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May 24, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Dan Graziano

Dan Graziano
  (12:01 PM)

Let's do it.

Chris (Holmdel, NJ)

Dan, do you think the Cowboys are gonna be major players in free agency if and when it starts this year? I've seem them linked to players like Cullen Jenkins, Nnamdi Asomugha, Michael Huff and Eric Weddle.

Dan Graziano
  (12:02 PM)

As have I. I think they'll be players, but I think they'll be focused. They need help in the secondary, on the offensive line and the defensive line, probably in that order. They addressed O-line in the draft and I think free agency will address new DC Rob Ryan's preferences, whatever those turn out to be.

Dan (Philadelphia)

Who is your favorite to win the Nnamdi sweepstakes? I'm assuming you agree that every team in the NFC East will be interested?

Dan Graziano
  (12:04 PM)

Every NFC East team but the Giants, I'd think, since they don't really have a spot for him. Total guess, I'm saying he's an Eagle. But there will be plenty of teams in other divisions after him too.

Doug (CA)

Who the !@#$ are you?

Dan Graziano
  (12:04 PM)

I am the Egg Man. I am the Walrus. Koo-koo-ka-choo.

Kevin (New Jersey)

Welcome Dan!What kind of shape do you think Plaxico will be when he gets out of the clink? At his age he is not going to be given a lot of time to get back into it. Will he be worth a gamble?

Dan Graziano
  (12:06 PM)

Word is, his weight is down but his conditioning is top-notch. (I always assume that happens in prison -- what else do they have to do but work out?) I think he'll be worth a gamble for a team (Philly?) that has good WRs and can use him as a situational guy rather than a No. 1, 10-catch-per-game WR.

Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)

Will Madden 2012 have a built in "lock-out" mode that just shows a montage of mad NFL fans, players, and owners?

Dan Graziano
  (12:07 PM)

How about a "mediation" mode that shows judges sifting through briefs and making rulings? I think we're onto something here. DM me.

Peter (Washington DC)

Hi Dan welcome to the East blog! Do you really think John Beck is the next guy in Washington or do you think they will try and get a guy like Vince Young to fill the void?

Dan Graziano
  (12:08 PM)

Peter, I don't see anybody bringing in Vince Young to be a 2011 starter. I think he gets brought in somewhere as a backup and a project. If the Skins don't want to go with Beck, my guess is they get a more reliable veteran starter like a Carson Palmer or Hasselbeck.

Mason (Louisville)

Dan, Welcome to the Beast! I've enjoyed what you're insight into the division thus far! What are the odds that games are actually lost this year due to the labor agreement? And more importantly, if games are lost(say 4 or 5) but a Super Bowl is still played, will the winner always be tainted for having done so in "strike" season?

Dan Graziano
  (12:09 PM)

I think the odds are pretty good at this point that games will be lost to this. As for whether the eventual champion will be "tainted"...I don't think so. It's happened before, teams winning Super Bowls after shortened seasons, and I think those trophies shine the same.

Ryan (Va)

Hey Dan, Just wanted to say your doing a great job as our beast blogger so far. We've really missed the chats. What do you think the main focus will be in free agency for the Redskins?

Dan Graziano
  (12:09 PM)

Defense, specifically pieces that really fit the 3-4 scheme Jim Haslett is trying to implement there. But I think they'd be crazy not to address WR too.

Doug (DC)

Dan, do you think the Skins are gonna spend alot of money in free agency? I think 3 main targets should be CB Nnamdi, NT Franklin, and OG Mankins. But landing a good NT will do wonders for this defense.

Dan Graziano
  (12:11 PM)

That's a pretty sweet list, Doug. I agree NT should be a priority, since the lack of one last year was a crushing blow to Haslett's new scheme. I guess there are some questions about whether Jarvis Jenkins can play there, so I'd expect them to be on the lookout.

jim (Washington DC)

Hey Dan. If we ever settle the CBA/Lockout, how about a package trade of McNabb and Haynesworth from the 'Skins to, say, the Vikes/Cards/other for a 3rd or 4th pick? Better than nothing for the 'Skins and Fat Albert has a cheap contract!

