NFC East: Colt McCoy

Examining the Washington Redskins' roster:

Quarterbacks (3)

Jay Gruden only had two quarterbacks in each of his three seasons with Cincinnati, but Griffin still needs to prove his durability. If something happened to him, they woulld still be in good shape with Cousins and McCoy. If they go with two then McCoy gets left off.

Running backs (4)

The Redskins could also stash Chris Thompson on the practice squad as further insurance. Thompson can easily bump himself onto the roster with a good summer; he’s a good fit in Gruden’s offense and the new coach liked Thompson coming out of college. But durability is an issue. By keeping four here, the Redskins can go with an extra player at another spot. This means Evan Royster is on the outs, but he doesn’t give the Redskins anything they don’t have in better players. He is insurance only.

Receivers (6)

I am not cutting Leonard Hankerson, rather I’m just not sold that he will be on the active roster at the start of the season. If he shows this summer that he can play, then, yes, I would have him on the 53-man roster. But the Redskins were not sure what to expect from him and when he might be healthy. Therefore, I can see him taking a little longer to return. Gruden likes Moss and they drafted Grant. Robinson needs to take a step.

Tight ends (3)

Rookie tight end Ted Bolser would head to the practice squad, where he can develop. He didn’t look close to a roster spot just based on how he looked this spring. Reed is firmly entrenched as the starter with Paulsen their top blocker and Paul a special teams ace.

Offensive line (10)

In reality, I could see them keeping only nine offensive linemen. It all depends on how Long and/or LeRibeus looks at guard. They love Long -- Gruden has said he could compete immediately -- so if he shows he can play, then they could cut Chester. Compton is a little surprise, but they like him as well. This position will be fluid and I’m not sold on the 10 I have listed.

Defensive line (6)


This one is fluid as well because it depends in part on Bowen’s health. I like Chris Neild and so do they, but can they keep him? Golston is more versatile and a key player on special teams, but he’s also 30 and they must get younger.

Linebackers (9)

As of now I’d have Rob Jackson out, especially if Jenkins develops as a pass-rusher. But this will be a close race. And I have them keeping an extra guy inside in Hayward because of his special teams ability.

Cornerbacks (5)
Chase Minnifield remains eligible for the practice squad. Richard Crawford is coming off a knee injury and it’s hard to place him on here without seeing him play. The one benefit for Crawford is that he can play in the slot; they need depth at that spot.

Safeties (4)

I really don’t feel good about this position and am not confident that I have this one right, at least for that final spot. Robinson’s special teams ability gives him the edge over Bacarri Rambo, who must have a strong camp. Akeem Davis can help on special teams, but with no NFL experience he will be stashed on the practice squad.

Specialists (3)

The Forbath selection is based on never having seen rookie Zach Hocker kick in an NFL game. If Hocker is consistent this summer and shows a strong leg, then he can win the job.

Redskins notes: Tempers flare

June, 17, 2014
Jun 17
2:33
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ASHBURN, Va. -- It felt like training camp: Temperatures threatened to reach 90 degrees in the morning and there was more back-and-forth banter. And, of course, there was a shoving match. It wasn't even the first scrap of the spring, but it was one of the more notable ones because it was a little more intense.

Defensive lineman Doug Worthington and offensive lineman Mike McGlynn were engaged on a play that ended up getting more heated. McGlynn grabbed Worthington's facemask and pulled his helmet off. They had to be separated and that was the extent of it.

"Sometimes competitive players push and shove," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. "We've just got to avoid that."

"I've never seen a guy take another guys facemask off," Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III said. "That was impressive. Emotions are high; guys are ready to go."

[+] EnlargeColt McCoy, Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins
Geoff Burke/USA TODAY SportsThe Redskins will enter training camp with three quarterbacks, Colt McCoy, Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, who all ran through drills on Tuesday.
Yes they are. This wasn't the first time players snapped at one another in the spring. It happened during organized team activities when tight end Niles Paul and corner Chase Minnifield had words followed a week later by Paul and linebacker Adam Hayward.

But by this point of spring, players are more than ready to finally put on the pads so they can hit for real.

"There's no doubt they're ready," Gruden said. "Offensive linemen, defensive linemen, it's very difficult for them to handle these practices, without pads."

Jackson getting healthier: Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson said his hamstring is around 90 to 95 percent recovered. "That's good enough speed for me to get out here and work," Jackson said. The receiver missed nearly two weeks of OTA sessions because of a strained hamstring. He returned last week and looked better Tuesday.

