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Monday, November 7, 2011
Breakfast links: Cowboys win big enough?

By Dan Graziano

The day in the NFC East was going pretty much as expected until Eli Manning pulled a rabbit out of his helmet and gave us one of the thrills of the year so far. As has become our custom, we do the links in standings order, starting with Eli and Big Blue off their big win in Foxborough.

New York Giants (6-2)

The Giants' locker room sounds as though it would have been a fun place to be after that comeback win, especially when big old Brandon Jacobs took head coach Tom Coughlin and put him up on his big old shoulders. The Giants have overcome a lot to get to 6-2, and while they know they have plenty of work still ahead of them, they deserved to take a few minutes and get a little giddy about a win like that.

Steve Politi says the old question about whether Eli Manning is among the league's elite quarterbacks has been answered -- in the affirmative.

Dallas Cowboys (4-4)

Man, they're cranky down in Texas! The Cowboys won the game, right? Sheesh, you'd never know it to read the coverage. Jean-Jacques Taylor remains unimpressed, saying they should have blown out the Seahawks and the fact that they didn't shows they're just average. Hey, I'm not saying it's the Jimmy Johnson era all over again down there, but they needed a win, they got a win, they're 4-4 with two games left against the Giants, one against the Eagles and a pretty easy schedule otherwise. I think it's too early to give up on the Cowboys.

Rookie running back DeMarco Murray is one guy getting a lot of praise, and with the way he's played (including Sunday against a Seattle team that's stingy against the run), he deserves it. Jason Garrett is declining to say that Murray will remain the starting running back once Felix Jones returns from injury, and that's because (a) he doesn't have to and (b) he's right in saying Jones will give them an additional weapon, not a replacement one.

Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)

Jeff McLane got Howard Mudd talking, which is no easy task, and the Eagles' first-year offensive line coach had a lot to say about rookie guard Danny Watkins and his progress. Watkins was thought by some fans to be a bust when he wasn't ready to start the opener, but in retrospect the Eagles were wise to sit him down and continue his training so that he could be the valuable piece to the offensive line that he's been since he was given the starter's job in Week 5.

Former Eagles coach Buddy Ryan gets honored tonight at the Monday Night Football game against the Bears, and I know you're not surprised that he still has plenty to say as he drops back in town between cancer treatments. Bob Grotz has the story.

Washington Redskins (3-5)

The Redskins' offense was awful again, as you already know by now, and it doesn't look like it's going to get better anytime soon. But Jason Reid writes that Mike Shanahan would be wise to continue doing what he started to do Sunday -- give more looks to rookies and young players like Roy Helu to help him determine whether they can help the team in the long run.

Deron Snyder writes that the 49ers gave the Redskins a model to envy and/or admire, and in pointing out the discrepancy between San Francisco's Alex Smith and Washington's John Beck, Deron makes the point that the Redskins wouldn't have had to reach very far to find a better quarterback for this season than the ones they have on their roster.