NFL Nation: Jimmy Robinson

IRVING, Texas -- As thrilling as Sunday’s 24-23 win against the Washington Redskins was, it might have only delayed the inevitable for the Dallas Cowboys.

With a loss this week against the Philadelphia Eagles in a third straight NFC East championship game, there will be change. Actually, win or lose there will be changes, because that is just the nature of the NFL. How grand and how widespread are the questions.

Speculation abounds about Jason Garrett’s future. Twice in the past two weeks Garrett said he is focused on doing his job to the best of his ability. There is nothing else he really can say. Would Jerry Jones have the patience to bring Garrett back for a fourth season after three crushing Week 17 losses?

After last season’s loss to the Washington Redskins, Jones promised an uncomfortable season for everyone in the organization ... not named Jones.

Would it have made a difference if the Cowboys beat the Redskins last season? Would Jones have stayed with the status quo? They didn’t win, so changes were made.

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was fired. So was running backs coach Skip Peete. Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis was allowed to leave for the Chicago Bears. Garrett’s brother, John, was allowed to leave for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson was named “senior coaching consultant,” however, he has not been seen at one practice the entire season.

Ryan’s replacement, Monte Kiffin, would appear to be on thin ice after this historically bad season as the Cowboys switched to the 4-3. He has consistently said retirement is not in his plans, but at 73 years old that could change quickly.

Players, like Gerald Sensabaugh, Marcus Spears, Lawrence Vickers and Dan Connor, were cut in the offseason. Doug Free had his base salary cut in half. Players like DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin could be in the crosshairs this year win or lose to the Eagles.

A lot is at stake against the Eagles, and for some people it could be more than just a playoff spot.
Bit of a slow day on the free-agent front. Unless you're the Eagles, that is. But all of our teams are practicing now, and there are things happening. So we ask, as we have at the end of each night this week: How was your day ...

Dallas Cowboys?

"Patient." No, the fans aren't patient, but the Cowboys are. They still need those two safeties. But they began the day with the news that they were bringing in Kenyon Coleman for the defensive line, and they haven't reacted to the Eagles' spree by doing anything rash. No one could reasonably look back over this week and claim it's been a very good one for the Cowboys. And Saturday saw a bunch of lousy things happen that had nothing to do with the Eagles and all of their good fortune. They've got injuries all over the place, from running back (DeMarco Murray and Tashard Choice) to punter (Mat McBriar) to linebacker (Keith Brooking) to wide receivers coach (Jimmy Robinson, who was knocked unconscious during a special teams drill and briefly hospitalized). Their salary cap issues have forced them to go slower than they'd prefer to go in free agency. But Jerry Jones spoke Saturday about the mistakes of offseasons past, and listening to that, maybe it's not a bad idea to be a little bit patient for a change.

New York Giants?

"Refreshing." The Giants got back to work on the practice field Saturday, holding their first practice of training camp. The Giants are having evening practices only this year. Tom Coughlin likes evening practices, so when they told him he couldn't have two-a-days anymore as a result of the new labor deal, he scrapped the morning practices and kept the evening ones. Said he wanted to use the daytime for meetings and film, since they were so far behind on installations due to the lockout. Coughlin likes to work, and getting the players on the field with the coaches at long last could help distract the Giants from the apparent fact that Plaxico Burress was only using them to drum up interest from other teams and that they still haven't come to agreements with Ahmad Bradshaw, Kevin Boss and Steve Smith, let alone the free-agent linebacker they need. They picked up veteran guard Chris White to add to their offensive line depth. And they did score a victory in their ongoing dispute with Osi Umenyiora over his contract, as Umenyiora decided to show up. Seems as though he'll keep expressing his displeasure, but that he's not going to actually do anything about it because he really can't. So that's a little victory, even if what was happening with the team down I-95 was a little bit more spectacular.

Philadelphia Eagles?

"Celebratory." The Eagles were already the talk of the league Saturday in the wake of their surprise Nnamdi Asomugha signing, and they surprised again with the announcement that they'd signed free-agent defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins. They traded Brodrick Bunkley to the Browns for a fifth-round pick and to save about $2 million in salary cap space so they could keep hunting for linebacker help, offensive line help, maybe Burress and possibly look into new deals for DeSean Jackson and/or Michael Vick. So in the past three days they've added Asomugha, Jason Babin, Jenkins, Vince Young, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a second-round pick, a fifth-round pick and a little bit of helpful cap room. No wonder the fans of the other three teams are jealous.

Washington Redskins?

"Quiet, again." Nothing, really, out of Ashburn for the second day in a row. The Redskins were having the busiest week of any team in the division until Friday, and now they have fallen silent. Nothing new on the hunt for a right guard. Some whispers that they're after Braylon Edwards, but nothing solid on that yet. (Though I do think it'd be a nice signing.) Just some calm, quiet practices where everybody's passed their conditioning tests and they're working on putting together a decent defense. The Redskins will make some news again this off-season, but remember -- they're rebuilding for the future, and are maybe the one team one this list for whom patience shouldn't be a frustrating attribute right now.

Me, my day was all right. Slept a little bit later than I had been, went for a nice five-mile run, lunch with the family, watched a little baseball. Busy, but not as all-hours, wall-to-wall busy as the week had been. More to come tomorrow, I'm sure, and then Monday I'll be on location from Redskins camp as I begin my training camp tour. So it was nice to get an hour here and an hour there to relax a bit Saturday.

How about you. How was your day?

An interesting swap for Edgar Bennett

February, 25, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS -- I have to admit being surprised Friday when the Green Bay Packers made Edgar Bennett their receivers coach. Bennett was a tailback in his playing days and has coached the position for the past six years.

My next thought: Bennett is a coach who has a chance to go places.

Already, Bennett has the good fortune to coach for a high-profile offense that just won Super Bowl XLV. That association, combined with a presumably successful transition to a new position, would make Bennett a hot offensive coordinator candidate in the next year or two.

I don't think that was the primary reason for the change, but coach Mike McCarthy said Bennett "jumped through the door" when he learned of the opportunity.

"Going back to his personal development, it definitely increases here," McCarthy said during a break at the NFL scouting combine. "I think Edgar Bennett is someone that will be looked at like a potential coordinator candidate in the future. It's like anything. You coach running backs, any position, it's easy to get into that box and stay in it. When you're not coaching the other parts of the offense, you know it but you don't know it.

"It's one thing to know the plays and know the adjustments. But when you're coaching every day, it's totally different. This a great opportunity for Edgar personally, but this isn't about personal opportunity. This is about what's best for our offense, and we're going to be better for it."

Bennett replaces receivers coach Jimmy Robinson, who left to take a similar job with the Dallas Cowboys. Jerry Fontenot, who has spent the past four years as an assistant offensive line coach, will take over as running backs coach.

In reality, it's silly to presume that playing a position is a prerequisite to coaching it. McCarthy pointed out he was a tight end in college but wound up coaching quarterbacks in the NFL. If Bennett is as good of a coach as advertised, he'll have no trouble with the transition.

"I've seen that story written before," McCarthy said. "Edgar Bennett will do a hell of a job. It's a good opportunity for him. It will give him a chance to broaden his horizons and develop as a coach. This is an opportunity that he jumped through the door for. He wanted to do it."