Three QBs: Gruden said the Redskins will take three quarterbacks to training camp. Teams often take four or five to keep arms fresh. But Gruden wants to make sure the three quarterbacks he does have -- Griffin, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy -- get enough reps. Griffin, obviously, will get the majority of them in camp. If a quarterback gets a tired arm in camp, or if someone gets hurt, Gruden would have to find another one. "But I can also throw perfect spirals and complete passes," the ex-college quarterback said laughing.
IRVING, Texas -- Because Tony Romo is 34 and because he is coming off his second back surgery in less than a year, just about everybody believes it is time for the Dallas Cowboys to find his replacement.

ESPN NFL draft Insider Todd McShay said it. Mike Mayock of the NFL Network said it. A lot of fans have said it. A lot of others have said it.

If the Cowboys draft a quarterback, then it must be early in the draft. At least, that’s the general philosophy of Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery when it comes to taking quarterbacks.

"I just did a little study. It's very interesting," Emery said in this ESPNChicago story. "That developmental theory doesn't hold a whole lot of water. There's entire classes of quarterbacks, since '06, I went back and looked at from Jay [Cutler's] on -- when people say developmental quarterbacks, OK, so who has gotten developed? There isn't a single quarterback after the third round since 2006 that has been a long-term starter. So you're either developing thirds, and most of them have been wiped out of the league. So to get a quality quarterback, you've got to draft them high. That 2012 class is a blip on the radar that's unusual, highly unusual.

"Most of the starters in this league come from the first and second round. So that's where you need to take a quarterback. So when you talk about quarterback every year, they have to be somebody that you truly believe will beat out the second and third quarterback that you perceive on your roster. And if not, history shows that you shouldn't make that pick."

From 2006 to 2013, there were 59 quarterbacks drafted in Rounds 3-7. Only two are top-end starters: Russell Wilson (third round, 2012, Seattle Seahawks) and Nick Foles(third round, 2012, Philadelphia Eagles). And Foles might have more to prove, but he was Pro Bowl-worthy in 2013.

The best of the rest: Bruce Gradkowski (sixth round, 2006); Matt Flynn (seventh round, 2008); Curtis Painter (sixth round, 2009); Ryan Mallett (third round, 2011); Kirk Cousins (fourth round, 2012). Other considerations: Colt McCoy (third round, 2010); T.J. Yates (fifth round, 2011); Tyrod Taylor (sixth round, 2011).

The odds are stacked against a team looking to develop a quarterback. Teams are not a lock to carry a third quarterback on the 53-man roster these days. The Cowboys have not done it since 2011, when they had Stephen McGee (fourth round, 2009). There just aren’t enough snaps to go around in a season for a quarterback to develop. The pressure on coaches to win means they want guys who can help carry games if a starter goes down, part of the reason why the Cowboys have gone with Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna and Kyle Orton as Romo's backups.

Maybe the Cowboys will draft a quarterback in the middle to late rounds this week. The odds of him turning into Wilson, Foles or Tom Brady (sixth round, 2000) are remote. He’s more likely to be Andre Woodson (sixth round, 2008), Mike Teel (sixth round, 2009), Jonathan Crompton (fifth round, 2010) or Nate Enderle (fifth round, 2011).

Redskins mailbag: Part 1

April, 25, 2014
Apr 25
1:10
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Apparently, not everyone thinks adding more pass-rushers is a good idea. So it says in one of the questions -- I have my own thoughts on the matter in Part 1 of the mailbag. And why do the Redskins stink in prime-time games? Could it be something other than, well, they've been bad most of the past decade? More draft questions, too. Enjoy
 

Redskins add QB Colt McCoy

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
11:50
AM ET

Colt McCoy is a member of the Washington Redskins.

Say goodbye to Rex Grossman? Probably.

Could it mean the Redskins might have something cooking for backup quarterback Kirk Cousins? Doubtful.

From the outside it looks as if McCoy just fits in Grossman’s role the past two seasons behind Robert Griffin III and Cousins. McCoy spent last season with the San Francisco 49ers after a three-year run with the Cleveland Browns in which he started 21 games. He had a 4-9 record in 2011.

For his career, McCoy has thrown for 4,388 yards with 21 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions.