Dan Graziano
  (12:12 PM)

This has come up a few times. Don't rule out the possibility that Haynesworth re-establishes himself as a top defensive player if he gets dealt somewhere he's actually happy and motivated. Big "if," I know, but...

Dan (Voorhees, NJ)

Where in South Jersey did you grow up? Highschool?

Dan Graziano
  (12:12 PM)

Central Jersey, really. Hamilton Township, near Trenton. And I went to prep school at PDS.

Tim (New Haven, CT)

Dan, first congrats on becoming the official NFC East blogger! Second, do you think the Giants will be active in getting a linebacker when free agency begins, or do you believe they will stick with Goff as the starting linebacker?

Dan Graziano
  (12:15 PM)

Tim, they've been so stubborn about linebacker the past couple of years, basically treating it as a non-need when it's clearly a spot where they're vulnerable and getting hurt. I believe they SHOULD be aggressive in looking for a linebacker, but everything they do seems so focused on pass rush and secondary that it wouldn't surprise me to see them ignore LB again and go with what they have.

Todd (Florida)

Hey Dan. Do you think that the cowboys have a good chance of reclaiming the NFC East title now that Rob Ryan is directing the defense? Will they be aggressive in free agency once it starts?

Dan Graziano
  (12:15 PM)

I think their chances are as good as anybody else's. But we all have to remember, none of these teams is whole or complete yet.

James (Woodbridge, VA)

There has been a lot of talk about the Redskins chasing Nnamdi Asomugha but I think people are overlooking the big need at ILB. McIntosh may not get re-signed and how much longer does Fletcher stay? I think the Skins need to take a big look at Kevin Burnett or Barrett Ruud. I think both can fit in well with the scheme and would provide some veteran leadership to the younger linebackers when Fletcher moves on. What are your thoughts?

Dan Graziano
  (12:17 PM)

James, your logic is sound, and they do seem to have OLB set now, but my guess is the Redskins will still be hunting for a nose tackle and some secondary help before they get aggressive with addressing the ILB spots. Just my guess.

Duke (Dirty Jersey)

What is your 40 time? How did you do in the shuttle run?

Dan Graziano
  (12:18 PM)

Stay right here and time me. I'll be right back. Ready? Go.

Todd (Charleston SC )

Hey, do you get the feeling the Redskins are trying to tank this year for Andrew Luck? I've been seeing or reading this all over the web.

Dan Graziano
  (12:19 PM)

I sincerely doubt that, and I still think the 2011 QB story for them has yet to be written. But next year's draft class is QB-rich at the top, and if you were, hypothetically, a team that didn't think your long-term answer was on the current market, it might be tempting to do the stopgap thing this year knowing that the long-term answer might only be a year away.

Noah (In School)

What are your expectations for the Giant's offensive line this season? Who will get injured and who is the most likely to replace them?

Dan Graziano
  (12:22 PM)

Noah, if I could predict injuries...well, I'd live in a bigger house and drive a nicer car. The Giants had injury issues all over that line -- a clear sign that age is setting in. I don't think they can make a mistake if they address any or all of those spots by adding depth. But they didn't draft an OL until the fourth round. The Giants, as I've explained earlier, confuse me.

Mark (Baltimore)

Who do you think will be the better player in 5 years, brandon grahmn or JPP?

Dan Graziano
  (12:23 PM)

Love this question. I'm going with Jason Pierre-Paul because he's healthier now and Graham's development might be delayed by injury. But it's a GREAT question and debate. Good job, Mark. Keep em coming.

