NFL Nation: Jeff Chadiha
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Since it's been two months since our last power rankings release party, ESPN.com decided to release a fresh edition today. You may notice that the Beast no longer has a seat at the voting table, which will allow me to be even more critical of the remaining panelists -- Mike Sando, Paul Kuharsky, John Clayton and Jeff Chadiha. First off, here's how NFC East teams finished in the rankings:
3. Giants: This is where the Giants were back in May, and it's probably about right. I would've ranked them second, though.
4. Eagles: Same place they were in May. We'll keep a close eye on this Brian Westbrook injury situation. I wouldn't expect to see much (if any) of him in the preseason.
14. Cowboys: The Cowboys actually fell a spot since May. Perhaps one of the voters didn't like what he saw in organied training activities or is worried about The Breakup.
20. Redskins: Washington also fell a spot from its No. 19 ranking in May. I think that's a little low, but you'd have a hard time moving them into the top 15. I'm anxious to see if Devin Thomas or Malcolm Kelly shows some big-time improvement in training camp.
Chadiha and Clayton gave the Giants their lowest rankings at No. 4. Sando hurt the Eagles by ranking them sixth. He's easy to find on Facebook, Eagles fans. He absolutely loves the interaction.
Kuharsky, who has put the AFC South blog on the map, gave the Cowboys their lowest ranking at No. 15. Clayton had them at their original No. 14. Sando continued his assault on Beast teams by ranking the Skins No. 22. I have two calls into him for an explanation, but he's ducking me right now. I think the Vikings are the most overrated team in the rankings at this point. They checked in at No. 9. Kuharsky and Sando had them about right at No. 12, but Chadiha's fallen in love with them for some reason. The Vikings went from No. 14 to No. 9 in two months. Maybe Clayton and Chadiha were voting under the belief that Brett Favre would decide to play.
Much more to come.
Thanks for your continued interest in the NFC East blog.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
My apologies for not dipping into the mailbag this past week. I had 386 well-written questions and threats waiting on me earlier this afternoon. Since I'm currently sitting in the media room at Redskins Park, I'll focus on the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys. You guys have been incredibly "patient" while I've been embedded with the Redskins the last three days.
Joshua from Philly writes: Thanks for addressing the professional "sports analysts" in your blog today. It's "cute" that some people will tell a professional he knows nothing about his profession. But I digress. As a Philly fan, I would love if you could address not only our chances in the most competitive (not the best) division in football. Best and worst scenarios. Also, I feel that the receiver situation is fine. The Eagles have never had a top flight receiver or receiving corps excluding the T.O. years.
Mosley: Joshua, appreciate the kind words. I really should've stayed out of it this morning, but hey, I'm human. Regarding your Eagles, I've had them as a playoff dark horse (doesn't sound right) since the end of last season. I just think the Andy Reid family situation set a really bad tone for the 2007 season. And Donovan McNabb was obviously not himself coming back from the ACL.
The thing that gave me confidence in the Eagles is the way they absolutely dismantled the Cowboys at Texas Stadium in December. The McNabb injury factor is always the first thing you have to bring up. If you can keep him healthy for an entire season, he and Brian Westbrook can lead this team back to the playoffs. Getting rid of Jevon Kearse and Takeo Spikes didn't hurt this defense one bit. I'm anxious to see how far the young linebackers (Bradley, Gocong, Gaither) have come since last season. The best-case scenario is the Eagles winning the NFC East (and obviously the Super Bowl). It could totally happen. The worst-case scenario is another McNabb injury, which could signal the beginning of the Kolb era.
Wilson from Workington, England writes: Matt, do you think the Cowboys defence (not a typo) will make significant progress from last year? Last year they were good, but I felt they needed to be more aggresive. Their corners played too far off the line on most occasions. Do you see them playing tighter this year? I feel that with the upgrade at corner, we could have the pesonnel to do this.
Mosley: Wilson, we're trying to beef up our British numbers. Thanks for your interest. The Cowboys are deeper at cornerback than any other position on the field. I think you will see more one-on-one coverage. And from what I've seen, young Adam Jones loves playing press coverage. Same goes for Terence Newman. Another interesting wrinkle will be how they use Anthony Henry. He'll be moved inside to cover tight ends one-on-one in passing situations. As Chris Cooley told me yesterday, when Jeremy Shockey lined up and ran roughshod over Roy Williams, every other team tried to follow a similar path. Defensive coordinator Brian Stewart isn't going to let that happen this season.
Ted from NYC writes: Back in January everyone at ESPN except Jeff Chadiha said the Giants were done. OK, they were against the odds, but even when it came down to analysis considering what they did to the Pats in Week 18, none of you gave them a chance. As each week in the playoffs passed, writers still had them dogged. The Giants were really the only team that had a shot at beating the Pats. When they beat Green Bay, I tallied up all the stats including intangibles during the playoffs and added them to week 18 and the odds were then really in favor of the Giants to win the Super Bowl. Granted, repeating will be tough, but don't think you're going to look any smarter if they don't.
Mosley: Ted, we appreciate you stopping by. But stop kissing up to Chadiha. Secretly he was telling me the Giants were SO done. I actually agree with you that folks are being too dismissive of the Giants. It's almost like we hold it against them that they got hot at the end of the season. They don't hand out Lombardis at the end of the regular season. So, yes, your team isn't getting enough respect in the various power rankings. If it makes you feel any better, I'm pretty sure I had the Giants No. 4 overall. And I still haven't sent in my predictions. With a great performance against the Lions on Thursday, their stock might soar. The Lions are a salty preseason team.
The loss of Jeremy Shockey, a couple of solid linebackers and a great defensive end certainly needs to be acknowledged, but I don't think it will keep the Giants out of the playoffs. We forget that Kiwanuka is a pretty nice player. He and the talented Justin Tuck can help make up for the loss of Strahan. I have the Cowboys and Giants neck and neck to win the East right now. By the way, if you're looking for more bulletin board material, watch "Hard Knocks" tonight. I'm sure someone will pop off. Wait, I think Patrick Crayton was questioning Packers management Wednesday. What a wise, young man.
Patrick in Charlottesville writes: What about ex-Bengal wide receiver Chris Henry ending up on the Cowboys or the Eagles? Both teams have a need for a legitimate No. 2 wide receiver?
Mosley: I love it how Dallas has become the de facto destination for all troubled players and their posses. No one with the organization has told me that they have any interest in Henry. But he and Adam Jones go way back, so at least he'd have a familiar face. Jerry Jones loves taking risks, but Henry's not the type player he's looking for. Jones wanted a legitimate star (Chad Johnson, Roy Williams, Anquan Boldin) to play opposite T.O. Henry has a lot of ability, as evidenced by his catch-to-touchdown ratio. But I don't think he'll end up with the Cowboys or Eagles. Philadelphia thinks that DeSean Jackson can make an immediate impact. Henry would be what some coaches call a "progress stopper."
If you're a Redskins fan, be looking for my exclusive interviews with Jason Taylor and Jason Campbell. Oddly enough, Campbell spent a day this summer fishing in one of Brett Favre's ponds in Mississippi. For more on that fishing trip, keep reading the NFC East blog.