He gives the Redskins a younger set of eyes as a veteran backup when compared to Grossman. He does not possess a big arm, but Jay Gruden’s West Coast scheme is not reliant on a huge arm to be successful. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has a good, not great, arm, and he fared well with Gruden in his first three seasons.
All right, let's see what's on your minds this weekend.

Joe D from PCB, Fla., writes, "I saw where you said the Dallas Cowboys didn't address the problem at center. So, because they didn't draft or sign another center, does that mean the issue isn't being addressed?"

Dan Graziano: Well, yeah, kind of. That is what I meant, and what Tim MacMahon meant in the story to which I linked. But as you suggest, it's not really that simple. They did "address" the entire offensive line by bringing in Bill Callahan to coach it. It's possible Phil Costa will play better under Callahan than he did last year. It's possible he will play better if the guards on either side of him are better than the guards between whom he played last year, and in that way the free-agent signings of Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings could work to "address" center. There also exists the possibility that Bernadeau, Kevin Kowalski or Bill Nagy could show enough to replace Costa at center. So, which they didn't go out and make an ostensible effort to upgrade the position, I'm sure the Cowboys are aware that they need to be better there, and are "addressing" it in some ways. Good point, Joe D., assuming that's what you were driving at.


Wedo from Morenci, Ariz., asks whether I think the Washington Redskins drafted Kirk Cousins "in case Robert Griffin III doesn't pan out or maybe to get a draft pick for him down the road?"

DG: Kind of both, Wedo. I think the basic feeling is that Cousins was a guy they liked, and he was sitting there in the fourth round, and how often do you find a quarterback you feel good about in the fourth round? They feel like he's a good quarterback with good pro prospects and that they can develop him in a backup role into the kind of guy who could start if Griffin has an injury or other problems. And if he gets into a game or two, he becomes their Kevin Kolb or Matt Flynn -- a guy for whom other teams might be willing to pay a high price. But he wasn't drafted because of any doubts they have about Griffin. They believe Griffin is their future, and that he will "pan out."


Matt from Mahwah, N.J., (where I used to live, by the way) had a mathematical issue with the John Clayton prediction of a 9-7 record for the Giants and my subsequent analysis of the same. Matt points out that the New York Giants were actually 13-7 last year, not 9-7, and that when you factor in that 4-0 playoff record their actual 2011-12 performance projects to 10.4 wins in a 16-game season. So Matt thinks we should be basing this year's projections on that number.

DG: Well, Matt, your point isn't exactly wrong. I mean, of course we have to use the four postseason games in our evaluation of what kind of team last year's Giants were, just as we have to use the four-game losing streak from November. And yes, those postseason games should get extra weight, since they did obviously come against playoff teams. The Giants' toughness and ability to play their best in the biggest spots is one of their great assets, and I promise it's factored into every aspect of my analysis of their team. But I'm constantly mystified by those who would look at last year's performance as the chief basis for predicting this year's. The Giants suffered a lot of personnel losses and replaced those players with rookies if at all. (Martellus Bennett being the exception at tight end.) They retain last year's weaknesses at some key spots, including offensive line, just as well as they retain last year's strengths at critical positions like quarterback, wide receiver and defensive end. It all goes into the pot, and I reserve the right to keep thinking and analyzing all four teams before making my real predictions in late August or early September. But for the purposes of this week's "more or less" exercise, I don't think there's much wrong with the opinion that the Giants, a 9-7 regular-season team last year, don't seem to have improved themselves this offseason. And so I don't think there's anything wrong with a regular-season prediction of a record identical to or slightly worse than last year's. But that's my opinion, and nothing more, and I continue to wonder why so many people get so upset about one man's opinion.


Tom from Lancaster, Pa., asks if I think the Philadelphia Eagles have any interest in trading for Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, in the wake of this week's news that he could be had for a song.

DG: I wrote earlier in the week that I think they should, Tom, but all indications are that they do not. What that tells me is that they believe Mike Kafka, in his third year in their system, has advanced to the point where they believe he's ready to step in and play if and when Michael Vick gets injured and has to miss time. It's not impossible to imagine that they could have developed a reliable backup in that amount of time. From the outside, I look and say they'd be better off with a guy who's actually started NFL games and knows how to do it. But they're looking at Kafka every day, and if they think he's better than McCoy in spite of the experience differential, then they shouldn't make such a move. And that appears to be the case.


And finally, Tim from Wilmington, Del., asks a question many of you have been asking: When will the "SportsCenter" special previewing the NFC East air?

