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September 13, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Dan Graziano

Dan Graziano
  (12:00 PM)

Fire

Thomas (Pennsylvania)

Do you think the Eagles simply activated Steve Smith because they didn't want him on the PUP list? I didn't see him on the field this past Sunday.

Dan Graziano
  (12:01 PM)

He was on the field for a couple of plays, but I'm sure he's not completely healthy enough to be on the field as much as he eventually will be. Plus, the Rams did a nice enough job with blitzes and coverage that the Eagles' passing game didn't click the way I imagine it ultimately will. Jeremy Maclin didn't factor much either, nor Brent Celek. Lots of weapons available to Michael Vick there, and they've only scratched the surface.

RealityCheck (ChillTown NJ)

Dan, Do you give the Giants "D" a pass b/c they were w/o 23 sacks and 16FFs from last year? Everyone seems to want to tear them apart because Grossman had a good game. But this entire D is built around the D-Line. I mean, if you took Woodley/Harrison OR Freeney and Mathis out of the lineup, I doubt most would expect the same outcome(s). Your thoughts please, sir.

Dan Graziano
  (12:03 PM)

Yes, of course. The Giants' biggest problem Sunday was that they don't really have their whole team. Once Tuck and Umenyiora are back, they'll be able to play the way they want to play. But remember -- a lot of those Giants injuries on defense are all-year injuries, so some of the deficiencies you saw Sunday are going to continue and have to be overcome.

Woody (Virginia)

is the all-division team based solely on performance so far this season or does it also take into account how you project each player going forward? if it's just performance, then rex grossman made a strong case for the qb spot (helped by poor games by romo and manning).

Dan Graziano
  (12:04 PM)

Yeah, prior body of work is still going to have to be a factor. I don't want one week to be the entire basis for the rankings. It's going to be a consideration, but I don't know that I can jump Grossman over Vick just yet. We'll see. Haven't done the rankings yet for this week.

Cowboynfceast (Philadelphia)

Dan, you are doing a great job. Has your opinion of the Cowboys changed after Sunday's Game?

Dan Graziano
  (12:05 PM)

No. I thought they'd lose it, and I see them winning quite of few of their next nine or 10. I think they played extremely well, surprisingly so on defense considering how shorthanded they were on the back end. They should have won, since they were up 14 in the fourth quarter, but it looked like a loss going in, so the fact that they played well and lost on a couple of late mistakes doesn't change my opinion.

Rex Grossman (Film Room)

I know you liked Beck over me, but did I change your mind at all on Sunday?

Dan Graziano
  (12:06 PM)

To be clear, I didn't like Beck over you. I just thought the Redskins' coaches did, and I was wrong.

Steve (Bristol)

Do the Redksins now make a case for best defense in the division? Especially with Landry coming back seeing as how Doughty was the real only one who repeatedly got burned?

Dan Graziano
  (12:07 PM)

I think their defense is going to be tough, but I don't think we can rank it ahead of Philly's with all the weapons the Eagles have on the line and in the secondary. And once Tuck and Umenyiora are back, the Giants' defense is going to look a lot better.

Steve (The big easy)

Dan, with philadelphia's trouble stopping the rams HB's, whats our chances versus Michael Turner?

Dan Graziano
  (12:09 PM)

After the game, Juan Castillo said the issues against the run game early were "gap control" ones that were corrected as the game went along. He could be right, but I think the main difference was that Steven Jackson left the game, and until we see them stop Turner better than they were stopping Jackson, we can't be sure if the problems are fixed.

Cowboynfceast (Philadelphia)

Dan, you are doing a great job. Will Newman play this year?

Dan Graziano
  (12:10 PM)

Last I heard it sounded like there was a chance he'd play Sunday.

Mark W (Warrior) (Rochester NY)

Dan, Redskins backup NT Nield was looking really good filling in for Cofield. Since Jenkins is out for the year do you see any chance/benefit of Cofield rotating more along the D line if Nield continues to prove himself as a starting NT?

Dan Graziano
  (12:11 PM)

Yes, I think they'll all move around on that line a bit. Haslett wants his linemen to have flexibility to play all the different positions, and if Neild can handle the nose that will allow him to deploy Cofield in a number of different ways.

Chris (Giants Land, NJ)

Dan, I love the job you've done with the blog. Are my Giants going to at least have a winning season?

Dan Graziano
  (12:11 PM)

I had them for 8-8 going into the season. There are real problems.

Cowboyfreak6088 (Ft. Drum )

Dan, do you think that Romo is the biggest problem the Cowboys are facing inside their own team?

Dan Graziano
  (12:11 PM)

No.