Bill_In_DC (Washington, DC)

Hey Brad. Great job so far. Thank you.I'm thinking that it would be a mistake for Dallas to sign Ashumoga. Even though he's the best CB out there, I think we could use the money it will take (15-18 million/yr I'm estimating) to sign 3 or more good players that would end up making us a better team, specifically Safety (Elam, Huff), OG (Joseph, Dahl), & DE (Jenkins). That or if the new CBA doesn't have the 6 year FA and Haloti Ngata becomes a UFA I'd love to see him at NT and slide Ratliff to DE. What do you think?

Dan Graziano
  (12:24 PM)

Thanks, JOE. (heh heh) People keep saying this, about the Cowboys and the money. Jerry Jones has more money than God's banker and just plunked down $1.2 billion on a stadium. And there's a decent chance there's no cap again next year. Why would you, as a fan, care how they spend their money? Get everybody!

Marc (Charlotte)

Gas Grill or Charcoal Grill?

Dan Graziano
  (12:24 PM)

Ours is gas. You coming over Monday?

Andrew (UK)

Dan, where do you think Donovan McNabb will end up and would you rather trust Rex Grossman or John Beck to do SOMETHING with the 'Skins this year?

Dan Graziano
  (12:26 PM)

Andrew, I still think there's a chance he ends up in Arizona, because I'm not sure Kolb to AZ is as done a deal as everybody seems to think. But Seattle might work too. And yeah, improve the line and the WRs and I believe McNabb would do a lot better than he did last year and a lot better than Grossman or Beck. But it doesn't matter what you or I think. Shanahan's done with him, and he's out of there.

Paul (Denver)

When will the lockout madness end? Players and owners alike look bad.

Dan Graziano
  (12:27 PM)

Not before July, Paul, and that's incredibly optimistic.

Jay (PA)

Assuming there is a cap similar to the last known cap, what would that do to free agency in the NFC East? I'm assuming the Cowboys would go from players to spectators due to cap constraints.

Dan Graziano
  (12:28 PM)

It would hamper the Cowboys, yes. But I still think there'll be a temporary settlement that will allow a 2011 season to be played under something like the 2010 rules, and the cap will return in 2012 under the new CBA.

Jay (PA)

Who was your favorite childhood team?

Dan Graziano
  (12:29 PM)

The Bad News Bears. I love that movie. Watched it again the other night.

Kevin Kolb (Philly)

Where am I being traded and what am I worth?

Dan Graziano
  (12:30 PM)

I still wouldn't trade you. Not with Vick as my starter. The Eagles could need you. If it's me, I'm not dealing you unless I get a lot more than you're worth. No offense.

RJ (Jersey)

If Greg Jones proves to be a serviceable MLB as he has shown throughout his days at MSU, what are the chances that Goff would be able to successfully slide over to the strong side?

Dan Graziano
  (12:32 PM)

RJ, Goff has the size to play there, but he's not great in pass coverage. I think they'd need to find another way to address it.

Eric (Ut)

How do you think Kerrigan and Hankerson will do for the skins this year as rookies? I personally think Hankerson is a sleeper.

Dan Graziano
  (12:32 PM)

I agree on Hankerson...except who's going to be throwing him the ball? As for Kerrigan, if he's going to be an OLB in a 3-4 and they can add size on the line, he'll have a chance to rack up big stats.

Rhett (DFW)

Hey Dan, During the doldrums of the post-draft NFL offseason, I've heard every Cowboys story and scenario (who's gonna stay, start, go, etc) 10 million times, esp during this lockout...Tell me something about the Cowboys I probably don't know.

Dan Graziano
  (12:33 PM)

The food in their press box is outstanding.

Mr. W (Dallas)

Another Eagles free agenr question...aside from Nnamdi, what is the most importnat FA aquisition the Eagles have to make? If any..

Dan Graziano
  (12:35 PM)

I'd keep adding to the O-line, if I were them. Been a real soft spot the past couple of years.

Steve (DC)

If John Beck can be a game manager and Skins can be effective with the ground game, it could work.

Dan Graziano
  (12:36 PM)

He's still going to need WRs.

