Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

October 25, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Dan Graziano

Dan Graziano
  (12:00 PM)

Hi.

John (D.C.)

Hey Dan, I saw the post where Jason Garrett said he hadn't decided who is going to be the main back for Dallas this week against Philly. He can't seriously be considering Choice after the recent fumble troubles and shoulder injury can he?

Dan Graziano
  (12:01 PM)

Well, as the head coach, it's certainly Garrett's job to "seriously consider" everything he does. And if he were to come up with some legitimate reason for starting Choice against the Eagles, he'd have the right to do so. But I can't imagine what that reason would be, and I'm not sure it matters who the "starter" is. Choice "started" Sunday, but Murray obviously got more carries.

Big Kev (South Philly)

Fact or Fiction, given the Giants impossible schedule the winner of this Eagles Cowgirls game will win the BEAST?

Dan Graziano
  (12:01 PM)

I think the Cowboys could lose this game and still win the division. Their schedule really eases out after this.

Matty B (Hoboken)

Everyone knows the challenges of the of Giants second half schedule. Despite that, I think their playoff fate depends on how they do in their 4 remaining division games. To me, going 4-0 DEFINITELY win's them division, and I have a feeling winning 3 out of 4 gets them in at 10-6 as well. Thoughts?

Dan Graziano
  (12:03 PM)

I just can't say anything that includes the word "definitely." Their schedule is utterly brutal. If they go 4-0 in their remaining division games and beat Miami this week, that's 9 wins, but they may need to find one more. Which of course they could, but they could also lose one or a couple of those division games.

Roy (Orange County CA)

Dan.. Do you know if any representatives from one of the Beast Teams are watching the TO workout?

Dan Graziano
  (12:03 PM)

I do not, but I'd be surprised.

Ryan P. (Dayton, OH)

Hey Dan, first timer here! What do you think about Asante coming out and saying all that on the radio? Philly is usually pretty good with keeping things internal, minus the whole "Dream Team" deal with Vince Young. Do you think Asante will still come out and handle his business? Do you think a bruised ego from a defensive leader will trickle down to younger players?

Dan Graziano
  (12:04 PM)

I'm not sure Samuel is really viewed as a "leader" on that defense even though he's one of the long-timers there. I doubt his unhappiness trickles down much, if at all. Probably means they look to move him next offseason, but I think they can weather his grouchiness. He's played fine.

Tony (Ellicott City)

Do you really think Murray's game was just a fluke? Or do you think he has what we've been looking for in the run game?

Dan Graziano
  (12:06 PM)

I didn't say it was a fluke, did I? But it was against the Rams, who allow 183 rush yards per game, and so I don't think it's nuts to say it's unlikely to be repeated. I think variety is what they SHOULD be looking for in the run game, and what Murray showed Sunday offers them a look at what can be if they rotate carries between him and a healthy Felix Jones.

Dave K. (D.C.)

If the Skins' D keeps coming up short in their next few games, should Haslett start worrying about his job security?

Dan Graziano
  (12:06 PM)

No. Biggest problem the Redskins' defense had Sunday was being on the field too much. That's not the side of the ball that will sink them.

Jett (Guess)

Who ends up with more sacks this year? JPP or Ware?

Dan Graziano
  (12:07 PM)

Gonna pick Ware based on track record and the likelihood that Pierre-Paul's snaps get trimmed back a tad once Tuck is healthy.

Gary (New York City)

Dan, I have begun to lose respect for the weekly NFL power rankings. The Giants beat Buffalo before their bye (both teams had byes last week) and yet were 11th while buffalo was 10th and stayed at 11th while Buffalo moves up to 7th? are you kidding me?

Dan Graziano
  (12:08 PM)

How do you guys keep getting advance copies of the Power Rankings?

mark (new jersey)

forget what rob ryan says, he can be crazy. do YOU think that demarcus ware is the best defensive player YOU have ever seen?

Dan Graziano
  (12:08 PM)

No. Lawrence Taylor is.

Andy (NY)

Best WR in the Beast goes to???

Dan Graziano
  (12:08 PM)

Come on. This is a trap, right? Everybody knows I'm a Hakeem Nicks guy.

