Breakfast links: Cowboys defensive stars

NFC East teams went a combined 1-3 on Sunday, which isn't real helpful to the season records of bloggers who predicted them to go 4-0. But that's neither here nor there. What's here is your links, in standings order, which did not change Sunday.

New York Giants (6-3)

Eli Manning and the Giants have come back in so many fourth quarters this year, they were stunned when Sunday's comeback attempt in San Francisco fell short. They're a confident bunch, these Giants, but on Sunday they ran up against a team that's better than they are -- especially when the game is in enemy territory. As we have come to expect, though, they hung right in there and had a chance at the end. I have a feeling the Giants will make every game exciting the rest of the way.

The troublesome new Giants injury of the week is Michael Boley's hamstring. No idea at this point on whether it will allow the linebacker to play next week against the Eagles, but Boley's been a crucial part of the Giants' defense this year, as Ohm details here, and they can ill afford to be without him as they gear up for LeSean McCoy. Assuming the Eagles plan to actually use McCoy. Which is a different story.

Dallas Cowboys (5-4)

Calvin Watkins writes about Terence Newman, who was the Cowboys' consolation prize when they failed to sign Nnamdi Asomugha. Newman has played beautifully since his return from an early-season injury, and he had two interceptions Sunday in the Cowboys' beat-down of the Buffalo Bills. Took one of them back for a touchdown. Didn't want to talk about it afterwards. Just rolling along.

When the game was over, Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee talked about what a challenge the week had been for him -- from learning to play with that big wrap on his arm to protect his injured wrist to the pain and struggle of dealing with the scandal at his alma mater, Penn State. Lee was pleased with the way his school handled things Saturday. As for his arm, he says he's got some work to do before he's used to playing with that club on.

Philadelphia Eagles (3-6)

John Smallwood blames DeSean Jackson for the latest DeSean Jackson controversy, saying he can't comprehend how Jackson could allow himself to miss a meeting and get benched at a time when the Eagles needed to win basically every game. I'm with John on this one. Even if it was an "honest mistake," it's an inexcusable one that not a single one of Jackson's teammates has made this year, and the timing was lousy. Andy Reid was right to bench him, and if that's what cost them this game and their season then Jackson has to take the blame.

Most of the vitriol in Philly today, though, is being aimed at Reid and the coaching staff for the team's 3-6 record. Phil Sheridan writes that it's time for Reid to go, and invokes the names of Ray Rhodes and Rich Kotite in doing so. Everybody keeps telling me I don't understand the perspective of the Eagles fans who believed they were somehow entitled to a Super Bowl championship at some point in the past 13 years, but I don't think you kiss off 12 years of excellence just because you had this one lousy one. And I don't get the sense that Eagles management is planning to do anything of the kind.

Washington Redskins (3-6)

After five games with Rex Grossman as starter followed by three with John Beck, the Redskins went back to Grossman at starting quarterback Sunday and still lost to the Dolphins. So, who starts next week? Well, nobody knows. Could be Grossman. Could be Beck. My money's on Grossman, since he at least knows how to operate the offense and will allow the coaching staff to get a look at potentially helpful 2012 pieces between interceptions. But I'm glad it's not real money.

Redskins players Fred Davis and Trent Williams are apparently among the players who could be facing league discipline for testing positive for recreational drugs. It doesn't sound as though anyone's facing suspensions, only fines, in which case there's no rule that says we have to know the names of the disciplined players. My favorite part, though, of the original Yahoo! report on this is the one about how these players are upset because they didn't think there'd be discipline for conduct violations during the lockout. I agree that there shouldn't be, but are NFL rules really the only thing keeping these guys from doing drugs?

Travel day for me, folks, with connecting flights and all that kind of fun stuff. So if the blog's a little light this morning and early afternoon, you'll know why, and I'll pick you up later, I promise.