NFC East: Amani Toomer
“The Giants are a family,’’ Petitgout said. “It’s something tough to accept, like when a girlfriend dumps you. They know when your time is up. Some guys may buck the trend and have a good couple years after that but if you’ve been there a long time, they know your medical history, they know your aches and pains, they usually make the right decision. I basically had a time bomb in my back and when I went to Tampa it went off. The Giants knew what they were doing.’’
Reese is rarely wrong. As a former scout, his eye for talent isn’t confined to youngsters. Steve Smith and Kevin Boss haven’t done a thing and haven’t stayed healthy. He traded away Jeremy Shockey. He did not re-sign Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward or Amani Toomer. He cut Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert and Kareem McKenzie. He didn’t think Antonio Pierce's neck was sound enough to continue playing. He passed on bringing back Plaxico Burress. In the same purge that caught Petitgout, Reese also jettisoned Carlos Emmons and LaVar Arrington. Did any of these players prove Reese wrong?
Pretty amazing list. Combine this idea with what we wrote about here Thursday -- the Giants' organizational belief in developing young players in their system so they're ready to take over when it's time for the veterans to go -- and it's easy to see that Reese has a definite plan and is sticking to it. Will it work? No way to know. If the Giants are in something of a rebuild mode, they're going to need many of their young players to be as good as the team thought they'd be when it drafted them. And not even Reese, with all of his track record, can predict how players are going to play. The point is, even as things change with the Giants and people come and go, it's still easy to see the consistency with which they operate, and it has served them well.
LeSean McCoy would like to be more involved in the passing game, since that was always fun back when he used to be. Of course, I think a lot of people would like to be more involved in the Eagles' passing game right about now. Couple of things, though, on McCoy. First, I think he's being asked to stay in and block a lot more this year, and second, the Eagles aren't running very many screen passes this year. I think this is where the Jason Peters absence really shows up.
Oh, and Michael Vick does have a dog now after all, so you can all stop wondering. Seriously, Vick released a statement saying he knows why this is going to bother some people but that it was important for him and for his kids to have a pet. As you know if you read me on this topic the other day, I think this is a man who's done his time, understands the significance of his crimes and should be allowed to live his life the way he wants to live it. But like Vick, I understand there are people who will never agree no matter what.
New York Giants
Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride says he thinks the 49ers' Justin Smith is a great player who "gets away with murder" by holding offensive linemen and not getting called for it. So, there's something you can now watch for Sunday.
Ahmad Bradshaw and the Giants' running game are confident after Bradshaw ran for 200 yards Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. But Bradshaw knows the sledding is going to be tougher against the 49ers on Sunday.
They say continuity is the most important thing for an offensive line -- all five players playing together for an extended period of time, getting to know each other's movements and tendencies. Well, the Cowboys' offensive line, which has been horrible all year, is changing centers again. Ryan Cook is injured and Phil Costa is back. Giddyap.
You know the scene in Airplane when the passengers are all lined up to beat up the hysterical passenger? And the camera keeps panning back and there's all kinds of people with various weapons, just waiting to get up there and deliver their own special brand of punishment? Sometimes it seems as though the same thing is happening to Tony Romo. Former Ravens coach Brian Billick is the latest in line, saying Joe Flacco's better than Romo. Hey, at least Tony's got Amani Toomer on his side, right?
Your daily Robert Griffin III update says everything looked fine Thursday in practice. You know the drill, though. Griffin has more concussion tests to pass before he's cleared to play again Sunday after getting knocked out of last week's game. We could know something for sure today, and if not, tomorrow.
One interesting sidelight to Sunday's Redskins-Vikings game is the return to FedEx Field of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who tore an ACL in the game there last December but has made a remarkable recovery and is running something very much like his old self as the Vikings have started the season 4-1.
If the New York Giants' 2009 draft had produced nothing of value other than first-rounder Hakeem Nicks, it certainly wouldn't have been the worst thing ever to happen to the franchise. Nicks has blossomed into one of the best wide receivers in the NFL -- a reliable and electric target for Eli Manning, and a major contributor to the Giants' fourth Super Bowl championship.