DG: For those who don't know, "SportsCenter" has been running occasional season previews focusing on individual divisions. The one that focuses on the NFC East is scheduled to run July 3.

Let's try this again next week, shall we?
A good, sweltering Wednesday morning to you here in the NFC East. We're going to try the Vokle chat again today at 2 p.m. ET, I am pretty sure (will let you know when/if that's official), and we have a feature going up at noon that requires me to do something I have professed to hate: make predictions in June. But it's a fun little offseason game where John Clayton picks the win totals for each team and I go through and decide whether I agree with him. The AFC guys did it Tuesday, and today's the NFC's turn.

Like I said, though, that's not for a few more hours. By then you'll have fully digested your links.

Washington Redskins

The guy that was getting the most reps at running back at Redskins minicamp last week was rookie Alfred Morris -- mainly because he was one of the very few running backs healthy enough to practice. Should that trend continue, Morris will get lots of chances in training camp to show what he can do. And his versatility as a potential fullback or tailback should help his chances of cracking the roster.

And here's some info on prices for still-available tickets at the reconfigured FedEx Field for 2012. I agree that $29 for an NFL game is a good price, but "upper-level standing room" doesn't sound like the most awesome game-day experience to me. But that's me. I sit in the press box.

Dallas Cowboys

Hey, don't sleep on undrafted guard Ronald Leary's chances to make the Cowboys' roster. As Todd Archer writes, the team already has a lot more money sunk into the guy than teams typically spend on undrafted free-agent guards. And it's not as though there's no opportunity in Dallas at that position.

In their continuing search for a second tight end to replace Martellus Bennett, the Cowboys have picked up John Nalbone, who has played for six NFL teams and went to the same school as Miles Austin. The Cowboys are looking for blocking tight ends, since that's the part of Bennett's game they'll actually miss.

New York Giants

Ohm takes a look at the Giants' linebacking corps, which is looking like a much deeper group than it did last year, thanks to the addition of Keith Rivers and the development of some of the 2011 rookies. Ohm seems to think Chase Blackburn has a good chance to hold onto the middle linebacker spot, even as the year goes along, though Rivers remains an intriguing possibility if he shows he can play there.

If you were going through the drive-thru at the Dunkin' Donuts in East Rutherford, N.J., on Tuesday morning, you might have got a surprise -- Eli Manning handing you your coffee, headset and all. I love how he's wearing his. The Manning brothers' lasting legacy may turn out to be that they've managed to make being a dork kind of cool. I say that with the ultimate respect and appreciation.

Philadelphia Eagles

Yes, the hopes for the defensive line in Philadelphia are sky-high. Dave Spadaro wonders if there's a chance this unit could end up comparing to the Reggie White-led lines of the 1980s and early 1990s. Which would be, you know. Pretty good.

The Philadelphia-based media does not seem to think Colt McCoy makes sense as an Eagles trade target. And if the team truly believes Mike Kafka is capable of starting in a pinch at this point, no, it probably doesn't make sense to trade a pick for him. The fact that they haven't done it yet indicates that that is, in fact, what the Eagles believe. My thing is I'm not convinced Kafka's an experienced enough backup for a quarterback as fragile as Michael Vick. But as I've said many times, Andy Reid has watched him a lot more than I have.
Happy Tuesday here in the NFC East. We've got a full day planned, with a chat and a bunch of other mid-June NFL goodies. But we start as always with links.

Philadelphia Eagles

First-round draft pick Fletcher Cox has agreed to a four-year contract with the Eagles, which means he'll be in training camp on time like all of the other draft picks who haven't signed yet but surely will some time in the next six weeks. Cox also spoke with the media on a conference call and talked about his chances to start and the ways in which he has improved in the offseason. Cox could open the season as a starter, but it's no sure thing given the Eagles' depth at defensive tackle.

Sheil Kapadia takes a look at the Eagles' fourth-quarter numbers from last year. The basics are that they were awful, and that Vince Young led more fourth-quarter comebacks than Michael Vick did. The Eagles know what they need to do better. Right now it's just about waiting three months to see whether they can actually do it.

Washington Redskins

Yeah, it's time for kicker updates. And no, Graham Gano's job in Washington is not safe. The Redskins brought in Neil Rackers either to replace him or spur him to great things, and it'll be a long time before we see which one of those things happens. Gano held off veteran challengers last year, so don't rule him out just yet.

