NFC East: Junior Siavii
- Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com says the Cowboys were smart to keep wide receiver Sam Hurd. MacMahon also took a look at the 53-man roster.
- Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com explains why the Cowboys went light at cornerback.
- Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News questions the Cowboys' release of Junior Siavii.
- Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News has been all over this Travis Bright angle.
- Lead DMN beat writer David Moore has the latest on the Hurd decision.
- Jeff McLane of the Inquirer kicks off his series on quarterback Kevin Kolb. McLane put a ton of work into this series and he's off to a great start.
- Here's the story Les Bowen of the Daily News wrote about Kolb -- three years ago.
- McLane has a report on the Stacy Andrews trade.
- Sheil Kapadia of "Moving the Chains" blog fame has some analysis of the 53-man roster.
- Judy Battista of The New York Times has an excellent story on Beast reader Justin Tuck.
- Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com breaks down the Giants' 53-man roster.
- Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News breaks down the 53-man roster.
- Mike Shanahan doesn't care where you were picked in the draft, writes Paul Tenorio and Jason Reid.
- Reid cites three anonymous sources who said Albert Haynesworth was "awful" in last Thursday's preseason game. The Post says it's unlikely that Haynesworth will start against the Cowboys. Oh, the horror!
- Matt Terl continues to do excellent work for his Redskins Blog. He's a big Brandon Banks guy.
Is Tony Romo really only the seventh-best quarterback in the NFL? He is according to Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News.
David Buehler has the inside track on winning the Cowboys' kicking job.
The Cowboys on Thursday signed defensive linemen Jason Hatcher and Junior Siavii to tender offers.
New York Giants
Are the Giants looking for reinforcements at guard?
Tight end Kevin Boss offers an in-depth look at the team in an interview with Pat Traina and Ed Valentine.
New Meadowlands Stadium is getting ready for its close-up.
The Eagles have announced the details of the preseason schedule.
Are the Eagles interested in drafting Tim Tebow? Not so fast says Domowitch.
Quarterback Jason Campbell is expected to sign his one-year tender.
Donovan McNabb is quickly getting comfortable with his new receivers.
Potential unrestricted free agents: G Montrae Holland
Potential restricted free agents: NT Junior Siavii, WR Miles Austin, DE Stephen Bowen, CB Cletis Gordon, DE Jason Hatcher, WR Sam Hurd, T Pat McQuistan, C Duke Preston, G Cory Procter, S Gerald Sensabaugh, DE Marcus Spears, S Pat Watkins, K Shaun Suisham.
What to expect: Anything is possible with Jerry Jones in charge, and the Cowboys could make a big splash after an underwhelming offseason a year ago. But in terms of team needs and what is required to take the next step, Dallas really doesn’t need much. A big-time impact safety makes some sense and could make a very good defense great, but that might be a project for the draft in a trade-up scenario for someone like Earl Thomas. But Darren Sharper might pique their interest. They also need to get younger along the offensive line, particularly at tackle, but that seems like a draft-day project, too. Maybe Jones gets real aggressive in the wide receiver market, as Roy Williams certainly is not living up to his billing, but the Cowboys are still rather stacked with pass-catchers. All in all, this is a team that is sitting pretty and doesn’t have a prominent unrestricted free agent who is poised to leave.
New York Giants
Potential unrestricted free agents: QB David Carr, LB Danny Clark, P Jeff Feagles, DT Fred Robbins
Potential restricted free agents: WR Domenik Hixon, TE Darcy Johnson, DE Dave Tollefson, G Kevin Boothe, S C.C. Brown, DT Barry Cofield, CB Kevin Dockery, WR Derek Hagan, WR Sinorice Moss, T Guy Whimper, LB Gerris Wilkinson.
What to expect: Big things could be in the works here, as there are already rumors swirling that New York could be a prime suitor for linebacker Karlos Dansby. An impact linebacker is certainly near the top of their wish list and Dansby fits the bill. Plus, he is extremely versatile. Getting faster on defense is a huge priority with new coordinator Perry Fewell stressing the ability to cover a lot of ground. However, Dansby isn’t really the thumper they need in the middle and is more of an outside linebacker for this system, although he would be great on passing downs. This is a group of decision-makers who might be starting to feel some heat, so do not rule out a big move or two.
