How I See It: NFC East Stock Watch


1. Wade Phillips, Dallas Cowboys head coach: I didn't have room to mention every player on defense, so their coordinator will have to do. The Cowboys had a 20-7 lead over the New York Giants after quarterback Tony Romo left the game. Phillips basically needed his highly ranked defense to win the game for him. What followed over the next two quarters was an embarrassing performance. Phillips tried to blame it on all those three-and-outs from Jon Kitna and the offense, but we all know better. The Cowboys' defense disappeared at the worst possible moment.

2. Ellis Hobbs, Philadelphia Eagles cornerback: Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt burned Hobbs and rookie safety Nate Allen throughout the second half. Hobbs was still backpedaling when Britt was racing past him for big plays. We'll never know why defensive coordinator Sean McDermott didn't do more to help Hobbs in this game. But hey, Asante Samuel and Quintin Mikell shut down Nate Washington on the other side. The sight of those two players bracketing Washington in the fourth quarter was quite ridiculous based on what was actually going on at the time. I still haven't heard a reasonable explanation from McDermott for his approach to stopping Britt.

3. Chris Gronkowski, Dallas Cowboys fullback: When you blow a blocking assignment that leads to your star quarterback being knocked out for a couple months, you deserve some recognition. Gronkowski was apparently so anxious to catch a pass that he forgot to check for incoming linebackers such as Michael Boley, who had a clean shot at Romo.


1. DeAngelo Hall, Washington Redskins cornerback: Earlier in the week, Hall and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett reportedly had a dispute while watching film of a loss against the Colts. Maybe they should try that more often. Hall was brilliant against Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears with four interceptions, one of which he returned 92 yards for a touchdown.

2. Albert Haynesworth, Washington Redskins defensive tackle: Obviously it was his best performance of the season against the Bears. His one-man goal-line stand against Cutler completely changed the game. And Haynesworth also picked up a sack. He was the most dominant defensive player in that game Sunday. Haslett's done a nice job of getting him in situations that remind him of his Titans days.

3. Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith, New York Giants wide receivers: Nicks and Smith overwhelmed the Cowboys' defensive backs. I've been saying this might be the best trio of wide receivers (Mario Manningham's the third) in the league, and they certainly lived up to that type of billing Monday. Smith's acrobatic catch across the middle in the first half set the tone for the rest of the game. And Nicks has become one of the most dangerous receivers in the league after the catch. Now, if they could both stop tipping balls ...