NFC East: Stacy Andrews

Busy day for injury news in the NFC East, with the most recent and surprising being the announcement by the New York Giants that starting left tackle Will Beatty will have surgery Thursday to repair a detached retina in his right eye. There's no timetable yet for Beatty's return from the surgery. Presumably, he'll need some time to get his vision all the way back, and doctors will have to assure him that he's not putting his eye in unusual danger before they clear him to play again.

What the Giants will do in Beatty's absence they have not yet said. They play Monday, so their normal practice schedule this week is pushed back a day and they didn't practice or speak with the media as they would on a normal Wednesday. Coach Tom Coughlin held conference calls with members of the New York and New Orleans media, but those took place before the Beatty news broke, so he didn't address it. They could either just replace Beatty with backup tackle Stacy Andrews or move left guard David Diehl back to left tackle and play Kevin Boothe at left guard. Neither is an appealing option for an offensive line that's already struggling.

In other Giants injury news, Coughlin told Saints reporters that running back Ahmad Bradshaw's broken foot was feeling better. Coughlin said that he didn't know if Bradshaw would practice Thursday but that he expected the Giants to be "in pretty good shape" at running back. No idea what that means about Bradshaw for this week. And there's no update on the status of the hamstring injury that kept linebacker Michael Boley out of Sunday's game.

Washington Redskins

Good news, finally, on the injury front for the Redskins. Top wide receiver Santana Moss, who broke his hand in Week 7's loss to Carolina and has missed four games, is expected to play Sunday. The Redskins missed Moss not just as a receiver but also as a blocker as their offense struggled badly for about a month before Sunday's game against Dallas. Quarterback Rex Grossman will be happy to have him back. It also sounds as though safety LaRon Landry expects to play Sunday and left tackle Trent Williams, who injured his knee Sunday, was announced as a "limited" participant in Wednesday's practice.

Dallas Cowboys

Nothing really new or particularly happy to report on the Cowboys' injury front. Receiver Miles Austin, fullback Tony Fiammetta, cornerback Mike Jenkins and backup quarterback Jon Kitna have all been ruled out of Thursday's game against the Dolphins. (The Kitna injury is one reason, certainly, that the Cowboys put in a waiver claim on quarterback Kyle Orton on Wednesday when he was claimed by the Chiefs. The other reason was likely to keep him away from the Bears -- a team with which the Cowboys may end up competing for a playoff spot.) Safety Gerald Sensabaugh and running back Felix Jones are questionable due to their injuries. The Dallas secondary struggled without Jenkins last week, and losing Sensabaugh would make life difficult against Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall.

Philadelphia Eagles

No practice for quarterback Michael Vick, as Vince Young took all of the first-team reps again and looks likely to make his second straight start Sunday against the Patriots. Andy Reid said in his news conference that Vick had done a little bit of throwing and wouldn't yet rule him out, but that he still feels pain in the area of his broken ribs. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson missed practice with a foot injury, and his status for Sunday is unknown. And wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was a limited practice participant. He's apparently got a Grade 2 shoulder separation and says whether he can play Sunday will come down to how much pain he's in. Not sure on shoulder separations, but I'm betting the pain that comes with them is pretty significant. Maclin also has a hamstring injury that continues to cause him problems. So whoever starts at quarterback for the Eagles on Sunday could be throwing a lot of passes to Riley Cooper and Jason Avant.

Beastlines: Why is Jones pinching pennies?

September, 8, 2010
9/08/10
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Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News has a division preview and makes some predictions.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys expect Dez Bryant to be a star, but history says it's not going to happen overnight.

Considering there's no salary cap and the Cowboys could make a Super Bowl run this year, some of Jerry Jones' penny-pinching moves this offseason have been surprising, writes DMN's Jean-Jacques Taylor.

Jones explains his philosophy on cutting the Cowboys roster to 53 players.

Alan Ball still has a lot prove despite earning the starting safety job, writes the Star-Telegram's Clarence E. Hill.

New York Giants

Taxpayers in several cities are still paying for stadiums that no longer exist, but Giants Stadium "is the granddaddy of phantom facilities."

Keith Bulluck says he's ready to be the leader of the Giants defense.

Paul Schwartz grades the offense, defense and special teams and makes his predictions for the team. Schwartz foresees a return to the playoffs.

Archie Manning offers tough love for his son Eli.

Return specialist Darius Reynaud is settling in with the Giants.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Inquirer's John Gonzalez writes that the Andrews brothers "fleeced" the Eagles during their stay in Philly.