HeRowe Envy (At Work)

Do you feel that the Eagle's D caught a break with all the dropped balls from the Rams Wideouts? It looked like the game could have gone bad for the Eagle's had half of those catches been made, most were of the first down variety and with plenty of open field ahead for a few more yards.

Dan Graziano
  (12:13 PM)

There's no doubt. Those drops came in big spots. But I think the Eagles showed enough to make you think they were going to win that game anyway. Especially with the way the Rams were losing players.

Matthew (DC)

I know the Giants were playing without Tuck, but JPP is legit and they were stacking the box. Do you think the offensive line will be able to open up more holes and lanes for Hightower/Helu against the Cardinals?

Dan Graziano
  (12:14 PM)

Yeah, I do. The Cardinals are much easier to run on than the Giants are. And I like the fact that Hightower got 25 carries even though they weren't having much success YPC-wise. Shows that they're committed to running, and that's important.

John (Somerville, MA)

Steven Jackson left after one play. Cadillac then ran pretty good as well. I dont have first half/second half splits so I cannot say if there was improvement, but, if there was, I would say the Eagles run D did not improve strictly due to Jackson leaving the game.

Dan Graziano
  (12:14 PM)

Well, you could be right. But I think we can all agree that Cadillac Williams is not as good a back as Steven Jackson is.

Wes (England (the old one!))

How many games do see the Redskins winning this year?

Dan Graziano
  (12:15 PM)

I had them for 7-9.

Mark (Penn State)

Hi Dan, What do you feel the eagles will address first, their linebacking core or their offensive line? do you think they need to improve in any other areas in order to compete with the packers or patriots?

Dan Graziano
  (12:16 PM)

The line looked pretty good, I thought. When the Rams weren't sending extra rushers, the protection for Vick was excellent. And if they continue to develop Watkins in practice, without the pressure on him, they could have some depth before long.

Damien (Philly)

Hey Dan, what did you think of McCoy on Sunday? The guy is clutch in the 4th quarter. He is a unique talent, with tremendous vision and balance, power and speed in my opinion. A fact I found out after the game that was surprising, McCoy already has as many career TD runs of 40 or more yards as Hall of Famers Earl Campbell, Leroy Kelly, Franco Harris, and more than Marcus Allen, Thurman Thomas and John Riggins. Not bad for just his third year.

Dan Graziano
  (12:17 PM)

I think McCoy is great, and that you said it very well.

Domaunique Stephens (Oklahoma City)

What do you think of Sean Lee. Is he a star in the making?

Dan Graziano
  (12:19 PM)

He looked great Sunday. I remember that draft, and thinking the Giants should have picked him since they needed LBs. I believe he'll be a very good NFL player, yes.

Jae (CA)

is there a reason why "The Jerrah" continues to ignore the secondary and the very thin WRs corp even with 18M in cap room?

Dan Graziano
  (12:20 PM)

Well, you shouldn't spend money just because you have it. Who's out there that he could get that would be an improvement?

Jack (Delaware)

***Panic Question*** With the first pick in the 2012 draf the NY Giants select? Do you go with Luck?

Dan Graziano
  (12:21 PM)

I don't have a response to this. Just wanted you all to see what we're dealing with in here.

David (New Jersey)

one year from today who's the head coach of the NY Giants?

Dan Graziano
  (12:21 PM)

Tom Coughlin

Mark (Baltimore)

Why is danny watkins having such a hard time picking up the offense but the eagles rookie center jason kelce seems just fine?

Dan Graziano
  (12:21 PM)

Kelce seems to be a remarkable young player, and probably should have been drafted before the sixth round, as it turns out.

Will Kelland (Richmond, Va)

C'mon Dan answer a giant question... Will the giant d have a big bounce back game the rams with the return of tuck and the fact that the rams won't have jackson, their number one wr is out in amendola, bradford is injured and jason smith has a sprained ankle?

Dan Graziano
  (12:22 PM)

Yes. I think the Giants get a break Monday, facing one of the few teams that's more banged-up at key spots than they are.

Ed (Philly)

In a league where passing is king, is it conceivable that the Birds could surrender 150+ yards rushing a game and still be a legit SB contender? How concerned do I really need to be? Do you think anyone playing NE or GB is concerned about their running games?

Dan Graziano
  (12:22 PM)

Remember, part of the Eagles' plan is to score a ton of points and build big leads so teams will have to throw to come back on them.

Jonathan (VA)

Alright Skins Cardinals who wins?

Dan Graziano
  (12:23 PM)

Predictions come out Friday!!

