Eagles Wake-Up Call: Giants’ D Prefers Vick To RGIII

When asked to describe the performance of Robert Griffin III Sunday, Giants defensive lineman Osi Umenyiora offered an honest assessment.

“I’m not even going to lie. That’s the best quarterback we’ve played this year, for sure,” Umenyiora said, per the Giants’ web site. “It’s just unfortunate that he’s a rookie, because he’s going to be around here forever, doing stuff like that. That’s just crazy.”

The Giants have played both the Eagles and Cowboys already this season. In fact, they lost both those games. But Umenyiora will take Griffin over both Michael Vick and Tony Romo. And it sounds like he’s not alone.

“I’m pretty mad at the football gods for putting him in the NFC East,” said Justin Tuck. “To face that guy twice a year is going to be a headache. But, you know, the one thing about it is, a quarterback like that, he is different from the Eli’s and those guys, because he presents such a hard, it’s just hard to game plan that guy. He takes away from your enthusiasm for the game a little bit, when you play a play perfectly and he still has 4.3 speed to run by guys and make plays. A guy like him, I don’t think there is anybody in the league just like him. If I was going to run that offense and they asked me to pick between Vick, Cam Newton, the RGIII, I’m probably taking that guy.”

Here are the numbers:

 
Comp. %
Yds./game
YPA
Touchdowns
Interceptions
Eli Manning63.8301.38.0127
Robert Griffin III70.4228.78.573
Michael Vick58.9272.07.188
Tony Romo67.9272.77.489

Tough to argue with what Umenyiora and Tuck said. Griffin also leads all quarterbacks with 468 yards rushing. Among players with 50 carries, his 7.3 yards per attempt is tied for tops in the NFL.

On Sunday, Griffin lit the Giants up, going 20-for-28 for 258 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also ran nine times for 89 yards. Redskins fans might be bummed that they let a win slip away (largely due to four turnovers), but more likely, they’re thrilled to have the most electrifying quarterback in the game right now. NFC East defenses are going to be dealing with RGIII for years to come. For the Eagles, that starts with a Week 11 trip to D.C.

As for Giants fans, they’re feeling pretty good too. Take a look at the standings:

It doesn’t have to be pretty every week. Coming off an impressive win over the 49ers, Eli Manning engineered his 24th fourth-quarter comeback, connecting with Victor Cruz for a 77-yard touchdown with 1:13 left. Giants fans know it’s all about just getting into the postseason with their squad. After Sunday, New York has two more wins than every other team in the division. They’ve won three in a row since the loss to the Eagles and have a +68 point differential.

Eagles and Cowboys fans, meanwhile, are in similar spots. Their veteran quarterbacks are tied for second (Romo) and third (Vick) in interceptions. And their current coaches might not be around next season. The good news for both squads is that they’ve each only played one division game. At 3-3, they’re both still in the mix.

The Eagles and Cowboys will get their chances to create some buzz in the final 10 games. But, for now, the talk of the division is RGIII.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Why aren’t the Eagles hitting on more big plays in the passing game? I identified three major factors.

I filled in with the mailbag this week. Topics include the 2011 draft and expectations for Nick Foles.

Could defensive tackle Mike Patterson return? The answer is yes, according to a report.

It’s time to start paying attention to how special teams are killing the Eagles this year.

Through six games, DeMeco Ryans has exceeded expectations.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Dan Pompei of the National Football Post says the Eagles are one of the top-five spending teams in the league:

The top five spending teams in the NFL this year, judging by money paid to players, are the Saints, Texans, Eagles, Lions and Bills. Their combined winning percentage is .500. The bottom five spending teams in the NFL this year are the Vikings, Colts, Rams, Bengals and Packers. Their combined winning percentage is .517. Most interesting is the Saints, football’s top spenders, doled out more than $63 million more than the Vikings, football’s lowest spenders. And the Vikings have three more wins.

D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution says the Falcons’ 6-0 record is deceiving:

Style doesn’t count in the standings, but the quality of Atlanta’s play is regressing even as the victories keep coming.

Atlanta’s problems both running the ball and stopping the run are still apparent and the secondary’s knack for making big plays has masked problems with pass coverage and tackling. Atlanta’s offensive line play has been inconsistent and the limitations of a pass-heavy offense reliant on Ryan are starting to show.

The Falcons visit the Linc Sunday at 1 p.m.

COMING UP

The Eagles return to practice today. Tim and I will have the latest from Novacare. Plus, Birds 24/7 Radio airs from 6 to 7 on 97.5 The Fanatic. Tune in!

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

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