NFC East: Edwin Williams
Safety Lendy Holmes, offensive lineman Edwin Williams and long snapper James Dearth were the other cuts as the Redskins got down to 75 players on the roster. Also some interesting things are being said about wide receiver Malcolm Kelly's hamstring injury that landed him on injured reserve Tuesday.
More on that in the coming days.
- Roy Williams tells Calvins Watkins of ESPNDallas.com that "I'm still the man."
- Watkins also has a report on tight end Martellus Bennett working out with the offensive linemen.
- Les Bowen of the Daily News has the latest on Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Interesting Terrell Owens quote in this story.
- Looks like the Giants will return to Albany for training camp.
- Offensive lineman Edwin Williams has lost 20 pounds over the last three weeks.
- The Redskins may be adding Popp to the front office.
Does the arrival of Donovan McNabb automatically make the Redskins a playoff contender?
For the record, I do think that McNabb makes the Redskins a more formidable team. His leadership qualities and the fact that he's been in a ton of playoff games gives him instant credibility in Washington. And he's about to feel the warmest embrace since he was playing at Syracuse. All the angst that those of us outside of Philly really don't have a handle on will vanish in the loving arms of playoff-starved Redskins fans.
That said, it's hard for me to imagine McNabb making a seven-win difference. And it would take seven more wins to put the Redskins, who were 4-12 last season, in the conversation for a division title. When Brett Favre joined a 10-win Vikings team, they had the best running back in the league and a talented, if raw, group of wide receivers. He also inherited an offensive line with a lot more stability than what McNabb will encounter in Washington.
The Redskins have some talent at wide receiver with Santana Moss, Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas, so it's not a stretch to think McNabb could elevate that group. He won a lot of games with the likes of Freddie Mitchell and Greg Lewis at wideout. Over the past couple of seasons, McNabb has benefited from the rise of tight end Brent Celek. And the Redskins are actually deeper at that position with Chris Cooley and Fred Davis.
The other positive for McNabb is that he'll be playing for a head coach, Mike Shanahan, who truly commits to the running game. Andy Reid's offense was all about the passing game, which put constant pressure on McNabb. If the combination of fading stars Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker somehow works for the Skins, McNabb could be even more effective in the passing game.
But as I keep saying, the biggest question is whether the Redskins can overhaul one of the worst offensive lines of the modern era. Quarterback Jason Campbell would look across the huddle and see complete strangers last season. Does anyone know what Edwin Williams looks like? McNabb can still move in the pocket, but he's no longer the escape artist that we remember from four or five seasons ago. If he had lined up behind last season's unit, I'm pretty sure the Redskins still would've had a losing season.
The Redskins should be pretty solid on defense, although they need to create a lot more turnovers. But the season will hinge on whether McNabb can elevate a lot of young players who haven't sniffed the playoffs. To answer my own question, I still don't see them as a contender to win the division.
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 17:
I'm curious to see how much pride the Giants display after a disgraceful performance against the Panthers. Will the defense stand up and play for embattled defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan? The host Vikings are a team that desperately needs a win heading into the playoffs after a December collapse.
This is the type of game we'll find out about some of the Giants' young players. They need players such as Jonathan Goff and Bruce Johnson to make plays. And after being gashed by Jonathan Stewart, let's see how the defense reacts against another elite runner in Adrian Peterson.
The Redskins appear to have little if any chance of winning this game at the Chargers. But let's take a look at how right guard Edwin Williams and safety Kareem Moore play.
These are young guys being asked to play well in starting roles. And you could even see Lendy Holmes starting at safety now that LaRon Landry's been ruled out.
This has to be coach Jim Zorn's last game, although he's in full denial mode. Will his players put it on the line for him one more time or fold like they did against the Giants? We're about to find out.
I'm anxious to see how the Eagles use their linebackers. Akeem Jordan saw the majority of the snaps at middle linebacker last week. He can't cover Jason Witten in the middle of the field. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermoot could go with Will Witherspoon and Jordan as the only linebackers if he wants to try to nickel cornerback Joselio Hanson on Witten.
Jeremiah Trotter can help blow up the running game at middle linebacker but he would get abused by Witten. McDermott has some interesting decisions to make.
