All right. I'm here. You're here. It's raining. The kids are in school. Let's fire this baby up.
Is there any hope that the Giants special teams will be any better than last season and this preseason?
I think so, Jeremy. The Giants' decision to go with four rookie linebackers as the only depth behind their starters at that position should tell you a lot. It means the coaches aren't impressed by what the picks from a couple of years ago have done on special teams -- which is most draft picks' best chance to impress them -- and are ready to try some new, hungry players there. Also, Steve Weatherford is an upgrade at punter, which is nothing against Matt Dodge. Weatherford is one of the best in the league.
good call on john beck
Ha! No. I got that one wrong. Looks to me like Grossman won the job, an outcome to whose likelihood I gave little credit. I figured Beck would have to fall on his face to not get the job and Grossman was merely a fallback. But clearly, the Redskins saw something from Grossman this preseason that convinced him he should be the guy.
Dan, will you be attending any of the game this weekend?
I will be in St. Louis for the Eagles' opener Sunday.
Important Question!!! Over under 4.5 sacks for the Jets on Sunday? ill go with over..
This is a Dallas offensive line question, right? Well, Alex, sacks aren't really the Jets' game. They're not a great out-and-out pass rush team. They beat you with confusing looks and coverages. They like to blitz, because they have great cover cornerbacks, and surely they will. So it could come down to how much the Cowboys keep their tight ends in to block and help the kids on the line, and how well Romo and the backs react to those blitzes.
As an Eagle fan I'm scared that we didn't trade Hanson. Any chance Hanson ends up with a team in the East? I'm thinking the GMen would love to snag him.
I think he'd make a lot of sense with the Giants, who could then leave Antrel Rolle at safety in nickel packages rather than move him to corner in those spots. But there will surely be a bidding war for Hanson, who may have been the best defensive player in the league that was cut Saturday.
Dan, When are you coming out with your predictions for this weekend games? I think Eagles (by a lot) and Skins win (by FG).
I guess I could do them anytime, but I kind of had in my mind that Friday would be prediction day.
Obviously alot of critics have been focusing on the Eagles LBs (understandably so), but my question is, is it possible for an improved secondary and D-Line to possibly hide some of the potential weaknesses we may have at LB?
Well, that's the hope, surely. And the Eagles are incredibly deep at secondary and on the D-line. For me, if the interior linemen can be effective enough at slowing down the run at the point of attack to keep that pressure off the linebackers and allow them to focus more on coverage, it can work.
How come a bad O-line for the Skins the last couple years gives a projected 6 win season (which they deserved) but a bad O-line for the Cowboys this year has people picking them to win the division or at least win 9 games...? I don't get it.
To say nothing of the validity of your assessments (i.e., "good" and "bad") or your comparison, I do think it's worth considering that the Cowboys' skill-position talent on offense is considerably better than that of the Redskins.
Bigger concern this weekend in St. Louis: WRs lack of practice or the LBers?
LBs for sure. Those receivers know that quarterback well enough. The LBs have to contend with Steven Jackson, who's a personal favorite player of mine.
What do you see from Romo and the offense this week against a tough NY Jets D? Do you think Revis takes either Austin or Bryant out the game plan?
Yes. He will take out whichever of those guys he covers. He's that good. The Cowboys will have a tough time this week, facing one of the toughest defenses they'll see all year. If they win, it'll be because their defense stepped up and held the Jets' offense and the score down. But you get into those low-scoring games, and you see another potential problem for the Cowboys, which is kicker. I think a Cowboys win this weekend would be a VERY good win.
What do you think about the terps new uniforms? Being a Marylander, I love them!
Not good, Jess. Not good at all.
Seems like this is the YEAR OF THE MEGA TEAM- Pats, Jets, Pitt vs GB, Phi, Chi... anyone else you see in the upper level to make the SB run?
I think Chicago takes a step back, and my Super Bowl prediction was Saints vs Chargers. So yeah, I have a couple!
Dan, how long is the leash for Grossman before they yank him for Beck? I don't like the idea of switching QBs on a limb as it doesn't let anyone build momentum or a relationship with the WRs.
Clearly, I cannot predict what Shanahan will do on this front.