Five tough questions on the Eagles.

Kevin Kolb has faced some tough critics, but none harsher than his parents.

Kevin Callahan looks at the newest Eagles.

Trent Cole is excited about the additions the team has made on defense.

Washington Redskins

The Washington Post's Jason Reid says it's time for the Redskins to make a decision on Albert Haynesworth's future with the team. More Haynesworth trade talk.

The Post's Barry Svrluga looks at what fans can expect from Mike Shanahan's offensive system.

The Redskins' defense is "hyped" to take on the Cowboys.

Andy Reid: Jamaal Jackson will start

September, 5, 2010
9/05/10
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Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid said Sunday he expects Jamaal Jackson to start at center against the Green Bay Packers unless there's a "setback." Jackson has made a remarkably quick recovery from a serious knee injury and Reid talked about what his return means to the Eagles.

"This is what we have. We have good depth, so it allows Jamaal to get back in there and give it a shot here," Reid said on Sunday. "As long as he feels strong and good about it and the doctor feels good about it, then we go that direction. Again, if he tires or fatigues at all, we’ve got Mike McGlynn, who’s taken great snaps in there and we feel very confident that he could step in and play. Nick hasn’t played in the preseason, so if he were to get fatigued, we’ve got Reggie [Wells] there, we’ve got [G] Max [Jean-Gilles] there. We’ve got people that have played in positions that we feel very comfortable with to step in and play."

Reid was complimentary of Stacy Andrews, but he indicated that Nick Cole was always going to start at right guard if Jackson made it back to play center. That's a nice thing to say about Cole, but I think the Eagles expected Andrews to win the job in training camp. Obviously that didn't pan out.

If they can stay healthy, the Eagles appear to be in pretty good shape on the offensive line.

Update: For no apparent reason, I had the Eagles opening with the Cowboys in this blog entry last night. My apologies.

Sunday Beastlines: Cutdown edition

September, 5, 2010
9/05/10
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Hope you guys are having a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Let's take a quick spin around the division to see what folks are saying this morning:

Cowboys
Eagles
Giants
Redskins

Philadelphia Eagles cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
9/04/10
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Check here for a full list of the Philadelphia Eagles' roster moves.

Biggest surprise: At the last minute, the Eagles were able to move Stacy Andrews and his reduced (but still too large) salary to the Seahawks for a seventh-round pick in 2011. Andrews had been a huge disappointment for the Eagles and now they feel fortunate to receive anything in return for him. Of the cuts, safety Quintin Demps was probably the biggest surprise. He ended up in Andy Reid's doghouse last season, but he made strides this offseason in having a better attitude. But with rookie Nate Allen claiming the starting safety spot, Demps apparently became expendable. He was a decent return man, but not good enough to warrant a roster spot. Guard Max Jean-Gilles was released, but he'll be brought back Sunday. The Eagles missed the 6 p.m. ET trade deadline on Andrews, so that's why that happened with Jean-Gilles.

No-brainers: I lot of folks were pulling for Chad Hall as a return man, but he simply didn't have enough success in the preseason. Wide receiver Jordan Norwood catches everything, so he'll be a good practice squad candidate. Tight end Cornelius Ingram will probably make it through to the practice squad as well. You knew it was a bad sign for Macho Harris recently when he was bouncing between positions. Looked like a player at this time last year but he never took the next step.

What's next: General manager Howie Roseman will be on the hunt for safeties and cornerbacks. I like the trade for defensive end Antwan Barnes from the Ravens. He was an excellent fourth-round pick for the Ravens in '07 and he has a lot of explosion coming off the edge. He'll be a good fit in the Eagles' up-the-field pass-rush, according to some AFC scouts I spoke to Saturday. Unlike the Cowboys, I think the Eagles will continue to churn the bottom of this roster. We'll keep you posted throughout the rest of the holiday weekend. It's interesting that the Eagles kept six cornerbacks and the Cowboys three. The Eagles only kept two tight ends, so they'll be looking around for help at that position.

Eagles acquire Reggie Wells, cut 10 players

September, 3, 2010
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The Philadelphia Eagles have acquired offensive lineman Reggie Wells from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for an undisclosed draft choice in 2011. The Eagles also got a head start by trimming 10 players from their roster.

