Time once again for the weekly rollout of the running All-NFC East team. If you're new 'round these parts, we've been doing this every week -- picking the All-Division team in the NFC East based on cumulative performance to date. There's been some confusion about the criteria, so I'm here to reiterate that the voting for this team is NOT based solely on this week's performance but on how the players have played to this point in the season relative to others at their positions. So if your guy had a monster Week 3 and he's not on the list, you might want to check and see if his Weeks 1 and 2 were good enough to justify ranking him over whoever beat him out.
That bit of housekeeping out of the way, I present this week's version of the NFC East All-Divison Team. As always, I'll have some explanations and commentary at the bottom of the post.
Quarterback: Tony Romo, Cowboys (Romo)
Running back: LeSean McCoy, Eagles (McCoy)
Tight end: Jason Witten, Cowboys (Witten)
Fullback: Darrel Young, Redskins (Young)
Left tackle: Jason Peters, Eagles (Peters)
Left guard: Kory Lichtensteiger, Redskins (Lichtensteiger)
Center: David Baas, Giants (Baas)
Right guard: Chris Snee, Giants (Snee)
Right tackle: Tyron Smith, Cowboys (Smith)
Safety: Kenny Phillips, Giants; O.J. Atogwe, Redskins (Phillips, Atogwe)
Kicker: Dan Bailey, Cowboys (Bailey)
Punter: Sav Rocca, Redskins (Rocca)
Kick returner: Brandon Banks, Redskins (Banks)
Punt returner: Brandon Banks, Redskins (Banks)
Quarterback was actually a tough call this week between Romo and the Giants' Eli Manning, who could pass him with a big game next week. Manning's four-touchdown, no-interception game against the Eagles was a pretty big boost to his 2011 resume.
Wasn't a big week for receivers, so Austin holds the spot in spite of not playing because his overall numbers are still eye-popping. Maclin's got better numbers than Nicks, too, though both Austin and Maclin are likely to lose their spots assuming they miss next week's games with their injuries.
Similarly, Young held his fullback spot even though he didn't play, because no one took it from him. Owen Schmitt came close.
No changes on the offensive line, though I took a long look at Washington center Will Montgomery and Eagles left guard Evan Mathis. The Redskins' offensive line really is playing well, and I thought it held strong for most of the night under very difficult circumstances against Ware and his buddies in Dallas.
Pierre-Paul takes a spot away from teammate Tuck after another dominating pass-rush performance. I still cal Tuck the better player, but the body of work in this so-far-short season gives the edge to Pierre-Paul and his five sacks. I'm going to throw an honorable mention to the Cowboys' Kenyon Coleman in the defensive end category. Tough for a 3-4 end to grab one of these spots, but Coleman looks like a playmaking machine in Rob Ryan's defense, and we'll keep an eye on him to see if he can take a spot away from one of the 4-3 pass-rushers as the year goes along.
Cornerback is getting tough. I thought about Josh Wilson for one of the spots. Terence Newman couple be one or two more games away from challenging for a spot. Asomugha should have a stranglehold on one, but he had a lousy game Sunday and lost his spot. And I honestly don't think Aaron Ross has played as badly as everybody keeps saying. It's just that his mistakes are glaring. Jenkins and Samuel have been the steadiest of a shaky bunch.
Monday night was a punting exhibition between Rocca and the Cowboys' outstanding Mat McBriar, but Rocca keeps dropping them inside the 20 and is slightly ahead of McBriar in those finesse categories for the year.
Let me know what you think!