Monday, September 17, 2012
Breakfast links: Vick, Eli lead comebacks
By Dan Graziano
Good Monday morning to you. Little bit of a "market correction Sunday," unfortunately for the fans of two of our teams and fortunately for the fans of one. I think the Cowboys' and Redskins' losses were bad losses and the Giants' and Eagles' wins were tough, if ugly, wins. We knew the Giants were tough. We had plenty of reason, after last year, to think the Eagles weren't. They have shown in their first two games that, in spite of quite a number of other flaws, they're at least tougher this year than they were in 2011. And that's something on which they can build.
In case you're new, when we're in season we do the breakfast links in order of division standings. With a three-way tie for second, I'm using division record as the tiebreaker. The Redskins haven't played a division game. The Cowboys beat the Giants in the only division game so far this year. That explains the order. Now, links.
Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)
Bad things happen in life, some of them our fault and some out of our control. All any of us can do after the bad things happen is handle them the best we can. This is what Phil Sheridan believes Michael Vick has shown in his first two games, recovering from a mess of turnovers to lead a pair of game-winning drives. Vick is obviously not playing well, but he's 2-0. And I have to believe Eagles fans would rather that be the case than the opposite.
The Eagles' defense has been absolutely stellar in both games. A lot has to do with the veteran leadership (and excellent play) of new middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans. But they've also been getting big-time contributions from rookies Mychal Kendricks and Brandon Boykin, as Geoff Mosher writes.
Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
If you brought home a report card like the one Tim MacMahon handed the Cowboys after Sunday's loss in Seattle, your folks wouldn't let you out of the house for a month. The D-minus for the passing offense qualifies as the lone "bright spot." I do find it interesting that they didn't blitz the rookie quarterback Russell Wilson after blitzing Eli Manning more last week than they did last year. In general, it seems the Cowboys prefer not to blitz, but I thought the point was that this year they'd do it more because of all that improved coverage in the secondary.
The Golden Tate hit on Sean Lee was out of line, and the Cowboys expect that Tate will be fined for it. Good for Lee for playing it down. Guy's a professional. Also, he's a linebacker who got walloped by a wide receiver. Can't imagine he was too fired up to discuss that, whether it was legal or not.
The Redskins' defensive front seven is a critical element to their team, and likely its biggest strength. As Jason Reid writes, key injuries to Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker altered a lot about the way the Redskins were able to attack the Rams' offense Sunday. We await word on the severity of the injuries, but extended missed time for either or both would be difficult for the Redskins to overcome. Mike Jones writes that it doesn't sound good for either guy.
If the front seven isn't dominant, the secondary is exposed, and my goodness did the Rams' Danny Amendola expose it.
New York Giants
What we wrote about Vick up in the Eagles links is certainly something that applies to Eli Manning's Sunday as well. Manning had a rough start but ended up with (gulp) 510 passing yards and three touchdowns. All summer, the Giants said they didn't want to ask Manning to have to come back and win games with his arm over and over again this year. But they sure do love knowing that he can.
The Giants' offensive line had to shuffle some things when right tackle David Diehl went out with a knee injury. Will Beatty was happy for the chance to get some snaps, though not happy about the reason he got them. We await word on the severity of the Diehl injury and the way the Giants plan to use their tackles in the coming weeks. Remember, they have the Thursday night game this week.