Fire away, sports fans.
NYG third WR always seems to surprise us on the upside because of all the attention their top two WRs get - who is that this year in your opinion?
Without evaluating the merits of your premise, I'll say the Giants hope Rueben Randle steps up as the "third WR" this year. That would mean he plays on the outside opposite Nicks with Cruz in the slot. They even used some two-WR sets last year with Nicks and Randle outside and Cruz on the bench, though Randle wasn't ready for that. He's got the size they need out there. Not sure Louis Murphy is the answer.
Graz - A happy July to you amigo. Let's get this party started right with a discussion of RG3. The Skins ran read options (runs and passes) about 12-14% of their plays. Defenses seem to be spending a ton of time and effort talking about stopping this. Do you see the Skins cutting that number down significantly and watching D's waste time focusing on it giving the Skins an advantage?
I think that's possible. What the Redskins want is for defenses to have to account for it, whether they show it or not. So I think you'll see some weeks where it's almost nonexistent and some where it's a big part of the game plan, but it won't disappear completely, because they want teams to wonder.
Dallas wins the east with a solid o-line and health all around..Agree?
Yes, if no one on the Cowboys gets hurt all year, I believe they will win it.
the redskins had an outstanding turnover ratio in 2012. while their offense will surely turn it over more in 2013 is it fair to assume the defense will also add more with a healthy linebacking core and reshuffled secondary?
That is the Redskins' belief, yes. Mike Shanahan thinks they can limit turnovers as an offense -- keep the number low, even if it's not as historically low as it was last year. But your point is one that's being actively discussed at Redskins Park this offseason -- the idea that the ratio could stay the same if the defense forces more turnovers.
The pass rush is the key there, I think. More pressure on opposing QBs, more turnovers.
Can you just say something about David Wilson?
David Wilson went to Virginia Tech.
With Jason Peters back and Kelly almost assured to run the ball more, I don't understand why McCoy isn't seen as the #1 RB for fantasy football.
We could get into this, but the reason he's not No. 1 is the same reason Arian Foster or Doug Martin or Jamaal Charles or any of those guys aren't No. 1 -- because Adrian Peterson hasn't retired.
Who should start the ASG? Harvey, Kershaw, or Lee?
Harvey at Citi Field! Come on. Even Kershaw said so.
Hey Dan, I think you could make the argument that the giant's d-line has gotten better. They added muscle inside and Osi was never good against the run, now that Kiwanuka can step in we can get better all-around play at DE instead of having a liability against the run. What are your thoughts on this?
I think you can make the argument that they got better in the middle, but they weren't very good there. I don't buy the idea that losing Osi is a positive.
Good afternoon, fine sir. What are your thoughts on Barrett Green suing the 'Skins, Greg Williams, and Robert Royal for his career ending injury?
I think it's a reach.
Who do you think will be better fantasy wise McCoy or Morris? I like Morris because I don't expect RG3 to get as many goaline carries giving Morris more TDs
Maybe, but Morris is a non-factor in the passing game, so McCoy likely has more value in a league that awards points for receptions. McCoy also the better big-play threat.
Who will be the redskins starting free safety week 1?
Probably Doughty unless one of the rookies has a great camp.
Dan true or false, Demarcus ware when healthy is the best player in the division.
I think I picked Eli Manning last year when we did that exercise, but Ware was No. 2 and it was a tough call.
will you be doing another player countdown soon?
Gonna be playing a lot of golf soon.
What's the percentage chance that Nicks signs long term with the giants?
Following up on my read option question, do you think more teams start to show read option looks (even if they very rarely run the QB) to keep D's wondering? It seems like a fantastic way to take a defender out of run defense (accounting for the QB) and controlling his pass rush.
Yes, I think the way this league works, you'll see more teams start to do it before you see fewer.
Do you think there's still a chance of vonta leach signing with the Giants?
As long as he hasn't signed elsewhere, there's a chance. I'd heard he was going to Miami, but that was weeks ago and the fact that it hasn't happened makes you think he's waiting for someone else to beat the offer. Giants would be a great spot for him. I think the Cruz deal cleared some cap room.
Are you saying that if no team has any significant injuries or injuries to key players...everything being equal, the Cowboys are your pick to win the Beast?