Chip (Atlanta)

Is Trent Williams struggling that badly with his consistency...what gives?

Dan Graziano
  (12:24 PM)

Yes, and it's an issue. He's talented enough that he should be showing more improvement. He gets a long leash because they've seen what he can be at his best and because of where he was picked, but he has to get better week-to-week. He was terrible Sunday, I thought.

Todd(Allentown Pa) [via mobile]

Don't u think some of these fans are harsh on Romo. Yes the fumble was a bad play as well as the late pick. But common he threw for 342 on the Jets D n the pick he threw was to the best CB in the league not to mention Dez quit on that route. Plus if there is no blcoked punt n Dallas wins there might actually be praise for Romo n how he picked apart the Jets D. Thoughts?

Dan Graziano
  (12:25 PM)

Yes. I think people overreact too harshly. But as I wrote yesterday, his mistakes were exactly the types of mistakes his critics love to bash him for, and that means he played right into their hands.

Ray (Virginia)

Do you think that Ryan Kerrigan really had that interception due to Cofield recognizing the call by Eli?

Dan Graziano
  (12:25 PM)

Kerrigan's play was outstanding. Even if he knew what was coming, he still had to make an incredible athletic play to tip the ball, stay with it, catch it and run it into the end zone. The kid can play. But he has said since that he did know which play was coming, and that surely helped a little bit, no?

TheHurricaneofEinstein (DC)

Danny Ice, what's with the cold shoulder?Would it be fair to say that Skins fans might want to temper their excitement over Grossman? I mean he HAS had great games like this before only to do the exact opposite the next week...Signed,Your local Grossman hater.

Dan Graziano
  (12:26 PM)

Yes, that would be fair. One game is only one game. Good or bad.

Joe (work)

Jets had zero penalties on Sunday... CON-spiracy??

Dan Graziano
  (12:27 PM)

The Jets are one of the best-coached teams in the league, my friend.

J (NY)

It seemed like Dallas had no answer to LT coming out of the backfield as a reciever Sunday night. What sort of adjustments can they make to address that?

Dan Graziano
  (12:29 PM)

They could have Ware and Spencer hang back in coverage more, but I don't think that's a good idea. They're better off playing to their own strengths, going after the quarterback, and the coverage in general will improve as they get healthier in the secondary.

Dan (Tysons Corner)

Do you think Fred Davis will take Cooleys job?

Dan Graziano
  (12:29 PM)

No. I think they'll both play a lot.

Mike Shanahan (DC)

Would you tell your friends at ESPN to stop questioning my personel decisions....how did McNabb do in Minny this weekend

Dan Graziano
  (12:30 PM)

McNabb will not have success in Minnesota, Mike, but I'm not telling you anything you didn't already suspect.

Kerry (Indy)

Is it time to......PANIC???

Dan Graziano
  (12:30 PM)

Yes.

Steve (Bristol)

Why should fans not get excited over grossman's play? Don't QBs develop and become wiser as they get older. Not too mention he has a great coach calling the plays in a system he's familair in. I mean, he showed poise in the pocket, other than the fumble (and who wouldn't have fumbled there?) he didn't make any bad decisions. Not too mention Armstrong dropped some pretty big passes. I think this is a tribute to a somewhat good QB being the the right system for him. Thoughts?

Dan Graziano
  (12:31 PM)

Entirely possible. We just can't know based on one game. I will say this, though. You can make the case that it's not just one game, since Grossman had good games in this system last year.

Chip (New York)

So the game plan for opponents is "Throw the ball to whomever Aaron Ross is covering" how do the Giants compensate for this? Are there any vets out there they might bring in while they wait for the Prince to get healthy and up to speed? Will Allen maybe?

Dan Graziano
  (12:33 PM)

Ross got beaten badly once or twice, but overall I don't think he had as bad a game as people are saying. They've got what they've got, Chip, and there's no magic answer out there for them. The players they have, who are playing in place of injured guys, are just going to have to play well.

Jon (B)

How does Rob Ryan's defense stack up against the 49ers? The wideouts are not as amazing (and actually are under achieving) as the Jets Wideouts, and the QB in ALex Smith is not battle tested, even through his tenure. What are your thoughts on the outcome?

Dan Graziano
  (12:34 PM)

I think the Jets have more talent on offense than do the 49ers, yes. Gore will present a tougher challenge for the Dallas run D than did the Jets, who abandoned the run for some reason (my guess is because they wanted to attack the depleted secondary).

Dan (Washington, DC)

I'm sorry, Dan. But shouldn't Romo be bashed for those type of mistakes, considering -- you know -- they are critically awful mistakes that essentially cost the Cowboys the game?