But scouts and general managers and personnel people work hard on their drafts and want them to be deep with productive players. They want to be able to point back to a draft and say, "See? Look how many useful guys we got that year." And this is why Thursday night's 36-7 victory against the Carolina Panthers had to be as much fun for Giants GM Jerry Reese as any regular-season game he's ever seen.
Nicks was on the shelf, first of all, which is the great irony of this point: Three of the game's most important surprise stars were also members of that same 2009 draft class. Tackle Will Beatty, who was their second pick in that year's second round, returned from an injury-ravaged offseason and was outstanding as the offensive line played its best game of the year. Wide receiver Ramses Barden, the first of that year's two third-round picks, started in Nicks' place and caught nine passes for 138 yards. And running back Andre Brown, who was their fourth-round pick in 2009, got injured that year and has since been cut eight times by NFL teams including twice by the Giants, ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns in place of injured running back Ahmad Bradshaw.
Per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com:
Reese said he doesn't always subscribe to the theory that a player usually has to show something by his third season in the league. Some are just late-bloomers.
"I have seen a lot of guys after their third year enter their fourth year and turn it on," Reese said. "Amani Toomer comes to mind. His first three years, he was trying to get it, trying to get it.
"In his fourth year, he was lights out," Reese continued. "He was one of the all-time great receivers. It is not always a three-year rule with guys."
It is not, but it came pretty close. The Giants did give up on Brown twice, and he had to beat out D.J. Ware in camp to make this year's team as a backup. Barden also entered the preseason on the roster bubble, but won his spot with an excellent camp. Beatty has been anointed the left tackle of the future for the Giants, but his play in that role was spotty last year before an eye injury ended his season prematurely, and it's been easy to detect the organization's frustration with him as he's struggled with a back injury this summer. Even once he returned healthy, Beatty found himself on the bench, and it took an injury to David Diehl to get him back into the starting lineup.
So a lot of this is luck and fate, and it's not exactly as simple as crediting the Giants for staying patient with their guys. But they're more patient than most organizations are, and Thursday offered them a chance to feel good about that. The stability they've established at the ownership, GM and coach level -- along with the success they've had -- allows the Giants to run their team without the panicky, knee-jerk issues that afflict so many of the league's franchises in this win-now-or-else era. They believe in their program. They believe in player development. They believe, stubbornly, that when they have a hole to fill they can generally fill it with someone in their own locker room.
This is worth remembering for Giants fans who start to get impatient with players like Prince Amukamara and David Wilson. The Giants don't necessarily draft guys to make an instant impact. It's nice when they do, sure, but for every Jason Pierre-Paul there's a Kenny Phillips. For every Mathias Kiwanuka an Eli Manning. Some guys hit it big right away. Others need to play and learn and develop and improve. It's that latter group that the Giants believe forms the backbone of what they do. And on Thursday night, they got to watch that philosophy pay off with a big, fun and decisive win.
"If you listen to every show or whatever every single person says about me or the Giants and you get defensive about it or it makes you upset, you are going to have some problems," Manning said in a Monday appearance on WFAN radio. "You've got to laugh about it."
"I saw Toomer not too long ago," Manning continued. "I walked up to him and said, 'You know what, I thought Ike Hilliard and those [other receivers] were better Giants receivers than you were. Willie Ponder was probably a better receiver than you were ... some [of the] old guys. Kind of laughed about it instead of getting upset. There's no point. Amani is a good pal of mine and still is."
Yes, it is good to be Eli Manning. No reason to care what anyone else thinks. Total self-assuredness that comes completely naturally and has been reinforced by repeated success at the highest level of his profession. Someone thinks Romo's better? Fine. Let them think what they want to think. Eli's busy deciding which Super Bowl ring to wear out to dinner.
He also blew off Michael Vick's comments about the Eagles being a potential dynasty and said rookie David Wilson is the fastest running back the Giants have had since he's been there. But the thing everybody's been wanting to ask him about is the Toomer thing, and his answer was exactly what you'd expect his answer to be. Manning's not the kind of guy who's worried about pleasing everybody, or about where he stands in other people's rankings. He said last summer that he considered himself elite and then he went and backed it up. This is one of the characteristics that serves Manning so well on the football field, especially in big spots. He's able to focus on what he's doing, to the exclusion of everything else. I admire people who can do that, and not just athletes.