No. I'm saying that if they're the team that has no injuries at all, they will win. I believe it about the other three as well.
Has Kenny Phillips made it to the field yet? His knees worry me and safety is my major concern for the Eagles D this season. Your thoughts?
He did practice some in minicamp, but unfortunately the knee is a significant worry that doesn't seem to be going away. I think they'd have to look at it as a bonus if he could get healthy and play for them, and they have to be planning as though he's not in the starter mix right now.
Why would u prefer Dallas to Skins to win the east, based simply on health? Romo over RG3? Please more supporting rationale..
Why does no one read the words before they comment on them? Any team that goes through a season without injury is going to win a ton of games in this league. It's preposterous to assume any team will get through the season fully healthy. Those that do make the playoffs.
How would Cruz's deal clear cap space? his salary went from 2.6 million to $8 million. I don't know the exact number but that's the average
His 2013 salary remained unchanged, right?
I don't know. I haven't seen the breakdown on the cap hit.
Is this the first year Tony Romo gets a 1,000 yard rusher? If he does, would you say that the Cowboys would have the best offense in the division?
I don't think you can say that until you see real offensive line improvement.
Follow up on before, if Leach signs with the Giants how significantly would you bump up David Wilson? Thank you.
In terms of fantasy value? I'm on record as someone who tries to stay away from the Giants' RB situation. I think it's pretty clear that they like to split carries, that they like Andre Brown as a goal-line back, and that they don't structure their run game in a manner that benefits fantasy football players.
The Cruz contract breakdown (from Roto) - 7/8/2013: Signed a six-year, $45.879 million contract. The deal contains $15.6 million guaranteed -- a $9.5 million signing bonus, all of Cruz's 2013-2014 base salaries, and a $1.5 million roster bonus in the second year. 2013: $630,000, 2014: $4 million, 2015: $6.15 million, 2016: $7.9 million, 2017: $7.4 million, 2018: $8.4 million, 2019: Free Agent. It appears he's costing about $2.4-2.5 against the 2013 cap.
Which would be a bit less than he would have cost against the cap on the original RFA tender, no?
Why isn't Eric Winston in Washington? I know Washington has cap issues, but he is such an improvement over what they have now, that one would think they would try to make something happen and/or backload his contract. Thoughts?
Why isn't he still in Kansas City? Why isn't he still in Houston? Why isn't he in Dallas? Obviously, teams aren't that high on the guy.
Do you think Desean Jackson would be more effective in the slot? I know he has the deep speed everyone is afraid of, but on the outside it is too easy to take him out of the gameplan. Agree or disagree and why?
Yeah, I think his skill set seems as though it could be used the way the Giants use Cruz. But I think with Vick at QB, they've generally wanted him to try and get deep to take advantage of Vick's arm strength.
I'm going to take exactly one Facebook-related question. I'm going to take it at 12:30. And that's going to be it.
Dan, alot of attention has been placed on the Eagles QB competition. Why has the offensive line been overlooked as the more pressing issue? When I look at the (lack of) depth on the O-Line, the Eagles are toast if they suffer 2 injuries. QB play won't matter at that point. Thoughts?
Well, I think it always matters, but I'm not sure who's been overlooking the offensive line as an issue for the Eagles this year.
Do you see Dallas dropping the FB position this year and using one of their TEs in that role?
Have you heard anything on JPP's health? Do we have any reason to believe he'll be better this season?
No news on that since the day of the surgery itself. Maybe once camp starts we'll have some sense of whether to expect him back Week 1.
The Giants' over/under for wins this year should be set at 9.5 right?
I guess. Last four years they'd have been under, over, under, under.
Does the slow time in sports right now make football feel closer since it's basicaly 2 weeks till camp opens, or further away since there's nothing to keep you entertained(sports-wise)?
I personally enjoy watching baseball, so I don't feel this.
Do yo ugive Webster slack for last year from the broken hand or is it just an excuse?
I mean, I'm sure it hurts to try and play press coverage with a broken hand. But watching Webster last year, it would have been hard to believe that was the source of all the problems.
Dallas had turnover melt downs in a few games last year. With the new changes made on coaching this year for Dallas. Which is more likely to happen, Dallas forcing more turnovers or Dallas turning the ball over less?
