Good morning to all, and to all some good, piping-hot links:
Dez Bryant says "one drop is too many" and seemed to be beating himself up a bit over that ball he dropped on third down with the Cowboys driving in the first half of Sunday night's preseason game. It was indeed a bad drop, and if it were to keep happening we could add it to the list of concerns. But the fact that Bryant didn't wave it off as a "just preseason" thing is encouraging for Cowboys fans. When Bryant has the ball in his hands, he's pretty tough to bring down.
Jason Garrett was unhappy, too, pointing out that his team committed three turnovers and forced none. At first I thought it was silly for the coach to be upset over a preseason loss, but that specific critique made me change my mind. Garrett sees a loss in which the Cowboys didn't look very good as a chance to teach a lesson. More intensity on defense, more care taken on offense. And the fact that the starting quarterback was directly responsible for one of the turnovers helps drive home the point without making anyone further down the roster feel as though he's taking it out on only them.
New York Giants
Zach Berman looks at Travis Beckum, the disadvantages he faces as a small tight end and what he's doing to overcome them so he can take the place of Kevin Boss as the Giants' starter at the position.
Aaron Ross is happy to be back playing the position he loves -- cornerback, instead of spotting in at safety and nickelback. The Giants want to see something, though. With Prince Amukamara and Bruce Johnson hurt, they're looking for depth behind their very good starting corners, and Ross should get a chance in tonight's preseason game to show what he offers in a backup corner role.
The chances of the Eagles starting two rookies on the offensive line took a big step forward over the weekend. They've informed Jason Kelce that he, not Jamaal Jackson, will be the starting center in the next preseason game. And while that could be a matter of wanting to take a longer look at the rookie, it could mean much more. New offensive line coach Howard Mudd is the one, they say, who hand-picked this guy. He's light and athletic, the way Mudd likes his linemen. And he's been sharing first-team reps with Jackson since the first day of training camp. Kelce is a legitimate candidate to be the starting center soon, if not right now. I wouldn't be surprised if the Eagles decided to line him up next to rookie right guard Danny Watkins in Week 1.
The headline on this notebook says, "DJax likes Fitz deal," and I'll just bet he does. I'd be more than willing to bet that DeSean Jackson does, indeed, approve of the eight-year, $120 million deal Larry Fitzgerald just signed with the Cardinals. I believe Jackson likes Fitzgerald's $50 million guarantee, too. Currently in a dispute with the Eagles over his own contract, and with one year left until free agency, a deal that moves the market for top receivers the way Fitzgerald's just did is manna for Jackson and his agent. Not that Jackson's as good as Fitzgerald, but a deal like that moves the price up for everyone at or near the top.
After watching the tape of Friday's game, Mike Shanahan came away impressed with quarterback John Beck. Said Beck made good decisions, which I thought was one of the most important takeaways from that game. They rolled him out a lot to try and take advantage of his speed and athleticism, but at the end of the rollouts he made smart plays. He threw the ball away when there was nothing there and, as this story points out, he didn't look for something downfield just for the sake of doing that. The Redskins' offense right now isn't going to offer much in the way of deep downfield options. Maybe as the year goes along, but not right now. Beck did a good job of taking what he was given, and it appears the right people noticed.
The Redskins are getting a bit healthier on defense. A hamstring problem has slowed LaRon Landry's recovery from his Achilles injury, but it sounds as though fellow safety O.J. Atogwe, cornerback Josh Wilson and linebacker London Fletcher are all back practicing and gearing up for Thursday's preseason game. Not as encouraging on the other side of the ball, where tight end Chris Cooley and kick returner Brandon Banks don't seem to be making much progress.
Coincidentally, I am in Washington, D.C., for a couple of days, doing some sightseeing with the wife and kids. So unless something huge goes down, you're not likely to hear from me again until I'm online tweeting during the Giants-Bears game. But I promise I won't forget about you, and you can always come back here to the links to yell at each other.