And a fine good morning to you here in the East. We lost power for a few hours yesterday in my house. Kind of went out one room at a time over a period of about three hours, then all came back on at once. I don't know why you needed to know that, but I didn't have anything else to say in today's intro. So, links.
The Redskins face serious questions along the offensive line, where left guard Kory Lichtensteiger and right tackle Jammal Brown are returning from injury, left tackle Trent Williams is returning from a drug suspension and the whole gang is charged with the task of protecting a quarterback on whom the team just spent three first-round picks (and a second). My guy to watch here is third-round pick Josh LeRibeus, who could be a factor at center or at left guard depending on how quickly he develops and how slowly Lichtensteiger's recover goes.
Brandon Banks has been told he's got to win one of the reserve wide receiver spots to make the Redskins this year -- that he won't be able to make it as merely a kick/punt returner. And while it's nearly impossible to envision Banks pulling this off, he says he's up for the challenge.
First-round pick Morris Claiborne has signed his contract and will be in camp for the Cowboys when rookies report to Valley Ranch on Wednesday. As is the case with all of these first-round deals, it was always certain that Claiborne would sign and only a question of when. The team is also expecting him to practice for the first time, as a recovery from wrist surgery kept him out of OTAs and minicamp practices. No offset language, of course, in the Claiborne deal, which once again seems like a moot point. They used their first two draft picks on the guy. If they have to cut him in the next four years, the offset money will be the least of their problems.
And guess who else will be in camp Wednesday when rookies and injured veterans report. Yeah, disgruntled cornerback Mike Jenkins, according to our man Calvin Watkins. Remember when Jenkins was the controversial offseason Cowboys story? Miss those days, Cowboys fans?
New York Giants
The Giants' biggest concern heading into camp has to be the offensive line. I believed this before I read Ohm's camp preview, in which he lists as the line's "potential strength" the hope that it will be healthy this year, and I believe it still. We don't know if Will Beatty is healthy, or if he can be a reliable starting left tackle even if he is, and that's not the only issue. They survived with poor line play last year, but it's a lot to ask a team and a quarterback to keep having to do that, IMHO.
Speaking of the offensive line, guard Chris Snee says he believes the Giants will play with more consistency this year, in part because last year's playoff run showed them the kind of team they could and should be. "To have an up-and-down season we had last year would be a surprise to me," he tells The Star-Ledger. That does seem to be the Giants' priority -- to stay away from the peaks and valleys of last year's regular season and ideally do better than 9-7.
A lot of people ask me about the competition for the Eagles' backup running back spot, but the fact is we don't yet know enough about the two newest options, seventh-round pick Bryce Brown and undrafted Chris Polk. Les Bowen has the rundown on those two, as well as second-year back Dion Lewis, who will not face charges on the fire-alarm thing from a couple of weeks ago.
First-round draft pick Fletcher Cox says he's determined to be a starter at defensive tackle right away with Mike Patterson sidelined after offseason brain surgery. He also says he's finding out it won't be so easy.