Greetings to you all. Welcome to another edition of the weekly NFC East chat here on ESPN.com and SportsNation. All of your NFC East questions will be answered, starting, per our weekly Twitter contest, with one about the Redskins.
Hey Dan, I'm growing more concerned about the Redskins draft choices. With Barkley choosing to stay at USC and the likelihood of Griffin going higher (if he commits), it looks less likely the Skins get a good QB. Do they trade for a higher pick? Or make an offer for Manning? Thoughts?
Assuming the Redskins don't move up significantly from their current draft position, which would be 7, I think they would have to trade up to get Luck or Barkley. But I think they're in a position to do just that, and that's why they didn't want to be dealing away picks last year for a Kyle Orton-type of solution.
In your estimation, has Juan Castillo done enough in the last 3-4 weeks to save his job? Or did he do too much damage to himself with all the early defensive blunders and collapses?
All I know is that the Eagles haven't made any decisions yet on next year's coaching staff. In my opinion, they need an experienced play-caller to coordinate the defense. The problem is, Washburn has influence and I'm not sure it makes a lot of sense for the Eagles to bring in someone with a new defensive philosophy and change everything up again for next year.
While not an NFC East question, but congrats to Drew Brees -- a class act and deserving of the record!
Sure. We here at the NFC East blog can take a moment to congratulate Brees.
The Giants are claiming that the improved defensive play this past week was due to a new mindset. If so assuming they continue it how far can they go in the playoffs? keeping in mind though they lost they played 2 of the top 3 seeds pretty tough
The Giants are always better when they find some sort of external motivation, and they shouldn't lack for any this week. They're flawed in key spots, but so is Dallas and so are Detroit and Atlanta. If the Giants stay as driven as they were Saturday, they could win this weekend and in the first round. I'm not sure I'd put any money on it, but it's POSSIBLE.
Dan, what position do the Cowboys need to seriously look at in this year's draft? I am thinking cornerback, and G.
Yeah, I think the secondary and the interior offensive line are big target areas for them.
Would you be surprised if Washington followed Cincinnati's blue print and go WR in the first round?
Yeah, unless they got a QB they feel really good about in free agency.
Let the rumors start flying! Saw a report that Spags will be out in St. Louis and become the Eagles DC. What do you make of that and the other stuff reported?
Did a post on this this morning, strictly from the Spags/Eagles end of it. I think it's more complex than just "Eagles get Spags," since they'll have competition for him and because of the thing I just said a few questions ago about inviting more scheme/philosophy change into an environment that seemed confused for much of this year.
Dan, you said they would have to trade up for a chance at Barkley...you do realize he said he is not going pro, right? Do you think the 'Skins move up for RG3?
I meant Griffin. My apologies.
Do you think the Redskins should resign Adam Carriker or let him go with Jarvis Jenkins coming back?
I believe the Redskins are quite fond of Carriker, who's one of the few who's managed to weather the transition from 4-3 to 3-4 and still have success. My guess is they'd look to keep him. Not a bad idea to be deep there. Their plan this year was to have both of those guys, after all.
Is Nicks' case of the drops these past few weeks just a slump? Or is there something more to it that he can improve?
I think it's a slump. Too much talent there for this to be a real problem. Coughlin addressed it yesterday and said it's real confusing because Nicks' hands are one of his most impressive physical attributes. The drop thing is in his head now -- like a golfer with the yips. The Giants just hope he can get rid of it.
Hey Dan, I'm 0-8 in my last 8 Giants games in person. I have an offer to go Sunday. Do I owe it to Big Blue Nation not to go?
Wow. Now there's a stat I haven't seen addressed on NFL Live. I wouldn't be telling my friends this stuff if I were you!
The NFC East is .500 in non-divisional games, and yet some argue that the division winner doesn't deserve a home playoff game. Your thoughts?
Preposterous argument. The NFC West champ last year was 7-9 and won its first playoff game. This word "deserve" always makes me laugh. Rules say whoever wins the most games in a division gets a home playoff game. The league owners have had chances to change and have decided they like it the way it is. Why have divisions if you're not going to reward their champions somehow?
