Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
With two great games involving three NFC East teams, it seemed like the perfect time to dip into the Mailbag. You guys have been even more prolific than usual and I appreciate your dedication. All four teams will be represented in this special Friday edition of the Mailbag:
Rusty from Dalhart, Texas, starts us off with a question about the Cowboys: I was wondering if you think the Cowboys have a chance to beat the Giants with Brad Johnson at quarterback. I am a big Cowboys fan and usually try to support all the players but I can't support Johnson. People say he manages the game but I believe he is not even good at that. Any quarterback in this league can hand the ball off and throw 2-yard passes to Marion Barber. His accuracy is obviously very bad even at around eight yards it seems. We all know his distance is also terrible. He should have been picked off twice last week. He also is a sitting duck back in the pocket waiting to get sacked. I do not get how the coaches at Valley Ranch can have faith in him after watching the tapes of the past couple games. Brooks Bollinger has got to be the better option at quarterback this week. So I'd just like to see what you think.
Mosley: Rusty, who do the Golden Wolves play tonight? That's always been a tough district. But regarding your question about Johnson, I agree that the Cowboys should give Bollinger a chance. And you're exactly right about all the people bragging about how Johnson protects the ball. He threw three interceptions against the Rams and he should've had a couple of passes picked against the Bucs. The fact that the Cowboys waited until this week to get Bollinger a couple of snaps with the first team is laughable. The message I'm hearing this week at Valley Ranch is survive this game and then welcome back all the reinforcements (Romo) for the Redskins game after the bye. They're not saying that with words, but their actions suggest they don't have much of a chance. Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips have butchered this quarterback decision at every turn. I guess we shouldn't be shocked they stuck with Johnson.
Brian D. from Longview, Texas, writes: Any representation from ESPN at Longview vs. Pine Tree tonight? And what will be the final score in the Giants-Cowboys game.
Mosley: Believe it or not, I think the ESPN "College GameDay" crew is stopping by Longview before heading to Lubbock on Saturday morning. I think the Cowboys defense will play well enough to keep the game close in the first half. But "Checkdown" Johnson will provide enough three-and-outs to keep his defense on the field too long. Eli Manning will connect on a bomb to Domenik Hixon or Steve Smith at some point in the second half. Plaxico Burress will continue in his capacity as an expensive decoy. By the way, you have to love hearing Amani Toomer (sort of) call out Burress. I know this whole episode is tearing up Tom Coughlin inside, but he's worked hard not to show it in public. I talked to Antonio Pierce via phone Thursday and he insists that Burress' actions haven't affected the team one bit.
Mike in San Francisco was kind enough to pose the following question: Matt, first, can we get some love for Kiwi and his NFC Defensive Player of the Week award? He's been through a lot over the last year, and it's great seeing him flourishing. Second, is the fact that the officiating crew was down a man in the Giants-Steelers game enough reason to cut them some slack for the worst officiated Giants game I have seen in many, many years? It was hilarious hearing Ben Roethlisberger complaining about the calls when the Steelers might not have scored a point without tremendous help from the officials. Also, Jacobs was in, Burress was held horribly on the goal-line fade, Smith was practically undressed on a third-down completion.
Mosley: Mike, I'm glad you brought up Mathias Kiwanuka's name. He was brilliant in last Sunday's game, and it couldn't happen to a better guy. He worked his tail off to become comfortable at linebacker, and then he had to come racing back to defensive end. Teams have to pick their poison. If they want to double-team and chip Justin Tuck, Kiwanuka will be in one-on-one situations. He has unbelievably long arms that he uses as leverage. He's not great on the bull rush, but he makes up for it with quick moves to the outside. Other teams lose key players and sit around and whine. The Giants simply moved on. Regarding the offiicating last week, I was at another game so I didn't see a lot of it. Some of the Giants I spoke with were a little disappointed in some of the calls, but I'd have to take a look before saying one way or the other.
Patrick in Crofton, Md., has something that's been weighing on him: Alright, maybe you can answer this for me. Why is there still so much concentration on the Cowgirls? It is obivious that they are the team everyone thought the Redskins would be. They can't win a game without Romo. The Redskins have shown more consistency in every aspect of the game and yet they get skipped on the fastest three minutes every Monday night halftime. Where's the love for the nation's capital, America's real team? Clinton Portis is the league leading rusher and Jason Campbell hasn't thrown an interception and is fifth in quarterback rating. The defense hasn't given up much. Our kicker is finally consistent. And we finally have a punter and punt returner. So why is everything still about the Giants and Cowboys? Once we beat the Steelers and the Girls in back to back primetime games everyone will change their focus off of the third team in the division.
Mosley: Patrick, in the past couple of weeks the Cowboys have lost the most notorious player in the game because of a bathroom brawl with his own bodyguard, lost their celebrity quarterback to a broken pinkie and traded for star Lions receiver Roy Williams. As I've said before, we go where the news is. If the biggest stories are happening in Dallas, that's what we write about and put on television. That said, this blog constantly writes about Jason Campbell and Clinton Portis. I try to talk to Campbell by phone every other week and I've seen at least four Redskins games in person. ESPN focuses on the Cowboys for the same reasons Fox and CBS send their No. 1 crews to games in which the Cowboys are playing awful teams. They're the most polarizing team in the league -- and that p
roduces huge ratings. But if you went back through the last several months of this blog, I think you'd be hard-pressed to say the Redskins haven't received a lot of entries. (By the way, 47 of the 54 questions I just read in the Mailbag were Cowboys-related. If you want to talk Giants, Eagles or Redskins, feel free to leave a question).
Adam from Phoenix writes: Do you think the Eagles have enough in the tank to make it to the playoffs? Perhaps as a wildcard?
Mosley: I think the Eagles have plenty left in the tank, Adam. When Brian Westbrook is healthy, this is a scary offense. After that Cowboys game early in the season, we thought both teams were pretty solid. Now we have a different view. But the Eagles could definitely get on a roll. Any time they can have a big day running the ball, it makes Donovan McNabb that much more effective in the passing game. And it was encouraging to see him running the ball against the Falcons. He can be a streaky player, but once he gets in a zone, he's difficult to stop. The Eagles will have Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis on the field together for the first time this season Sunday against the Seahawks. I sense that the Eagles are preparing to make a nice run.
Programming note: Folks, if you went to high school with me or you coach for the New Orleans Saints, the Mailbag is probably not the best place to leave me a message. My actual e-mail address (which I check religiously on my Blackberry) is listed on the Web site if you look hard enough.