Let me piggyback on the Cowboys vs. Redskins assessment then. Romo comes back for this year, Boys will go from 6-10 to 9-7 or 10-6 but Skins lose NOTHING of substance and somehow get worse...
But I don't see the Redskins getting worse. I have them at 7-9. I think the defensive upgrades are significant and the offensive line will be better and they won't be among the very worst teams in the league. Schedule's soft, too.
If the big blue dont make the playoffs will it be beacuse of the Lbs, Special teams or ELI
Special teams, if I have to pick one of those three. But I think overall depth on the roster is their biggest concern. Though I guess special teams is one way that shows up!
Skins, 7-9? Thanks I think many people have been trying to get a prediction out of you for weeks...it took me two questions.
I posted them Thursday.
With the acquisitions and play of the RBs from the East this preseason, how would you rank the RB cores in the NFC East this year.
1. Eagles, 2. Giants, 3. Cowboys, 4. Redskins. But I like the first three a lot, consider the first two very close and think the Redskins have potential to finish better than 4th if things break right for them and maybe wrong for Dallas.
DG, Rich Gannon picked the Rams over the Eagles as one of his upset specials for Week 1. What are some potential matchup problems you see for the Eagles against the Rams?
Oh, I can definitely see the Eagles losing that game. On the road, with that newbie offensive line and Casey Matthews at middle linebacker. I can see Steven Jackson picking them apart and Sam Bradford beating them with short stuff in the flat and over the middle. The Eagles have more talent and SHOULD win the game, but I'm not surprised to see people picking it as a potential upset. I wouldn't be stunned if they went there and lost the game. I also wouldn't think it meant they were in trouble if they did.
If you had to pick one point where the Redskins are better than the Giants that could help them win this Sunday, what would it be and why?
If everybody's healthy, the Redskins have better linebackers, safeties and tight ends than the Giants do. But the Redskins' safeties and tight ends aren't healthy, so it's going to be tough. The Redskins have been a Giants punching back for the last couple of years, and for them to win the game they're going to need to show more fight than they have in those matchups. I do like the Redskins to win more than most people think they will, but I don't feel outstanding about their chances this week.
Great Point on underneath passes to receivers against Philly. Isn't that where Dallas can beat them "big play guys like Dez and Felix"?
Yeah, it's where teams (especially the Eagles) have beaten the Giants the past couple of years, too -- attacking that weakness at linebacker. You can combat it by getting to the quarterback quickly, as the Eagles intend to do, and by bringing up a safety or a corner to play in coverage over the middle because you trust your pass rush to force a quick decision. But if there are soft spots for Philly, that's where they are and that's how teams will find them.
Do you feel the power rankings are overly harsh on the Skins right now? 29th?! Where do you think they should fit in?
Actually, I'm going to give you a sneak preview of something that'll be up on our site in about a half-hour: The Redskins moved up to 28th this week! Tennessee, Miami, Seattle and Denver are among the teams ahead of them that I could make a case should be behind them.
The redskins have better safeties than the giants? Rolle/Phillips/Grant against Horton/Landry/Doughtry. Are you serious or on something?
You're forgetting Atogwe on Washington. I think they have a slight edge.
I think the eagles LB's is so over hype right is getting to be to much. They had one bad quater and there starting two DTS didnt even play that game. The steelers actually game plan that game. Nobody is saying nothing about the Falcons LBS, after they lost to the steelers.
Well, it's not just because of what Pittsburgh did to them. It's because it's an unproven group and it hasn't shown itself to be better than the low expectations. As for the Falcons... I think I picked them to finish second in the South.
do you think the cowboys will be able to run effectively against the jets? how many touches for felix the cat?
Most teams don't, Buck. They'll have to stay committed to it even though it likely won't be working early. If Felix gets 18 touches, my guess is the Cowboys will have had a better-than-expected offensive game.
Are people forgetting Eagles will be able to put 8 in the box because they can play man on just about any 2 wrs in the league?This will definitely help their run defense.
That is, of course, part of the plan. To rely on the coverage of their great CBs. But is Samuel really THAT kind of cover corner? I know Nnamdi is.
Think Hightower can keep the starting job in DC? Shannahan just can't seem to want one back, ever!!
I think he'll keep it until he starts fumbling. And if he doesn't start fumbling, then I think he's good enough to hold off the rest of that crowd.
