Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Hope you're having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Since many of you were kind enough to drop me a note during the week, I've sworn off the holiday in an effort to shed light on some important Beast-related items. Let's get right to it:
Mav in Philly starts us off with a question about the Eagles' cap situation: What do you see the Eagles doing with their cap space? Do they take a wait-and-see approach to see how far they can get in the playoffs and then use the space to plug missing holes for 2010? Or do they spend that money now? Sheldon Brown seems to have hit his value ceiling to me. Could we package him and Reggie Brown along with a draft pick for anything at this point? I just know if the Eagles don't win (or at least make it to) the Super Bowl this year, the fan base will go berserk that they didn't do enough.
Mosley: I think the Eagles would consider adding another defensive end if the right guy becomes available. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Andy Reid tried to sign Greg Ellis if he's released by the Cowboys. He's scheduled to make $4.15 million this season, but there's no way he sees that money. It's far more likely that a team such as the Patriots, Bengals, Eagles, Panthers or Redskins sign him for somewhere in the $2 million range. Ellis could start at defensive end for several teams in the league, but his time as a starter at outside linebacker in Dallas has come to an end. I don't think there's a tremendous amount of interest in Sheldon Brown. The Eagles will wait and see if anyone has an injury in training camp. They'd be thrilled to get a third-round pick for Brown, but that's unlikely. There's no market for Reggie Brown. He may not make the team coming out of training camp. Hank Baskett, Jason Avant, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson and Kevin Curtis should all claim roster spots. Brown could be the odd man out.
Tee in Iraq is addicted to the Beast: If the Redskins are so desperate for D-line help and want [Brian] Orakpo at linebacker, why don't they try to get on Simeon Rice? What's going on with Joe Horn and is he still trying to play? Any word on Marvin Harrison?
Mosley: I don't think Simeon Rice is on the Redskins' radar. He wants to play for the Bucs, but it's hard to imagine him making a significant impact anywhere. I think the Redskins believe the rotation of Phillip Daniels and Renaldo Wynn on one side and Andre Carter on the other is enough to be successful. Hopefully they'll realize that Orakpo doesn't belong at SAM linebacker. That's only the 37th time I've mentioned that in the past three weeks. Joe Horn doesn't have anything left and Marvin Harrison's pretty much in the same boat. Harrison will be a Hall of Famer.
Matt in Alexandria, Va. left this via fax: Is right tackle Mike Williams close to playing condition and is it possible for him to regain playing form after such a long time off of football? Also, an update on the thoughts of [offensive line coach] Joe Bugel on Stephon Heyer's ability to start and excel at right tackle. Heyer seemed promising in his first two years, but now people seem to be treating him as if he has no chance of ever starting in the NFL. Is this true? Thanks!
Mosley: Last time I checked, Williams was somewhere in the 400-pound range. I admire his comeback attempt (and the help that Derrick Dockery has offered), but it would be shocking if he claimed the starting job. It would also be an indictment of the Redskins' other candidates at that position. Heyer may end up being an adequate starter, but I'd be scared to death to begin the season with him. He'd be the fourth-best right tackle in the NFC East -- by a mile.
John in Washington dropped this note by the house: Mosley, first thing's first -- I disagree with people who think you're a Cowboys homer. If anything, you're a hater of Jerry and Romo, et al, which I deeply respect. Second, has there been a faster fall from grace than Jason Garrett? Two years ago he was turning down millions with the understanding he'd be Wade Phillips' replacement. Now he's easily the worst offensive coordinator in the division. I don't like T.O., but the man made that offense work. Now that he's gone, well, let's just say I'll be enjoying watching Romo shrug his shoulders and give 17 weeks' worth of "It's only a game" speeches. Side question: What week do you think the Philly fans will turn on McNabb? My money is on Week 6.
Mosley: Thanks for the note, John. I'm certainly highly critical of Jerry Jones and Tony Romo at times, but probably not a "hater." Jones has been tremendous for the league. He's one of the top owners. But he's the least qualified general manager in the league. Regarding Garrett, I think this is a huge season for him. He's been reluctant to assert himself as a disciplinarian because he doesn't want to step on Phillips' toes. From all I'm hearing at Valley Ranch, Garrett has taken more of a tough-guy approach this offseason. In the past, he's let Romo get away with too many careless throws. This season, he may be more demonstrative with the quarterback. I think Romo's poised for an All-Pro season. Seriously. And I don't see Eagles fans turning on Donovan McNabb this season.
Danny in Orlando posted this on Twitter: I like when you bring us exclusive info on the Beast even though you're a Redskins HATER. I still like reading about the Beast. I mean we're the best division in the league so it must be hard to keep up with all the news, huh? My other question is you asked us if Michael Vick would be considered by us a Beast player. What do you think? Especially with the questioning by many of Campbell and Romo?
Mosley: I don't really see a good fit for Vick in the NFC East. The Cowboys have Jon Kitna, the Giants David Carr, the Eagles have Kevin Kolb and the Redskins have Todd Collins. The Redskins would be the best fit, but Dan Snyder has already done enough to undermine his starting quarterback for one offseason. The Patriots could definitely use a backup. For some reason, I keep thinking they would be the best fit in the league. Probably the fact that players with troubled pasts (Randy Moss, Corey Dillon) have flourished there.