Jason (STL)

I know your opinion that Amukamara might not have an immediate impact, considering he has only participated in one (now two) practice. Do you see him having an impact over the last few games of the season?

Dan Graziano
  (12:10 PM)

Yes. He'll have an impact, if only by adding depth at cornerback and allowing Rolle to shed his nickel corner duties and Grant to play fewer snaps. As for how he'll play, how he'll cover, how he'll react to the speed of the NFL game... there's just no way to know yet. My guess is, better in December than in November, sure.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

How can you be such a Hakeem Nicks guy when you hate the Giants so much?

Dan Graziano
  (12:10 PM)

It's tough. I have to imagine him in other jerseys.

mark (new jersey)

i'm seriously confused over who the cowboys number 1 receiver is. miles austin is an absolute student of the game, while dez bryant is just a freak. both are effective, but who should be the go to guy?

Dan Graziano
  (12:10 PM)

Whoever's open. Seriously. They're both great. If a team is covering one more, they should throw to the other.

Ralph (Bronx, NY)

I understand the fact that the Giants have a brutal second half schedule but I think folks are overrating some of their opponents. The Pats have issues on defense and the Jets have issues on offense and their defense is not a shutdown defense. The two scariest games are GB and NO. Why is everyone in a tizzy?

Dan Graziano
  (12:12 PM)

You can look at it any way you like, but the combined record of the teams left on their schedule is very good. Is a trip to 5-1 San Francisco not part of the problem? The point is, they're going to have a tough game every week, and that's hard. No place to come up and take a breath. It's not say they can't win some or even all of those games. But they're not going to get any Miami/St. Louis kind of breaks in there.

Brian P. (VA)

Hey Dan, your blog rocks, I read it religiously. Any early predictions for the Skins' next four games? @Buffalo, San Fran, @Miami, then The Boyz??

Dan Graziano
  (12:13 PM)

If they get through that 2-2, they'll have to be happy with it.

Jeremy (Roanoke, VA)

Dan With the injury to Santana Moss, who do you think steps up as Becks go to guy? Besides Fred Davis.

Dan Graziano
  (12:13 PM)

I think you'll see a lot of Davis. Gaffney has been pretty good this year, so maybe he gets more looks. But as I keep saying, they need to run.

Yatin (LA)

Am I crazy to think the Eagles will continue to use their most effective weapon (Shady) as often as they did against the Redskins? I am crazy, aren't I?

Dan Graziano
  (12:13 PM)

They'd be crazier not to.

Todd (right behind you dan)

What on earth is wrong with leonard hankerson?

Dan Graziano
  (12:14 PM)

Well, he's a kid, right? Not everybody jumps right in and becomes an NFL star right away. He's got some talent, let's see how he develops it.

Jett (Gues)

Given the NYG sched, if you had to say which of the really hard games that NYG win, which would it be? NE, NO, GB (I'm not including SF yet, because I'm not quite sold yet. They do after all have Alex Smith at QB)

Dan Graziano
  (12:15 PM)

But it's a long road trip, which also matters. The SF game is no picnic, for sure. Most likely win in the NE/NO/GB run is probably New Orleans, but that's a Monday Nighter in the Dome, and I don't see it.

Jeremy (THE FREAKIN UK!!)

What are the chances there's a wild card team out of the east this year?

Dan Graziano
  (12:16 PM)

Hard to imagine right now, given how strong the North looks.

Perry The Platypus (Tri State area)

When are we going to see the Mike Vick of early 2010. This version just doesn't seem right.

Dan Graziano
  (12:16 PM)

I actually think he's been playing pretty well. Needs to get rid of the ball quicker, but those three-step drops they used against Washington could help if they keep them in the game plan.

Weech (Cali)

Dan, do you have any plans to make-up the game you missed this weekend?

Dan Graziano
  (12:17 PM)

Sure. I'll go to Giants on Sunday on my way down to Philadelphia. That work for you?

Trent / Nokios (Abyss)

The Skins need to run, yes... but do you think they will actually stick to it? It seems that Kyle is not a huge fan of the run.

Dan Graziano
  (12:18 PM)

I don't think that's fair. First four games of the year, they looked extremely committed to the run.

Ross (Fl)

Given their brutal schedule if the Giants make the playoffs do you think they'd have an advantage with how tough their second half is/was?