But again... my track record on predicting Shanahan decisions didn't have the best week.
Dan, my name is Hans Gillan and I have been reading your work since your Palm Beach Post days in Florida (born and raised). Great stuff. I can't tell you how excited I was to hear you were the new NFC east blogger as I am a die hard Eagles fan. Anyway, my biggest concern the the OL as they have not had a snap together, but last year in the playoffs the OL was less talented, yet the Eagles gave the Packers their closest game in the playoffs. Do you think the line, if gelled, can be a superior line in the NFL and give Vick the time he needs to have possibly the most prolific offense in the league since the Greatest Show on Turf?
Hans, I feel the same way about the Eagles' O-line as I do about the Cowboys' defense. It doesn't have to be an elite unit. If it's middle-of-the-pack (as opposed to awful), Vick and the rest of the Eagles offensive skill players can make it work.
Greetings Dan, As a D.C. fan it seems Mike Shanahan's plan is apparent and a good one. This year was about getting more talent to improve the defense significantly. Also to allow the o-line to develop more along with the WR's in the system. Setting the team up next year to bring a top pick in to play QB and have a good team around this young player so he can develop slowly with a good defense and a solid running game. Does that make sense to you?
It does, and I've written it several times. And if, along the way, they find they have something in Beck or Grossman, so much the better for them. I do not buy into the notion that they are "tanking" to get a good draft pick.
Hey Graz, get your Fantasy hands wet reat quick.I have Miles Austin on my fantasy team whom is about to take a vacation on revis Island. If I sit him the replacement starter will be Jhavid Best. What do you think, Miles Austin or Jhavid Best??
I can't in good conscience recommend sitting Miles Austin for Jahvid Best. Where did you draft Austin? Second round? You going to sit your second-round pick in Week 1? What if Revis covers Bryant?
Didn't you also predict Montrae Holland would be the starting RG in Dallas?
Well, not really. That's what the Cowboys were projecting when they let go of Leonard Davis, which is what I wrote.
Indiana Jones or John McClane?
Who is the top bet to hire Jason Garrett as their OC next year?
I see what you did there...
Dan, Any new details on Desean Jackson's contract talks or are the Eagles going to make him play out his current contract and use the franchise tag on him at the end of the season?
Signing Vick long-term and keeping the franchise option open for Jackson surely increases their bargaining leverage. Could come down to how excited/scared Jackson is about playing this year out and hitting the open market.
Who will you be rooting for on the 16th of October between Dallas and New England?
I don't root for the teams, don't care who wins or loses the games. I'm just here to write em up.
Dan, Dallas released Montrae this weekend
Weech, I am aware of that. Did you know I write an NFC East blog? ;-)
Anything new on Maclin, health-wise? Has he been holding up okay?
Believe he's planning to play Sunday in his hometown.
I seriously do not understand why you think the Cowboys are better than the Giants. Is it because Romo is returning? Did you forget that he was 1-5 in the Cowboys' first 6 games of the season? I have seriously thought about every phase of the game and I believe that the Giants are better in most of those phases.
OK. Well, you could be right.
DG, who is your most underrated player in the NFC East, a name no one is talking about now, but you think will have a break out year and we will know who he is by the end of the season? Think Justin Tuck the year the Giants won the SB.
All those picks are here: http://espn.go.com/nfl/preview11/story/_/id/6885090/espn-experts-nfl-predictions-2011I had Julio Jones for offensive and Ryan Kerrigan for defensive. Think Kerrigan is positioned to get a ton of sacks.
D-Grizzle - If the Skins aren't "tanking" for Luck (or whomever) and they are likely no better than a 0.500 team...what on earth are they doing?!?
Getting better on defense, finding out what they have on offense so they can address it next year, fixing a ton of problems at the appropriate pace?
INDIANA JONES OVER JOHN MCCLANE? Ok serious, you just lost 100 cool points.Indiana jones isn't even a viable option after that crystal skull abortion.Yippi ki ay
See, now, I never saw that one. My memory is unsullied by late-career money grabs.
Do you consider Giants fans to be overly sensistive for NYers? I am a Giants fan and some of them on this blog jump on the slightest criticism as a personal slight.
Now, S.U.P.... you know just what to say to a guy...