This one's from last week, but it's about Rob Jackson, who's probably the first option at outside linebacker for the Redskins if one of their starters gets hurt. It's another example of a position at which the Redskins feel they have more depth than they did last year, if only because of the added experience some of their backup players now have.

Dallas Cowboys

I wrote Monday that the Eagles should take a run at Browns quarterback Colt McCoy if he really is available for a sixth-round or seventh-round pick. Tim MacMahon thinks the Cowboys should try and get him. I wrote Eagles because I believe their backup quarterback situation is more dire than Dallas' is, but Tim's point is a good one. The Cowboys are more likely to let go of Stephen McGee at this point than the Eagles are to give up on Mike Kafka.

Dez Bryant will be the guy on whom all eyes are locked once Cowboys training camp starts, and he's getting good reviews all over -- including the all-important one from starting quarterback Tony Romo.

New York Giants

Terrell Thomas expects to be one of the Giants' starting cornerbacks once training camp starts. Ohm Youngmisuk expects the Giants to take it slowly with Thomas as he continues to work his way back from last summer's ACL injury. I think Ohm's prediction is the more likely one to come true, though they both agree that Thomas is a starter come Week 1 assuming he stays healthy.

If there's a threat to Thomas' playing time other than his own knee, it's 2011 first-round pick Prince Amukamara, who expects to be a factor in the cornerback mix for the Giants this year now that he's healthy and has an NFL season under his belt.
If we are to believe that the Browns are offering quarterback Colt McCoy for a sixth-round or seventh-round draft pick, the only thing I can think is, "Why haven't the Philadelphia Eagles already done this?"

McCoy
McCoy
We have discussed the Eagles' frightening backup quarterback situation at length here. Their current plan is to go into the season with Mike Kafka, Trent Edwards and Nick Foles as the backup quarterbacks to Michael Vick, who has only once played a full 16-game season. Neither Foles (who was just drafted in April) nor Edwards played in the NFL last year. Kafka has thrown 16 NFL passes. Now, I'm not saying McCoy is the be-all, end-all here, but he's started 21 more NFL games than Kafka or Foles have combined, and surely he'd be an upgrade over Edwards in that experienced-veteran-backup slot. He's also 25 years old, and it's not out of the realm of possibility that he could grow into a starting-caliber quarterback at some point. He's got experience in the West Coast offense. The Browns' front office and the Eagles' front office are friends. I'm pretty sure the Eagles have an extra late-round 2013 pick from the Brodrick Bunkley trade. This seems to make too much sense not to happen.

And maybe it will. But it hasn't yet, and if it doesn't it could mean that the Eagles are sold on Kafka as a worthwhile backup in his third year in their system. It's not completely crazy to think he is. The reason we doubt it is that we haven't seen it, and what we have seen of Kafka has been uninspiring. But if the Eagles believe that third year of development is the key one (and remember, he didn't have an offseason of coaching last year due to the lockout), they may be looking at Kafka differently than we on the outside are.

They also saw something in Edwards they liked when they tried him out, and he too has West Coast offense experience. He's three years older than McCoy is, though, and the feeling seems to have been that either he or Kafka would be cut before the season. (Foles obviously won't be cut, since they just picked him.) If they traded a pick for McCoy, the Eagles would have to get rid of Edwards and Kafka (likely trading Kafka) or carry four quarterbacks. And it's possible they don't want to carry four quarterbacks.

So I don't know. McCoy to the Eagles for a late-round pick makes sense to me, and I think they should do it yesterday. But it also seems like the kind of thing that would have happened by now if it were going to happen, and it looks as though the Eagles aren't as worried about backup quarterback as their fans are.
This is why, regardless of how astronomical the price may have been, you can't say the Washington Redskins overpaid in the trade that scored them the No. 2 pick in this year's draft.

You following this quarterback stuff, Redskins fans? Are you watching what's going on in Miami, in San Francisco, in Denver, in Tennessee? In poor, miserable Cleveland? This is quarterback musical chairs, folks, and there aren't enough chairs for everyone. At least one of those teams is still going to be looking for a quarterback once Peyton Manning decides and Alex Smith figures out what he wants to do, and if you're a Redskins fan watching all of this, you should be thinking, "Whew. I'm really glad my team's not mixed up in that mess."