Josh (Victor)

Dan, welcome to the toughest division in football. When football resumes I read your article on the Redskins in year two under Haslett. Do you think Big Blues D can become lethal in year two under Fewell's D?

Dan Graziano
  (12:37 PM)

They were pretty lethal for most of last year, right? I still think you can attack them in the middle of the field and gain yards, and that you can take advantage of their over-aggressiveness. The Eagles, who have beaten them many times in a row, understand this and do it well. Not sure how different this year's Giants' D will look in that respect.

Tim (Florida) [via mobile]

Since Ike Taylor wants alot of money dont you think the steelers should go after someone like nnamdi asomugha?

Dan Graziano
  (12:38 PM)

This is a question for James Walker!

mark (nyc)

which late round pick has the best chance to make a big impact this year in the nfc east?

Dan Graziano
  (12:39 PM)

If you call the fourth round "late," Helu has a shot to be the Redskins' starting running back. From there, a large impact could be made.

John (Austin)

I think Madden 12 should have an extended off-season mode where players can go do other things like ride bulls, play soccer, or go on reality shows.

Dan Graziano
  (12:40 PM)

Visionaries, we have in this chat. I can only hope the Madden folks are reading.

Biochemskinsfan (St. Louis, MO)

Dan,You've really impressed me in the short time that you have been here. I'm just hoping that this isn't some sort of "honeymoon phase". With that being said, disregarding all of the rumors and thoughts of who is most likely to be the starting QB in DC this year, who do you think the best (realistic) option for the Skins?

Dan Graziano
  (12:40 PM)

Still don't see why they can't get Carson Palmer. But do you want him?

Jack (Raleigh, NC)

Dan, for the first time in a long time I can say I liked what the Skins did in the draft, Hankerson and Helu will probably be starters, Kerrigan and the DT from Clemson as well. I know they won't challenge for a playoff spot, but to me the signing of OJ at safety means if they grab Cullen Jenkins, a corner, and an above average receiver when the lock lifts they should be respectable (6 and 10, 7 and 9 range) with the only big need heading into next offseason.....am I crazy?

Dan Graziano
  (12:41 PM)

I wouldn't say you're CRAZY, but it's pretty tough to win in this league without a real quarterback.

Mike (NJ)

Welcome Dan- looking forward to reading your columns. As it stands are the Giants the favorites to win this division? Eagles have a new DC with little experience with his defensive players, Cowboys are still a work in progess thoughts?

Dan Graziano
  (12:42 PM)

Again, no way to know until after free agency when the teams are set. But I don't see how we can pick the Giants over the Eagles after the way the Eagles have owned them the past several years. I need to see them beat Philly before I believe they can.

Zack (CT)

Re: "Tainted SB winner" - if it is tainted, it will be because it's a LOCK-OUT season, not a STIRKE.

Dan Graziano
  (12:43 PM)

A key distinction. People keep saying "both sides look bad," but the fact is this whole thing was initiated by and is being kept alive by the owners, who are now cutting salaries of employees who aren't players.

Mehs (Richmond)

I have read that Prince Amukamara will challenge Terrell Thomas for playing time. Do you see that happening, or do you see the Giants keeping Thomas on the field full-time like last year? How do you see the Giants secondary depth chart now?

Dan Graziano
  (12:47 PM)

Oh, I think they'll settle into a healthy, sensible rotation. And they'll play plenty of nickel. I don't think they drafted Amukamara thinking he'd take time away from Thomas. They like Thomas. You'll probably see Prince on special teams a lot early and getting more and more reps on D as the season goes along. Giants have crazy depth in the secondary.

Josh (DFW)

Dan, sir, Welcome! We all are VERY happy we have a new blogger and even happier you have turned out to be who/what you are! Keep up the great work and stop being a Cowboy Hater! My question is, do you find much logic in a number of regular posters dismissing the level of play of the Dallas Def in 09 and simply predicting doom and gloom for 2011 solely based off of 2010? My thinking is fix the FS spot and the CB's could play close to the level of 09 and the fact that Wade made no changes to the Def between 09 and 2010 made the pass rush predictable. Final question.... Did you get your invite to Romo's wedding this Saturday?

