Saturday, June 27, 2009

What's in Mosley's Mailbag? - NFC East

Posted by's Matt Mosley

The four NFC East teams have shut down operations until training camp, but that's not going to stop us from corresponding. You've broken the elusive 5,000-question barrier, in part, because I can't bring myself to delete your insightful (and encouraging) email. With that in mind, let's get right to it.

Matt in Lancaster, Pa., has the first word: Do you see the Iggles making any more moves before camp? Or do they just wait to see where they stand after camp? The rumor mill has the "Edge" coming to Philly, not sure if that's a good fit for him. Safety was the other position of worry, but sounds like they are happy with Demps. Fly Eagles Fly!

Mosley: Matt, the closest The Edge will come to Philly is in late September at Giants Stadium. That's when U2 shows up in East Rutherford, N.J. Oh wait, you must be talking about the former Pro Bowl running back, Edgerrin James. I agree that he's not a good fit for that offense. Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy are instinctive runners who only need a small crease to find yardage. James has obviously lost a step and I don't think he'd be happy as a third-string running back. I hear the Redskins might have an opening, though. And I think Quintin Demps will win the job in Philly. Do we think the Eagles are the first team in league history to have two Quintins? Someone please look that up.

Lisse in Sao Paulo, Brazil is concerned about the Cowboys' receiving corps: You think that Miles Austin can beat out Patrick Crayton for the second WR spot in training camp?

Mosley: I think everyone in Sao Paulo is wondering about this training camp battle. I think Austin will be given every opportunity to be the No. 2 receiver. But Austin already has his sights on being the No. 1 guy. I'm serious. He's a very humble person, but in his mind, the goal is to be just as productive, if not more, than Roy Williams. And I think that's a worthy goal. It's not like he's being disrespectful. I just know that he's not ruling out becoming the No. 1 receiver --and I think that's the sort of competitive mindset the Cowboys need.

Big Kev in Jersey wants to talk about our recent Eli Manning vs. Philip Rivers debate: Hey Matt I heard you square off against Bill Williamson on the debate on Philip Rivers and Eli. Here are some stats to back your comment up about Rivers level of competition -- especially in his division. In his division, six games, 1,607 yards, 13 tds and six interceptions. Out of division (non-playoff teams), he had five games, 1,235 yards, 12 tds, three interceptions and he was 7-4 agains non-playoff teams last year.

Last point to what your opponent about how San Diego got the better deal because they got 3 Pro Bowlers [Rivers, Merriman, Kaeding]. My take on that is I highly doubt GMs and owners go into the draft with a game plan of who gets the most Pro Bowlers. Their goal as I can imagine is to acquire players to help win a championship and to get a quarterback that will lead them to that. Which the Giants did and so far the Chargers haven't. Case closed, we got the better deal. Sorry for the long comment, I just got tired of people putting Rivers on such a high pedestal. Let me know what you think.

Mosley: Big Kev, we approach the research. I tried to keep numbers out of the argument -- except the "one" Manning's wearing on his finger. That's the ultimate scoreboard, but you're right to point out that Rivers has amassed excellent numbers against inferior competition. Would he have similar numbers if he was going up against the Cowboys, Redskins and Eagles a combined six times? I don't think so either.

Ryan S. from Cincinnati has a Giants question: Matt, I check your blog often. Keep it up. Now for my question: Is there anything else of note about the G-men other than their wide-receiver situation? It seems like that's all anybody ever talks about regarding their off-season.

Mosley: Thanks for the kind words, Ryan. I think wide receiver is the biggest concern, but you also have to wonder how long it will take Michael Boley to recover from hip surgery. He was an important acquisition and I think it will take him some time to grasp the Giants' philosophy on defense. I'm also curious to see how that backup running back situation plays out. You have several talented candidates, but I'm not sure anyone's ready to take over where Derrick Ward left off. Also keep your eye on the the new defensive coordinator, Bill Sheridan. He has big shoes to fill. Steve Spagnuolo had a tremendous feel for what to call during games.

Doug in New York has a question about Mathias Kiwanuka: Hey Matt! First of all, you CLEARLY won that Eli-Rivers debate regardless of what the moderator said. My question is, now that Osi Umenyiora is back, how exactly will Mathias Kiwanuka fit into the Giants' defense?

Mosley: Doug, thanks for your support. That particular moderator has been out to get me for years. It's being handled internally. Oh, but I'm kidding of course. I think the return of Umenyiora will make Kiwanuka a lot more effective. He'll play the same role that Tuck played on the 2007 Super Bowl team. And when Tuck moves inside on third down at times, Kiwanuka will replace him on the outside. He'll be in on about 10-15 fewer plays per game, which should help keep him fresh.