Potential unrestricted free agents: DE Jason Babin, S Sean Jones, LB Jeremiah Trotter, LB Tracy White
Potential restricted free agents: LB Akeem Jordan, P Saverio Rocca, WR Jason Avant, C Nick Cole, LB Omar Gaither, LB Chris Gocong, CB Ellis Hobbs, G Max Jean-Gilles, TE Alex Smith, FB Leonard Weaver.
What to expect: There are questions on the offensive line, but overall, the Eagles are in a prime situation to improve their defense, particularly up front and at safety. Remember, they have quarterbacks to dangle as trade bait and really do not have any unrestricted guys that they need to bring back. This is a possible landing spot for Julius Peppers and he would be terrific on the opposite side of Trent Cole, who is among the most underrated players in the game and could blow up with someone taking pass protection attention away from his side. Count on the Eagles being aggressive in the free-agent and/or trade market. It might just be enough to get them that ever elusive Lombardi trophy. Stranger things have happened.
Potential unrestricted free agents: LS Ethan Albright, DE Phillip Daniels, T Levi Jones, C Casey Rabach,
P Hunter Smith, T Mike Williams, DE Renaldo Wynn, TE Todd Yoder.
Potential restricted free agents: DE Lorenzo Alexander, T Stephon Heyer, LB Chris Wilson, QB Jason Campbell, S Reed Doughty, DT Kedric Golston, LB Rocky McIntosh, DT Anthony Montgomery, C Will Montgomery, CB Carlos Rogers.
What to expect: This is a difficult team to get a grasp on in terms of what they might do in free agency, but I think it is safe to say that ownership will not hold Mike Shanahan and company back from opening up the check book and signing (and even overpaying) players whom they desire. It would be wise for Washington to have an excellent idea of what they are going to do with the fourth overall draft pick in terms of going quarterback or offensive tackle before really devising a free-agency plan. Rebuilding the offensive line is a must and Shanahan needs lighter, quicker (and younger) linemen than are on the roster. A running back they can trust wouldn’t hurt either, although it looks as though Clinton Portis will return, which they may regret. But don’t forget, this is a team that -- unwisely in my opinion -- is switching to a 3-4 scheme, so inside linebacker help is required, as are defensive linemen who fit the new scheme. The Redskins have a long wish list, but also have the ownership to endorse big spending when free agency opens.
Here are a few quick-hitting observations from the Cowboys' 37-21 win over the Falcons on Sunday:
- The Cowboys decided to play nose tackle Junior Siavii earlier in the game than usual and that seemed to help starter Jay Ratliff. Siavii did a really nice job against Michael Turner and he helped collapse the pocket against Matt Ryan. He said it was his goal for the defense's production not to fall off while he was on the field -- and I'd say he accomplished that.
- I'm not sure what was going on with Roy Williams, but at least for one game, the Cowboys didn't need him. With Miles Austin having another big day, Williams finished with one catch for 16 yards. He dropped at least one ball and he cut off his route on another. He said his ribs weren't bothering him, but I thought he looked lost on the field. Williams is a very willing blocker, but he was acquired to catch passes. Right now, he's playing more like a No. 3 receiver.
- I'm the first to rip Wade Phillips, so let's give the man a little credit today. This hasn't been the fierce pass-rush that we anticipated, but on Sunday, Phillips did a nice job of putting his players in winning situations. When Marcus Spears and Stephen Bowen are breaking through to rush the passer, it creates so many more options. That opened things up for DeMarcus Ware later in the game. This has not been a big-play defense, but the Cowboys won the turnover battle against the Falcons. It was pretty impressive.
