NFC East: Philip Daniels
Even with free-agent Dan Connor in the fold, the Cowboys might not be done adding to their inside linebacker corps. But Jason Garrett did not make it sound as though free agents Bradie James or Keith Brooking are likely to re-sign.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will have a lap-band procedure to help him lose weight. Ryan's twin brother, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, had the same procedure done in 2010.
New York Giants
Ohm ponders what the Giants will do to replace Brandon Jacobs now that the longtime Giants running back has signed with the 49ers. I agree with Ohm that someone on the level of Carolina's Jonathan Stewart is not a realistic option and that they'll probably sign a cheap veteran running back to throw into the mix with Ahmad Bradshaw and the young guys they have.
Tom Coughlin says he doesn't care if Tim Tebow and the Jets are dominating the New York tabloid headlines, because he and the Giants won the Super Bowl, and he figures the folks reading those papers still remember that.
Andy Reid was asked whether old pal Donovan McNabb would be an option for the Eagles at backup quarterback. He did not make it sound as though he would. Some people have asked me about McNabb, but I have no reason to believe he'll play again. For the Eagles or anyone else.
There's a report out there that the Tennessee Titans, who lost Cortland Finnegan to the Rams in free agency, might be one of the teams interested in trading for Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel. And there's a report out there that they're not. So we'll see. Won't be the last team connected to Samuel in this kind of report.
Mike Shanahan isn't worried that the league might still penalize the Redskins over bounty programs that may or may not have been in place when Gregg Williams was their defensive coordinator. He's counting on Philip Daniels' recollection to carry the day.
Shanahan also said that left tackle Trent Williams and tight end Fred Davis would have to prove themselves to their teammates, in light of the drug suspensions that ended those players' seasons early.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
In the aftermath of Friday's blockbuster additions in free agency, the Washington Redskins have parted ways with defensive end Jason Taylor. According to ESPN.com's John Clayton, who hasn't slept in 72 hours, Taylor balked when the Redskins asked him to show up for 75 percent of the club's offseason workouts.
Even after restructuring his deal, Taylor was still scheduled to make $8.5 million in 2009, but he didn't want to be away from his family for that long. Of course, he always had the option of moving his family to Washington when he agreed last summer to play two seasons for the Redskins. But Taylor and his wife are are a big part of the Miami community and maybe they didn't want to give that up. I've always thought a commuter marriage would be much more palatable when $8.5 million's hanging in the balance, but that's just me.
If the Redskins truly wanted Taylor to play another season, they wouldn't be hassling him about offseason workouts. Running back Clinton Portis often spent the majority of his offseason working out on South Beach. The Cowboys' Terrell Owens is the same way.
Taylor never fully recovered from a leg injury last season and wasn't nearly as productive as he'd been in Miami. He also struggled in Greg Blache's defense.
The Redskins have spent the last couple of days telling us how defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is so disruptive that he'll make players around him better. But those players around him need to be somewhat talented. In my opinion, you can't go into next season depending heavily on players such as Andre Carter and Demetric Evans. If you think Kyle Vanden Bosch simply got lucky by playing next to Haynesworth, you haven't watched the Titans much.
Now I'm anxious to hear your take.
|Diamond Images/Getty Images|
|Defensive end Jason Taylor will miss Sunday's game against the Cowboys.|
The Redskins traded for veteran defensive end Jason Taylor for days just like this Sunday against the Cowboys. When Philip Daniels went down with a season-ending knee injury in training camp, Redskins executive vice president Vinny Cerrato quickly worked a deal with the Dolphins.
Now, Taylor's streak of playing in 133 consecutive games will come to an end because of a medical procedure on his leg Monday. Taylor was kicked in the shin against the Cardinals. The injury couldn't have happened at a worse time. After looking like a non-factor in the Redskins' first two games, Taylor played well against Kurt Warner and applied plenty of pressure. [Updated: I tried to give Taylor a sack in the game, but his one sack of the season actually came against the Saints]
The Eagles, Browns and Packers haven't been able to get pressure on Romo, and he's burned them all with long passes. Taylor's absence will force defensive coordinator Greg Blache to blitz more Sunday, and that's not the strength of the Redskins' defense.
This is not a secondary that forces a lot of coverage sacks. To this point, I think Taylor has looked pretty uncomfortable at times in Blache's scheme. When he's able to return, Blache needs to do a better job of moving him around and finding the best matchups. He's not particularly strong against the run, and that's where teams such as the Giants and Cowboys flourish. He's definitely made a move over the past couple of weeks, but he's not the dominant player the Redskins hoped he'd be.
Seventh-year defensive end Demetric Evans will replace Taylor. I think Evans will have a big game. He played for the Cowboys early in his career, and he loves playing against them. I talked to him last season about his time in Dallas, and he said he begins every season by circling those dates on the schedule. I know some of you (many) think I'm nuts, but it really wouldn't surprise me if Evans has a big game. Now in his fifth year with the Redskins, Evans has a 8 1/2 career sacks with the club.
|Scott Cunningham/Getty Images|
|Jim Zorn and the Redskins seem to be the only NFC East team at a true crisis point heading into the regular season.|
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
No matter how much I've tried to convince people that exhibition football is a complete farce, there are still some non-believers. In my mind, the Redskins weren't as good as they looked in their first three "games," and not as bad as they've looked in their final two.
Against his better judgment, neophyte head coach Jim Zorn felt like something could be gained in the team's fifth preseason game against Jacksonville on Thursday. But after three painful series (to watch), his first-team offense finished with a combined 14 yards and zero first downs against Jack Del Rio's scout-team defense.
Now, the doubt seems to be creeping in at the worst possible time. The Redskins opened camp before any other team -- on July 20 -- and seemed to embrace the transition from Joe Gibbs to Zorn. Players bragged about Zorn's hands-on approach and how he never hid anything from them. But more importantly, the offense was sharp in the first couple of exhibitions, and Jason Campbell was buying into Zorn's West Coast offense in a big way.
But as Jason La Canfora explains in The Washington Post, those days seem like a distant memory. Now, we know that two prized rookie receivers aren't ready to contribute at this time and that help on the offensive line isn't on the way. La Canfora takes Vinny Cerrato to task for his recent draft, although I think we should at least wait until Week 2 to blast management for poor decisions.
Every team in the division has lost at least one starter to injury, but obviously the Giants got the worst end of the deal. However, for whatever reason (perhaps the Giants' depth), the Redskins seem to be the only team at a true crisis point. Now that I've had a chance to gain a couple of days' perspective, I think the Giants will rally around their head coach and make it into the playoffs, where, as they know best, anything can happen.
I hate to say this, but Zorn's already reached his second major crisis point -- the first coming when defensive end Philip Daniels went down with a season-ending knee injury. The Jason Taylor signing averted panic among Redskins faithful, but two consecutive no-shows by the club's offense has people worried again.
Post columnist Michael Wilbon is normally a voice of reason, but even he's worried about Zorn possibly losing his team before the regular-season begins. I'm still taking a wait-and-see approach because I think the players believe in Zorn.
But a couple of lopsided losses early could do a lot to erode that trust.