Dan Graziano
  (12:49 PM)

Cowboy hater...sheesh. I'll say it again: The Cowboys will be contenders in 2011. They should have been better last year, fell apart under the old coach and will play better for the new one. As for the wedding, I'm really scrambling. You have any idea where they're registered?

mark (nyc)

big question: what to get for lunch today?

Dan Graziano
  (12:49 PM)

In NYC? How about Shake Shack?

Sam (Maryland)

You think Hakeem Nicks has the potential to break out as a top 10 if not top 5 receiver within the next 1-2 years?

Dan Graziano
  (12:49 PM)

Yes. I believe the sky is the limit for him if he's healthy. Great skills. Locates the ball in traffic better than anyone who defends him.

Biochemskinsfan (St. Louis, MO)

Awesome Beatles reference.

Dan Graziano
  (12:50 PM)

I could be the Walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off of people.

Steve (Bristol)

Welcome Dan, nice to have the NFC East chat back. Do any of the WRs that the Skins drafted have the ability to make an immediate impact? They are in desperate needs of a bigger #1 guy. I think Moss should be in the slot, if he's still there come the season.

Dan Graziano
  (12:50 PM)

I like Hankerson, but I don't think he or Moss is a real No. 1 WR. They still need one -- and someone to throw him and the rest of them the ball.

xneffewx (md)

Nice to have an Nfc East chat again. What under the radar moves do you see the Redskins making before the season starts

Dan Graziano
  (12:51 PM)

When was the last time the Redskins did anything under the radar? I bet they address nose tackle, though, and that could get lost amid the QB moves.

Dave (Norwalk)

How did Eli Manning not make the NFL Netowrks Top 100 players list and Ryan Freeman Flaco Romo Mcnabb did?

Dan Graziano
  (12:52 PM)

Oh, Dave. You should have been here Friday for our Eli-Romo debate. It was epic. Check back this week. I'm thinking about doing WRs.

Nicole (Virginia)

Once this CBA/lockout is settled, will the players be allowed to reorganize as a Union, or is there a certain amount of time that has to elapse, since they decertified? If they are allowed to restablish immediately, then the decertification was a sham, and the laws protecting the owners against a Union are meaningless, if they can just decertify to circumvent it.

Dan Graziano
  (12:55 PM)

They can re-form as a union, and likely would. But the last time they decertified, in 1987, they didn't re-establish as a union until 1993. And they do have an agreement with the owners that says the owners won't use the "sham" argument. So it's basically procedural. The players couldn't have sued in federal court to try and lift the lockout if they'd still been a union. That was the motive for de-certifying.

Kenny (Oregon)

As an Eagles fan I'm intrigued by the thought of Plax joining us, since he always killed us when he was with the Giants(they haven't beat us since he left 6-0 to be exact) & he would do wonders for us in the redzone. Only thing I wonder though is would he accept being a 3rd or 4th WR since he wouldn't start ahead of Jackson

Dan Graziano
  (12:55 PM)

I've never been in prison, Kenny. My guess is it humbles you, makes you grateful for whatever opportunities you get when you get out.

Jayson (Pennsburg, PA)

I dislike DeSean Jackson as an elite wide receiver. All my friends are Eagles fans, and they talk him up like he's the greatest receiver in the game. Now granted, most Eagles fans don't know what they're talking about, but what is your take on Jackson? Good receiver, or just a great speed guy?

Dan Graziano
  (12:57 PM)

Great speed guy, great return man, great big-play, home run threat. Not the most reliable pass-catcher, not a classic No. 1 wideout type. I see Maclin catching more balls going forward, but Jackson's a special athletic talent and the Eagles' coaching staff knows how to deploy him to get the best out of him and those around him.

Todd(PA) [via mobile]

Who do you think is the starting RB in Dallas next year I know the money is on Felix Jones but something tells me that Murray kid could steal the show.