Wells, 29, started all 16 regular-season games and both playoff games for the Cardinals in '09. A sixth-round draft pick of Arizona in '03, Wells (6-foot-4, 314 pounds) has started 70 consecutive games (64 in the regular season, plus six in the postseason). He has starting experience at left guard, right tackle and left tackle, according to the Eagles.

“We’re adding a player that has started several seasons in the National Football League and has played at a very high level during the course of his career,” said coach Andy Reid on Friday. “He has experience at several different positions along the offensive line and he will be a welcome addition to that group. You can never have enough depth at that position as you go through an NFL season.”

The Eagles also announced they have placed defensive end Victor Abiamiri on the reserve/PUP list and released the following 10 players: Running backJ.J. Arrington, receiverDobson Collins, defensive endPannel Egboh, tight endNate Lawrie, running back Martell Mallett, tackleJeraill McCuller, cornerbackDavid Pender, cornerbackGeoff Pope, defensive tackleBoo Robinson, and safety Anthony Scirrotto.

By being placed on the Reserve/PUP list, Abiamiri is not eligible to play in the team’s first six regular-season games. After the sixth game, the team has three weeks to decide whether to activate Abiamiri to the 53-man roster. If he is not activated during that time period, he is placed on the season-ending Injured Reserve list.

By releasing Arrington, the Eagles will now receive a sixth-round pick from the Broncos in 2012. No big surprises with this initial cut. Mallett had his moments early in the preseason, but the Eagles feel like they have enough depth at running back with LeSean McCoy, Mike Bell and Eldra Buckley. It helps that fullback Leonard Weaver can basically perform like a tailback in Reid's offense.

Right now, the Eagles have 65 players on the roster. Wells will likely compete for playing time at right guard with Stacy Andrews and Nick Cole.

Could the Eagles end up cutting Andrews? It's possible.

Marty Mornhinweg: Bring on the blitz

August, 30, 2010
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Once a week, Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg meets with reporters. He's normally a little more forthcoming than Andy Reid, so it's a visit the local beat writers seem to enjoy. On Monday, Mornhinweg was quizzed about the lack of continuity on the offensive line and about how much responsibility the center has in picking up the blitz.

"Well, again, I’m not going to get into exactly how we do it, but we do an awful lot of things up front and it happens fast and it happens quick," said Mornhinweg. "We love people to blitz us. We want to be the best in the league against the blitz. We want to have a certain mentality with people blitzing us."

Translation: PLEASE try to cover DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin one-on-one in your blitz packages. Of course, it won't matter if Kevin Kolb's on his back before those receivers break free. A reporter also asked Mornhinweg whether Stacy Andrews would start at right guard against the Packers on Sept. 12. He wisely sidestepped that question.

"I’m not going to get into anybody starting this week or any of that stuff. It’s too far away," said the offensive coordinator. "But, yeah, he’s been our starter here."

Well, that doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement for Andrews. My guess is that Nick Cole will replace Andrews as the starter at right guard once Jamaal Jackson's ready to go at center.

Herremans will play Friday

August, 22, 2010
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The Philadelphia Eagles will welcome left guard Todd Herremans (foot) back to the lineup Friday in Kansas City, according to Andy Reid. That's great news for an offensive line that has struggled to create holes for the running game. Reid also shed light on the knee injury that has kept Nick Cole out of practice for the past few weeks.

"Nick’s a tough guy and I know that," Reid said. "Nick will go out there and push himself through, really, anything. That’s just the way he’s wired. This is me backing off on him. To make sure we keep the swelling out of that knee, that he continues to just rehab it and get that area strong around the knee, and then we’ll go from there. Until I feel that -- myself and [head athletic trainer] Rick [Burkholder] -- until we feel that that’s where it needs to be, I’m just going to hold back. I know what Nick can do. He got enough work in there. He’s in good shape and all that. He lost some weight and he’s in very good shape. That’s not what I’m worried about. I just want to make sure we’re smart with that knee."

Once Jamaal Jackson's ready to go at center, it will be interesting to see what happens with Cole. Don't be shocked if he replaces Stacy Andrews at right guard early in the season. Judging by his comments, it doesn't seem like Reid's thrilled with Andrews' work.

Big Question: Eagles happy with O-line?

June, 15, 2010
6/15/10
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NFC Big Question: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Should the Eagles have done more to fortify their offensive line?

Somewhat surprisingly, despite a wealth of draft picks, Philadelphia didn’t make any major additions to its offensive line. The Eagles must feel quite comfortable with what they have despite Jamaal Jackson’s injury situation and the release of Shawn Andrews. So, let’s examine this situation more closely.