Forcing more. I think Kiffin/Marinelli were brought in with that mandate.
Are you mad that you know have to drive further to go to the Redskins training camp?
If I go to Redskins this year, I imagine I'd fly.
say the Giants defense somehow improves this season, despite the lack of LB help. do you think with their offense they can take the bEast with a double digit win total? I'm going with 11 or 12.
I guess, but why is everyone ignoring the losses they've suffered in terms of blocking? Bradshaw, Bennett, Hynoski... these are guys who need to be replaced -- significantly excellent blockers. The skill-position guys are great, but they lost A TON of blocking help.
I will not be ignored, Dan! As much as we read your work every day, your regular readers also come to the blog to discuss football with, have fun with, and, yes, playfully insult the other regular readers of the blog. How do you see our experience of the blog changing with the new format? Thanks.
First of all, I think it should be obvious to all of you that the decision to switch the comments section to Facebook was made well over my head, so I can't speak to the reasoning behind it. But as for the way it will affect your experience, that's up to you. If you see the blog as a place to come and debate the topics we write about, it shouldn't be hard to put your name on your comments. If you see it as a place to come and say rotten things to each other behind the cloak of anonymity, then yeah, you're going to have to go do that somewhere else. From my standpoint, I plan to continue to provide good, thought-provoking content and would hope you guys keep coming back to read it.
Dan, what everyone really wanted to know (and which perhaps you understood and tried to avoid) was, if all teams in beast stay healthy, who is your pick to win the division at this time?
I don't make those picks at this time.
Fix my Mets in one response. Go.
Dan...if you can't give the benefit of the doubt for Webster's injury...how can you do it for Bryant's injury? For all we know, Bryant's season last year could be just as big a fluke as Webster's season.
Not all of us want to join facebook to comment, THATS THE POINT
Again, not much I can do about it.
yes, the Giants did lose a few guys who helped with the blocking. however, Brown excels at it, as does Pascoe and Hynasoraus is due back during the season. also, it seems whenever we harp on losses with them, the Giants always seem to find a replacement in house. I'm not worried about the offense, I'm worried about the defense, again.
Brown may well "excel" at it (though the numbers don't back that up), but Bradshaw is far and away the best pass-protection running back in the league. Replacing that is going to be difficult, is my point. The Giants aren't dumb. They know this.
what was your personal favorite game in the Division last season. I personally loved the cowboys giants game in week 8.
That game was crazy, though I did not attend it. As far as the ones I saw in person, the Giants-Redskins Monday Night game stands out as having been fairly intense.
Should the NFL be involved and/or responsible with helping players be decent human beings? Should not the players have that responsibility, and should not the teams as well? If I draft a former gang member or guy with a bad history, it makes sense to try to protect the investment with counseling (ala Dez Bryant, I guess), but that player's actions are not my fault or responsibility.
No, but it seems like it'd make good business sense for the league and the teams to do what they can to help. I mean, what the Cowboys did with Dez Bryant last year wasn't completely selfless, right? It's in their best interest for him to stay out of trouble off the field so he can play his best for them.
The Giants always seem to have a fair amount of depth and pride themselves on building through the draft. However, do you think with all this money they are signing to the skill position and marquee/glamorous players (Manning, Cruz, JPP, presumably Nicks next year), they are running the risk of turning into the Cowboys (high on star-power, low on top-to-bottom depth like the Giants had in the 1st SB run)?
They are, yes. That is their challenge going forward, as it is for the Ravens and the Cowboys and the Packers and the Saints and all of the teams that spend $20 million or so of their cap on the QB position.
Dan Graziano (12:32 PM)First of all, I think it should be obvious to all of you that the decision to switch the comments section to Facebook was made well over my head, so I can't speak to the reasoning behind it. But as for the way it will affect your experience, that's up to you. If you see the blog as a place to come and debate the topics we write about, it shouldn't be hard to put your name on your comments. --------As much as we rag on you, most of us enjoy you as a blogger. The problem that a lot of people have is that they either have jobs that require a certain level of anonymity, or simply don't want the bosses having a play by play of how long they're on facebook.Know it's above your head, but I want to point both of those aspects out.