The Redskins know who their quarterback is going to be next year. Or at least they're sure it's going to be one they like. They assume the Colts will take Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick and they'll take Baylor's Robert Griffin III with the second, but if something weird happens and the Colts take Griffin, they at least know they get Luck. There are, by most teams' evaluations, two franchise-caliber quarterbacks in this year's draft, and by dealing three first-round picks and a second-round pick to the Rams, the Redskins ensured that they'd get one of them.

By doing it a week and a half ago, they also ensured that they would not find themselves in Dolphins' current situation — spurned by Manning and Matt Flynn, trying to steal Smith away from the 49ers and reportedly talking to David Garrard in case Smith stays put. They ensured that they would not be the Broncos, who wait to find out whether they get Manning or whether they'll need to ask Tim Tebow to turn water into wine on a weekly basis for another year. They ensured that they would not be the Browns — the team they had to beat out to get the Rams' pick, a team that's now looking at another year with Colt McCoy and hoping it gets Matt Barkley in next year's draft.

This could have been your team, Redskins fans. Instead, Washington has a draft pick that ensures it will get a quarterback who projects as a long-term star. It has a backup it likes — one that ran the offense last year and is willing to help teach it to a rookie taking his place. The Redskins' quarterback situation doesn't make them an automatic 2012 contender — Griffin will be a rookie, after all, and the overhauled receiving corps has more potential than track record. But it's one about which the team and its fans can feel good. Such is not the case in places like Miami and Cleveland and whichever of those other teams fails to get Manning.

So yeah, they paid a fortune to get the pick, and it puts a lot of pressure on Griffin to become a star. But knowing that this was the alternative — to be sitting around on March 19 hoping you could maybe get Alex Smith or get by for another year with Rex Grossman and get a chance at Barkley — has to help you understand why they did it. And why they surely don't have any regrets.

What's in Mosley's (holiday) Mailbag?

November, 27, 2010
11/27/10
3:52
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Hope you guys had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm preparing to board a flight bound for Chicago's O'Hare Airport because I hear it's a neat place to visit during the holidays. The Beast blog will be attending Sunday's Bears-Eagles game, but I'll also be observing the Redskins and Giants. Now, let's see if we have any leftovers in this week's special holiday Mailbag:

Drew in Chicago, what's on your mind? Love the blog and honestly, you are the reason I come to ESPN.com. We have seen Peyton Manning time and time again make average receivers into major contributors in the Colts' offense. If Eli is able to do the same with Manningham, Calhoun, Hagan and Clayton in the coming weeks, do you think he silences the naysayers that still consider him to be a slightly above average QB? Or will he never be able to shed this stereotype simply because of the greatness of his brother?

Mosley: Drew, thanks for the kind words. I think Eli will always carry the "overrated" tag, in part, because of his older brother's greatness. But I do think that putting this team on his back for a couple weeks with Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks out with injuries could earn him a little more respect. It's not like Peyton had to go through long stretches without Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne over the years, so I'm not sure it's fair to say he's done it with "average" receivers. The Colts do a nice job identifying young receivers who fit their system. Austin Collie might not be a star for the New York Giants, but I'm not sure that makes him "average." Peyton's already done enough to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in my opinion. I don't think Eli's anywhere close to that right now, but I do know they have the same amount of Super Bowl rings.


Jason from Bryn Mawr, Pa., has a question about how we perceive this 3-8 Cowboys team: Ok, I know that this loss looked and felt different than losses earlier in season, but if we examine more closely, how much different is it really from the early season losses to Washington, Chicago, etc.? It obviously showed great character for the team to fight back after going down 17-0 early, but ill-timed penalties and another fluke turnover cost this team another game (just like Chicago and Washington).

Mosley: The Cowboys lost those games you referenced when we still thought they were playoff contenders. That obviously changed when the players quit on Wade Phillips and themselves en route to a 1-7 record. Even though Jason Garrett led the Cowboys to consecutive wins, I don't think a lot of folks felt great about their chances of beating one of the NFC's best teams Thursday. I think being able to fight back from a 17-0 deficit and eventually take the lead will serve this team well in the future. Garrett's raised everyone's expectations again in only three weeks as the interim head coach, and that's why he has to be considered the leading candidate for the job right now. I realize there were some mistakes in this game by the Cowboys, but none of them had to do with poor effort. That was the biggest indictment of these players before the man from Princeton took over.