Dan Graziano
  (12:18 PM)

You could say that, sure, as long as they get through it all relatively healthy. But I don't think the Giants need toughening-up. Toughness they have in buckets.

Mike (James Madison University)

Will the skins sign Royster from the practice squad now that Hightower is out for the season?

Dan Graziano
  (12:19 PM)

I think so, though they haven't officially done it yet.

Perry The Platypus (Tri State area)

It helps getting Celek back in the game plan if they are using short drops and quick throws

Dan Graziano
  (12:19 PM)

Yeah, but the way the line has struggled in pass protection, they need him to stay in and block.

Rocky (Philadelphia)

Will Danny Watkins see the field in 2011?

Dan Graziano
  (12:19 PM)

He has started the past two games, so...

Jeremy (Rockland)

Am I crazy or can the Giants pull off an upset against NE, GB or NO with a solid running game and a passrush of Osi, Tuck, JPP, Kiwi and Tollefson to get after those QB's?

Dan Graziano
  (12:20 PM)

Well, of course they CAN, but it's going to be tough. No one's sitting here saying they're going to lose their last nine games after the Dolphins game. But the second half is going to be a struggle, and we'll all find out together whether they're up for it.

Jeremy (Roanoke, VA)

It seemed that the redskins used the cover zero far less against the Panthers. It has worked more than it hasnt this season. I know Cam has been playing great, but come on he is still a rookie qb. Thoughts?

Dan Graziano
  (12:21 PM)

Eagles beat their zero-blitzes with those aforementioned three-step drops the week before, so maybe they backed off.

Hanson (DC)

Skins are still 3 years away from contending,do you see Shanny hanging on that long?

Dan Graziano
  (12:21 PM)

Wouldn't you, for that money?

Josh (Connecticut)

Dan, How many wins do you the The Boys will end with this season?

Dan Graziano
  (12:22 PM)

I had them winning 10 in my preseason picks, and I don't see any reason to change that now.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

Do you think Torain is automatically the guy now, or do the Skins go "by committee" and see what happens?

Dan Graziano
  (12:22 PM)

I think Torain gets the first shot.

Chris (Giants Land)

Do you look forward to the Giants schedule from the stand point it will be interesting to see how they perform?

Dan Graziano
  (12:23 PM)

Yeah. I am extremely intrigued by these Giants and fascinated to see how they handle this. They haven't been a great second-half team the last couple of years, as we know, but they do seem to thrive when people start doubting them. Tough, veteran group with tough, veteran coaching. I wouldn't run out and bet real money against them.

vinnie and dan (colorno, italy)

What are the giants going to do with a disgruntled Osi Umenyiora with the end of his contract looming at the end of this season. Will they give him an extension, trade him for some sort of value, or play out the season and just see what happens?

Dan Graziano
  (12:24 PM)

He's actually got one more year on his contract after this, which is one reason why they didn't want to hear it when he started griping in August.

Weech (Cali)

It's obvious you're a Phineas and Ferb fan. Company man much?

Dan Graziano
  (12:24 PM)

Is that the one with the platypus?

Vanessa Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

Vick has zero rushing TDS this year compared to 9 last season. What do you think is the primary reason for this drop?

Dan Graziano
  (12:25 PM)

They don't seem to want to do much with him at the goal line for fear of injury. It has cost them a few times, IMO.

Chris (Giants Land)

Based on his current season do you feel the Giants find a way to pay Osi eventually? For all his bluster he seems to like playing for Big Blue and management likes their D-end rotations.

Dan Graziano
  (12:27 PM)

It's a good question. Yes, he's an obvious fit and a great player, and they do like being deep at DE. But I wonder if the relationship has been poisoned beyond repair. The man called Jerry Reese a liar in a sworn affidavit in federal court.

Jason (Vickadelphia)

Do you play fantasy football?

Dan Graziano
  (12:28 PM)

Obsessively.

Helu to the Rescue? (DC)

Dan, one problem for the Redskins is a lack of playmakers on offense. With a banged-up line and an unproven QB, this team needs more players that can, on their own, turn a 5 yard play into a 50 yard gain. The only guy I see on the roster that can do that is Helu. Torain is a fine player, but I think the Skins would be better off giving Helu the lion's share of the snaps from here on out. What do you think?