105 degrees in Austin actually overnighted this question: If the Cowboys had taken Rhett Bomar with his NCAA infractions, would he have been mentioned as another character-issue player? With New York, I haven't seen that discussed.

Mosley: It's a fair question. In Bomar's case, I don't think it would've generated much more talk. He was paid for work he didn't perform at the University of Oklahoma. He's not the first kid to go down that road -- and he's certainly not the last. I don't think you're reading about it much in New York because the guy paid dearly for that decision. He had to transfer to Sam Houston and play in relative obscurity. But he flourished at the school and earned the right to be drafted. People in Dallas are very familiar with his story since he's from nearby Grand Prairie. So I don't think it would've been a big deal at all. The Cowboys obviously liked former Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee more as a player.

Jason from Arlington, Va., wonders why the late Sean Taylor wasn't mentioned in the all-decade discussion: For this special edition all-decade week that has been on the ESPN NFL homepage, not one of the seven articles mentioned Sean Taylor. That's appalling.It makes this feature a complete and utter joke. This is why I go to over I understand a lot of people's reasoning, "He wasn't in the league long enough blah blah blah", fine. But you have to admit that his death was such a memorable football moment in this decade, and you writers just skipped right by it. Now I am not even going to go into the fact that the Redskins were basically non-existent on these lists (with good reason, not that good this decade), but Taylor's skill and sadly his death transcended the Skins. For shame.

Mosley: Jason, I totally understand and share your respect for Taylor's shortened career. But there were several tremendous players who were left off the list. It's certainly not a perfect list. It was designed to create a lot of discussion -- and that's what happened. Regarding Taylor, if you look back at the NFC East blog, you'll see at least a couple mentions of him. I totally agree that he would've been right in the mix if not for his tragic death. Remarkable players such as John Lynch and Brian Dawkins didn't make the all-decade team at safety. But again, I respect your passion, for both the Redskins and Taylor.

Brad from Coquille, Ore. is feeling good about the Skins: Hi Matt. So here I am, a devout Redskins fan. I look at their schedule (is it just me, or is this schedule almost a do-over of last year?) and I see teams that beat them last year by close margins. And I'm thinking that thier upgrades in D and a small improvement on O could put this team, with this schedule, at 11-5 or even 12-4. Am I delusional?

Mosley: No, but you're gaining on it! Actually, the Skins seemed headed for at least 10-6 last season before the bottom fell out in the second half. If they can stack up some wins early and stay healthy late, you definitely have a chance to go 10-6. But that December schedule scares me. I think 9-7 is the more likely outcome. But let me show up at training camp and see what I think after that.

Tsbein has a solid question about NFC Beast quarterbacks -- and my travel schedule: Which QB is under the most pressure in the NFC East? McNabb to win the SB within two years now that he has weapons, Eli to prove he doesn't need Plax, Romo to prove he doesn't need T.O. and can win in Dec./Jan. or Campbell to prove that the Skins don't need to get a another QB? Bonus: Do you plan to visit each team's training camp or are you leaving it to E. Dubs and Sal Pal?

Mosley: In terms of whose job's on the line, I think you have to go with Jason Campbell. He'll be in the final year of his contract. Eli Manning's heading into the final year of his contract, but I'd be shocked if something's not done before the season. It might even happen during this dead period. Manning would sort of like it that way.

But I think Romo will face the most scrutiny. He's not going to lose his job if the Cowboys miss the playoffs, but his reputation would take a beating. Actually, though, he could play really well -- and the Cowboys could miss the playoffs. We don't know how this Roy Williams thing will turn out. And I'd be a little worried on defense about the inexperience at the cornerback position. So only one quarterback's job is truly hanging in the balance, but I think Romo will face the most pressure. There's the built-in pressure of playing quarterback for the Cowboys. And then there's all the hype surrounding Romo. I think the spotlight will be on him more than any quarterback in the division.

And I'll be visiting all four camps. My plan is to make the drive to San Antonio and spend Aug. 5-7 with the Cowboys before going on my Northeast tour Aug. 10-17. I'll be hanging with Sal Pal and Werder along the way. They've both contributed to this blog in the past, and that won't change. Looking forward to spending a couple days in August in Sal Pal's swimming pool.

Thanks guys! Let's do it again soon (next Saturday). And could someone give me props for not mentioning a certain wide receiver's name?