Eye On the Enemy: NFC East Roundup

David Wilson's neck injury forced him to retire at age 23 this week.

David Wilson’s neck injury forced him to retire at age 23 this week.

Once a week, we’ll take a spin around the NFC East to check in on what’s going on with the Eagles’ division rivals.


The Cowboys have high hopes for their corners after deciding to play press man more, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com:

The Dallas Cowboys' coaching staff did a disservice to their cornerbacks last season.

With Monte Kiffin making the defensive calls, the Cowboys primarily used zone coverages, rarely allowing their cornerbacks to play press man. That was a source of internal friction last season and will change with Rod Marinelli as the defensive coordinator.

"We've just got to be smart with it, but I've got great, great confidence in our corners," Marinelli said despite the fact that Brandon Carr has yet to report to camp due to his mother's death and Morris Claiborne has missed the past few practices due to knee tendinitis. "Unbelievable confidence. Those guys are really good players. You have to play to your strength. I think that's our strength."

Rod Marinelli’s "travel rules" could really help Bruce Carter, says Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News:

With Rod Marinelli now the defensive coordinator, the Cowboys have invoked the “travel rules” within their scheme. That means Carter will line up behind three-technique defensive tackle Henry Melton on every play, even on the strong side of the field.

With Melton protecting Carter on every play, the linebacker should be free to get to the football quickly.

Marinelli has always used the “travel rules” within the Tampa 2 scheme, and it’s paid off in his previous stops.

In Tampa Bay, three-technique tackle Warren Sapp protected weakside linebacker Derrick Brooks. They’re both in the Hall of Fame. When Marinelli was in Chicago, Melton protected linebacker Lance Briggs. In 2012, Melton went to the Pro Bowl, and Briggs had 103 tackles and 11 pass breakups.

If cleared to return by the NFL, Dallas would welcome back Josh Brent, reports Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett echoed owner Jerry Jones is saying he would welcome former defensive tackle Josh Brent back to the team if he is cleared to return by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Brent is seeking reinstatement into the league after completing the terms of his 180-day jail sentence after being convicted of intoxication manslaughter in the December 2012 car incident that killed Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown.

Brent, 26, will meet with Goodell on Thursday to determine if their will be any additional punishment under the league's personal conduct policy.

Jones said Brent deserves a second chance and promised a roster spot if he is reinstated by Goodell.


David Wilson gave an emotional goodbye, notes Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News:

“And every time I watch a Giants game or a football game and see people play that I actually had a chance to meet, I want to see them try to be great. Because it can be taken away,” the 23-year-old Wilson said. “So when they go on the field I want to see them, every Sunday or Thursday or Monday, I want to see them guys be great, see them push themselves.

“That’s where my joy will come from.”

The joy of playing was taken away from Wilson on Monday when doctors told him his neck condition made it too dangerous for him to continue his career and that they wouldn’t clear him to return to football. Wilson said he had been aware that was a possibility ever since he suffered a neck burner in practice last week, just one week into his attempted comeback from neck surgery.

And the Giants’ 2012 first-round pick insisted he’s at peace with that decision. He insisted he was truly happy as he paused one last time to reflect on his all-to-brief career with the Giants.

Mathias Kiwanuka could be very important this year, according to Dan Graziano of ESPNNewYork.com:

If you watched the preseason game Sunday night, you saw Kiwanuka linger behind the line and bat down an EJ Manuel pass. He had a strong game, and he has had strong practices. The Giants have moved him around the line, having him and fellow defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul switch sides and sometimes moving Kiwanuka inside to defensive tackle on passing downs. Kiwanuka is always a quiet guy, and that hasn't changed, but he seems somehow more charged-up on the field than I remember him. Maybe it's the fact that he is being used strictly as a pass-rusher now, with no more linebacker duties. Maybe it's that Justin Tuck is gone and he sees it as his responsibility to slide into that leadership role on the defense.

"I think just being in these halls for a long time, and everybody that comes in, the longer they stay, the more they understand it," Kiwanuka said earlier in camp. "Having a lot of new guys around here adds an increased role I have to play in terms of letting people know about the history. It's not just a mystique thing from the outside. It's a true way we approach the game and life. Myself and a lot of other guys who have been here are taking the lead and just going out there and showing people how to work."

