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

Dan Graziano
  (12:00 PM)

Hi. What'cha got?

Elvis (Tupelo, MS)

Jason Garrett has always impressed me with his professional demeanor and ability to diffuse controversy - best recent example is holding the team together after devastating injuries and Jerry Brown/Josh Brent tragedy. Given this, how is it that he has done so badly with the offensive play calling transition? To me, he could have gotten out in front, expressed full confidence in Callahan, made it clear that he is still intimately involved in game plans, and moved on...it could have been so much easier than he made it.

Dan Graziano
  (12:01 PM)

I think there's some ego involved. I've written more than once that I think it's a change that'll help him, by taking away something that made him look bad and allowing him to concentrate more on the parts of the job he's done well, including those you reference here. But that's not to say he wants to give it up or wants to admit he didn't do well with the playcalling. My guess is he viewed it as embarrassing and handled it poorly as a result of emotion.

SnipSnap (Colorado Springs)

Danimal, In your opinion, why didn't Romo get his cyst removed earlier in the offseason (perhaps at the end of last season) so he didn't miss the mini camps and OTAs? Seems like a poor decision on his part as far as the timing goes.

Dan Graziano
  (12:02 PM)

Some have asked same question with regard to Jason Pierre-Paul in NY, but in general the answer is that no one wants to have surgery if they can avoid it, so if they think there's a chance for something to heal on its own, they delay the surgery until there's no other choice.

Elvis (Tupelo, MS)

Given that Chip Kelly's offense moved and scored at will against Kiffin's defense in college last year, do you see this having any effect on Eagles/'Boys matchups this season?

Sean (PA)

Do you think Maclin gets his extension before the season starts?

Dan Graziano
  (12:04 PM)

No. The Eagles have no need to do it. Will have tons of cap room next year. They can afford to make him show them he's worth it.

Patrick (Severna Park, MD)

So obviously you are probably sick of talking about the Eagles QB competition, nothing is going to change at least until training camp, but say come training camp the depth chart has Foles at number 1, and Barkley has shown enough promise that Chip Kelly feels like he could be a capable back-up this year; what does that mean for good ol? Mike Vick?

Dan Graziano
  (12:04 PM)

Oh, I think if Vick's not the starter, he gets cut. I don't see how he has value as a backup.

Steve (East Rutherford, NJ)

So I'm guessing that after this mornings comments on the Redskins, you have most of the DC area KKK blocked on twitter right? Maybe some leftover members of the Andrew Jackson Administration too?

Dan Graziano
  (12:05 PM)

It's so ridiculous, the way Redskins fans take this issue personally. It's the name of a sports team for goodness' sake.

Patrick (Severna Park, MD)

Trent Cole has always been a rock for the birds on defense. Do you see him being able to make the transition to a 3-4 Outside Linebacker? Or is this the end of the road for Cole and the birds?

Dan Graziano
  (12:06 PM)

I think Cole will have a big year rushing the passer. I wonder, though, if he'll be able to handle his new coverage responsibilities. And if he can't, I wonder if that might affect his playing time.

Vin (the lions den) [via mobile]

Dan, you always post questions you don't respond to?

Dan Graziano
  (12:06 PM)

I don't know what happened there. Some glitch. Appears fixed now.

Gabriel (New York)

You've mentioned a few times that you think Chip Kelly will utilize McCoy heavily. I tend to agree and would be willing to draft him pretty high in a fantasy draft. My one concern is that Kelly will instead create a committee in Philly with Brown and McCoy. What are your thoughts?

Dan Graziano
  (12:07 PM)

I think there will be enough carries to go around. I think Brown's a fumbler and that will keep him from cutting into McCoy's carries too much. I'd draft McCoy high and feel good. They have no quarterback.

Justin (B-More)

Niles Paul was a solid special teamer, but do you think the Skins will carry 4 TE's?

Dan Graziano
  (12:07 PM)

It's possible. The league is trending that way. And Jordan Reed feels like a guy who could have a "redshirt" rookie season and be inactive every week.

Henry (NY)

SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THE GIANTS!!!!!