So Dan, which game will you be attending? Giants-Cowboys, or Eagles-Redskins?
This week's decision wasn't a difficult one, Chris.
Dan, you said you had some good Redskins scoop this week. Was the scoop what you posted earlier (Shanahan thought it would be easier)? Or has the scoop yet to come?
Really not a "scoop," per se. But I have a one-on-one interview with Mike Shanahan scheduled for Friday in Virginia. My belief is that this will provide a lot of good content for our Redskins readers on the blog. Sometime in the next couple of days, I may solicit reader questions for Shanahan and see if he'll take a few of them when I sit down with him Friday.
Dan, any chance for a blowout this sunday night? Do the Giants or Cowboys possibly have any chance to make a statement before heading into the playoffs?
LOL at "statement." They just want to get in!
Do you remember another Home team losing after their QB posted 141 QB rating ? If Dallas couldn't win with Romo playing near perfect, what can Dallas fall back on in game 2 for all the marbles?
That first Giants-Cowboys game was the absolute definition of a game that tells us NOTHING about the way the next one will go. Either team could have won it any number of ways. Neither team is especially good. I have no idea how to pick this week's game, and I really don't think the last matchup has any predictive value other than indicating that we should expect a lot of points.
Do you think Dallas should have tried harder to beat the Eagles considering they were still in contention for the wild card?
Of course they should have. Everybody lost that they would have needed to lose. If they'd beaten the Eagles, and if the Falcons lost next week to the Bucs, the Cowboy would be in as a wild card even with a loss to the Giants. Foolish to give up that possibility.
I think Young deserves the fullback spot back on the All NFCE team. Don't you? By the way, the answer is "yes"!
He's a great, great player. Haven't looked at it this week yet. Both he and Fiammetta are strong candidates, and Young has held the spot for most of the year.
Evan Royster put up some good stats..is it pretty likely that Shanny goes nto next season with Helu No. 1 and Royster No.2, or does that position need addressing?
They're getting Hightower back, too, most likely. They're going to be super-deep at RB next year, and that's a good thing.
Hey Dan,Do you see the Eagles using the franchise tag on Jackson to ensure that they don't lose him for nothing ?
Probably, unless he comes back to them with much smaller demands on a long-term deal. And where's my Neckflix order this week??
Dan, which defense do you believe is more capable of having a big night on Sunday night the Giants D or the Cowboys D?
Uh... Giants. They've played better more recently. But I don't feel good about the pick.
Is there a refereeing conspiracy against the GIANTS or is it just me?
Well, it's certainly not just you who thinks so. But no, obviously, there is no such conspiracy. Every fan thinks every ref/writer/broadcaster hates his favorite team.
Dan, if the redskins decide to put all their marbles in one basket at qb, what do you think it will take to get the top pick and luck? Do you think they will do it?
If the price for the Luck pick is really three first-rounders, as some have suggested, then I think the Redskins would be foolish to pay it. You're telling your new franchise QB, "Good luck, but we won't have a first-round pick to help you with for the next two years at least."
Do you feel the Giants issues on defense are more personnel or more scheme? Would it be worth thinking about dropping Fewell and bringing back Spagnuolo or should we just stick to our guns?
I feel they're more personnel. Look at the guys they're using at linebacker, for goodness' sake. Look at the way they were leaning on a rookie cornerback during that stretch. They need more players, not new coaches.
Following up on Jason's question regarding the refs and the Giants - the crew who officiated Saturday were horrendous with overturning calls, weren't they? It definitely was one of the worst games I've ever seen, for any crew in any game with any teams.
I do not feel that officiating crew favored either side, but I do think it's fair to say they had a rough game.
Why are so many ready to throw Rob Ryan out of Dallas? It's his first season, and he really hasn't done THAT bad... Right?
The Dallas defense has been a full-on disaster for the past month. That said, I agree with you that we all need to be more patient. Sadly, such pleas are seldom welcomed by the angry masses.
Dan do you think the Cowboys can beat the Giants on Sunday and make a run in the playoffs? Also if they dont do you think Romo will be done and what are the chances the Cowboys go after a quarterback like Kellen Moore in the draft?
