Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Breakfast links: New brand of salsa?
By Dan Graziano
Good morning and welcome to another Tuesday of chats, Power Rankings, knee-jerk reactions and all of those other assorted Tuesday goodies. We have so many set pieces on Tuesdays, I don't even feel like I have to think creatively. Heck, throw in an RG3 update and I should be good to go. It all starts, of course, with the links.
Andy Reid has a good second-half record as Eagles coach. This time last year, his team was 1-4. So the fact that the Eagles haven't played their best football yet and are somehow 3-2 does not have Reid rattled. The day after the loss in Pittsburgh, Reid was authentically preaching calm.
Since no one can seem to figure out why Michael Vick is fumbling so much, Tim McManus tried to break down whether it's a technique problem. He seems to conclude that it's probably not, which means everyone's still looking for the answer.
New York Giants
The Giants' next game is against one of the toughest teams in the entire league, and they know this. But they played the 49ers tough in San Francisco twice last year, including a victory there in the NFC Championship Game, so if there's any team that isn't scared to go into Candlestick and face the 49ers, it's probably them.
Victor Cruz is scoring so many touchdowns these days that he's thinking about changing up some of his end zone dance moves just to keep things fresh. Filing this under "You know things are going well when _____."
The Cowboys expect to have nose tackle Jay Ratliff back for Sunday's game in Baltimore, which would help everything about their defense but I think especially the pass rush. The Cowboys don't have top-level players all over the field. They have them in several places, but they don't have so many that they don't miss one when he's out. And Ratliff should help them shore things up on defense.
Starting center Phil Costa is also back at practice, but the Cowboys are saying he's not assured of reclaiming his starting spot. They've had some problems with Ryan Cook and cadences, but they've been fairly happy with the way Cook has blocked. In his short time as a starter Costa has struggled in that area, so there's no reason he should get any assurances. What works in Costa's favor is that Cook has a hamstring injury.
The Redskins signed Brandon Meriweather to replace LaRon Landry at strong safety. They gave up on Landry because he couldn't stay healthy enough that they could rely on him to play week to week. To this point, as a result of variety of injuries that began in training camp and crescendoed with a pregame collision with teammate Aldrick Robinson in Week 4, Meriweather has not played a snap for Washington. He will be sidelined at least four more weeks. As you know, I do not think it was a mistake to let Landry go. However, this situation here is something we call "irony."
If the Redskins do indeed have to try out kickers today and think about replacing Billy Cundiff for missing too many field goals the past two weeks, Dan Daly writes that it's just a continuation of recent tradition. I don't know how to handicap this. If the Redskins think this is a real problem with Cundiff, he could be gone. If they can convince themselves it was just a couple of bad weeks, they could give him another attempt to prove himself. His proficiency on kickoffs matters to them and is the reason they got him in the first place, but they also assumed he'd make his 31-yard field goals.