Daniel from San Antonio writes that "no one cares about the gap between Jerry Jones' perception and anything else" and "The fact is, it doesn't matter how much Jones loves Tony Romo" and "Romo is over-rated by Jones and under-rated by fans. The truth is not so much in-between the two, but rather found in this statement: Tony Romo is good enough to keep the Dallas Cowboys on the better side of mediocre." Daniel also writes a bunch of other stuff in a fairly long mailbag entry that basically indicates the usual about how he knows the Cowboys can't and won't ever win with Romo, because like so many of you, Daniel can see the future.
Dan Graziano: Daniel, the fact is that Jones' opinion of Romo matters considerably more than does that of any disgruntled fan, because Jones, and not the fans, will decide who plays quarterback for the Cowboys. There's nothing you can do about that, even if you think you're right and Jerry's wrong, because it's his team and, quite frankly, not yours. And while you can certainly poke holes in any number of decisions Jones has made during his time as Cowboys owner, in this case he's wise enough to know what he has, and how impossible it would be to upgrade. Romo isn't Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers or even Eli Manning, but he's one of the best quarterbacks in the league and a good sight better than anyone the Cowboys could conceivably get to replace him. Only five teams can have a top-five quarterback. It's not so bad to have to settle for a top-10 one.
Evan in Hawaii asks what chance I think New York Giants rookies David Wilson, Rueben Randle and Adrian Robinson have to have "the same level of rookie impact" that Ahmad Bradshaw, Steve Smith and Kevin Boss had in 2007.
DG: Good question, Evan. I'll take them case-by-case. In 2007, Bradshaw ran for just 190 yards on 23 carries and caught two passes for 12 yards in the regular season. He was the No. 3 running back behind Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward and actually also finished behind Reuben Droughns in carries and yards. He had just six carries prior to Week 15, when he ran for 151 yards on 17 carries, and he of course was a big weapon for the Giants in the postseason. So I would guess that Wilson is more of a factor for the Giants this regular season than Bradshaw was in 2007. He's got a chance to be the No. 2 back behind Bradshaw, and the competition standing in his way is not as imposing as it was for Bradshaw in his rookie year. Steve Smith in 2007 caught eight passes for 63 yards, which doesn't sound like much but actually placed him third among Giants wide receivers in both of those categories. That team was a run-heavy offense that didn't run a lot of three-wide-receiver looks. The pass-catchers were Amani Toomer, Plaxico Burress and the tight ends (which we'll get to next). Smith did catch 14 passes in the postseason, but was more or less a non-factor. In 2012, the Giants are a pass-first offense who don't have much at the tight end position and run a lot of three-wide sets. If Randle plays well in training camp, he should be able to beat out the incumbents and become a No. 3 wide receiver who gets the looks Mario Manningham got this year -- a lot more than Smith got as a rookie. As for Robinson, he was drafted as a project tight end and they think he can help down the road. I can't see him being as much of a factor as Boss was when he replaced Jeremy Shockey late in 2007 and the Giants were throwing to the tight end a lot.
Ed from Washington, D.C. wants to know if the Washington Redskins plan to cut Chris Cooley and, if so, would the Giants be interested in picking him up?
DG: I think the only reasons Cooley would get cut is if he were not (a) healthy, (b) willing to accept a reduced role in the offense or (c) willing to take a pay cut. Given Cooley's well documented feelings about the Redskins, I can't imagine (b) or (c) being a problem, so that leaves (a). And if he's not healthy, I doubt the Giants would snatch him up.
And finally, I wanted to run this one from Tony from Woodbridge, Va. in its entirety. I promise you that I have copied and pasted this directly from my mailbag and not changed as much as one single letter or punctuation mark in Tony's entry. Enjoy:
Dan:You are turly stupid. Your comments about Michael Vick are just plain dumb. He is suppose to lead his team and I think that's just what he was doing when he made that comment. Do you even have a football background. It's funny how someone who has more than likely never played the game have so much to say. Play the game first and then you can make you little stupid comments.