Dan Graziano
  (12:08 PM)

ASK A QUESTION ABOUT THEM!!!!!

Jack NY [via mobile]

Thoughts on giants secondary?

Dan Graziano
  (12:10 PM)

Gonna need that pass rush to get back to what it was, or else the secondary will continue to struggle. They missed Phillips last year when he was hurt, and it's hard to see Stevie Brown getting an interception per game again.

Gabriel (New York)

Would you be willing to/have you ever done a fantasy league with your readers?

Dan Graziano
  (12:10 PM)

Been in a couple the last two years. Haven't done great.

Dave (Sacramento)

Do you think the Skins carry 4 or 5 safeties? Who will the others be besides the two rookies and merriweather?

Dan Graziano
  (12:10 PM)

I'm sure Doughty is safe. They value him highly.

Gary (Cleveland)

You just posted on Matt Williamson's list of top ten RBs for 2016 without mentioning the omission of Alfred Morris from his list. In the face of all available evidence, Mark Ingram and Marcus Lattimore make his top ten but AlMo does not. Is this sort of anti-logic scouting what made the Browns so bad for so long (Williamson was a scout for the Browns)?

Dan Graziano
  (12:12 PM)

I like Matt and his work, so my taking this question does not constitute an endorsement of any insult of him. He listed Morris among his honorable mentions. Morris was a sixth-round pick who was fourth on the depth chart a year ago. Skepticism regarding continued excellence isn't exactly unfounded.

Jackson (CA)

If Kenny Phillips isn't healthy this season, who starts in his place for the birds? Nate Allen?

Dan Graziano
  (12:12 PM)

I would think, though the rookie Wolff could get a look.

Chris (NYC)

Hey Dan, I know you have mentioned the perceived strength of the Giants D-Line, but I haven't seen much on the impact that Kiwinuka can have by moving back to his more natural DE position. I think he brings some scheme versatility and veteran presence back to that position group. What do you think?

Dan Graziano
  (12:12 PM)

I do, and I think the argument that they got tougher at the DT spots is a legitimate one. I just think a lot rides on Tuck.

Dan Graziano
  (12:12 PM)

Especially with Pierre-Paul possibly missing time at the start.

Matthew (La Plata MD)

Any thoughts on the Skins possible cuts in camp?

Dan Graziano
  (12:13 PM)

In general, my thoughts on this are that we should probably let them have some camp first.

Andrew (DC)

I think regarding Morris, he's a bruising type of back who loves the contact which may not lead to a long, healthy career with his playing style.

Dan Graziano
  (12:14 PM)

That would be one reason to downgrade his 2016 prospects. Another would be Shanahan's history with RBs (i.e., changing them often). I like Morris a lot. GREAT kid, and it'd be great if he made it big. But just because someone doubts that he will doesn't make them an idiot or a poor scout.

Chris (Austin) [via mobile]

Don't you think that effectively calling people racists that support the Redskins name is worthy of taking personally?

Dan Graziano
  (12:15 PM)

Yes. I do agree. Who did that?

Dave (Sacramento)

You seem to still be in the "It would be a surprise if Griffin starts week 1" camp. Why? Everything points to a healthy and quick return. He's already at the final stage of his rehab (cutting) with a month before training camp even starts. If he's healthy, he plays. Right?

Dan Graziano
  (12:16 PM)

Oh yeah. If he's healthy, they'll play him. My point is, it hasn't even been six months yet since the surgery. We're all trusting in these eyewitness accounts from people who don't need to be honest with us. Until we see him out there playing and moving around, there's no way to know things like which stage of his rehab he's in.

Elvis (Tupelo, MS)

I think the Cowboys season will be a referendum on the Garret "right kind of guy" philosophy. Most of the 2012 draft class will essentially be rookies this season, along with Frederick, and if they produce, 'Boys will be real tough. If they don't pan out, it's another 8-8 season and Garrett is probably gone. Thoughts?

Dan Graziano
  (12:17 PM)

I think Garrett's probably safe unless they tank. I think they have enough talent on the roster to make the playoffs. I think the offensive line is still the biggest question mark and could sink the whole thing.

