The New York Giants are hoping to ward off the noise inside Qwest Field in Seattle and the the Philadelphia Eagles are hoping Andy Reid's post bye-week dominance continues against the Colts. The Dallas Cowboys are simply playing out the season. Now, let's see what's on your mind in this week's Bag:
Chris from Southern California, what's on your mind? Just read your blog about Jerry Jones firing Wade Phillips, but if we take him at his word, isn't that a bad sign for Cowboys fans? If the Boys continue to lose and Wade is still leading the way, the only reason for Jerry to keep Wade is pride and ego. And it's that same pride and ego that got us here ... here is a coordinator and a yes man for a coach, no investment in the draft at safety (when it's been a huge need for almost a decade), missing on an entire draft in '09 and not investing high picks and not drafting well on later picks with offensive linemen. Last, the potentially most concerning, the future head coach. The possibility that two of the best coaches, Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden might not be candidates, because Jerry doesn't want to give up control is ridiculous. And the fact that this is now a given and Jerry isn't criticized enough. There is plenty of blame to go around the players, coaches, but most of it should fall on the feet of the owner! I know he wants to win and winning is important to him, but he most of all wants the credit for everything.
Mosley: Chris, everything is a bad sign for the Cowboys right now. It's not like Jerry Jones went rushing to Phillips' defense this week, so that's why I'm not taking his statement about Wade staying at face value. Firing Phillips wouldn't affect the win-loss totals for this lost season, but it would at least send a message to the fan base that change is on the way. And you're correct in saying that Jones' pride is standing in the way of him doing the right thing. Phillips is at a complete loss for how to motivate these players. If Jones fires him in midseason, he'll be violating his longstanding belief against that practice. I don't think he should let some personal philosophy stand in the way of doing the right thing. He's about to look up at Cowboys Stadium and see a ton of empty seats if this mess continues. That's reason enough to go ahead and make a change. And regarding the '09 draft, remember that the Roy Williams trade weighed heavily into that situation. I know they've released their third-round picks from that class, but Jones admitted at the time that it was basically a discount draft. And hey, your placekicker and promising young outside linebacker Victor Butler are both still hanging around. The Cowboys have tried to address the safety position via free agency with Ken Hamlin and Gerald Sensabaugh, but it's never really worked out.
Joel G. from Washington D.C. is taking exception to my column from Thursday about Andy Reid's post bye-week success: I'm a lifelong Eagles fan who knows very well Andy Reid's post bye-week success. Still, how can you say, "a win against the Colts is as close to a sure thing as you'll find in this league"? Are you aware that in three matchups between Andy Reid and Peyton Manning's Colts, the Eagles have allowed a total of 124 points? That includes losses of 45-21 in 2006 and 35-13 in 2002 (when the Eagles defense was second in the NFL), seasons in which the Eagles reached either the divisional or conference championship rounds of the playoffs. They were also humiliated at home in a 44-17 loss in 1999, Manning's second year in the league. Regardless of injuries and bye weeks, a win for the Eagles this Sunday is far from a sure thing. Remember James Mungro? In 2002, he torched the Eagles for 114 yards and two TDs while Edgerrin James, one of the league's best rushers, sat out with an injury.
Mosley: Joel, I appreciate all the research that you delivered this afternoon. But let's remember one important thing: Andy Reid didn't have an extra week to prepare for those games against the Colts. And you have to throw out that '99 game since it was Reid's first season and I think David Akers might be the only current player who could even remember back that far. And it's not like there are a ton of players on this roster from those other teams you mentioned. You think DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin care what happened in those previous meetings with the Colts? I think Reid's post bye-week record of 11-0 outweighs those three losses to the Colts. These are completely different teams, so Reid's record against the Colts doesn't really mean much to me.
Kevin from Oakland has a question about two elite pass-rushers in the Beast: Matt, huge fan of yours ... My question is; has Brian Orakpo surpassed DeMarcus Ware as the premier pass-rushing 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFC East?
Mosley: Orakpo's a relentless player, but he would be the first man to tell you that he's not quite in Ware's league yet. Ware has more speed and a bigger arsenal of moves than Orakpo at this point in his career. But with his remarkable strength, Rak is on his way to having a better bull-rush than Ware. Orakpo's seeing a lot more double teams this season, but I like the way he's adjusting. He's also one of the most entertaining interviews in the division, so I give him extra credit for that.
Charles from Kensington, Md., has a point to make regarding the Giants: Matt, love the blog. As a lifelong Giants fan, however, I must take issue with your comments on the latest power rankings. I think the Giants' success, if anything, is reduced by this (past) weekend's games.Three teams the Giants have beaten -- Dallas (total frauds), Carolina (rebuilding ... at best), and Houston (very inconsistent) -- all lost by double digits. Chicago had the week off (after losing to Washington). Detroit is Detroit, although better than Washington, apparently. I hope the Giants continue to improve and think they have the material to head deep into the postseason. But they're not there yet, even in a weak NFC. A major measuring stick will be this Sunday's game. The Giants are historically unsuccessful after bye weeks and they always have trouble in Seattle. If they win, then they should be favored to take the division and deserve a top-10 ranking. Otherwise, they're just middle of the NFL until they prove otherwise. (Of course, the 2007 Giants were middle-tier even when they arrived in Tampa to begin the playoffs ... and they most certainly proved otherwise.)
Mosley: I don't get as caught up in who they're playing as much as I do how well they're playing. That's not a bad Lions team at all, and the Texans will be up and down the whole season. The Giants went on the road and kicked the Texans around in that game. I've been very impressed with the Giants on both sides of the ball. With Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw all rolling right now, I simply think the Giants might have the most complete team in the NFC. They look better than the Packers on offense and I think Tampa Bay will certainly come back to the pack eventually. I'm a little surprised to hear this type of pessimism from a confirmed Giants fan. OK, have a wonderful day watching college football.