The Giants want more from Prince Amukamara, writes Paul Schwartz of the New York Post:

But the Giants want more from Amukamara.

“I would like to see him intercept two of those three balls because he had a chance,’’ cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta said Tuesday at training camp. “He had better position than the receivers did on all of them. He did a great job of the forcing the receiver. He had them pinned against the sideline. He did a great job at the line of scrimmage getting his hands on the guys and forcing them to the sideline.’’

It may have been a great job but it was not a complete job. Entering his fourth season with the Giants, the 25-year-old Amukamara is in his physical prime and has shaken off some early-career turbulence fueled by injury, missed practice time and his wide-eyed, sluggish recognition of the give-and-take world of an NFL locker room. In some ways, the Giants lightened the load on him by opening the coffers to sign Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a star-quality cornerback. In some ways, they made Amukamara’s job more difficult.


John Clayton of ESPN.com's joint practice observations includes a positive sign for Robert Griffin III:

1. A positive repair sign on RG III: Last year, Griffin was coming off ACL surgery. He spent the offseason rehabbing and strengthening his knee instead of advancing his game. Looking back, people in the organization are saying Mike Shanahan made a mistake playing him at the start of the 2013 season. New head coach Gruden is repairing the player, and the hard work is showing results. Gruden admits RG III has a long way to go, but the knee brace is off and the sky is the limit for him.

Griffin gets to the office at 6 a.m. and is lucky to leave by 8 p.m. Gruden has him working on more three- and five-step drops to get the ball out quickly and get into a rhythm. Where the previous coaching staff wanted to use Griffin as more of a running quarterback, Gruden wants to be less reliant on that part of his game. Expect the Redskins to call only a few runs a game for Griffin. In Cincinnati, Gruden turned second-round choice Andy Dalton into a three-time playoff quarterback who just received a monster contract. Griffin has more talent than Dalton. By midseason, watch out.

The Patriots have put on a clinic against the Redskins this week, says Liz Clarke of the Washington Post:

And the headline couldn’t have been overstated had it been put in flashing neon lights: Brady’s command of his position has his Patriots in midseason form, while the Redskins are about where you’d expect a 3-13 team with a re-tooled offense to be 48 hours before its preseason opener.

The ball rarely hit the ground when the Patriots’ first-team offense squared off against the Redskins’ defense in 11-on-11 drills. It was one rapid-fire completion after another to receivers all over the field and especially wherever Rambo lurked, subbing for starting free safety Ryan Clark who sat much of practice after tweaking a hamstring.

Drive after drive, Brady moved his Patriots with such efficiency that the Redskins’ secondary barely had a chance to make a play.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley thinks the Redskins should change their name:

I was asked earlier today and answered that I do believe it is probably time for the Washington Redskins to change their team name.

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  • macadood

    To be fair Brady did the same thing to our D last year in the preseason joint practices. And will likely do the same this year too.

    • ICDogg

      Yeah, he shredded us pretty good.

      • cliff h-MOAR white goons

        sure did. wonder if we’ll get any comparison reports. how Eags faired vs Wash getting lit up.

    • jpate

      Only weakness in Brady’s game is being pressured (like any QB) and in practice he can’t be touched, it’s almost like cheating for him.

      • aub32

        I see what you did there. (Though I don’t know if it was intentional)

        • jpate

          It definitely was

      • Guest

        Makes sense why the Pats would do this. Brady gets all his reps in practice where he can’t get hit, and then Belicheck can sit him in the game since it doesn’t count. That way there’s no risk of Brady getting injured, and he gets the chance to go against opposing defenses.

      • anon

        You and cary on the same wavelength.

      • MagatBrackendale

        i have a feeling that Brady is not going to fade away. Just one year he’ll suddenly sink like a stone.

    • peteike

      I dont think it will be nearly the same as last year. New scheme, players just trying to learn it. I dont doubt he will still be great, just dont think it will be quite as easy looking. We’ll get our chops in this time.

  • ICDogg

    Building momentum to change the Skins’ name. Eventually they’ll probably have to.

  • ICDogg

    Out of the 3 teams, I think the Skins have the best chance of being a lot better this year.