Will (Radnor, PA)

Do you think Chip Kelly will eventually phase out Maclin/Jackson and similar WRs for larger, more physical TE/WR hybrid players that can be moved all over the field?

Dan Graziano
  (12:19 PM)

This is a smart question, given the personnel moves he's made so far at that position. I'll say I give Kelly credit for being smart and adaptable, and if Jackson and/or Maclin turns out to be a clearly better player than the larger options on the roster, he'll adjust and lean more on them.

Splooz (SLC, Youtaw)

Jimmy Johnson went 1-15 his first year with Dallas and was 8-24 his first 2 years. Many Philly fans point to him as a success story of a guy with no NFL experience that Chip Kelly could emulate. Do you think the Philly ownership and fans have the patience for that type of start?

Dan Graziano
  (12:19 PM)

I think ownership definitely does. They just kept a coach for 14 years. Fans? I'm not touching that one.

chris (nyc)

Are there any lingering concerns about Nicks health or should he be 100% for the G-Men this year (barring any additional injuries)?

Dan Graziano
  (12:20 PM)

I don't think there's concern about last year's injuries lingering, but given Nicks' history so far in the NFL, there have to be concerns about injuries recurring, or of new leg injuries cropping up. Until we see him healthy for a full year.

kevin (nyc)

Dan: I still find it amazing, not that it really matters, that Eli doesn't get the respect he really deserves as a quarterback. When you look at what he did that first SB run, every defense he faced was in the top 11 of the league. He played with 3 offensive rookies who hadn't played in more than five games that year. And he played against what many feel is the best coach in the league and a defensive genius. Yet he put up 150 yards and two td's in the fourth to win. Am I wrong?

Dan Graziano
  (12:21 PM)

I don't know. Everyone you talk to in the league thinks he's one of the best. So I'm not sure how much more respect he should get than that.

Chipadelphia (Where it's always sunny....)

Shanny is in a tough position with rg3, under what circumstances would you start week 1? Like how much practice time? Maybe snaps in preseason?

Dan Graziano
  (12:23 PM)

Real tough position. The kind of decision that helps you understand why these guys make $7 mil a year. 100 ways to mess up, no way to be sure you're right. To me, it comes down to doubt. If there's any doubt that he's not ready or any concern than he could re-injure it because it's not yet fully healed, the kid sits. I don't know how you get to 100 percent certain, but that's Shanahan's task.

Splooz (SLC, Youtaw)

Allow me to follow up, do you think Chip Kelly himself has the patience for a long and slow start or do you see the lure of the easy life in college with less pressure (and boooooooing) being too much to resist?

Dan Graziano
  (12:23 PM)

That, I believe, is one of the most pertinent Chip Kelly questions. And it's one I'm not even sure he can answer right now.

Dave (Sacramento)

Going with the ESPN theme of projecting into the future. Who do you believe will lead the bEAST in sacks in 2015?

Dan Graziano
  (12:26 PM)

Jadaveon Clowney.

Joe (CT)

Giants needed Desmond Bishop! What happened!!??

Dan Graziano
  (12:26 PM)

My guess is they couldn't afford him.

BLevin (Big O (orlando))

Jadaveon Clowney for which team? (please say dallas)

Dan Graziano
  (12:27 PM)

Ha! I really just wanted to see the reactions. Here's another:

Dave (Sacramento)

So you're predicting the Eagles finish last in the league and get the #1 pick next year? Bold move. Don't travel to Philly anytime soon

kevin (nyc)

Dan: There is a thought that if Cruz and Nicks both come up for contract at the end of this year, that the Giants should keep Cruz and let Nicks go if Randle is what they think. Would it not be better to keep Nicks and Randle then you could really be on par with teams like Atlanta. The slot receiver wouldn't have to be a good as Cruz because the middle of the field will be open.

Dan Graziano
  (12:28 PM)

I would agree, though that assumes health for Nicks and quick development for Randle. In theory, you're right about the slot position, but Cruz is not just an Eli Manning creation, I don't think. He's got a lot of ability.