Tom in Seattle has a question about Kevin Kolb's trade value: Just finished reading your thoughts on Kevin Kolb's off-season trade value and was a bit surprised by the relatively low value (2nd rounder) you think he has around the league. We're talking about a high second-round draft choice with four seasons of pro training in a complicated offense, along with a proven ability to excel (two NFC player of the week awards in six NFL starts). If you're a team in need of a starting quarterback, why use a first-rounder on an unproven commodity who will be paid franchise quarterback money?

Mosley: Tom, it's a fair question. I just know that the Eagles were reportedly seeking two first-rounders for Kolb at one point last season, and that seems a bit steep. There are a few general managers out there who love Kolb (Tom Heckert in Cleveland, for example), but that team already appears to have a fine young quarterback in Colt McCoy. I think Kolb's a sure-fire starter in the league, but the Eagles need to have someone reliable behind Vick because he takes more punishment than a lot of quarterbacks. As ESPN's Adam Schefter suggested recently, it's likely the Eagles will be content to retain both quarterbacks in 2011. They'll slap the franchise tag on Vick (roughly $15 million) and then keep Kolb as his backup. That is, unless a team such as the Bills or Vikings decide they can't live without him.


Andrew from New York has an issue with Chris Canty: Just to make sure, Chris Canty plays for the Giants defense, which has bragged about how many quarterbacks it has managed to injure this year, correct? The same one that had a stated goal of trying to knock Michael Vick out of the game? The first [Todd] Herremans play was certainly worthy of a call, but let's not blow this out of proportion -- or pretend that the Giants have clean hands.

Mosley: Canty doesn't say a lot to reporters, but he chose to call out Herremans last week for what he perceived to be "dirty" play. Herremans was able to respond and everyone moved on with their lives. I think every team wants to get some shots on the quarterback, and most of them don't feel bad when the quarterback is forced out of a game. I've never thought the Giants were a particularly dirty team, but I understand where you're coming from. I haven't really noticed New York's defenders doing anything out of the ordinary when they've knocked quarterbacks out of the game. In the game against the Bears, they simply pounded Jay Cutler into submission with repeated sacks and hits. Linebacker Michael Boley broke Tony Romo's collarbone, but it didn't happen on a particularly violent play. He drove Romo to the turf on a legal hit.


Stephen in Philadelphia has a question about Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree: Last year near the end of the season, Kevin Ogletree was starting to steal snaps from Roy Williams and actually made a few plays in those back to back games with Philly. I thought we had a future No. 2 WR on our hands. What happened with this guy?

Mosley: I think Ogletree simply fell out of favor with Jason Garrett. The Cowboys needed him to be a contributor on special teams, but he wasn't getting it done. And he didn't have the type of training camp that everyone was expecting. Ogletree appears to have a lot of talent, but he loses focus at times and will drop easy balls. If you're doing that during preseason games, you're probably not going to see the field in the regular-season. If he doesn't make a major move this offseason, he won't be on the roster in 2011.


John from Niwot, Colo., has a Washington question: The Redskins are an incredible 4-2 against teams with the same or better records than them this year, including a very close loss to the Colts. But they are 1-3 against teams with a worse record. In fact, the team the Redskins lost to have a combined 23-27 record while the teams they have beaten have a combined 29-21 record. What's up with that?

Mosley: John, you've done entirely too much research on this issue. The Redskins are trying to make the transition to a 3-4 defense on the fly and adjust to a new quarterback. They dominated the Eagles at the line of scrimmage in their first matchup and then were overwhelmed in Game 2 at FedEx. (And Vick was knocked out before halftime.) I think some of this is to be expected. This is a hard team to get a read on because they just don't have any consistency. They went to Tennessee and won an important game. But I could totally see them getting embarrassed at home against the Vikings on Sunday. This is about a .500 team -- and that's quite an improvement over last season.

Eagles ready to address secondary?

April, 23, 2010
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From several conversations I've had today, it became clear that a couple of NFC East teams were thrilled the Eagles decided to take Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham instead of Texas safety Earl Thomas after trading up 11 spots in the first round of Thursday's draft. The Cowboys liked Thomas so much that they considered trying to move from No. 27 to 12 or 13.

That may have required them giving up a first-round pick in 2011 in addition to their second-rounder, which was too steep. When the Cowboys saw the Eagles move to No. 13, they just knew the pick would be Thomas. And there was some relief in the room when Graham's name was called instead.

Tennessee's Eric Berry and Thomas were both considered "special" players. But Eagles coach Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman coveted Graham's pass-rushing ability. And I believe an elite pass-rusher has more effect on a game than a top-flight safety.

