Sunrise in the NFC East: The Division's Top Links on August 1, 2012

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistAugust 1, 2012

Phil Costa isn't being challenged for the starting center job.
Phil Costa isn't being challenged for the starting center job.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

That's right, July's in the rear-view mirror now. August really means football's back. It's also a great month for me and my fellow Leos. 

In the first Sunrise post of month, we look at diminished competitions in Dallas, diminished depth in New York, an amazing lack of blitzing in Philadelphia and an intriguing backup plan at inside linebacker in D.C.

Dallas Cowboys

From Tim MacMahon of Phil Costa's competition keeps getting hurt. First Mackenzy Bernadeau went down, and now Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski are dealing with ankle injuries. 

As a result, it's beginning to look as though Costa will again start the season as the team's No. 1 center. The 25-year-old started all 16 games in 2011, but he was one of the worst pass-blocking centers in football.

This was a position of concern for Dallas all offseason, and that certainly isn't changing now that training camp is here. I fully expect the team to add veteran help soon.

New York Giants

From Paul Schwartz of the New York Post: Safety Tyler Sash will miss the first four games of the regular season after being suspended for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy. Sash claims he took prescription drug Adderall to ease anxiety, not knowing it was on the list of banned substances. 

And if this doesn't cause the Giants to sign Deon Grant back, I don't think anything will. At this point, Grant makes perfect sense as a depth player on a secondary that will be shorthanded early. 

Philadelphia Eagles

From Sheil Kapadia of The Eagles blitzed just 18 percent of the time on defense last season, which was the second-lowest percentage in the NFL. And 46 of the team's league-high 50 sacks came from defensive linemen.

This is soooo Jim Washburn. Kapadia doesn't expect things to change at all this year, and why would they? The line has the talent and the scheme to succeed without any help.

It is, however, a little concerning that the linebackers and defensive backs struggled that badly without having to lose men to the blitz.

Washington Redskins

From Rich Tandler of CSN Washington: With top backup Jonathan Goff out for the year, it's possible the Redskins consider giving rookie fourth-round pick Keenan Robinson a much bigger role than originally expected at inside linebacker.

Sorry, I got distracted for a moment while trying to find my top Redskin link.

Tandler has a few other suggestions for how the Redskins can tackle—pun!—the situation, but this might not be a factor at all if London Fletcher and Perry Riley can stay on the field. Both are expected to serve as every-snap players.