Mike (Washington, DC (Philly Fan))

Eagles...Last? You're Drunk Go Home. I wager the Eagles finish .500 or above this year.

Dan Graziano
  (12:29 PM)

I didn't say Eagles. Did I say Eagles?

Dan Graziano
  (12:30 PM)

Seriously, I'm just messing around. I do not honestly believe an NFC East team will have the No. 1 draft pick in 2014.

russ (nyc)

hey dan, after Witten who do you think will be the best fantasy TE from the NFC East for this year?

Dan Graziano
  (12:30 PM)

Fred Davis if he stays healthy. Brandon Myers if not. I almost said Ertz, but I don't think we know enough yet about how the TEs will be deployed in Philly.

Eric (Delawhere?)

You didn't say Eagles, but you were thinking it loudly.

Dan Graziano
  (12:31 PM)

I don't think loudly. It would hurt my head.

Sam Waco [via mobile]

Are you a giants fan Bc you live in NJ? Redskins fan Bc went to school their? Philly fan Bc you live in south jersey? Or Dallas fan because they're America's team?

Dan Graziano
  (12:34 PM)

Or none of the above, because I don't care who wins the games?

Jug (New York)

Did Alfred Morris rank in MW's Insider post on future running backs?

Dan Graziano
  (12:34 PM)

He was on the honorable mentions list.

MG (DC)

Dan, I really respect your work, but your scepticism about Morris' future productivity, because he (like Tom Brady) was a sixth round pick, is based on a shallow analysis. Yeh, I get it that most sixth round picks don't turn into stars, but most of them are not capable of the kind of performance that Morris delivered last year. Is there anything in his last year's peformance or his character that suggests that that last year was a fluke?

Dan Graziano
  (12:36 PM)

No, you misunderstand. I am personally not skeptical. I think Morris is good. But the initial question was regarding Matt Williamson's rankings, and my point was that there are legitimate reasons to support a scout's doubts about him.

Brian (Denver)

What's your opinion on reporting of the Hernandez fiasco? ESPN has been slightly better than some other sites, but it seems like tabloid journalism has started to supercede "innocent until proven guilty".

Dan Graziano
  (12:37 PM)

I'm actually proud of the restraint ESPN shows on this case and on cases like it.

Ben (PA)

Dan, please clear something up. There is someone in the comments section clearly misguided. Do most cities' radio stations, media, etc, believe that their city has the "best fans," or is it only Philly?

Dan Graziano
  (12:37 PM)

I think it's a pretty universal phenomenon.

sam (nyc)

What needs to improve on defense to help the Redskins' on 3rd down?

Dan Graziano
  (12:38 PM)

Well, the pass rush. Orakpo should help.

Snip Snap (Colorado Springs)

Who starts opposite of Barry Church at FS this season?

Dan Graziano
  (12:39 PM)

My guess is Will Allen, at least to start. They'll give Matt Johnson an opportunity, but there's no way to know what he'll do with it.

Dave (Sacramento)

Why is it that when it comes to RGIII's success, analysts say it's great but they want to see more before they annoint him. In the next breath, they'll say that Luck is superb and will be one of the league's best in no time. Double standard much?

Dan Graziano
  (12:39 PM)

Well, one of them got hurt, right?

Patrick (Severna Park, MD)

You a hockey fan? How bout them Blackhawks?

Dan Graziano
  (12:40 PM)

No. Did they win? Chicago, right?

Jug (New York)

Kirk Cousins has been handling the RGIII return with remarkable patience. At what point do you think he gets impatient to the point that the Skins need to play him or let him go?

Dan Graziano
  (12:40 PM)

I don't see it. Kid is remarkably grounded.

Luky (Turlock)

Everyone keeps looking at me cross-eyed and telling me I am crazy when I tell them Dez will be the #1 receiver in the NFL next year when comparing catches, yardage, and TD's - am I?

Dan Graziano
  (12:41 PM)

Yeah, but only because of Calvin Johnson.