DG: Thanks, Tony. That is turly one of the most insightful bits of feedback I have yet to receive. I will do my best to heed you advice and write my blog posts the way I am suppose to. I appreciate that someone like yourself have the time to offer such sage advice.
Until next week, folks. I turly can't wait.
Ron Jaworski's daily "SportsCenter" series counting down the top 30 quarterbacks in the NFL reached the top 5 this morning, and No. 5 on the list was New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. The segment has been airing all morning around the bottom of the hour on "SportsCenter," so it's possible you could still catch it.
Jaworski says the biggest area of improvement he saw in Manning in 2011 was in progression reading. He cited and broke down two examples:
2. A touchdown pass to Manningham in the wild-card game against the Falcons. On that play, Jaws says, the play was designed to go first to Hakeem Nicks, who was taken away by a safety, then to Victor Cruz, who was also covered. Manningham was Manning's third read, but his pre-snap awareness and his ability to progress calmly through his reads helped him deliver.
"Eli Manning is one of the smartest, most aware quarterbacks in the NFL," Jaws says at the end of the segment. "His development over the past three, four years has been steady and consistent. He is now one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was 10th on Jaworski's list, which I guess means he disagrees with Amani Toomer. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was 12th, and Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III was, like Colts rookie Andrew Luck, left out of the survey entirely.
The only four left on the list are, in some order, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. I guess you could argue Eli over Peyton on the strength of the two Super Bowl titles and the fact that Peyton hasn't played an NFL game in a year and a half. But there's obviously no shame in being fifth on a list behind that quartet.
I don't know. I mean, I saw everything blow up on Twitter last night about former New York Giants receiver Amani Toomer saying Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was better than Giants quarterback Eli Manning, and so I was eager to hear the Sirius XM radio audio myself. And as usual, everybody's way overreacting.
Toomer wasn't answering a question about which of those two NFC East quarterbacks is better. He was issuing a defense of Romo against his Cowboys-fan critics. He barely even mentioned Manning. Here's what he said:
"Tony Romo is probably, if you look at it statistically, he's probably the best quarterback in the NFC East. I mean, look at Eli Manning and what he does in the fourth quarter, but you talk about consistency, you talk about 31 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions, that guy can play. And all the Cowboy fans out there that are saying he can't play, saying they don't like him, you've got to really look at what you're getting, because you can't replace a guy like that because he is a top, upper-echelon quarterback and I just don't see why he is getting blamed for all these things that kind of aren't his fault.
"For me, if I wanted a guy that is going to throw less interceptions and be more productive, higher completion percentage, I'm going to go with Tony Romo."
So yeah, in saying Romo's the best quarterback in the NFC East he's picking him over Manning. Surprising because Toomer is a former Giant and a former Manning teammate, but it's hardly the scintillating stuff of major controversy. Romo does throw fewer interceptions and more touchdown passes than Manning does. Manning's fourth-quarter comeback ability ranks among the very best of this or maybe any generation, but Romo has a pretty strong fourth-quarter record as well. Scouts watch both players, and most of them like Romo better, in terms of his physical ability, but they tend to say it's pretty close.
Manning, of course, has the ultimate trump card -- eight playoff victories, including two Super Bowl titles and two Super Bowl MVP awards. Romo, as we all know, has won only one playoff game. Which is why Romo is not the best quarterback in the NFC East and Manning is. But it's worth remembering that this was a very close call all throughout last year and that, if the Cowboys had won the Jan. 1 game, it wouldn't seem nearly as silly as it does now for Toomer to say what he said.
These are two extremely similar players. Romo has the better stats, but not by much, and Manning's championship accomplishments overcome whatever the differential is. I take Manning over Romo, as you all know, because quarterbacks have to be winners. Manning is, without a doubt, a winner. Romo has the tools to be one, and may someday. But to this point, he has not won the big games. I understand and agree with Toomer's fundamental point, which is that Romo is much better than his critics would have you believe. But he's not the best quarterback in his division.
