With the Giants were eliminated from the postseason Sunday night, let’s check in with the rest of the NFC East and see what’s going on inside the division.
We’ll start with those Giants, who fell to the Packers in Green Bay, 38-13. Eli Manning threw for 299 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while rookie Paul Perkins gained 30 yards on 10 carries. Tavarres King grabbed three balls for 73 yards and his first career touchdown, while star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. made only four catches on 11 targets for 28 yards.
Beckham’s temper tantrums have been a big story surrounding the Giants all season long, and culminated with him punching a hole through a wall at Lambeau Field. It’s time for the wide receiver to mature, says Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.
He has completed his third season with the Giants, making brilliant catches and doing wondrous things on the field as he deals with maturity issues that at times hold him back. Some of his antics are harmless, some are curious, and after he responded to a turbulent week with a dreadful performance in his first NFL playoff game, Beckham has officially been put on the clock.
“We all have had to grow up at different times in our lives, and I think it’s time for him to do it,’’ general manager Jerry Reese said Monday as the Giants parted ways a day after their 38-13 NFC wild-card loss to the Packers. “He’s been here for three years now and he’s a little bit of a lightning rod because of what he does on the football field. But the things he does off the football field, he’s got to be responsible for those things.
“I know he’s a smart guy. I believe he understands he has a responsibility, being one of the faces of this franchise and I think he’ll accept that responsibility.’’
The Giants hierarchy generally goes easy as far as public criticism of Beckham, their 24-year old superstar receiver. Reese’s words were sharp and direct. The man who drafted Beckham with the 12th pick in the 2014 NFL draft saw him drop three passes in frigid Green Bay, including a would-be touchdown as the ball slipped through his hands in the end zone.
If the Giants want Jason Pierre-Paul back, it won’t be on a one-year deal, according to Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News.
“I definitely would have been out there this week,” he said. “No ifs or buts about it.”
JPP finished with seven sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble-recovery touchdown in his abbreviated season. The former first-round pick totaled 5.5 sacks in the two games leading up to his injury in Pittsburgh.
Pierre-Paul said he “would love to return” to the Giants and finish his career with the organization that drafted him. But financial security is the priority.
“I can’t control that. I don’t make those decisions. If I hit the market, I hit the market,” JPP said. “I just really set myself up. I played great this year. If it’s here, I would love to be here. …This is all I know. And just being blue and white for a long while, for seven years, to be in a different jersey, it would feel awkward. But it is what it is.”
Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys are preparing to host the Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium. Quarterback Dak Prescott appreciates being looked at as a leader in his rookie year in the NFL, writes Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star Telegram.
So it begged the follow-up where Prescott acknowledged he embraces being called a leader.
“It’s the ultimate compliment to me,” Prescott said. “For a teammate or peer to call you a leader ,that means they look up to you and they follow you. It’s the ultimate compliment for anybody to ever give.”
Prescott said leadership comes with the position of being quarterback. But it’s also who he is as a person and would operate the same way if he wasn’t playing football.
“During a class project, I’m going to be the one taking the lead,” Prescott said. “It’s kind of who I am.”
The Dallas Morning News’ Brandon George writes how the Cowboys’ defense plan on containing Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers glides back and forth in the pocket like he’s on a Segway, buying time for receivers to pop open.
“The guy makes crazy plays no matter what,” [Tyrone] Crawford said. “I don’t know how he does some of the things he does passing that ball. We just have to keep our lanes and make sure we don’t lose [containment] to make sure he doesn’t get out of the pocket.”
Rodgers’ scrambling ability in the pocket forces cornerbacks to stick to their man longer.
“You’ve got to be prepared to cover an extended amount of time, mental toughness, mental all those things that will get you over the hump,” [Brandon] Carr said. “When your body doesn’t want to go anymore late in the game, just do your job, execute and try to get off the field as fast as you can.”
And finally to the Redskins, who fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry last week. Tommy Chalk of the Washington Times has some possible names to fill that role.
It’s been eight years since Ryan worked as a coordinator, but the former head coach of the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills delivers when he is given talent on the defensive side of the football. As the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens from 2005 to 2008, Ryan’s defenses ranked no worse than eighth in the NFL in yards allowed, and finished in the top-three in points allowed three different seasons.
The Jacksonville Jaguars head coach for the last four years was fired this season after 14 games and a lackluster 2-12 record. But before Jacksonville, Bradley was the defensive coordinator for four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, and his stout defense in 2012 allowed the lowest total of points in the NFL. That season is what led to Bradley’s hiring in Jacksonville. There’s a connection to Washington: Bradley and Redskins‘ general manager Scot McCloughan worked together for three seasons in Seattle when McCloughan worked as the Seahawks’ senior personnel executive.
Earlier this week, the team interviewed former Browns head coach Mike Pettine for the opening.
CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Rich Tandler has some possible free agent targets for the team, including one Eagle who might be too expensive for the Eagles to keep.
DT Bennie Logan, Eagles—Logan is a load at 6-2, 309. The former third-round pick of the Eagles can play nose tackle in a 3-4 or tackle in a 4-3 so he would be good for whatever scheme the Redskins’ new defensive coordinator will run. He doesn’t have any impressive numbers to throw out there; Logan just eats up space in the middle. Although at age 27 he will be in demand, his contract should not get out of hand. This could be one of those free agent acquisitions that counts double as it would strengthen your team while weakening a division rival.
WR Kenny Stills, Dolphins—If DeSean Jackson leaves as a free agent, Stills could be a solid replacement. He doesn’t have Jackson’s speed—very few do—but he still has managed to average 16.7 yards per reception over his four-year career, just about a yard less than Jackson’s career average. Stills is six year younger than Jackson, durable (missed one game in four seasons in the NFL) and probably will cost a couple of million bucks less per season.