First, of course they CAN. Second, I honestly can't conceive of what more you'd want from Romo than what he's given you this year. This is an elite quarterback, folks, and he's played like it. Now, if he cost you your fantasy championship Saturday, I can understand the bitterness. But other than that... C'mon, man!
Would another 10 loss season drive Shanny out of Washington on his own? As a skins fan, I personally like him there and feel he's making a lot of good moves so far.
I think Shanahan and the Redskins are committed to each other for the long haul.
Any reports on the status of Romo's hand injury? Even if it's better by Sunday night, isn't it possible that if there are limitations for him in practice this week that it could affect his performance on Sunday night?
That is possible, yes, and that's why "Romo's hand" will be a very popular Google search topic for the next several days.
Dan, I have seen Washington whomp the Giants twice this year. Is it fair to say they have the only good D in the division right now? Can they build around players like Orakpo and Kerrigan?
Washington's D is very good (last week notwithstanding) and looks good for the future as well. There are a lot of teams that have built around a lot less than two pass rushers the caliber of Kerrigan and Orakpo.
Is it ok that whenever I hear a Cowboys fan mention Romo not being the answer I feel like I entered the twilight zone?
You and me both, Chris.
what are your thoughts of the other qbs, in general, besides RGIII and luck as compared to flynn. If shanny has to make the choice, which do you think would be best, the veteran unproven backup or the younger unproven draftee?
It's entirely about personal opinion, Tony. And I don't know what Shanahan's personal opinion is on those guys. That's what will determine the Redskins' plan. I promise I'll ask him all about it.
Dan...great job over the season... Osi Umeniyora... Giants to franchise him and trade him whilst he is still worth something... thoughts?
Well, his value has dropped a great deal since August, for sure. But they don't have to franchise him. He's got a year left on his deal.
Any update on the Dallas o-lineman w/ the torn bicep? If he's out how big a blow is that to Dallas?
Montrae Holland is, indeed, out. They put him on IR. His season is over. Big blow for Dallas. Run game took off in Week 7 when he and Fiammetta became full-timers.
Do you think Tuck will come out strong this week against Dallas like the re-energized player he was against the Jets on Saturday? Giants need him to play well.
They do need him, and talking to him yesterday, I got the sense he was in a much better frame of mind than he has been for most of this season. Seemed like his old self to me. So I guess I would say yes, I'd expect him to come out and play the way he did last week. But like his team, he has been mercurial this year, and difficult to predict.
Hey Dan,You said last week that you felt Tom Coughlin was not to blame for the Giants' downfalls this year. While I agree, I disagree with you notion that he wasn't given enough. Coming into the year, it was the offense that many said would struggle with the pieces that left through free agency. However, the offense has fared well, and it is the defense has struggled. I guess the point I am trying to make is that it is the injuries, I feel, that have hurt the Giants most. Their secondary is decimated, and they have relied on rookies at LB after Sintim and Goff went out. Don't you think injuries played a bigger role rather than lack of talent he was given? I mean, they have lost 6 corners...
Sure, but everybody has injuries, and some rosters are deep enough to handle it. The guys that were behind the injured Giants on defense weren't nearly good enough.
Anthony Spencer potentially could make the difference? Manning hasn't had much pressure this year. Spencer needs to step up!!
As he always is, Spencer is a big key for Dallas this week. Think of it this way: If you assume Ware will play like a monster for Dallas and Pierre-Paul will do the same for New York, one possible key is which team gets production out of its other outside pass rusher. So, can Spencer outplay Tuck?
When talking heads speak of trading 3 1st rounders for Luck, does that include the 1st round pick youd be swapping, or does it mean swap first round picks AND give up 3 more first round picks in the coming years?
I think if you hear "three first rounders," that includes this year's. If you hear "four first-rounders," that'd be this year plus three more.
Dan, if the Giants decide to fire Coughlin, do you see a coordinator on the Giants' staff that could be in line for their head coaching position? Perhaps Perry Fewell?
Fewell would be the most likely in-house candidate, but my guess is they'd go outside the organization.