[+] EnlargeJason Peters
Walter G. Arce/Icon SMIWhile he's received some criticism since joining the Eagles, Jason Peters remains one of the better left tackles in the NFL.
Jackson is the best option at center, but he just recently started running and it wouldn’t be a shock if his knee injury landed him on the physically unable to perform list to start the season. Jackson was on the verge of establishing himself as one of the better centers in this league, particularly as a run-blocker, but this looks like Nick Cole’s job for the time being. Mike McGlynn has the ability to play center as well, but his best fit is at guard. Cole moves well and is good in protection, but isn’t nearly the pile-mover that Jackson is in the run game. But as backup centers go, you could do much worse than Cole until Jackson returns.

Stacy Andrews has been tough to count on of late, but if healthy, he will start at right guard. He also could move to right tackle if Winston Justice struggles at the position where Andrews’ brother Shawn used to play. Even if Andrews can’t be counted on, the guard depth is pretty strong with McGlynn and Max Jean-Gilles backing up Andrews and left guard Todd Herremans. Herremans is another player who, in a pinch, could slide over to right tackle, but he is quite sound at left guard. McGlynn is a potential up-and-comer who could surprise this year if needed.

Like Cole at center, Justice is better in protection than as a run-blocker. But that isn’t much of a problem in this pass-happy offense and overall, Justice was impressive in 2009. As noted above, there are backup plans in place if Justice struggles, but I fully expect him to hold down the fort at right tackle.

At left tackle, Jason Peters has caught a lot of heat since his arrival in Philadelphia, but I think he is still one of the very best tackles in the business. He has taken too many penalties and does have to be more consistent, but doing battle with the blindside edge-rushers in this division is no easy task. I have no concerns about Peters.

So, all in all, I am in the Eagles’ corner with their decision not to dedicate heavy resources to adding to their offensive line. There are some questions, but there are also some fallback options. I think this group will be fine.

Evans' contract tops Davis' and Snee's

May, 5, 2010
5/05/10
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The New Orleans Saints made Pro Bowler Jahri Evans the richest guard in the history of the league today with a seven-year, $56.7 million contract, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The most significant aspect of the contract is that he'll receive $19 million in the first year. Before Evans' contract, a couple of guards in the NFC East led the way.

Cowboys guard Leonard Davis signed a seven-year, $49.6 million free-agent contract in March 2007 with a guaranteed amount of $18.75 million. It was a staggering amount of guaranteed money for a player who hadn't lived up to expectations with the Cardinals, but obviously Davis has been a valuable addition to the Cowboys.

In June 2008, Chris Snee signed a six-year, $43.5 million contract extension with the New York Giants. The Eagles have to feel pretty good about signing starting left guard Todd Herremans to a five-year extension in '06 that included a $5 million signing bonus. Compared to some of the other contracts, that's quite a bargain.

Of course, the Eagles signed guard Stacy Andrews to a lucrative free-agent contract and have already had to restructure it based on the fact that he barely contributed anything in '09.

Andrews ready to start for Eagles?

May, 3, 2010
5/03/10
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As the Philadelphia Eagles wrapped up their minicamp Sunday, there was some discussion of Stacy Andrews' future at right guard. Everyone (including Andy Reid) pretty much assumed Andrews would be the starter at right guard in 2009, but he had trouble returning from a torn ACL and never made much of an impact. In fact, he played so sparingly that the Eagles asked him to take a significant pay cut -- and Andrews agreed.

"Last year, I was still rehabbing and really was getting no reps," Andrews told reporters Sunday. "The only thing I was getting was mental reps. This year, I'm there in it and going through everything. Getting a lot of reps, that's the main thing."

I ran into Eagles offensive line coach Juan Castillo at the combine in February and we had a good visit about Andrews. He has high hopes for Andrews and thinks he can be a dominant player. But I'm still not convinced that Andrews is a better option than Nick Cole, who performed admirably at the position last season.

Eagles sign Nick Cole

April, 7, 2010
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Eagles restricted free-agent guard/center Nick Cole signed his tender offer Wednesday. He was tendered at the second-round level of $1.759 million. He's started 22 games for the Eagles since being signed as a rookie free agent in '06. In '09, Cole started nine games at right guard, six at left guard and two at center.