Fair enough. And understood. Again, just not a whole lot any of us can do about it.
You're assuming someone would have been able to reach Hernandez to help him. He's accused of one of the worse things a person can do.
Obviously, that (allegedly) extreme case is what prompted the question, but even if you removed his case from the equation, it's still a worthwhile discussion, I think.
Dan, you blocked me on twitter and I have no idea why, what's up with that?
I almost always have a reason.
With the British open coming up, how does your game fare compared to Romo's?
Ask me again in two weeks and I promise I'll be happier about the answer.
Rumors circulating that the Redskins might go into the season only carrying 2 QBs, your thoughts?
Doesn't seem all that wise, if the starter has a bum knee.
I disagree with your assessment of Bradshaw as the best blocking RB in the NFL. Jacobs was better and McCoy is hella-good too. it's all about technique and recognition. none these RB's came into the league tagged as solid pass blockers, they learned from their coaches. some are better at it than others. Giants win the bEast with 11-12 wins, I have a pizza riding on it.
Sorry, but the numbers and the scouts back it up. Bradshaw is widely regarded as the best in pass protection.
Here's a prediction for ya- Ronald Leary beats out both Livings and Bernadeau for a Guard spot. Travis Frederick is too good to keep off the field and its a wash between him and Costa. So Frederick takes the other spot. Jerry's big offensive line free agent additions bite the dust. Your thoughts?
Could happen, sure. It's not as though the guards they signed before 2012 played so well that their spots should be unassailable.
Why do you think Dallas has so many top draft choices go down with injury recently? Bad luck or a fatal fall in draft strategy?
I have written on this. They tend to like to find value in the second round, third round, fourth round with players who have dropped due to injury concerns. Sean Lee. Bruce Carter. DeMarco Murray. All guys who had injury issues in college, so they were able to draft them later than their talent may have warranted. That's a fine strategy, but if you keep using it over and over again, you end up with a team full of injury guys. I think they have spotted this, which is why they prioritized a guy like Randle this year, who didn't miss a single college game.
Who starts week 1 alongside Barry Church....Wilcox, Allen or Johnson?
Definitely not Wilcox yet. I think Allen goes into camp as the starter but they want Johnson to stay healthy through August and take it from him. So my guess is Johnson.
Dan, if you were running the Giants and Hakeem Nicks walked in the door and said, I'll sign for you if you pay me $10 million per year for the next six years. Do you agree to that contract or make him prove he can stay healthy in 2013?
What's the guarantee? As long as it's reasonable, I take that deal if I'm the Giants. The AAV is less than next year's franchise cost, right?
Can Bill Callahan make the cowboys offense a top 5 ?
Not unless he can play right tackle.
Do you feel that one of the fanbases is far worse than all of the others you cover. For the amount of harassment they give you and everyone else. Not looking for the name just curious if you feel one of them is worse than the others
No. Each one will attack angrily if I write something about their team that they don't like. And I've done that with all four of them, more than once.
Considering the improvements to the interior of the D-Line and that the ends and secondary can't really play much worse than they did last year, would you be suprised to see the Giants defense play well this year?
I would not be surprised to see the Giants' defense play well this year. I think they're a well-coached, well-run team with very good players. But I think it's fair to say there are concerns on that side of the ball.
you never say anything bad about the giants.
Right. Forgot. Sorry.
Is the Eagles 2014 starting QB on the roster today?
Sure. It could well be Barkley.
I recently learned via the Celtics that you can trade coaches in the NBA - Can this be done in the NFL?
Belichick, right? Didn't the Jets get a pick for him?
Just curious, what's your reasoning on dismissing Wilcox as the potential starter on day 1? Word I'd heard is he's been the most impressive of the three thus far in camp.
I don't mean to be dismissive. My understanding at the time of the draft was that he was viewed as a long-range project rather than an potential immediate starter. That's what I was basing it on.
Do you think Nick Foles has a real shot at the starting QB spot? and if so, if he wins it is Vick gone?
I think he's got a shot, sure. I think Vick would have to perform very poorly in order to lose the spot. And yes, I think if that happens, Vick is not on the team.
Gruden - another coach acquired for picks, right?
Yes. Gruden, definitely.