So what do the Eagles do this evening? They have the Donovan McNabb pick, which is the fifth pick of the second round. Paul Domowitch of the Daily News takes a look at all of the candidates at safety and cornerback. There was a big run on corners late in the first round. That's why it wouldn't surprise me if the Eagles selected South Florida safety Nate Allen. He's not in the Berry/Thomas category, but Allen makes plays on the ball and he has excellent range. He's a much better fit for Sean McDermott's defense than USC's Taylor Mays, who is still available.

Obviously, the story of the night in the league will be the quarterbacks. When will Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy go off the board? But the Eagles have a couple of premium picks in the second round. It's still too early to draft based solely on need, but don't be surprised if Allen's the guy. I also know the Cowboys like Allen, but not enough to move all the way from No. 59.

Video: Gruden's QB camp -- Colt McCoy

April, 16, 2010
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Texas quarterback Colt McCoy talks with former NFL coach and ESPN analyst Jon Gruden about earning respect from his teammates, calling plays without an accent and avoiding sacks on the blitz.

How does Clausen affect Campbell's status?

April, 12, 2010
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In his weekly mailbag Monday, ESPN.com's John Clayton discussed Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell's future. He says that a lot will hinge on what the Bills do at No. 9 overall in the upcoming draft.

The timing of the McNabb deal held back any quick solution for Campbell," writes Clayton. "You can see how this is going to go. Campbell will watch the [Jimmy] Clausen situation closely. If the Bills take Clausen at No. 9, Campbell will likely have to wait until Saturday, April 24, with hopes that the Redskins deal him to the Raiders as part of a draft-day trade.

"The Bills, meanwhile, could factor Campbell's availability into what they do at quarterback. The cost of Campbell won't be more than a lower-round pick, a bargain for a starting quarterback. That could give the Bills the luxury of taking a Colt McCoy or a Tim Tebow and still getting Campbell as a starting quarterback to buy time for their future QB's development."

It's too bad a talented quarterback such as Campbell has to pin his hopes on the Bills and Raiders, but it certainly beats sticking around to be Donovan McNabb's backup. So what would it take to land Campbell in a trade? I think the Bills could probably get it done for a fifth-round pick.

If something's going to happen, I think it will take place on the third day of the draft. Call it a hunch.

The Big Question: QB for the Redskins?

March, 16, 2010
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NFC Big Question: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Should the Redskins select a quarterback at No. 4 overall?

[+] EnlargeClausen
Kyle Terada/US PresswireJimmy Clausen will likely be available when the Redskins pick at No. 4.
Now that conventional wisdom (and mock draft specialists) point to the St. Louis Rams selecting Oklahoma's Sam Bradford No. 1 overall, the Redskins are in an interesting position. With Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung likely available, the Redskins could go a long way in replacing Pro Bowler Chris Samuels, who recently retired because of a neck injury.

Okung's probably the safest pick at No. 4 overall -- and I think it would be the wisest selection. But Mike Shanahan knows more than anyone the importance of the quarterback position, and it's hard to tell if he's sold on Jason Campbell. He's reportedly watched hours of film on Jimmy Clausen, so I'm sure he's formed a pretty strong opinion of the former Notre Dame quarterback. We keep reading that Clausen's alleged cockiness put off some teams at the combine, but I haven't heard that complaint from anyone in the Redskins organization.

ESPN draft gurus Mel Kiper and Todd McShay are split on Clausen. Kiper has the Redskins selecting Clausen at No. 4, but McShay's never been sold on him. The big thing Clausen has going for him is that he's played in Charlie Weis' pro-style offense and he's comfortable taking snaps from center. Players such as Bradford, Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy are having to make some major adjustments in terms of their drops, but Clausen's been doing it for years.

Redskins general manager Bruce Allen and Shanahan haven't made any knee-jerk moves in trying to change the culture of the organization. If you look at what Bill Parcells and the Dolphins did when they first got to South Florida, they took the best left tackle in the draft in Jake Long. He'll likely start at that position for the next eight or nine seasons. They eventually selected Chad Henne, but the Dolphins didn't rush the process. It was Chad Pennington who led the team to the playoffs in '08.

Taking Clausen in the first round might be the most exciting move the Redskins could make, but acquiring a cornerstone of the offensive line will provide a better foundation. You guys on board with Okung at No. 4 or do you want Clausen? Use the "comments" section to answer The Big Question.

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