Cole's steady play at guard helped cover for the fact that unrestricted free agent Stacy Andrews wasn't ready for prime time. When center Jamaal Jackson went down with a knee injury late in the season, Cole moved over and replaced him for the final two games. He's one of the most versatile players on the offensive line, so it's somewhat surprising the Eagles haven't worked to secure a long-term deal.

"To date, I have not been engaged in any conversations with [general manager] Howie Roseman or anyone in the Eagles organization about a long-term contract for Nick Cole," the player's agent, Fred Lyles, told me Wednesday. "Therefore, I'm unable to speculate on the extent to which Nick fits into the Eagles' long-term plans."

Reached via text, Cole said he simply wants to focus on football.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to compete for a starting job and I appreciate the opportunity afforded me by the Eagles," Cole wrote.

When I bumped into Eagles offensive line coach Juan Castillo at the combine, he thought Andrews would make a huge improvement heading into 2010. But he's also a big supporter of Cole's. I'll be interested to see if the Eagles actually hold an open competition at right guard. Obviously, they have a lot more money invested in Andrews -- even after he agreed to a salary adjustment.

Eagles' Shawn Andrews shown the door

March, 17, 2010
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In perhaps one of the least surprising announcements of the offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles have parted ways with former Pro Bowl offensive lineman Shawn Andrews. The former first-round pick appeared on his way to stardom with Pro Bowl seasons in '06 and '07, but back injuries caused him to miss all but two games in '08 and '09. He was slated to start at right tackle in '09, but he once again experienced back pain and was eventually placed on injured reserve.

Andrews missed the '08 training camp because of depression. Coach Andy Reid gave him every opportunity to get his career on track, but it became obvious that the former Arkansas Razorback wasn't part of the club's plans. That point was driven home when right tackle Winston Justice received a contract extension during the '09 season.

Last offseason, the Eagles signed free-agent offensive lineman Stacy Andrews, Shawn's older brother, to hopefully be a stabilizing force. But Shawn was back in Los Angeles receiving treatment on his back before the season even started. He had a chance to be one of the best offensive linemen in the game, but his behavior off the field was baffling.

Most of his teammates reached out to him when he went public with his depression, but others wondered if it was an excuse for missing training camp. Andrews has been a prolific tweeter, often firing off dozens of messages per day. He also talked a lot about his interest in the music industry.

Fair or not, he got the label of being someone who didn't love the game of football. And that's a tough thing to overcome in the NFL. Reid showed Andrews a lot of compassion but at some point the team needed to move on. There was no way to count on Andrews being available for the 2010 season, so the team finally had to cut ties.

Quite honestly, no one would've blamed them for doing this a year ago. Perhaps Andrews will make the best of a fresh start with another club, but that's being pretty optimisitic. He gave Eagles fans a couple of really strong seasons. But obviously, he'll always be remembered for what he didn't accomplish.

How I See It: NFC East Stock Watch

March, 11, 2010
3/11/10
1:00
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NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Falling

Redskins defensive end Andre Carter: Yes, we're bringing back this wildly popular entry for a couple months. And honestly, I think it's too early to suggest that any of the four NFC teams are in the "falling" category. The Cowboys are certainly the quietest team in free agency, but I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. But in the interest of participation, let's put Carter in the "falling" section. I've said from the start that he's not a good fit as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 and now there's speculation he could lose his starting job. Carter's been a highly productive player in the league, but he's looked awkward in the past when asked to stand up in the 3-4. Greg Ellis went through this in Dallas under Bill Parcells, but he eventually became a productive outside linebacker. We'll see how things turn out for Carter.

Rising

Philadelphia Eagles: This is a team that is desperately trying to close the gap with the Cowboys. I like that general manager Howie Roseman has locked up talented players such as Leonard Weaver and Jason Avant. And signing former Colts cornerback Marlin Jackson is a good risk to take. Yes, he's had two ACLs (one on each knee). But the Eagles reportedly kept the guaranteed money low enough where they won't feel burned if he struggles. If the 26-year-old returns to form, he could start at free safety for the next three or four years. The Eagles also restructured guard Stacy Andrews' contract. I bumped into offensive line coach Juan Castillo in Indianapolis and he truly believes Andrews will come back strong in 2010 after being hampered by a knee injury.

Welcome back to the Stock Watch. That's how I see it.

Tuesday Beastlines: The Avant signing

March, 9, 2010
3/09/10
11:26
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Let's take a quick look at the top storylines from around the division this morning:

Cowboys

Eagles

Giants

Redskins

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