Ian (CT)

How do you see the Giants receiver corps shaking out behind Nicks/Cruz/Randle? Will Jernigan/Barden stay? What about Murphy?

Dan Graziano
  (12:41 PM)

Barden's got to be a long shot. Guessing Murphy/Jernigan comes down to how they look as returners.

Weech (SoCal)

Dan, I've always appreciated your ability to pick a side on an issues and stick to your guns. For example, the SuperBowl being in NJ because of the average weather during that time, among other things. However, I was a bit surprised when you wrote last week that having a SB in Dallas would be a bad idea given their ice storm fiasco. Something that was considered a once-in-50-years anomaly. I'm not from Dallas but I'm interested in why you using two separate qualifiers for a city not having a SB.

Dan Graziano
  (12:43 PM)

Yeah, I didn't say that at all. I said they'll go back there because of the stadium and in spite of the fact that the freak storm wrecked the week. And my point was that, even if weather wrecks this year's Super Bowl, that won't deter them from having it in cold-weather places as long as they like the stadium.

oh (no)

Made the mistake of scrolling too far and hit the comments. Now I need a drink.

Dan Graziano
  (12:43 PM)

Yeah, never do that.

Dave (Sacramento)

Last year Griffin had 4 500-yard receivers, but none over 600. Do you believe he will continue to spread the ball around? Or with Garcon and F. Davis healthy, will they be his go to guys?

Dan Graziano
  (12:43 PM)

Yeah, Garcon missed almost half the season. He's the clear No. 1 guy if he plays all 16.

Patrick (Severna Park, MD)

Do you really think RGIII wouldn't benefit from having a sit down with McNabb?

Dan Graziano
  (12:44 PM)

Oh, I'm sure he could. As he could with any QB who played in the NFL, especially one who was as good as McNabb was. I just don't think McNabb's motivations are as selfless as he would have you believe they are.

Dave (Sacramento)

Thanks for answering so many of my questions, but you keep skipping the one I really care about the most.What should the Cowboys do about their salary cap next year. Already $15 million over before signing 2014 rookies and Anthony Spencer is a UFA. What's their move?

Dan Graziano
  (12:45 PM)

Not trying to ignore your question. This is the first time I've seen it. But I do not know the answer. They have this same problem every year. They keep restructuring and putting off the bill. You have to think it eventually catches up to them, but so far it has not.

Snip Snap (Colorado Springs)

Even though he has been explosive at it in the past, does JG allow Dez to return punts or does he just make him stick to WR?

Dan Graziano
  (12:46 PM)

I'd be surprised if they made Bryant the primary punt returner. I think his workload as a receiver will be immense. But that's not to say they won't put him back there in a big spot, or to scare another team.

Jug (New York)

Didn't realize this until your comment on the "less" vs. "fewer" rule for the number 1 in an earlier chat, but the rule is actually divisive among grammarians.

Dan Graziano
  (12:47 PM)

It is, and I don't understand why. First, it really rings wrong in my ear when people say "fewer than one." But to me it's as simple as can be. Less/fewer applies only to plurals. One is singular.

G-Money (Chicago, IL)

Greetings Dan - Are you buying the notion that Claiborne and Carr aren't a good fit for Kiffin's Tampa 2 defense? Seems to me that if you're a good cornerback, it doesn't matter what scheme the defense is playing.

Dan Graziano
  (12:49 PM)

I agree with you. I think they can press and bail. But the greater point is this: They spent significant resources to acquire those two. Big free-agent dollars for Carr and two high draft picks for Claiborne. Had they known they'd change in year two to a scheme that de-emphasized their greatest strengths, would it have been wise to do that, or use those resources otherwise?

Splooz (SLC, Youtaw)

Matt Bowen wrote a great piece on defending the read option and mentioned hitting the QB. As far as you know, is a QB who hands off and fakes a quick sprint out with his hands up allowed to get lit up or is he under the same protections as a QB who hands it off and trots off as if in slow playaction?

Dan Graziano
  (12:50 PM)

As far as I know, a QB who doesn't have the ball isn't supposed to get "lit up."