Dan Graziano
  (12:34 PM)

Pretty sure that's been well taken care of over the past couple of days.

TMSCFINEST AKA Jean-Claude Croissant (at work in Canada EH)

Hey Dan, doing great a great job with blog! Two things: 1. How long are the Eagles going to stick with Matthews at MLB??? Do you see them making the switch to Chaney??? 2. How did you like the Escargot & stale baguettes I served you this weekend in FFB???

Dan Graziano
  (12:37 PM)

1. They're 1-0 with Matthews at MLB, and they clearly think they can get it done with superior line and secondary play.2. I don't think so on Chaney, not right away. I thought he played well in the middle last year, but they seem to think the best way to utilize his speed is by keeping him on the outside.3. Trying to figure out where you beat me, I came up with Janikowski and the Baltimore defense. C'est la vie.

Charles (Atlanta)

Rank the 1st round picks for each team from last weekend.

Dan Graziano
  (12:37 PM)

Well, only two of the four played, and only one scored a touchdown...

Dale (Texas)

Why would Jason Garrett not take Dez out of the game when it was obvious that he was injured and couldn't run more than half speed? Yes you lose talent and ability by inserting Holley or Harris, but the DB's must at least cover them which could then clear the middle to be worked by Witten and/or Phillips.

Dan Graziano
  (12:39 PM)

It's a really good question, and I don't know the answer, except to say that this is an ongoing dilemma coaches and managers face with injured players -- how much to trust them when they say they can play, balancing the benefits of playing an injured guy at 50 percent versus a lesser but healthy guy at 100. It does seem to have hurt them Sunday, I agree.

Splooz (DC)

How long did it take you to google the correct spelling of "C'est la vie."?

Dan Graziano
  (12:40 PM)

Nah, that's my high school French still hanging in there.

Scott (MD)

According to ESPN the Magazine the Redskins will only win 2 more games. Which 2 do you see them winning?

Dan Graziano
  (12:40 PM)

Ha. Pretty sure I'm on record as having disagreed with that prediction.

Andrew (Anaheim CA)

Even though Dallas lost on a a few bad plays I think they can finish the year at 10-6 or even better! They showed they can play with the best and I think they have a chance to win their toughest games this year (like NE and Philly). The Defense was also awesome and they will only get better. Based on their performance in the last game vs. the Jets... 10-6 Better or Worse for the season your opinion?

Dan Graziano
  (12:40 PM)

I had them for 10-6 and I had the Jets game as one of the 6 losses. So for me, no reason to change my prediction.

Griz (Montana)

How do the coaches in the East plan to keep Vick in the pocket? Outside of it, he is dangerous.

Dan Graziano
  (12:41 PM)

I'd hate to game plan for Vick. When the Rams covered the receivers and did keep him in the pocket, he sat back there for five or six seconds before taking off and running. When they came after him, he was able to get away. He's a nightmare for opponents, and I'm not sure there really is a formula for how to beat him.

Patrick (NYC)

Please justify 20 rushing attempts by the NYG offense - I still cannot make sense of this.

Dan Graziano
  (12:42 PM)

They were behind in the second half, right? So that's got to be part of it. But fundamentally, I agree. They should be running more, and I believe they will.

milroyigglesfan (anchorage ak)

Dan,By some statistical anomaly, the eagles are the number 1 rushing offense in the NFL.Do you see any likelihood that we go with a hot hand and actually continue to give McCoy the ball this year?Or do you see us going with a 50 pass 10 carry game more often?

Dan Graziano
  (12:43 PM)

Pretty sure that ranking has something to do with the quarterback's 98 rushing yards, right? Looks to me like the Eagles want to pass early and run later, once they have leads.

Joe (work)

Will Rob Ryan show this much fire every week or was this only because we were playing Rex and the Jets

Dan Graziano
  (12:43 PM)

I don't know Rob, but I covered Rex a fair bit the last couple of years, and I think with the Ryan twins, what you see is what you get.

milroyigglesfan (anchorage ak)

DanEagles defense. Love them or hate them?

Dan Graziano
  (12:44 PM)

I love them, but only as a friend.

Steve (Syracuse)

but Dan, I don't see Dallas losing to TB or the Giants now. Put me down for 12-4..........losing on the road to Phil, NE, Jets, and 1 other team.

Dan Graziano
  (12:45 PM)

That's part of what people are missing. Their schedule is tofu-soft.

Colin (P-AYYYY)

Dan you said that the Eagles line played well, Did you watch the same game? If Vick gets hit like that he isn't gonna make it past week 8. Again, how many quarters does Newman play before he is out again with an injury, over or under 7?

