Things got a little stale in the mailbag while I was on "vacation" last week. We've surpassed the 9,000-question mark, in part, because I can't bear to delete your heartfelt thoughts/threats. Let's have a fresh start today:
Danny from New York is worried about his Eagles being left out of the mix: Give the Eagles some love, or at least a couple of posts, please. I've counted three legitimate posts in around two weeks or so. You just wrote about the Cowboys' free safety issue with Alan Ball, but what about the Eagles' free safety situation with the all-out competition between second-rounder Nate Allen, Quintin Demps, Macho Harris and Marlin Jackson? Are you really going to avoid one of the most competitive and important battles on a perennial contender from the division you cover?
Mosley: Danny, thanks for your concern. I'm planning to fly to Philly for the next minicamp and take a long look at that safety battle. In the meantime, I promise not to write another column on Ball -- as tough as that will be. But let me save you some worry. Allen's going to emerge as the starter. Jackson is a versatile guy who can help out the Eagles if his knee's right, but Allen has the athleticism and smarts to lock down the starting job. Don't doubt me on this one, Danny.
Carroll from Frisco, Texas, has a Cowboys question: Matt, I love your blog, and when Galloway shuts up enough to let you talk, your radio show here in Dallas is great as well.Yesterday y'all talked about the starting RB position for the Cowboys. Do you think Jerry Jones' recent comments on Barber's performance during OTAs is a bait to increase trade interest around the league? I just find it odd that he has reversed his perspective on the starting role after he was so supportive of Felix Jones.
Mosley: Thanks for your kind words, Carroll. We're working with Galloway on making more room for the NFC East blog. Regarding Jones' quotes about Barber, I never put too much stock into what he's saying in the offseason. This is the same guy who kept telling us that Roy Williams was having an excellent offseason at this time last year. He may have simply wanted to give Barber a pat on the back since he's been sort of beat up by the media and opposing teams. No matter who starts, Jones will get the bulk of the work. He's the most dynamic back for the Cowboys and Jason Garrett has to find a way to get him plenty of touches.
Eli from Washington has an Albert Haynesworth question: Hi Matt, love the beast coverage! I was wondering, with all the talk of Haynesworth being unhappy as a gap-control nose tackle, that Jim Haslett does not want to play to his strengths. Why is it that the new Skins brain trust does not want to use him as the Cowboys use Jay Ratliff and allow Albert to get after the quarterback? What is it about the Cowboys' 3-4 allows them to use their NT this way? Thanks very much for informing us optimistic fans here in DC.
Mosley: Eli, thanks for stopping by this week. It's sort of hard to know what Haslett has in store for Haynesworth if the guy refuses to drop by Redskins Park. Haslett's pretty flexible with his 3-4 concepts, so there's a chance he'd use Haynesworth like Ratliff at times. Let him shoot the gap and try to make a play. But for the most part, Haslett wants his nose tackle taking on double teams and allowing linebackers to swarm to the ball. You think London Fletcher will be good to go if Haynesworth's jumping around the center to get to the quarterback? No, I don't either. But again, we don't know exactly how Haslett would use Haynesworth because the guy's not around. I have to believe that he'd play him some as a 3-4 defensive end, and I think Haynesworth would do a good job at that spot. But he's falling more and more behind every day. And he's also losing the P.R. battle with Mike Shanahan.
Jim M. from New York has some interesting news to share: Hey Matt, just FYI: In case you were wondering what Amani Toomer is up to lately, he plays in my weeknight hockey league in Wallington, N.J. I burned him on the way to two goals last night. Just sayin... Love the blog. Jim.
Mosley: Jim, on behalf of the blog, we're really proud to hear about your big night against Amani. Here's a photo of Amani and Boomer Esiason at a charity hockey game from six years ago. And some of you might find it interesting that Toomer's father is the scoreboard operator for the Raiders.
Peter from NYC has some Giants questions: In your last chat someone compared the inexperienced Giants receiving corps at this time last year and the criticism they were getting to the current situation at linebacker. The receivers turned out well and he thought we should give the benefit of the doubt with regards to the linebackers because they were right about the receivers. You mentioned that you wouldn't give a defense that bad last year the benefit of the doubt. While I agree with your sentiment, I think there is more to why they don't deserve the benefit of the doubt and why that comparison doesn't hold water. The wide receivers may have been inexperienced, but the fact is that since 2007, they spent a second-round pick on Steve Smith, a third-round pick on Mario Manningham in 2008, third-round pick on Ramses Barden in 2009 and a first-round pick on Hakeem Nicks in 2009. The talent is there. Meanwhile, the only pick higher than a fourth-round pick in that time spent on a linebacker was a second rounder they spent on Clint Sintim in 2009. The talent simply doesn't seem to be there at linebacker. Why are they sticking with this linebacking corps? Why didn't they make a stronger effort to trade for Kirk Morrison?
Mosley: You raise an excellent point, Peter. In some ways, the Giants had given the receiving position so much attention that several guys had to become busts for things to not work out. That's not to minimize the fine work that Smith and Nicks are doing, but the teams obviously has more depth concerns at linebacker.
Fortunately for the Giants, I think rookie middle linebacker Phillip Dillard is the real deal. He came on strong last season at Nebraska and he's looked like he belongs in workouts. But middle linebacker is still a huge question mark. And it's not like Sintim's some type of veteran. The most experienced starter, Michael Boley, didn't exactly light it up after signing with the Giants in free agency. But his ability to cover tight ends and running backs in space makes him a valuable commodity. The Giants made the decision to beef up their front four rather than to overreact to the need at linebacker. We'll soon find out whether they made the right choice