    • CrackSammich

      Yessir. Scary to think what RGIII could become. Giants scare me the most though… Eli always seems to turn it on when they’ve got no chance, and wouldn’t you know it, everyone thinks they’ve got no chance.

      • peteike

        ya, I think both will be better but every time Eli/coughlin are against it they step up. We shall see, thats why the NFL is the best. Well, not seeing other NFC east teams succeed but you know what I mean

  • cliff h-MOAR white goons

    cant see how the NFL wont suspend Brent for 1yr. not to get political, but 6 months in jail for being absolutely hammered, killing passenger, and luckily no one else was in his path. also, is it noble that they are guaranteeing him a roster spot or desperate? he has to be rusty and out of football condition. was he ever all that good? never heard of the guy before accident.

    • JosephR2225

      I guess as a fan of the franchise that signed Mike Vick when he got out of prison I can’t really have too much moral indignation that the Cowboys would sign a player that killed one of his teammates… But I question why they would want him back. He let down his team in the most colossal way possible and killed another member of that team. Why would you want that kind of presence in your locker room? The Eagles signed Vick and the judicial system deemed he paid his debt to society, but I can’t imagine the Falcons would have considered signing him, because that was the team he let down.

      • cliff h-MOAR white goons

        Arthur Blank wanted Vick to get 21 yrs not 21 months, he was one p-o’d owner. didnt he also sue Vick for signing bonus? see your point on ‘morality’, but difference is Eags came after everything was said and done, Vick was going to play for someone. JJ and ‘Allas seem to be walking hand and hand with this guy throughout. almost feels like if JJ could have pushed enough weight around, he’d have gotten guy work release…all for a marginal player.

        • JosephR2225

          Totally agree. The part I don’t understand is why Jerry isn’t just as pissed as Arthur Blank was. He should be. And if this were the Eagles I would want Jeff Lurie to be.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            because Jerrah the GM would sell his soul to get credit for a super bowl.

        • anon

          Well they need him now more than ever…

        • RIP illa

          Dude killed his best friend and has to live with that. Not gonna go deep into the moral angles, but I’m pretty sure forgiveness is at the top of the moral chart. The player, who died, mother has forgiven Brent and ‘Allas has/is taking care of one of their own, without condoning what he has done. I actually commend them for the stance they are taking and the way they handled the whole situation from the start, whether he’s a marginal player or not. That’s about as far as I’m gonna go in complimenting/defending the Cowboys. Feeling dirty now…gonna take a shower.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            not questioning the mother’s morality, she no doubt a better person than me. i question’s JJ’s, who i think is looking at a 1880’s snake oil salesmen in his morality rear-veiw mirror. if ‘Allas had 6 quality DL guys, he wouldnt even know Brent’s name anymore

          • RIP illa

            Perhaps (which means agreed), but I can only take it for what it’s worth since the whole situation started, and good ‘ol Jerrah, has been on point and really handled this situation well.

          • MagatBrackendale

            Like Aldon Smith in San Francisco. Like a family. Right, unless HE was a 6th rounder on the PS.

          • peteike

            ya, those two families are the ones who have to deal with it. We are just outsiders, good for them based on that though. I also think everyone deserves a second chance, Im sure he doesnt take what he did lightly and has to live with that forever.

      • MagatBrackendale

        Perhaps we should consider that he was not the only one in the car who had been drinking The other guy could have been driving and killed Brent. There were no innocents in that car. Brown’s parents have extended ‘forgiveness”, perhaps for that reason?
        Anyway, the Cowboys pay him a few thousand to try out, find he’s too rusty and fat, drop him. They get their “random acts of kindness” props.

        • Amar, CB who bought in

          ‘The other guy could have been driving and killed Brent.’
          But he didn’t and is absolved of any blame. Brent is the one who got hammered and chose to put the keys in the ignition.

          There were no taxis ?? No could’ve dropped them home ?

  • Javi Echie

    Of course they would welcome Brent back, we are talking about Jerry Jones who clearly doesnt care about anything since he also was just seen fondling young women. Stay Classy Dallas

    • CrackSammich

      Consenting adults. Non story.

      • anon

        I have a strict no cameras rule when i party.

      • Javi Echie

        Oh ok so I guess its ok for an NFL owner to be caught on camera doing what he was doing then right? You probably have no problems with the Cowboys resigning John Brent as well then I’m sure right or is that a non story to that he killed one of his teammates.

