Monday, December 28, 2009
NFC East observation deck
By Dan Graziano
Several quick-hitting thoughts in the aftermath of Sunday's games.
• If Tom Coughlin wasn't already planning to make changes on his defensive staff, surely he is now. The offense actually performed reasonably well this season, but the defense has been a huge disappointment. Panthers backup running back Jonathan Stewart gashed the Giants for 206 yards. This unit doesn't tackle particularly well and the pass rush has all but disappeared. The Giants still have some talented personnel on defense but they are old and slow at key areas. It's time to replace Danny Clark and Antonio Pierce on a full-time basis.
• I talked to Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell via phone this morning. I'm not sure he has ever taken that much punishment in a game. Campbell has refused to make excuses this season but he admitted that not being able to go through his progressions has made it virtually impossible to be successful. As I said last night, the Skins should protect Campbell's future and think about playing Todd Collins in the final game. They'd like to take a look at third-stringer Richard Bartel in a game situation, but they hate to throw him to the wolves at this point in the season.
• Jeremy Maclin made the biggest catch of his young career with 59 seconds left in Sunday's game. He was supposed to run a "go" route and Jason Avant ran a "corner." Maclin broke off his route and Donovan McNabb put the ball on his back shoulder. Maclin said the sideline drills the Eagles run in every practice came in handy. It's a tough adjustment for college receivers because they're only required to get one foot down. The 27-yard catch gave the Eagles the ball at the Broncos' 13-yard line and set up David Akers for the game-winning field goal.
• I thought Champ Bailey did an admirable job on DeSean Jackson for most of the game but he was caught out of position on a deep ball in the fourth quarter and called for pass interference. Even when he doesn't put up big numbers, Jackson is still the most valuable Eagles player on the field because he requires so much attention.
• I think the Eagles should think about locking right guard Nick Cole up for a few seasons. When center Jamaal Jackson left the game with a knee injury in the first quarter, Cole replaced him and the Eagles kept rolling. He and McNabb had trouble with a couple of snaps, but they can iron that out. The main point is that Cole has become a very valuable member of this team. Does anyone miss Stacy Andrews? If Cole wasn't playing so well, the Andrews signing would be getting a lot more attention.
• Did the Falcons know what they were doing when they let Michael Boley walk during free agency? I know he was signed to cover Brian Westbrook, but you'd like to see him be a little more physical. Way too many missed tackles if you ask me.