Do you see the Redskins disciplining Williams (and Davis if he's back next year) further than just the NFL imposed suspension? I don't like that a 1st round pick is not fully committed to thier team and that's the vibe i get from his actions.
I don't think they're allowed to impose discipline in addition to that which the league imposed.
Over/under on beast coaches fired 1.5, what ya got?
Dan, what are your plans while in NY/NJ?
Hang out at my house, with my wife and kids.
People have been (unjustly in my opinion) calling for Reid's head this year. The bar will probably get higher going forward. How many strikes does he have left?
I believe 2012 will be a very important year for Andy Reid, assuming he does come back for it.
More important to NYG rushing attack: Bradshaw or Jacobs?Bradshaw had a good game but Jacobs ypc has been pretty good in the last few weeks where the run game has been strongest all year.
They need to have both to have a chance to be effective, but the biggest change for me is the way the O line has played the last three weeks. Diehl seems energized by the move back to tackle, and Boothe looks like a really good player.
Has Fred Davis blown his NFL career chances now? Is it over for him?
No. Teams will always take a chance on talent like that.
Dan when the Giants win the east do you want to eat crow or duck since you never gave them a chance
I said they'd be 8-8. Most I miss by is one game, Chachi.
In light of last Saturdays debacle, do any of the Washington secondary having reason to sweat the off season?
Yeah, decisions to be made on Hall and Landry for sure. Atogwe and Wilson, new this year, are clearly part of the long-range plan.
With the play of Gaffney do you see the skins departing with Moss via trade?
Gives them options, for sure. I think they need a real No. 1 WR, which neither of those guys is. And if they get one, I don't see why they'd need both Moss and Gaffney.
Dan, How can the Giants win the Division at 8-8?
They cannot. Who said they could?
Dan, given the talent on their roster, and the fact they fell short of expectations this year, what do you think the Eagles have to do to reach the playoffs in 2012?
Finish games in the fourth quarter.
Jason is 1-0 as a HC at NYG. I think he goes 2-0 after this Sunday. Agree?
We do predictions on Fridays 'round these parts.
Dan, why dont you answer any of my questions?
Because I hate whoever your favorite team is and am a closet fan of its biggest rival.
What changes do the Eagles have to make in order to more protect Michael Vick?
I think they've done a decent job of that this year. A lot of the protection problems are Vick's fault, too. This was the first year he was allowed to change the protection at the line of scrimmage, and it's fair to expect growing pains.
Do I keep my job if we lose this weekend?
I do not know. But I think you should.
Dan, I know it's a bit early to see how Romo's hand is, but how do you think this injury affects his throwing, and his confort in the pocket against a revived Giants pass rush?
Anything's possible, but comfort in the pocket isn't a big issue for Romo. He's done a very good job this year when forced to scramble out of the pocket and throw.
Dan, do you get sick of answering peoples questions about predictions and telling them they come out on Friday? I follow you on Twitter and read the blog, and I swear I've seen you answer it on average 10x a week.
It's kind of a running joke. I get a kick out of it.
giants make the playoffs at 8-7-1 and cowboys miss at 8-7-1?!
Sounds like a late night to me.
Dan, what are your thoughts on the Redskins' defensive breakdown against Gerhart and Webb? Aside from losing the feeling-somewhat-good vibe, is this a cause for real concern or a one-game anomaly?
I think anomaly, but there's no doubt it shook up that feeling-somewhat-good vibe you speak of.
Dan, can you predict the final score of Sunday nights game, but not tell us who the winner will be?
Why do you think Dallas does not promote Scandrick over Newman? He has been or weak link over the last month.
Pretty sure they see Scandrick as a 2012 starter. I doubt Newman returns.
Do you think the "3 first rounders for Luck" is realistic?
The Bengals got two for Carson Palmer, right? So I'd say yeah.
LB, DB or OL in the first round for the giants?
I'd go OL if I were them. But the last time they picked an offensive lineman in the first round was when they took Luke Petitgout in 1999.
Dan i love your blogs and all the information you provide week to week. that said will you follow the giants run to the super bowl as closely?
I promise I'll be at every Giants game the rest of this season.