Dan Graziano
  (12:29 PM)

Maybe. I agree with your premise -- that they lack offensive playmakers. Not sure we've yet seen enough of Helu to be sure he can be a difference-maker of that level, though.

Southy (DC)

With Cole back, do you think Philly will go back to the style of wide-9 that they played before the Skins game?

Dan Graziano
  (12:30 PM)

Not sure it was Cole's absence that made them tighten it up. They said they did it because they felt it was the best way to combat the Redskins' zone blocking. But the success they had makes me wonder if they'll play tighter formations more often going forward. Washburn believes in the Wide 9, but he obviously doesn't have the linebacker support to make it work as much as he was using it.

mark (new jersey)

please tell the clowns in the comments below the chat that complain that you won't answer their questions that, its not about who's asking the questions, but more about the quality of the questions asked

Dan Graziano
  (12:31 PM)

That is correct, though it's important to know that it is you, mark, and not I, who used the word "clowns." I love all of my readers, no matter what they say about me.

Clowns (in the chat)

We are trying to ask serious questions but being clowns it is hard for us to be serious.

Dan Graziano
  (12:32 PM)

I understand. We all have our limitations.

Travis (VA)

What happens to David Buehler as the season goes on? Bailey is on fire right now.

Dan Graziano
  (12:33 PM)

They're still insisting Buehler has value as a guy who can kick the kickoff through the end zone, and I guess. But has Bailey been bad enough on kickoffs that they'd really need to carry two kickers? Makes no sense to me.

Todd (staring at you)

Dan, Ghostbusters or Caddyshack?

Dan Graziano
  (12:33 PM)

Caddyshack.

Pete (Md)

NFC East MVP thus far? McCoy?

Dan Graziano
  (12:34 PM)

I think he's having the best season of any offensive player in the division. But his team is 2-4, and that tends to hurt a guy's MVP candidacy. If it ended now and there was such an award, my bet is that Eli Manning would win it.

The Hurricane of Einstein (Somehow Still in Dan's Basement)

Grand Master Dan, with Moss out for 5-7 weeks, who do we see more of? Stallworth, Paul, Austin?

Dan Graziano
  (12:35 PM)

Again, I think they need to run, and I doubt any of those guys becomes a major factor. But if I HAVE to pick, I'll say Paul.

Vance (Southern California)

Philly has one of the worst run defenses in the league and a pretty solid pass defense. Does that mean we will see another run-heavy day from the Cowboys on Sunday?

Dan Graziano
  (12:36 PM)

Well, it means you SHOULD. But as usual, my advance copy of the Cowboys' game plan seems to have been lost in the mail.

Shut-Up-Phyllis (Work)

Dan,Do you find me to be disrespectful? I have been accused as such at work and would like to use your opinion as a rebuttal.

Dan Graziano
  (12:36 PM)

Yes, but in a lovable way.

Ryan (NJ)

24-24, 1:30 left in the game. Eagles have the ball at Cowboys 32 and its 4th down. Trust the kicker or punt?

Dan Graziano
  (12:37 PM)

Wow... Uh... 4th and how far?

Joe (NY)

6

Dan Graziano
  (12:38 PM)

I'm punting, but then again I'm also playing man coverage with Asomugha on one of the Cowboys wideouts. And for some reason, the Eagles won't do that.

Chris (Giants Land)

What does down and distance have to do with a punt-field goal dilemma?

Dan Graziano
  (12:39 PM)

Well, if it was 4th and 1, maybe I decide to go for it instead of kick or punt.

oldskooler (money making manhattan)

DG, what's up Barden and people thinking he'll have an impact and possibly surplant Cruz? I just don't see it. guy gets injured farting.

Dan Graziano
  (12:39 PM)

Got nothing to add to this.

Jack from Silver Spring (Silver Spring Md)

Dan, Help me with the power ratings. Do you rate a team on what they have done so far this year or what their schedule looks like? I am a Giant fan so I am amazed also that they dropped four behind the Bills. Also tough schedules help teams! Remember 2007, best thing Tommy C. did was play all out against the Pats.

Dan Graziano
  (12:39 PM)

I'm not a voter, so I can't really tell you for sure. But the sense I get from talking to those folks is that it's all based on performance this year to date.