- Is Ratliff the best player on this defense? I think Ware's one of the most dynamic players in the league, but I truly think this defense feeds off Ratliff's energy. I'm not sure there's another player on the team who can match his intensity. The Falcons' center didn't know what to do with Ratliff. He'd get bull-rushed for a little while and then he'd get humiliated by Ratliff's speed. This is a guy who will keep going to Pro Bowls for years to come.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
ARLINGTON, Texas -- I'm sorry you guys had to watch that first half. The Cowboys had a chance to come out and score right away, but they stalled in the red zone on their first possession. You had Felix Jones shredding the Panthers defense -- and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett inexplicably went away from him. Nick Folk missed a 40-yard field goal wide right and the Cowboys never really recovered. Here are some other quick-hit observations:
- I'm really impressed with the work left tackle Jordan Gross is doing on DeMarcus Ware. And I'm baffled by how seldom the Cowboys are matching up Ware against right tackle Jeff Otah. They finally flipped him over to Otah's side in the second quarter.
- The Cowboys finally got a turnover in the first half. Mike Jenkins made a play on a moon ball from Jake Delhomme. But the Cowboys didn't capitalize on the turnover.
- When the Cowboys backup nose tackle Junior Siavii is on the field, he's getting absolutely no push up the middle. Delhomme didn't see any pressure on those two nice passes to Dante Rosario. When Jay Ratliff's off the field, I think the Cowboys lose a lot.
- I was very impressed with the way Keith Brooking played in the first half. He did a nice job fighting off blocks and he's pretty solid in coverage. It looks like Brooking and Bradie James are doing a pretty nice job communicating. I think Brooking is a definite upgrade over Zach Thomas.
- Jason Witten had a big first half. He was Tony Romo's target on eight passes -- and he caught all eight. He has 71 yards receiving. The Cowboys wide receivers combined for two catches in the first half. That's not going to get it done.
- The Panthers obviously have a tough time stopping Felix Jones. So why aren't they feeding him the ball?
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
LAKE HIGHLANDS, Texas -- Greetings from one of the NFL's most talent-rich neighborhoods. Out my office window, I can see Wildcat-Ram Stadium, where Merton Hanks, Matt Stover, Phil Dawson, Marcus Coleman and the immortal Marcus Stiggers once played. So what does that have to do with the NFC East? Pretty much nothing, so let's get right to your questions. I've been long-winded the last couple of weeks (2,500-word average), so we're going rapid-fire today.
We start with Matt from Wilmington: First off, great article on the Birds additions this offseason. My question is with the Eagles $24 million under the cap, do you see them pursuing any other free agents? It seems they still could use a blocking tight end. The way our defensive line rotates, we could even use an additional pass-rushing defensive end to help out Trent Cole. What are your thoughts?
Mosley: I think Eagles fans are getting greedy -- and there's nothing wrong with that. You have three pretty decent options at tight end right now, but it wouldn't hurt to have another big body. If something comes along, Eagles tight ends coach Tom Melvin and the personnel staff will probably make a move. But that would be more of a luxury. It's not like the Eagles are going to come out this year with a bunch of double tight end looks. I think it's more likely that Philadelphia might try to sign defensive end Greg Ellis once he's released from the Cowboys. He's 33, but he could still be productive as a pass-rushing specialist. He still wants to be a starter, but if you dangle $1 million out there in addition to the $1.5 million check Jerry Jones will owe him, you might be onto something. Ellis would also be a good fit for the Redskins, but as Matt pointed out, the Eagles are in better position to do something.
Tsbein is one of our regulars in the "comments" section. And yes, I do read them: Eli has been "plagued," and I say that sarcastically, by his good team. He has the RBs, the O-line, the defense and had a top WR. Even Fran Tarkenton slighted Eli while trying to bash Favre. Since there are no stars as WRs, do you think a big year from Eli could garner him some nationwide respect?
Mosley: Tsbein, the second part of your question was quite astute, but we have a strict 300-word limit on questions in the mailbag! But seriously, I think it's ridiculous that Eli Manning still has so many doubters. He was one of my MVP candidates heading into December last season. I think the loss of Burress certainly hurt his production, but the defensive breakdowns had more to do with the team's "collapse" than anything else. Manning led his team to a world title in 2007. I'll never forget that when analyzing his career. And unlike some critics, I don't try to poke holes in that late-season run. He struggled down the stretch in '08, but overall, he had another excellent season. I have immense respect for Fran Tarkenton's career, but there's one thing missing that Eli already has. But in all honestly, Tarkenton's work on "That's Incredible" probably made up for not having a Lombardi.