        • anon

          Josh Brent paid his debt, he shouldn’t have the right to work?

          • Javi Echie

            He paid his debt huh lol if that’s what you wanna call it fine and no I don’t he doesn’t deserve to work a job that pays him millions of dollars.

          • anon

            Then don’t hire him.

          • Javi Echie

            Trust me if I was the boss I wouldn’t but I’m not so its not my call

          • aub32

            I get what you feel, but anon has a point. The law is the law, and according to the law he served his time. I think that the penalty for drinking and driving is far too lenient in this country, but that’s not the NFL’s or JJ’s problem. I can’t expect them to dish out justice where the court system failed.

        • CrackSammich

          Sorry, what is it you thinking he’s doing? I don’t see an issue with a dude getting laid. Adultery? That’s his wife’s business–not mine.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            i’d pay good money to see the next 3 picks after ‘girl on crapper’ photo. no idea where JJ was taking these 2 girls, but i’m sure they’re never the same again

          • RIP illa


        • CrackSammich
          • anon

            I gotta use this more often.

        • RIP illa

          A grown ass man…an older than dirt grown ass man…an older than dirt grown ass man, who’s also a billionaire…an older than dirt grown ass man, who’s also a billionaire and happens to be one of the most influential owners in the league due to his accomplishments…Who are we/you/I to judge how he balls out??? That’s for him and his family (mainly his wife) to deal with and handle. So what if he likes BLumkins???

          Ugh…got make that shower 1/2 hour longer now and up the temp 10 more degrees!!! Feeling so dirty after defending things cowboy related for the 2nd time.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            in fairness, not really defending cowboys, you are defending the rights of dirty rich old man doing what dirty rich old men do. and i agree, probably because i want to become one of those dirty rich old men

          • RIP illa

            You always know how to make me feel better Cliff…LOL

          • Amar, CB who bought in

            Just try to be Rich.
            Dirty and Old will happen eventually :)

          • https://twitter.com/richcolton RichC, brings duck to cockfigh

            you know we’ve gone too long without football when we’re talking about Blumkins. Jeez. Good for Jerruh, and whatever natural skin he has left.

      • ICDogg
  • aub32

    Hey Philly faithful. I just wanted to wish you all a Happy Dallas Cowboys Day (8-8). Have fun celebrating while you get a little taste of Eagles football tonight.

    • peteike

      Good call, I like it

    • cliff h-MOAR white goons

      i hope next Valentine’s Day we can say the same (2-14)

  • knighn

    How messed up is it to be David Wilson right now?

    First you get drafted by the Giants after they win another Super Bowl and you’re thinking you’re going to have a long, productive career for a competitor. Then the Giants miss the playoffs the next two years and then your NFL career is over well before it should be.

    I hate the NJ Giants, but I feel for David Wilson.

    • anon

      Lots of careers turn out that way. I did feel for him when i saw the press conference though.

  • eaglespur

    as an eagles fan, I am ready for a new name for the washington team, and I believe that when they do this, they should keep part of the old name to maintain a connection with their proud history. so keeping the red- part:
    category one: animals – red-birds, red-wolves, red-foxes, red-dogs, red-squirrels, red-rabbits, red-fish, red-robin (hmmmmmmm)
    category two: the city – red-inks, red-liars, red-thieves, red-raiders, red-warriors
    category three: foods: red-potatoes, red-peanuts, red-tomatoes, red-radishes, red-peppers
    category four: environmental – red-tide, red-dawn, red-sunsets,
    category five: body parts – red-eyes, red-faces, red-necks, red-loins, red-breasts (rather neatly relates back to the red-robins previously listed)
    here are some suggestions if we keep the -skins part of the name:
    category one: animals – worm-skins, bird-skins, fish-skins, moose-skins, chicken-skins, pig-skins(!)
    category two: the city – your-skins, loose-skins, thin-skins, old-skins, DC-skins
    category three: foods – potato-skins, nut-skins

    category four: body parts – head-skins, butt-skins, foot-skins
    >only scratched the surface here, note that scratching leads to red-skins, which is where we started.

    • Bert’s Bells

      Red Rockets

    • MagatBrackendale

      Cleverly done.