Nathan (DC)

Was listening to local sports radio in the car a little while ago (which I almost never do) and I was surprised to hear an overwhelming amount of gloom and doom about the Redskins. My god, they sounded like Cubs fans. Regardless of how this season plays out, aren't the Redskins on their way back up?

Dan Graziano
  (12:41 PM)

Yes. But in today's NFL, we are required to analyze based only on the absolute most recent single-game result and never, under any circumstances, look beyond that. Please consult your rulebook if you have any further questions.

Don (Indiana)

You said in a previous question that you believe that the power rankings are based on performance to date. I find that hard to believe as the Cowboys very nearly beat the patriots in their own building and got dropped, promptly, into the 20s. However the lions lose two consecutive games and get the big ousting to...8?

Dan Graziano
  (12:43 PM)

Again, not a voter, so I can't speak to how/why they make their decisions. I did disagree with the Cowboys' ranking last week, and wrote that I did.

fat duck (edinburgh uk)

Chances of cowboys playing a game in UK in future please my good man.

Dan Graziano
  (12:43 PM)

I guess, if they get a road game at Tampa Bay, there's always a chance.

cowboynfceast (Ferb talks too much) (philadelphia)

Dan, any chance you will do a weekly all beast team list? do you think F Jones will ever make the list? also who win our WRs or the Eagles DBs?

Dan Graziano
  (12:44 PM)

But... I do... Right?

Jon (Rochester)

Dan, I have heard it said that Kyle Shannahan does not adjust his game plan for an opponents weaknesses, such as running on Philly. There can not be any truth to this right?

Dan Graziano
  (12:45 PM)

I would find it hard to believe. The Eagles got way out in front early in that game and were tougher on the run early than expected. I don't think that was a game plan issue.

cowboynfceast (Ferb talks too much) (philadelphia)

Dan, your list is year to date production not weekly production. also what about my other questions?

Dan Graziano
  (12:46 PM)

Oh. I see. Misunderstood. I like the All-Division Team the way it is now. As for Cowboys WRs and Eagles DBs, I think the Eagles DBs could handle them in man coverage, but the Eagles insist on playing zone, and for that reason I expect Austin and Dez to play well.

Hanson (DC)

Best chance of beating the Pack right now.1.) Ball control offense and keep Rodgers off the field 2.)Blitz and hope for sacks.3) poison the Pack pregame meal?

Dan Graziano
  (12:48 PM)

The way Rodgers is going, (3) is probably your only hope.

mark (new jersey)

you really think the eagles DB's can cover them man to man?! dez torched REVIS until he got hurt in that game, im sure he can beat asomugha. and i'll take miles over rodgers cromartie or samuel any day.. cmon Dan

Dan Graziano
  (12:49 PM)

I have said many times that Bryant is a physical mismatch for any DB in the league, and I believe it. But that doesn't mean Asomugha can't cover him -- that is to say, keep him from being open. Now, if he did that and Romo threw it to Bryant anyway, could Bryant outfight Asomugha for the ball? Yes. But I believe Nnamdi could cover the man, if given the chance.

Local Sports Fan (Local Sports City)

You hate my team, right? You never pick them to win enough games, nor talk about how awesome my team is!

Dan Graziano
  (12:50 PM)

You got me!

Kyle (New York)

What happens to the Eagles once their young superstars playing on rookie contracts comes to an end. With all the money they have spent can they afford to keep them all?

Dan Graziano
  (12:50 PM)

Well, they do know how to work that cap. But I think they're going to have some tough choices, and I am not one of the people who believes DeSean Jackson will be there long-term.

Vance (Southern California)

If Philly plays Dez and Austin in zone, Romo will kill them with the slant across the middle, no?

Dan Graziano
  (12:51 PM)

Yup

Ron Burgundy (San Diego)

Stay classy Dan!

Dan Graziano
  (12:51 PM)

Milk was a bad choice.

Evan (NC)

Given how Beck has played so far, do you think it's clear that the Redskins must pursue a rookie QB next year? Is there any chance Shanahan passes on a QB in the draft again given the load of prospects?

Dan Graziano
  (12:53 PM)

I believe they will look for a long-term answer at QB in next year's draft or offseason. But I don't think he'll force it. I don't think he'll take a guy he doesn't like and give long-term money to him just because he has a hole there. He had chances to do that this year and passed.

