NFC East: D.J. Johnson

Breakfast links: Nicks nicked up again

December, 7, 2012
12/07/12
8:00
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New York Giants

With four games to go and a one-game lead in the NFC East, the last thing the Giants need is for Hakeem Nicks to have a flare-up of the left knee injury that cost him time earlier this season. But Nicks did miss practice Thursday with an injury to that knee, so there is fresh concern.

Oh, and Osi Umenyiora disagrees with Jason Pierre-Paul's assertion that the Giants will be relieved to see Drew Brees and the Saints this Sunday because Robert Griffin III gave them such a hard time Monday Night. I think I side with Osi on this one. The Saints' defense has been lousy this year, but there's no way a team can be excited to see Brees come to town.

Washington Redskins

Young Washington D.C. sports superstars Robert Griffin III and Bryce Harper recently bonded over a Twitter background that Harper is using. The background was designed by D.C. sports fan Allan Peterson, and it touched off a mutual-admiration exchange earlier in the week between Griffin and Harper, the Nationals phenom.

Cedric Griffin's suspension means potential opportunity for young cornerbacks Richard Crawford and D.J. Johnson, who are going to see more playing time whether they're ready for it or not.

Dallas Cowboys

Marcus Spears says the idea of winning the final four games of the season as a means of challenging for a playoff spot has indeed crossed the Cowboys' minds. Which is nice, but the reality is that would mean ending the season on a five-game winning streak. The Cowboys haven't won five games in a row since 2007. They did win four in a row during one stretch last year, but so far this season have only won back-to-back games once. That'd be a good place to start.

Left guard Nate Livings really wants to play Sunday in Cincinnati against his former team. Problem is, Livings is missing practice with a knee injury and might not be able to play.

Philadelphia Eagles

New defensive line coach Tommy Brasher is already a fan of rookie defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. He says Cox could play any position along the line and would make a fine 3-4 defensive end. Perhaps, depending on who comes in to be the next Eagles coach, we'll get to find out.

Todd Herremans is a key part of the Eagles' future on the offensive line. The team made that clear when it signed him to a contract extension in the offseason. But with Dennis Kelly seeing time (and playing pretty well) at right tackle, there remains a question of what position Herremans is to play in that future, and the possibility that he moves back inside to play guard.
The defensive backfield has not been a team strength for most of this season, and the problem the Washington Redskins' secondary faces at this point is a potential lack of bodies. With cornerback Cedric Griffin suspended for the rest of the regular season and cornerback DeAngelo Hall getting around on crutches this week due to an ankle injury, a unit that's been able to rely on week-to-week scheme changes to overcome personnel deficiencies is facing more daunting challenges all the time. Per Mark Maske:
Hall resumed practicing Thursday, participating on a limited basis. He vows to play Sunday, saying there’s no way he will miss the game. But with Griffin out as the third cornerback behind starters Hall and Josh Wilson, the Redskins likely will have to rely on young cornerbacks Richard Crawford and D.J. Johnson when the Ravens use formations with three or four wide receivers.

"We're excited to get those young guys out there, get them on the field, see what they can do," Hall said. "No stage and no time like the present. They're stepping into some bright lights. Hopefully they're up for the challenge and we'll keep getting them prepared out here in practice and in the film room so that they're ready to go."

The Redskins are ranked 31st among the 32 NFL teams in pass defense, but there has been improvement lately.

Indeed there has. As Mark points out, the only quarterback to pass for 300 yards against the Redskins in their past five games was Tony Romo, who was chucking it like crazy on Thanksgiving to try and make up a 28-3 halftime deficit. They have been able to find ways to limit the damage done by guys like Eli Manning and Cam Newton in spite of all the problems they've had personnel-wise, and with four games left in the season and a chance to reach the playoffs, their assignment to continue doing so is not going to get any easier.

Hakeem Nicks is good to go

October, 25, 2010
10/25/10
7:55
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who missed most of last week's practices with a hamstring issue, is active for tonight's game against the Dallas Cowboys. Nicks told reporters all week that he planned to play, but he was limited in practice Saturday.

Nicks has emerged as the Giants' most explosive receiver and it's likely that he'll test Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins early in this game. Here are the other inactives for the Giants and Cowboys:

Giants: DB D.J. Johnson, FB Madison Hedgecock, LB Phillip Dillard, G Mitch Petrus, T Will Beatty, T Jamon Meredith, DE Mathias Kiwanuka, DT Linval Joseph.

Cowboys: QB Stephen McGee, LB Leon Williams, LB Jason Williams, G Kyle Kosier, T Sam Young, T Jermey Parnell, WR Kevin Ogletree, DE Sean Lissemore

Giants' Bernard a healthy scratch

December, 13, 2009
12/13/09
7:34
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- For the first time this season, Giants coach Tom Coughlin has decided to sit down his former starting defensive tackle Rocky Bernard. The Giants signed Bernard to a lucrative free-agent contract last March but he hasn't performed up to expectations.

The Giants will also have rookie wide receiver Hakeem Nicks starting ahead of Mario Manningham. That's a move that could've happened several weeks ago. Nicks is becoming a big-play receiver and he's more consistent than Manningham at this point in their careers. Aaron Ross will start this game at strong safety instead of C.C. Brown. That was another move that Coughlin hinted at this week in practice.

The rest of the Giants' inactives: WR Ramses Barden, DB D.J. Johnson, RB Gartrell Johnson, T Adam Koets, T Guy Whimper, WR Sinorice Moss, TE Bear Pascoe.

The Eagles' inactives: Emergency QB Kevin Kolb, CB Geoffrey Pope, RB P.J. Hill, RB Brian Westbrook, G/T Stacy Andrews, G Mike McGlynn, WR Kevin Curtis, DT Trevor Laws.

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