Last week, former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner did some radio interviews in which he said that, given the dangers that are becoming more and more evident all the time now, he'd prefer that his sons not play football. And former NFL wide receiver Amani Toomer, who was a teammate of Warner's with the Giants in 2004, went nuts on Warner, ripping him for being "disingenuous" and "trashing" the game of football. You can read a summary of that foolishness here.
Now, in case you hadn't heard, Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora is now on Twitter -- a development about which everyone in the football world with the possible exception of Jerry Reese and the Reese family is and should be thrilled. Umenyiora decided this morning to weigh in on the whole Warner-Toomer deal. You can read his tweets here on his Twitter page, but this is what he said, tweet by tweet:
"By the Way, Kurt Warner is Right to think how he is thinking about his kids and football."
"Its an awesome game and has done a lot for me, but i know when im 45 there is a strong chance il be in a wheelchair."
"If i can avoid that for my son, i will. But if he wants to play i wont stop him"
"Love Toomer thats my Guy, but he is dead wrong for attacking Kurt like that"
First off, that last one. Umenyiora is 100 percent correct about Toomer, whose reaction to what Warner said was way beyond wrong. Toomer acted as though Warner had been touring the country making anti-football speeches and publishing op-ed articles in major newspapers decrying the game. In fact, all Warner did was answer a question on a radio show and give his honest opinion about his own family. Toomer was so far out of line in his reaction that what he said was a hundred times more troubling than what Warner said.
But as Umenyiora suggests, not only is Warner's opinion justified, it's an important one to bring to the forefront of this and all future discussions about the sport. Umenyiora expresses love for the game and doesn't seem to regret his conscious decision to have made it his life's work, but he seems to believe there's a "strong chance" it will land him in a wheelchair at a still-early point in his life. Those are very serious conflicting emotions, and the best way to allow those charged with reconciling them to do so is to encourage an open, honest and frank discussion of the attendant issues. I have no idea whether he's being overly dramatic with his wheelchair comment, but it's obviously something he's thought seriously about, and it's certainly worth considering in light of the current and growing emphasis by the NFL on player safety and the burgeoning awareness of the issues NFL players face in the years that follow the ends of their careers.
It's good to see a player as good and as prominent as Umenyiora -- one who was a teammate of Toomer's -- talking sense instead of talking tough. Because the important thing in all of this isn't whether you want your kids to play football or not. The important thing is that all sides and opinions need to be heard as football potentially confronts and existential crisis. This is about finding solutions, and figuring out the right and sensible way to move forward -- not about whether it's wrong to criticize the game just because you made money playing it. Here's hoping that what we hear from folks like Umenyiora helps folks like Toomer understand what this discussion is really about, and what the proper way is of conducting it.
Clarence Hill muses on the list of players scheduled to visit the Dallas Cowboys in advance of the draft and wonders about the buzz surrounding Dontari Poe as the team's potential first-round pick. Unlike some others, Clarence wisely avoids making any assertions about what the team will do. He's smart. Because remember, almost nothing you hear about teams' plans in advance of the draft is ever true.
Jerry Jones thinks the Cowboys did too much finagling with the offensive line last year and likes having some "established guys" in the mix for the line positions this offseason.
New York Giants
The Giants continue to add pieces to their secondary, as well as players who can help on special teams. They have signed former Colts safety Stevie Brown and had former Patriots cornerback Antwaun Molden in for a visit. Just grinding along, the way the Giants like to grind away the offseason, making their moves and trusting their current coaches and players to put it all together.
Former Giants receiver Amani Toomer thinks the team will struggle to replace wide receiver Mario Manningham, who bolted as a free agent for the 49ers.
Yeah, the Eagles are taking a look at Ryan Tannehill. No, I don't think they will or should trade up high enough (No. 3 or 4 at this point) to take him. I think the Eagles prize the quarterback position well above all others and strive to learn as much as they can about every quarterback they have the opportunity to see and talk to. I think they'll take one at some point in this draft, looking to the future with Michael Vick 32 years old. But I'd be stunned if it were Tannehill.