Fred S. from an undisclosed location writes: Matt, when are you going to give teams an equal amount of coverage? I've tracked your blog for over a year now and 47 percent of your coverage is the Cowboys. 53 percent is the rest of the division. If I can do this with a simple Excel spreadsheet, so can you. More balance, less Cowboys homerism.
Mosley: Sando, don't you have something better to do this weekend?
Martin D. of Houston wasn't thrilled with my recent Romo column: In your column, "All eyes on Romo now that Owens is gone," you make the statement "In a sense, T.O.'s gone because Romo didn't know how to keep him in check." That statement seems a little short-sighted in that NOBODY has been able to keep Owens in check. Not even the venerable Bill Parcells kept him in check. Owens is gone because Owens' personal demons took over last season. Other than that, I agree Romo is the focal point now: no excuses.
Mosley: Martin, you're not alone with that response. My daily radio partner, Randy Galloway, had the same thought. Maybe there's not a player in the league (especially at quarterback) who can hold T.O. in check. I just thought Romo could've done more to keep things from spinning out of control. But I disagree with your comment about Parcells. I don't recall T.O. being that much of a distraction in '06 -- other than the infamous accidental overdose. T.O. had a stormy relationship with Todd Haley. But a lot of people have had stormy relationships with the fiery Haley. When I talked to Haley about T.O. recently, he was very complimentary. Now would he consider bringing T.O. to KC? Not on your life.
Jason of Bryn Mawr, Pa., also weighed in on the Romo column (maybe I should write about this guy more often): Matt, great article on Romo (5/21). I completely agree that Romo (and most people in general) need that person that is not afraid to challenge them when they are underperforming. My question is do you think that Jason Garrett can become that person or is it too late? I do not know Garrett as a person, but can understand circumstances (new offensive coordinator, head coaching aspirations, maybe caught up in Romo's celebrity, Terrell Owens' presence, etc) that could lead him to be hesitant to challenge Romo early on. Does Jason Garrett have the fortitude (we know he has the intelligence) to recognize that he needs to change his approach with Romo or is he just "non-confrontational" by nature?
Mosley: I personally think it's probably too late for Garrett to suddenly become a stern disciplinarian with Romo. He didn't get his bluff in soon enough. But as I've already mentioned, Garrett is working hard to change the perception that players have of him. I think it's far more likely that he'll challenge Romo this season. Will Romo listen? That's a tough one.
Ed from San Juan thinks I'm too supportive of Chris Canty: Why are you so confident Chris Canty will be successful with the Giants? He hasn't really done very much with the Cowboys and I don't see him playing better in a 4-3. Especially considering that he hasn't played in a 4-3 for awhile. Seems like this prediction of yours will be as accurate as your prediction on Domenik Hixon breaking out last season.
Mosley: Ed, our numbers in San Juan are up this May. I'm giving most of the credit to you. I think Tom Coughlin has a great feel for Canty's unique abilities because the Giants play the Cowboys twice a year. Canty has the power and quickness to be a disruptive player at defensive tackle. As a defensive end in Dallas, he simply disappeared in some games. The Giants are planning to move him around more than the Cowboys did. He'll line up at defensive end in some passing situations, and I think he'll use his incredible wing span to knock down a lot of passes. I think the Phillips 3-4 wasn't quite right for Canty. With the Giants, he'll be surrounded by more quality players along the line. When the defense is concerned about stopping Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka, it's easier to disrupt the middle of the line. I think Canty will be an excellent fit for the Giants.
Nick from Sandy Hook wired this question to me: Hey Matt, I love the blog -- and happy birthday (if you're reading this on the 21st. I don't have any money for your offshore account, but I'm here to plead for my Iggles. First off, they have the Beast's best wideouts and Donovan McNabb showed last season that he can still produce. Second, they added youth and beef to the O-Line, and they have Andrews back, which is huge. When you throw in a real fullback, their only glaring offensive weakness -- short thirds and the goal line -- should be vastly improved. Turning to defense, they have three starting-quality corners now, plus an excellent nickel man. At safety, Quintin Mikell played at a Pro Bowl level last year, Demps was good enough that they made up three-safety looks just to get him on the field. Sean Jones is both a ballhawk and a good run-filler. The linebackers are young, fast, and getting more experience. (Gaither also gives them starter-quality depth at multiple positions.) And finally, the defensive line, where the tackle tandem is the best it's been in a long while, Cole has gotten good enough against the run to be an every-down guy, and on the other side, Abiamiri is around to take some of the run-stuffing duties off Parker's hands. This unit still has 10 of the starters from last season's excellent one, and with the exception of the now-departed Dawkins, is all young enough to only improve with age. And let's not forget Jim Johnson's struggle with melanoma. If there's anything that can motivate this D, it's finally winning the big dance for a beloved coach who's been so close again and again. Again, I love the blog, keep up the good work! The Beast is without a doubt the best division in the NFL -- and has without a doubt the
Mosley: Nick, have a wonderful holiday weekend. I think the Eagles are stacked. I have them neck and neck with the Giants at this point -- with the Cowboys and Redskins lagging a little bit behind. You may be more excited about the defensive line than most folks I have talked to. Cole's a reliable starter, but I'd like to see the Eagles add another talented player on the other side. If the Cowboys release Greg Ellis, he might be a good fit for the Eagles. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. And thanks for all the mail. You guys are prolific.