We've gone two whole questions without something on the Cowboys. What gives? MBFJTCO9 rescues us with this: Howdy Matt. The Cowboys really haven't done a lot this offseason. How do you think their special teams are going to be this year. With Folk having surgery and us drafting a kicker, who will win that battle? And do you think a healthy Mat McBrair will help at all? Teams just seemed to have better field position when we lost him. That guy has got a boot on him.
Mosley: The great McBriar spends at least an hour each day on the Beast blog, so it's nice of you to mention his name. He's a Pro Bowl punter who is poised to have a huge comeback season. I wouldn't be surprised to see him average about 45 yards per punt with a ridiculous net in '09. He's headed out today to meet fellow Australian Geoff Ogilvy at the Crowne Plaza Colonial golf tournament. And don't worry about Nick Folk. There's no competition taking place in training camp. David Buehler will be a kickoff specialist. He'll only win the kicking job if Folk's not able to recover from hip surgery.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
- Former Cowboys safety Roy Williams visited an old friend in Cincy.
- Guess which Cowboys TE has a Twitter account.
- Anyone remember Junior Siavii? The Cowboys think he could be a reliable backup at nose tackle.
- Terence Newman recently talked about the moment he first knew Tony Romo would be a great quarterback. He apparently looked past the five picks Romo threw in that fabled KSU-EIU matchup.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist and local radio icon Randy Galloway made some phone calls to find out whether NFL experts thought Jay Cutler was a better option than Romo.
New York Giants
- One Giants season-ticket holder is filing a lawsuit over PSLs.
- Bill Hutchinson of the Daily News has more on the lawsuit.
- Here are some news and nuggets from the Star-Ledger's Mike Garafolo. He has the numbers from Corey Webster's re-structured contract.
- Andy Reid thinks the Eagles can win without Brian Dawkins.
- Here are some excerpts from Reid's interview with Dave Spadaro.
- Uh-oh. It looks like the Birds' Eye View is picking a fight with the Eagletarian. This is too good.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
After talking to a couple people with the Cowboys, here's a list of the guys who I think will be cut. Coming down the stretch, cornerbacks Evan Oglesby and Alan Ball were in a dogfight for a roster spot. Still don't have a great feel for what will happen there, but a conversation last night led me to believe there was hope for Ball. But he's still getting cut on my list:
The Mosley cuts:
Todd Lowber, WR (not even "Hard Knocks" could save this talented but RAW kid.)
Danny Amendola, WR (prime practice squad candidate.)
Mark Bradford, WR (not familiar with his work.)
James Marten, G (this is the only slight surprise. Marten was a third-round draft choice in 2007.)
Adam Stenavich, G (Adam, we hardly knew ya. He was cut to make room for Larry Allen to retire as a Cowboy.)
Ryan Gibbons, C (no real need for a third-team center.)
Rodney Hannah, TE (did some really nice things late in camp. If you can keep him on the practice squad, do it. Great size and played under an excellent college coach named Art Briles.)
Drew Atchison, TE (nice effort during camp, but not enough.)
Julius Crosslin, FB (never met him.)
Alonzo Coleman, RB (flashed at times in practice and might help on practice squad.)
Keon Lattimore, RB (Ray Ray's going to be upset.)
Junior Siavii, NT (Cowboys hoping to drum up some trade interest. This guy could help someone.)
Marcus Dixon, DE (never could get on the field because of an injury.)
Darrell Robertson, LB (had his moments, but this team's OK at linebacker.)
Tyson Smith, LB (best known for getting lit up by Marion Barber on "Hard Knocks.")
Tearrius George, LB (flashed against the Vikings the other night, but a little too late.)
Erik Walden, LB (If Alan Ball and Evan Oglesby both make the team, something has to give. And even though Walden has some huge supporters at Valley Ranch, I'm afraid he'd be the guy to go.)
Dowayne Davis, SS (It's too bad because he did some serious damage during camp. And I love his name.)
A lot of people have third-team quarterback Richard Bartel getting cut, but as of this morning, he was on the 53-man roster.