Paul Domowitch writes that the Eagles won't find their left tackle answer in the draft. I don't think it's that simple. I agree that they won't find it in the first round of the draft, and I think they're most likely to find it in free agency. But I'm not convinced they can't find someone in the later rounds who comes out of training camp as a viable starting tackle.
The Redskins are cutting down capacity at FedEx Field again, in the name of an expanding party deck and some more luxury suites. Hard to get too worked up, if they were having trouble selling the seats anyway. I just always wonder how all of this jives with everything we hear about that Redskins season ticket wait list.
Mike Shanahan says wide receiver Leonard Hankerson's hip surgery was delayed on the advice of his doctors, and that he expects Hankerson to be ready by June 1. The Redskins believe Hankerson is capable of big things if he can come back healthy.
It began when Toomer (@AmaniAToomer) tweeted to the writer of the Daily News story: "No!!Shockey'I will never play4 you again!'he yelled at jerry Reese in 08. Let him keep his word. Bad teammate, worse person."
And when the comment got noticed by some other members of the media, Toomer tweeted to them: "don't worry about it. My tweet is not going anywhere. I stand by what I say."
So, well, Shockey (@JeremyShockey, with a Twitter bio that says "Life Coach" for some presumably hilarious reason) saw the story and reacted thusly: "It's funny how the Ny media still try's to make money off me! Can anyone find a quote from me on me wanting to play for the GAINTS?"
Good thing the bio doesn't say "Spelling Coach," right? Also, it's unlikely that Gary Myers made any extra money as a result of his story this morning, but we can give Shockey a pass for not understanding how that works.
Anyway, Shockey also noticed Toomer's reaction, and decided to shoot back with a flamethrower.
First: "Amani Toomer on Jeremy Shockey: Bad teammate, Haha. Well he was the lazy one that broke my leg!!"
Next: "yes remember when his ex divorced him and he urinated on a her cloths I guess he's the good person"
And finally: "Go get a bucket of rocks and start throwing them at your glass house"
Toomer's reaction to the leg thing: "I did, but I under Stand now that I was getting old. A tough pill to swallow.I got over it. Still a gman 4 life."
Toomer's reaction to the ex-wife thing: "Shockey,Thanks 4 proving my statement about being a bad person. Lieing about my EX.Low blow.Enough said.Have a nice day& good luck as a FA"
Bottom line, I'd think the chances of Shockey returning to the Giants are about the same as the chances of either of these dudes getting work as high school writing tutors. But this was fun!
1. Cowboys' offensive line. With the exception of brilliant rookie right tackle Tyron Smith, who handled the red-hot Jason Babin well most of the night, the Dallas Cowboys' line was dominated physically by the Eagles' defensive front. And now, with left guard Montrae Holland out with a torn biceps, they're shorthanded for their big division title game against the New York Giants and their fearsome D-linemen. Someone on the Cowboys' line is going to have to step up and play better than they've been playing. And no matter what happens Sunday night, interior offensive line is going to be a need position this offseason.
2. The Philadelphia Eagles' draft position. One more win gets the Eagles to .500 for the season and could slide them further back into the middle of the draft's first round than they already are. (Currently, they'd hold the No. 13 pick). That lessens their chances at an impact player that would hasten their planned 2012 turnaround, but the Eagles have several needs they can address on defense at that point in the draft. They might even be able to get a wide receiver there if they cut ties with DeSean Jackson.
3. Washington Redskins' self-confidence: Flying high two weeks ago after a big victory over the Giants, the Redskins' defense melted down Saturday against Joe Webb, Toby Gerhart and the Minnesota Vikings' bench. The loss deprived the Redskins of a chance to improve on their 2010 record and, as their worst defensive performance of the season, left them scratching their heads a bit as they ponder the future. The thought around Washington has been that this offseason's focus would be on offense. But there may be some tinkering left to do on defense, particularly on the back end.