I could see Eli Manning getting in a shootout with Brett Favre. And this could be Hakeem Nicks' game of the season. He's shown the ability to make plays after contact. If the offensive line can give Manning time, I think he'll light up this Vikings' secondary.
I'm also very interested to see how Ahmad Bradshaw performs as the feature back. The Vikings have an excellent defensive line but there will be some cutback lanes available. If he has a big day, Giants fans will spend the offseason calling for him to be the starter in 2010.
I think these teams will combine for at least 68 points. Just call it a hunch.
Devin Thomas (ankle) and Albert Haynesworth (ankle) also missed Thursday's practice, and Rocky McIntosh was limited because of a back injury. Zorn said he hasn't made a decision on who will replace Mike Williams at right guard. The immortal Paul Fanaika spent some time working with the first-team offense Thursday but Edwin Williams will also be in the mix.
Quarterback Jason Campbell, who has too many injuries to list, will continue to run for his life this week.
With Webster out, either Bruce Johnson or Kevin Dockery will start at cornerback opposite Terrell Thomas. Michael Johnson and Aaron Rouse will be the starting safeties. Here are the Giants' other inactives: Ramses Barden, D.J. Ware, Adam Koets, Kareem McKenzie, Sinorice Moss and Darcy Johnson.
The biggest surprise for the Skins is that defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin is inactive. That makes room for offensive tackle William Robinson to be active. Here are the rest of the Redskins' inactives: Emergency QB Richard Bartel, Kevin Barnes, Edwin Williams, Alvin Bowen, Curtis Gatewood, Paul Fanaika and Marko Mitchell.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
- It's going to be fun talking about Jeremy Shockey storyline this week.
- Gary Myers of the Daily News wrote a column today about Shockey's time with the Giants.
- Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News says the Giants are looking forward to a tougher schedule. Really?
- Tom Rock of Newsday says that all the criticism is starting to get to Brandon Jacobs.
- In an interesting twist, New York Times Giants beat writer Joe LaPointe belted out a David Carr story during Saints week.
- Matt Terl of the Redskins Blog has an interesting take on Skins rookie offensive lineman Edwin Williams.
- The Redskins' offensive line is in big trouble -- especially without Chris Samuels.
- Barry Svrluga of the Post talks about all the angst at Redskins Park.
- Here's Ryan O'Halloran's story from Monday that I meant to link to. It talks all the "chaos" with the team.
- Is anyone else worried about this stenosis issue that Chris Samuels has? The Redskins are saying he's out for at least a week.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants will be thin at cornerback and heavy on wide receivers. I just secured a copy of the inactives and it appears that Terrell Thomas, Corey Webster and undrafted rookie Bruce Johnson will be the only cornerbacks in uniform Sunday.
In a surprise move, the Giants will take six receivers into today's game. Rookie Ramses Barden is the only receiver on the 53-man roster who's not active. Here's the complete list of Giants inactives:
WR Ramses Barden, CB Aaron Ross, T Adam Koets, T Tutan Reyes, T Guy Whimper, DL Leger Douzable, LB Clint Sintim
The Washington Redskins put reserve running back Marcus Mason on the inactive list. He's had an excellent preseason, but Jim Zorn decided he couldn't take more than three running backs to the game. Here are the other inactives for the Redskins:
RB Marcus Mason, CB Kevin Barnes, C/G Edwin Williams, LB Robert Henson, G Chad Rinehart, T/G D'Anthony Batiste, DT Anthony Montgomery, Renaldo Wynn.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
The Washington Post's newest Redskins Insider, Paul Tenorio, has a story this morning on the depth along the Redskins' offensive line. We obviously know that the starting right tackle spot is a concern (I have Stephon Heyer as the starter), but you should be even more concerned about some of the backup spots. If something happens to some of the interior linemen, the backup options are pretty green.
The good news is that longtime offensive line coach Joe Bugel has changed his tune on Chad Rinehart. He reportedly questioned the player's future after the '08 season, but now he sounds much more optimistic. Tenorio asked Bugel what the difference was in Rinehart from last season to now.
"Night and day," Bugel said. "Difference between yesterday and today. He's going to be a real good football player for us."
Other candidates for backup spots are Mike Williams, Jeremy Bridges, Devin Clark, Will Montgomery and Edwin Williams. So what do you guys think about the offensive line? Is it the weakest link for the Skins? We'd love to hear from you.