Dan Graziano
  (12:46 PM)

Vick took hits when the Rams overloaded their blitzes. Can't blame a five-man line for not being able to block seven defenders. The Eagles need to handle the blitz better, which is a work in progress and is also on Vick and the receivers a bit. But against the four-man rush, the line held up just fine.

Patrick (NYC)

Fantasy advice: buy Mario Manningham. There is no way that Nicks makes it through 16 games and the Giants have no other receivers.

Dan Graziano
  (12:46 PM)

Thanks. I need WR help.

Shark (Orlando)

OK Dan, IF Dallas has a Tofu Soft schedule, what exactly does that make the Schedules for say, Washington, Philly and NY??

Dan Graziano
  (12:47 PM)

All four schedules are soft. They all play the NFC West teams and the Bills and Dolphins. That's part of the reason it never made sense to think the Redskins would be 3-13 and part of the reason not to write off the Giants just yet.

Patrick (DC)

Dan, Is it usually upto you to decide which games you see in person? I would have thought Skins-Giants was a no brainer with two divisional foes, 9/11 etc

Dan Graziano
  (12:48 PM)

I decide in consultation with my editors, and all three Week 1 games were considered strongly.

Chip (Atlanta)

What surprised you the absolute most about any of the Beast teams this weekend

Dan Graziano
  (12:49 PM)

Jason Kelce. Pretty amazing to me, that he's starting and playing this well, considering how complex Howard Mudd's schemes are to learn and how little time he's had to learn them.

Scott (MD)

Name something that worries you the most about all NFC East teams.

Dan Graziano
  (12:50 PM)

Cowboys: Secondary. Giants: Depth on defense. Eagles: Linebackers. Redskins: Still the offensive skill positions.

Gilmer (Stat Class @ VCU)

2 week straights I've asked a question but yet you still haven't answered one, not cool

Dan Graziano
  (12:52 PM)

Sorry. We're up to 656 so far. Tough to get to em all.

cowboynfceast (philly)

Dan, you are doing a great job. Which QB leads the beast in yards at year's end?

Dan Graziano
  (12:53 PM)

Romo

Moses (DC)

Phyllis' predictions were closer than yours this week. How do you feel about this?

Dan Graziano
  (12:54 PM)

I did get 2 of the 3 games right, right? Did she get all 3? Good for her.

JJ (philliy)

dan you are the man, what do u think was the reason stephen jackson was able to rush for tht td on the first play against the eagles

Dan Graziano
  (12:55 PM)

Not to be a wiseass, but it's because no one got in his way. The linebackers were in the wrong gaps, and there was a monster hole. Also, Jackson is a stud.

Scott (MD)

You are more worried about the skins skill positions than the O-line and the secondary? I know the Skins will get Landry back as soon as this week, but even as good as Landry is Coverage is not his strong suit.

Dan Graziano
  (12:56 PM)

Almost said secondary, but I think with Landry back they're pretty strong there. O line is an issue, but I keep expecting Williams to get it.

Corey (DC)

Dan, is it a coincidence that you're more likely to answer a question beginning with "Dan, you're doing a great job" or compliments of the like? coboynfceast has gotten 3 questions in with that technique.

Dan Graziano
  (12:56 PM)

It's a coincidence, yes.

Larry (SC)

Stan you are the greatest

Dan Graziano
  (12:56 PM)

Thanks, Leon.

Erik (IL)

Which team in NFC East has best "skill position players"?

Dan Graziano
  (12:57 PM)

The Eagles

stephen (nyc)

How good can the skins feel about beating an injured giants team?

Dan Graziano
  (12:58 PM)

I think they can and should feel very good about the way they're playing.

Jason Kelce (Novacare Complex)

Dan do I make the All NFCEast team this week?

Dan Graziano
  (12:58 PM)

Tune in tomorrow to find out!!

MattC (Dallas)

Danimal, whats the latest on Hakeem Nicks knee injury?

Dan Graziano
  (12:59 PM)

Doesn't sound too bad, but the way their luck has gone, I wouldn't count my chickens.

Splooz (DC)

In one word sum up how each fan base should feel after week 1 please. PS You stink.

Dan Graziano
  (1:00 PM)

Cowboys: Cheated. Giants: Worried. Eagles: Pleased. Redskins: Ecstatic.

Larry (New York)

Can the NFL black out the Giants in the NYC area? My kids are young and impressionable ...

Dan Graziano
  (1:00 PM)

With that, Larry takes us home. Enjoyed it, folks. Back with ya next week.