Another Clown in the Chat (Clownville)

Is Asante the best zone coverage corner in the league? He seems to have a gift for coming off of his area and jumping routes for picks.

Dan Graziano
  (12:53 PM)

He does like to take those risks, and he's athletic enough to cash them in. But when he guesses wrong... ow.

Ross (FL)

When will Eli Manning be considered one of the best QB's in the league?

Dan Graziano
  (12:54 PM)

I really don't know that he isn't. Best how many? Five? No. Ten? Maybe.

erik (nj)

you think giants will win nfc east

Dan Graziano
  (12:55 PM)

I do? I didn't know that.

Phineas Flynn (Tri-State Area)

Will Asante be wearing midnight green in 2012?

Dan Graziano
  (12:55 PM)

I kind of doubt it at this point. He's obviously unhappy, and they have Rodgers-Cromartie kind of collecting dust.

Ferb Flethcer (Tri-State Area)

Odds that the NFC East produces a wild card team? If so, who?

Dan Graziano
  (12:56 PM)

I don't think so.

The Fresh Beat Band (You Know Where We're From)

Will a good showing versus Buffalo (e.g. 340 yds, 3 TDs, no picks or fumbles) change your opinion of John Beck?

Dan Graziano
  (12:57 PM)

What's my opinion of him, so I know before I answer?

josh (rochester)

rangers or cardinals?

Dan Graziano
  (12:57 PM)

Man, I am LOVING this World Series. It's been fantastic, and I hope the Cardinals win tomorrow just because I want a Game 7. But I feel like the Rangers have em where they want em now.

Keith (NYC)

If the Giant's somehow ended up with the No. 1 pick, do they draft (and keep) Andrew Luck?

Dan Graziano
  (12:58 PM)

How the heck did the Giants end up picking No. 1 after starting 4-2? And no. They have Eli Manning.

Jason (STL)

St. Louis is a very fun place to be right now. I hope there's a Game 7.

Dan Graziano
  (12:58 PM)

I remember covering the 2006 World Series there, and having a lot of fun.

Brian (NJ)

Hey Dan. I think the schedule actually broke pretty well this year for the Giants. Easiest part of the schedule early, when they were most injured, and hard part late, now that they are getting guys back. If they had this hard part of the schedule from the start, we may be looking at 2-4 or 1-5 right now.

Dan Graziano
  (12:59 PM)

That's a fair point.

The Fresh Beat Band (You Know Where We're From)

That he's an average at best QB.

Dan Graziano
  (12:59 PM)

Nah, they can have great games too.

The Fresh Beat Band (Don't You Want a Friend Like Me?)

Do you like our music? Be honest.

Dan Graziano
  (1:00 PM)

Oh, no. No. No, no, no. No.

pat (NJ)

Do you think Mario is good by low in fantasy right now. Figure they should be passing a lot with this up coming schedule

Dan Graziano
  (1:00 PM)

Yeah, I tried to get him last week and couldn't. Of course, then I managed to trade for Nicks instead in a totally different deal, so I'm fired up about that.

Dan (NY)

Is Cruz a future starter in the NFL?

Dan Graziano
  (1:01 PM)

Is he not a current one?

mike (pa)

cowboys will win the next 6 games thoughts?

Dan Graziano
  (1:01 PM)

Those predictions will come out on the next six Fridays.

Dan Graziano
  (1:01 PM)

(see what I did there?)

Ian (Norfolk)

Who do you think wins the Superbowl this year? Does the NFC East have any chance in your mind?

Dan Graziano
  (1:02 PM)

I had a Chargers-Saints Super Bowl when we did our preseason picks. Could still happen, but I don't like what I'm seeing from Phil Rivers.

josh (rochester)

for evidence anything can happen in the nfl please see ravens vs jags game last night

Dan Graziano
  (1:02 PM)

No. Nothing you can say or do could make me watch even one play of that game ever again. The tape should be burned.

Dan Graziano
  (1:03 PM)

Hey, Jean-Jacques Taylor is chatting about the Cowboys now, and Power Rankings I think are up on the site. So go elsewhere, because I am. See all of you good folks next week.