as a punt returner this year. Not for nothing, but Jackson's punt-return totals over his four-year career have been, in order, 50, 29, 20 and 17. So it kind of looks as though they've been using him less as a punt returner every year. And honestly, if you're going to cut his returns from 17... why put him back there at all? Personally, I think he's the best in the league and should return every punt. But they just signed him and, I'm sure, don't want to get him hurt if they can help it.
Brandon Meriweather says "don't nobody have a job yet" at safety for the Redskins, but the strong safety spot is actually his to lose. As Mike Jones writes, this is a big question-mark area for the Redskins as they open training camp today.
Chase Minnifield's agent says the reason for the move the Redskins made Tuesday to cut Minnifield was related to a procedure he had done recently on his knee, and that Minnifield isn't going to be able to play for anyone this season. The Redskins hope to get Minnifield through waivers and put him on injured reserve so they can try and work him into the mix again next year. They do like him, but they knew his knee was the big question mark going in.