Wednesday, November 14, 2012
All-NFC East Team: Week 11 update
By Dan Graziano
Back to our regular format this week after last week's dalliance as part of a league-wide midseason report. Not a lot has changed, especially at quarterback, where no one seems to be challenging Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III for the lead spot. Perhaps young Nick Foles can make a run. Or maybe Eli Manning gets it together after his bye. And Tony Romo's schedule is soft the rest of the way, in case you hadn't heard, so you never know.
The disclaimer that no one ever reads: This is an All-Division Team based on overall season performance to date. It is not -- repeat, NOT -- simply a list of the players who performed the best in this past week. That's why Andre Brown is not on it.
Anyway, to the team, with my comments to follow -- especially on the tweak I felt necessary to make on the offensive line.
Quarterback: Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (Last week: Griffin)
Running back: Alfred Morris, Redskins (Morris)
Wide receiver: Victor Cruz, New York Giants; Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys (Cruz, Austin)
Tight end: Jason Witten, Cowboys (Witten)
Fullback: Henry Hynoski, Giants (Hynoski)
Left tackle: Trent Williams, Redskins (Williams)
Left guard: Evan Mathis, Philadelphia Eagles (Mathis)
Center: Will Montgomery, Redskins (Montgomery)
Right guard: Chris Snee, Giants (Snee)
Right* tackle: Will Beatty, Giants (Todd Herremans)
Defensive end: Jason Pierre-Paul, Giants; Jason Hatcher, Cowboys (Pierre-Paul, Hatcher)
Defensive tackle: Linval Joseph, Giants; Fletcher Cox, Eagles (Joseph, Jay Ratliff)
Outside linebacker: DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Cowboys (Ware, Spencer)
Inside linebacker: DeMeco Ryans, Eagles; Bruce Carter, Cowboys (Ryans, Sean Lee)
Cornerback: Prince Amukamara, Giants; Josh Wilson, Redskins (Amukamara, Wilson)
Safety: Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, Giants (Rolle, Brown)
Kicker: Lawrence Tynes, Giants (Tynes)
Punter: Steve Weatherford, Giants (Weatherford)
Kick returner: David Wilson, Giants (Wilson)
Punt returner: Dwayne Harris, Cowboys (Brandon Banks)
- First, the offensive line. Plain fact is, I don't have a right tackle. Herremans, who's had the spot all year, is out for the season. Neither David Diehl nor Sean Locklear in New York deserve the spot, nor does Tyler Polumbus in Washington or obviously Doug Free in Dallas. What I do have is two left tackles playing as well as any in the league -- Williams in Washington and Beatty in New York. So, since this is my team and I make the rules, I'm making Beatty my starting right tackle even though he's played left in all but one game this year. It's a way of recognizing his stellar performance without elevating him past Williams, who I think is outperforming him. And with the right tackle spot basically vacant, it made sense to me.
- And punt returner! Yes, I have said since the middle of last season that the first guy to return a kick or a punt for a touchdown during my time on this blog would win the spot by default, even if it were a big, burly lineman who caught a line drive and got lucky. Harris is not that, but on Sunday he did become the first NFC East player since DeSean Jackson in 2010 to return a kick or a punt for a touchdown. So, by the arbitrary rule I made up, he gets the spot.
- Carter has played so well in Dallas that he's making up for the loss of Lee to injury, and he takes Lee's spot on the team since Lee hasn't played in weeks. Man, when the Cowboys pick an inside linebacker in the second round, they don't mess it up, huh?
- Cox over Ratliff was a tough call, but the kid's been incredible, and he was a standout player for me in Sunday's game. Close call on who's having the better season.
- Thought about Chris Chester at right guard over Snee, who had a rough game in Cincinnati.
- Thought about Dez Bryant over Austin at wide receiver, but Austin still has more yards and touchdowns.
- Wilson keeps his cornerback spot. He's been a fine cover corner this year with one or two spectacularly bad exceptions. I'm sorry, but when I watch those Dallas corners, I don't see what's so great about they way they're playing.
Not much else of real controversy, I don't think, but I welcome your thoughts.