Sunrise in the NFC East: The Division's Top Links on August 13, 2012

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistAugust 13, 2012

Dec. 4, 2011; Glendale, AZ, USA; Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones (left) and owner Jerry Jones prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Although none of the division's four teams played, it was a busy weekend for NFC East news. We'll react to some of the key developments throughout the week, but here's an initial look in our Monday links post.


Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys kick off the preseason tonight in Oakland, but Morris Claiborne's NFL career won't get started just yet. The first-round pick out of LSU has practiced in pads just twice and is still recovering from a sprained MCL. 

Calvin Watkins of relays words of frustration from executive vice president Stephen Jones:

"Mo Claiborne's got to get out there. The times he's been out there, it's been impressive. But he certainly can't make the club in the tub, if you will. He's got to get out there. It's time. We got to start having a mentality that we're going to play through things."

It's hard to see a way in which that isn't a criticism, but Claiborne took it well. 

"I understand where he's coming from," Claiborne said after Saturday's practice. "Anytime you put that much money in somebody to go out and play, you want them out on the field playing. I understand exactly where he's coming from."

It's definitely discouraging to see Claiborne struggle with injuries throughout his first offseason, and now preseason. I hope it's not an omen, because Dallas definitely mortgaged a large part of April's draft in order to land him.

As for Jones, he's right to be pissed (even if he says he isn't), and I don't think getting things out in the open like that is a bad idea.


New York Giants

From Paul Schwartz of the New York Post: Antrel Rolle didn't have his best season in 2011, and we're starting to understand why Rolle claims he spent the entire New York playoff drive and subsequent Super Bowl run playing with two torn rotator cuffs.

"There were definitely times where my shoulder felt like it was almost coming out, or if I jumped up to bat a ball down it felt like the worst things I've ever felt,'' Rolle said. "Yeah, it definitely hurt. I'm not Superman, you know.''

Had this been a concussion story, Rolle would take heat. Instead, it's just his shoulders, so he's a hero. Seriously, though, what Rolle did last year was already impressive because he was forced to play nickel corner rather than safety down the stretch. He struggled as a result but never complained and never made excuses...even though he had plenty to make.


Philadelphia Eagles

From Jeff Mclane of the Philadelphia Inquirer: Things got a little weird at Eagles camp this weekend when Andy Reid's agent showed up and reiterated comments from deep in the past about Reid being coach of the team so long as Jeff Lurie is running things. 

To which Lurie responded:

"Bob is a great agent who we have an outstanding relationship with," Lurie said in a statement. "As much respect as all of us have for Andy Reid, it is the nature of the profession that all coaches, executives and players are evaluated each year. That's the way we have always operated. But our focus right now, and I know Andy feels the same way, is solely on the upcoming 2012 season."

His contract expires after the 2013 season, but this would seem like a very odd time for Reid to make a power play. He insists he isn't focused on his contract, but Mike Florio of ProFooballTalk points out that his agent's words should be considered his words.


Washington Redskins

From Rich Campbell of the Washington Times: Another injury for the Redskins' offensive line, and this time it's a man the team simply can't afford to be without. Left tackle Trent Williams has a bone bruise in his left foot.

Campbell notes that he's only expected to miss a few days, but this means that Robert Griffin III will take snaps this week with only one of his regular five starting offensive linemen, and it could make things difficult for Washington next Saturday when it faces Chicago.