Dan, Josh Brent is still a Cowboy. Why?
I think they like him. They promised Jerry Brown's mother they'd take care of him. And from a business standpoint, they really don't know how much jail time he's going to do, and it's possible he plays for them again.
Also Jets got a 4ht round pick when Herm Edwards went to the Chiefs
You play to win the game.
Do you think if Vick doesn't win out the job he will go to a rival and give out Kelly's plays and possible game plans?
I think if he knows them well enough to do that, he'll have won the job.
With Parnell and Free, it's a clear no win situation for Dallas at RT. With Free, I wouldn't even want him on my team as a backup. The guy looked like a 12 year old out there last season, getting pushed back into Romo's grill. What was Jerry's motive in keeping someone THAT bad???
Didn't find anyone he liked better. I don't get it either, but that's the reason.
You talked about being in FFBL's with fans before. Would you consider commishing a league of blog readers (3 readers per fan base, with one of Redskins spots obviously taken)?
But I thought you guys were all leaving for some other blog where you could comment anonymously.
Dan:Heard you on Rothenberg. You make good points on Giants oline. But you don't seem as worried about the Cowboys oline. You don't seem worried about them learning a new defensive scheme. You don't really seem worried about likelihood of Austin injury. You pick them to win division, I'm confused.
I've made no pick. And I really don't think any honest assessment of my work over the past two years would reveal a lack of criticism of the Cowboys' offensive line.
Folks, every team in this division has big flaws and potential problems. It's why they don't get two playoff teams anymore. It's why it only takes nine or 10 wins to win it now. It'll come back up, but as of now, there's no way to feel GREAT about any of them.
Dan: Eli wins another superbowl, how is he viewed in comparison to Brees, Brady, Rodgers, Peyton.
Well, yeah, if he wins a third, then you talk about him with Brady, who won three (and lost two to Eli). I think Manning is a great player. I think that's the widespread consensus opinion. I don't understand why people are so obsessed with where he ranks in relation to the other great players.
I know he's not!
With Tuck older, Osi gone, JPP hurting, and Moore just a rookie, Do you believe that the Giants pass-rush is as feared as they were a few years ago?
No. But sometimes, that's the way the Giants like it.
Dan People are questioning the Giants D, which they should, but they also held Greenbay to 10, SF to 3, Saints to 20 (int ret for TD). Shut down eagles last game. They have the potential to be really good.
Absolutely. But doing it for 16 games is the key.
LeSean McCoy over/under 10 total touchdowns this year?
Dan, two years ago Tuck played horrible until week 15. But a good interior helped JPP get 16.5 sacks. As long as there are no complications with his surgery, I think the same thing will happen this year. I think you guys did not appreciate the damage to the interior of the line last year.
No, I think we've appreciated that. And I've consistently said DT is the one area where I think they improved this offseason. Look, it's the Giants. I'm not going to pound my chest like I did two years ago and insist they're toast because they had a weak offseason. As you may remember, that didn't work out so well for me as a maker of predictions. Obviously, if you want to have faith in the Giants to identify, fix and overcome their potential issues, that's justified. But there are concerns that need to be addressed. Nothing wrong with discussing them.
I feel like the system Kelly is trying to install may in fact be perfect for Vick. I know you believe Vick makes too many mistakes, and is turnover prone. However, maybe Andy Reid's system forced 'em to hold the ball too long and take too many violent hits IN the pocket. Even when McNabb was quarterback, Reid forced him to throw the ball despite quality receivers.
I have heard this argument, and it makes sense. My thinking is, when the play breaks down, the 33-year-old Vick is likely to revert to what he's always done and been. But it's sports, Michael. The beauty of it is that we don't know what's going to happen, and we'll all find out together.
Do your bosses encourage you to use a condescending tone in these chats? I'm an occasional reader -- I basically follow you on twitter and click when something looks interesting -- but just read through this and am surprised by the attitude in most of your responses. You write about a conference that covers New York, Philly, and Cowboys fans...obnoxious readers kind of comes with the territory. Might as well embrace it.
Oh I embrace it. Trust me. But I would assume that fans/readers who expect me to understand their personality quirks will return the favor!
I think that's a good note to end on, folks. We'll do this again on July 30. Be well.