From what we've seen the last quarter of the season, who's the player in the Beast most likely to explode as a superstar? JPP?
I kind of feel like he already has. I think Kerrigan has that kind of ability.
How tough was it watching the Jets lose to the Giants this weekend? Be honest and merry Christmas/Happy New Year Danny.
Just wish they'd done it more quickly. It was Christmas Eve, for goodness' sake!
Dan, we need milk and bread on your way home.
But I am home. You're not. You get the milk and bread.
You say that you can't give up a ton for a franchise QB...but the Giants did that and seemed to work out for them...you need a franchise QB, at any cost..the rest you can figure out...
No, what I said was that I don't think it'd be wise for the Redskins, specifically, to do that. And the reason is that I think they have too many other needs.
Do you wish Rex Ryan was in the NFC East? Make your job a lot easier...
I always did enjoy covering Rex when I was covering the league for AOL.
Sorry, when I get home I'll make up your bed on the couch.
Dan, what do I have to do to silence the critics? Even if I dominate the game on Sunday night and we win, I'll get torched if we lose the following week.
Yup. Like Jake Taylor in Major League. Only thing you can do: Win the whole @#$%ing thing.
Dan, i think this game might be more of the defensive side this time around and does dallas pull it out.....
I think you are wrong, but it's OK to disagree. I will have a prediction on Friday.
Any chance we see Blackmon in the NFC East next year? Also what's for dinner?
We're coming to your house for Chinese, remember? As for Blackmon, the only NFC East team in a position to draft him will be Washington, and again -- I think they need to get a QB there.
Dan, I heard that this will be the first year since 1987 the team that wins the NFC East will not have 10 wins. WHat do you make of that stat?
The Redskins were 11-4 in 1987. But this will be the first non-strike year ever in which no NFC East team has 10 wins. What I make of it is that the division didn't have any real good teams this year.
Dan, love the blog. Outside of qb what do you think the skins biggest need this year is? When do you see them contending for the beast?
I think they need a stud WR, maybe a CB and to add depth on the offensive and defensive lines. And any team can go from bottom-feeder to contender in one year in the NFL. If the Redskins fix QB, they're not far off.
Did you know this is the first time EVER the NFC East winner will have less than 10 wins? Even going back to the 70's. A dark day indeed no?
Yeah, I mean, I think I just said...
how do you feel about eli's stats dropping when he plays in the cold weather at home?
How do I FEEL about it? Hm. Well, I also hate the cold, so I guess it makes me feel some sort of empathy.
Dallas drafts defense in the first 3 rounds in April. Agree?
Uh... maybe. I think they need to find an interior offensive lineman, but it's not as though you need to find those in the first three rounds.
Do you have an article on what was said between B-Jacobs and Rex in their after game scuffle?
We did post on that Saturday night. Photographers who were there told their newspapers that Jacobs went up to Ryan and said, "Time to shut up, fat boy!", and that it escalated from there.
Dan, Romo's biggest oppenent since coming into the division has been the Giants. They've ruined everything for him..such as his 13-3 season. If Tony conquers the giants to get in the playoffs is it a major accomplishment
I agree. This is the new Biggest Game of Romo's Career.
Farthest this year's Division winner goes in the playoffs? NFC Champ game? Super Bowl? Wild card?
I can't imagine either of these teams beating the Packers or Saints. So best case, for me, would be NFC champ game. If they got some breaks along the way.
You don't really have any clue what it will take for the Skins to move up and draft a QB. ughhhh.....
What? A crapload of picks. Same as with every team.
As a diehard Cowboys fan, I have become accustomed to shocking and unimaginable ways to lose games over the last few years, this year being even more excruciating. While I believe we have the talent on both sides of the ball and the coaching to get the job done, the team seems to be lacking the ability to win big games and the intensity to get amped up for those games. What has to change for them to capture that swagger that all championship teams must have?
I would say they need to win Sunday's game, and take it from there.
For a sarcastic person you don't have a very good feel for somebody being sarcastic!
Anyway, that's all I've got for you today. Enjoyed it as always. Go fight over Power Rankings.