With Orakpo rushing from one side, and kerrigan from the other, and no Boss to dump the ball too, do you see Eli making a lot a mistakes on Sunday (not that he's known for that...). Does that give the Skins a decent chance on grabbing a week 1 win?
It's one aspect that would seem to favor Washington, sure. But Grossman and Co. are still going to have to score on that Giants defense, and that's harder to imagine.
Please elaborate on what the "appropriate pace" is. There really is no tried and true blueprint in the NFL outside of it being very difficult to buy a championship. Worst to First is pretty common but I really can't figure out what good a mediocre season does for the Skins.
But would you rather they just blindly throw money at the problem in free agency, the way they used to? That never worked. Why not make smart, judicious decisions and make sure they pan out before deciding how to proceed? Man's got a 5-year contract!
I'm gonna throw some stats at ya dan, see how you feel about that. 17 runningbacks had 1,000 yards last year. Only three of them averaged 5 ypc. Only 6 RB's had 1650 yards from scrimmage last year. And only 1 man did all of this with only 207 carries! By far the fewest of the 17 man group. So why is Lesean Mccoy routinely viewed as a 9th-12th best back in the league?
McCoy's clearly a stud, but if he's not perceived as one, my guess is that it's because of the number of other studs around him. He's not going to be the "bell cow" running back who drives the team's offense every single week. The Eagles have too many other weapons, and so some weeks he's just necessarily going to be in a bit of a lesser role compared to the Jacksons, Maclins, Celeks and of course Vick. Doesn't make him less of a player, but it might have the effect of lessening his worth in the view of some people looking from the outside. Just my $0.02 there. I personally think he's a top-level talent.
U NEED TO TYPE FASTER
It's unfortunate, I admit. I wish I'd learned Spanish and the piano, too. Why are you shouting?
D-Grizzle? I thought we were going with Danny Walnuts now? Wud up wit dat?Also, does Grossman have a magic pill that made the Shannys forget his 5 years in Chi-Town? Do they seriously believe he can be the game manager the Skins need?
On the Shanahans: It would so appear. On the nicknames: I have no control.
I see the Giants finishing 4th in the NFC East this season. Their injuries will continue to mount, and they already lack speed in the defensive backfield.Look for guys like Armstrong, Cooley, D Jackson, Maclin, Steve Smith, Bryant, and Austin to give them fits in their 6 divisional losses.What say you?
It could happen. They could also win it, if the injuries stop right now. Tough team to figure, for me. I'm a little down on their chances, but I don't feel super-confident about it either way.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT WERE YELLING ABOUT!
I love... lamp...
If you like S. Jax, accept the trade.
Haha! Rats! I showed my hand! The question of course is whether I like S-Jax better than V-Jax. And on that, I am undecided as of now.
Dan, Why is it so inconceivable for you and everyone else to consider the that the Skins may have more on offense than you think? I mean you were wrong about Beck starting, NO?
It's neither inconceivable or un-considered. They could surprise, sure. All I can do is tell you what I see from here. Some of my analyses and predictions will be right, some will be wrong. Nature of the business.
Ive been hearing trade rumors from the Skins camp past couple days. Any word??
It would seem to make sense to deal some of that WR depth for some OL or DL depth. That would help me understand why they kept eight receivers when at least three of them won't play special teams.
Remind UCrazyDan that they have made more terrible Die Hard sequels than they did Indiana Jones sequels.
Dan,Odds Matt Dodge finds work this year? In the NFL, not the grocery store!
Lot of talent in that leg, and he's young. He'll resurface somewhere, I am certain.
Inconceivable. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
You were supposed to be this Colossus. You were this great, legendary thing. And yet he gains.
Tiki Barber;s shocked he didn't get a tryout...are you shocked Dan 'Snuggle Bear' Snyder didn't give him a look?
I think the Redskins had 10 running backs in camp. Tiki got as many offers/invites as I expected him to get.
Has anyone told you that you look just like Kevin Nealon?
No. I used to get Ferris Bueller when I was in high school, but I was skinny then. Sigh...
You think anyone will talk to Tiki once injuries start to pile up?
No. And I'm out of here. Be back on tomorrow for part of a very long chat that will take up the whole day on the site. Will keep you posted, and catch you then.