2. Cowboys fans' blood pressure. Because this should have been taken care of weeks ago. If the Cowboys lose to the Giants and miss the playoffs, the laments will be numerous and woeful. They should have held their late leads against the Jets, Lions, Patriots, Cardinals and Giants. Win two of those five games -- all of which they surely could have won — and they'd have rendered the season finale meaningless. But their inability to finish games has put them in a position to have to finish the season with a tough win on the road. And their fans will spend this entire week fretting over whether Romo, Jason Garrett and the crew have what it takes to do that.
3. Victor Cruz, Giants wide receiver. His 99-yard touchdown catch flipped the game in favor of the Giants right before halftime and may have been the play of the Giants' season. Cruz also set a new Giants team record for receiving yards in a single season, running his 2011 total to 1,358 and breaking Amani Toomer's team record. He's not likely to be announced as a Pro Bowler tonight, because he wasn't on the fan ballot and the fan vote counts for one-third of the total. But his breakout season is a big reason the Giants have a chance to make the playoffs.
The NFL rules committee's proposed special-teams changes -- moving up the spot for kickoffs by 5 yards to the 35-yard line -- could hurt a strong-legged kicker such as David Buehler.
Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram looks at the numerous hits owner Jerry Jones has taken in the past year.
New York Giants
The Giants have arranged a pre-draft visit with University of Georgia linebacker Justin Houston.
The team's website details former receiver Amani Toomer's experience running the New York City marathon.
Eagles president Joe Banner was shocked the NFLPA walked away from negotiations without countering the owners' latest offer. "We thought we would be damn close to a deal. But to not even give us a counterproposal? That was really stunning," Banner said.
The Inquirer's position-by-position look at the team continues with the defensive line.
The Redskins have requested that The Washington Post stop using the team's name in its sports blogs.
"I think he took a step sideways," Toomer said. "I think in some ways he got better and in some ways he got worse. Twenty-five interceptions. I don't care how many tipped interceptions, it is not good.
"But he did do it with a lot of people that he didn't really feel that comfortable with. Knowing Eli, I didn't think he was really comfortable with anybody, and I think that really hurt."
Manning certainly was victimized by some mysterious routes by his young receivers, but he still has to make some changes this offseason. He did not take care of the ball well enough in the red zone, and there's really no excuse for that. The left-handed throw against the Tennessee Titans sticks out in my mind. If the Giants had won that game, they wouldn't have had to climb out of a 1-2 hole.
Toomer was also happy to see Tom Coughlin keep his job.
"You can't sneeze at a 10-6 season," Toomer said. "I was totally for it [Coughlin returning] because the team is very close to being a Super Bowl team. If they were to blow the whole team up, they would have to start all over again, and I don't think they need to go in that direction just yet.
"The Giants know their personnel better than anybody else, and they know what went wrong better than anybody."
And who knows what can happen if Antrel Rolle can convince Coughlin to act more like Rex Ryan next season.
- Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com says some other Cowboys players will have to wait on their contract extensions.
- Stephen Jones calls Miles Austin the "anti-diva," according to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News.
- The Cowboys have the fourth-worst game-day traffic in the NFL. Guess who has the worst?
- Hall of Famer Michael Irvin says the Cowboys are having to play "10 vs. 11" because of Roy Williams.
- The highly entertaining radio personality Reuben Frank has some good quotes from Eagles cornerback Ellis Hobbs talking about the Packers.
- Les Bowen of the Daily News says the Eagles' offensive line is trying to mesh on the fly.
- Sam Donnellon from the Daily News has an interesting column on the Eagles' defense.
- Jeff McLane of the Inquirer says rookie Brandon Graham has been chastised by Andy Reid for his tweet about sacking Aaron Rodgers.
- Ahmad Bradshaw says he and Brandon Jacobs are "still brothers," according to the Daily News.
- Art Stapleton from the Bergen-County Record says the Giants' receiving corps won't sneak up on anyone this season.
- Amani Toomer feels bad for Plaxico Burress, according to ESPNNewYork.com.
- How has Clinton Portis managed to fly under the radar heading into the season? Rick Maese of the Post has the story.
- London Fletcher and Donovan McNabb have been elected captains for the Redskins.
- Kyle Shanahan had some interesting thoughts on Devin Thomas, according to the Post's Jason Reid.