Dan Graziano
  (12:58 PM)

I think the Cowboys are at their best when they rotate backs and let the situation dictate who should get the ball. It's on the coaching staff to sell to these guys that it doesn't matter who's the "starter," that they all have different roles and jobs and all will play when they should. And then it's on the coaching staff to rotate them correctly.

tmscfinest (at work)

Dan, do you think Shanahan & the Redskins were naive in thinking all they needed was a QB last season. Because the personnel moves they made following the McNabb acquistion was a joke.

Dan Graziano
  (12:59 PM)

Yes, I think the evidence points to that, if that really is what they thought. But I don't think they were that naive. I don't think they expected to contend last year. I think they saw McNabb as a good, reliable veteran who might help them survive in spite of major holes on the line and in the WR corps. But he disappointed even as that.

Cyrus (Chadds Ford)

Which team does the lockout hurt the most? I have to think its the Eagles, Mike Vick would have been incredible with a whole offseason as the starter.

Dan Graziano
  (1:00 PM)

In the NFC East? I disagree. I think it's the Redskins, who needed this off-season to continue their rebuilding and the install of the 3-4. (They say it takes two years.) I think Vick and the Eagles will be fine.

Eric (Maryland)

What is McNabb's trade value at this pont?

Dan Graziano
  (1:01 PM)

I don't know. Fourth-rounder? Third? If the Eagles can get a first for Kolb, as some think they can, maybe the market's better than I think.

Mr. W (Dallas)

I keep hearing of the possibilty of Haynesworth to the Eagles...any seriousness to this?

Dan Graziano
  (1:02 PM)

The Eagles always surprise. But their new D-line coach is Jim Washburn, who was Albert's D-line coach in Tennessee. So, we will speculate. I think he'd be an awesome addition for them. So much so that, if I were the Redskins, I'd make sure it didn't happen.

Dan Graziano
  (1:02 PM)

Going to take three more.

Mike (Dallas)

Everyone talks about Dallas' "needs", and they're obvious, but the one that always gets overlooked is OLB. Spencer is okay, Ware is STUD, but after that Who? Do you think Rob Ryan has a guy in mind that can add a little depth to that position?

Dan Graziano
  (1:03 PM)

Spencer looked like a breakout star two years ago. Might have even had a better 2009 than Ware did. I wonder if Ryan can get him back to that level.

Robbie (New York)

How concerned should Giants be about Bradshaw's free agency and Steve Smith's recovery. They don't have the depth to eat Bradshaw's carries like they did after 2008. Eli looked rattled without Smith to bail him out..

Dan Graziano
  (1:04 PM)

Two big concerns, Robbie, for the reasons you outline. I think they'll keep Bradshaw. But Smith was a tough loss for them. I'm sure they're monitoring his recover closely. Nicks and Manningham will be better if he's healthy and on the field with them.

Homer Simpson (Springfield)

Are you really the new NFC East beat writer?

Dan Graziano
  (1:04 PM)

No. My name is 'Guy Incognito.'

tmscfinest (at work)

how many times do I have to submit a question before it gets answered???

Dan Graziano
  (1:05 PM)

17

Dan Graziano
  (1:05 PM)

OK, seriously. Last one.

Kevin (NJ)

The Giants played a dominant 52 minutes against the Eagles in Week 15. I know what happened after that, and I understand your point, but let's not act like theyre light years behind Philly. The Eagles didnt even have to face Smith and Kiwanuka in either game last year.

Dan Graziano
  (1:07 PM)

Not light years, Kevin, nor did I say that. But Philly has their number, clearly, and I think beating the Eagles is a hump the Giants have to get over if they're going to be the division favorites.

Dan Graziano
  (1:07 PM)

Folks, it's been real, but I've got to jump. Sorry about any questions I didn't get to. We'll be back next week, same bat-time. Meantime, you can always hit me up on the mailbag or on Twitter. Stay classy, San Diego.