Dave (Florida)

Doug Free was good at one time. What is the cause of his bad play? Is it unreasonable to think he can rebound?

Dan Graziano
  (12:51 PM)

It is not unreasonable, but since I do not know the answer to your first question (what is the cause?), I can't really speculate as to how he can rebound or how likely it is that he will.

Carlo (Toronto)

Dan, are you officially switching from "breakfast links" to simply "links"? or was that a one time thing?

Dan Graziano
  (12:51 PM)

Not sure what you mean. I was off Friday and Monday, and it's possible someone titled the links differently.

Danny (Giants Country)

Would you agree that there is a clear push in the Giants organization to improve the motivation of its players by having so many 1 year and expiring contracts? (20+) Even Canty admitted motivation was an issue for them last year. I think Reese did this intentionally....money is a great motivator in the NFL.

Dan Graziano
  (12:53 PM)

It's possible, but I think the one-year deals are more a reflection on the kinds of players they were able to pursue this offseason given their cap issues.

Justin (B-More)

What % would you give to Adam Carriker landing on the PUP?

Dan Graziano
  (12:53 PM)

Sounds like it's close to 100 at this point. Only a month away and they're already bringing it up.

Kal El (Krypton)

Do you agree with articles such as the "Future Rankings" one that had the Giants at 6 but the rest of the beast very low?Based on what?

Dan Graziano
  (12:54 PM)

The method was very clearly spelled out. Five (I think?) categories, with points assigned to each. An amalgamation of qualified opinions. My opinion may have differed, but I didn't do the work that panel did on that exercise, and when dealing with opinions, how can we say wrong or right?

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Better QB this year - Eli or Big Ben?

Dan Graziano
  (12:55 PM)

I'd pick Eli. I think Ben's health issues are getting worse and worse.

Dirt (It's too hot today)

Do you think the Giants "missed out" on Bishop, or were they hoping to use what little cash they have left to lure Vonta Leach in?

Dan Graziano
  (12:55 PM)

I think they just don't have enough cap room to compete to sign these players if another team is interested.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Surprised that Tuck admitted he was distracted last year, or pretty cool that he would be so candid?

Dan Graziano
  (12:56 PM)

Oh, he's quite cool. One of my favorite players in the whole league to talk to. And obviously, at this point, it's well established that he doesn't mind talking about his own situation. I say it's refreshing, though I'm sure the Giants wish he'd just play better and it would stop.

Weech (SoCal)

Pick the lesser of four evils: mid-June, which secondary in the east are you liking to have the most success this year?

Dan Graziano
  (12:57 PM)

Yikes. I guess Dallas. Their corners are premium talents. There isn't much at safety division-wide. It's grim.

Ray Finkle (Mental Institution)

Do you think Tuck talks to much in the media for his numbers to be as low as they are? Shouldn't he eventually just "shut up and play"?

Dan Graziano
  (12:57 PM)

I mean, it's not as though he's doing interviews during games.

Dave (Sacramento)

Over or Under Griffin with 75 carries this year?

Dan Graziano
  (12:58 PM)

Under.

Splooz (SLC, Youtaw)

Do you ever see sports leagues controlling and administering things like HGH to help guys recover faster? As they have a vested interest in their players recovering faster and better...wouldn't that make sense? Also...do you think the current run of fast recoveries is HGH enhanced?

Dan Graziano
  (12:59 PM)

Yes, I think that's something the future could hold. Synthetic HGH has viable medical uses, particularly in children. The issue isn't that it's not useful. The issue is that the technology is still so new that the side effects and downside haven't been fully researched yet. Which is why you're not supposed to take it without a doctor administering it to you.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

A motivated Tuck should be a scary thought fo no 'fewer' than 3 QBs in the division...

Dan Graziano
  (1:00 PM)

Correct (and good grammar!), but we heard some of this same stuff from him last summer. Just sayin'/

Hanson (DC)

In huddle interviewer sounds like it would be a tough job.

Dan Graziano
  (1:00 PM)

But not a dull one! Thanks for all the questions, folks. Catch you next week.