While off-season activity has slowed as teams increasingly turn their focus to the draft, NFC East teams are still at work trying to fill roster holes with bargain free agents, and considering how they might use players already on their roster to better advantage. Here's a quick look at news affecting the NFC East recently:
- Giants coaches are mulling over what to do at left tackle. Will Beatty started the season protecting Eli Manning's blindside, and was less than average until he suffered a detached retina in November and was placed on injured reserve. The Giants moved veteran David Diehl into his spot, and Diehl was unspectacular, but at least held his own. Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff will have to decide whether Beatty can reclaim the position, whether to leave Diehl in the position, or whether to draft a new tackle this year. My guess: they'll draft one. Beatty was less than impressive, and Diehl is a) 32 years old, and b) more effective on the right side at either guard or tackle.
- Bountygate aftershocks could end up hitting the Washington Redskins. Former Redskin and Giant linebacker Antonio Pierce said in an interview that Gregg Williams' pre-game speech to Saints defenders before the playoff game against the 49ers was pretty much like pre-game speeches he'd heard from Williams in Washington. Other Redskins players have confirmed Washington had a system similar to what's been reported about New Orleans, though it's not clear whether there were bonuses paid for injuring opponents. Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the investigation remains open and that he may take action if sufficient evidence emerges. Stay tuned.
- Philadelphia Eagles left tackle Jason Peters tore his Achilles tendon in a workout and will miss the 2012 season. The Eagles moved quickly to sign former Bills free agent Demetress Bell. You probably know him better as Demetrius, but apparently his name has been misspelled throughout his career. Bell isn't Peters, but then not many tackles are in that class. Bell was outstanding for the Bills through the first 6 games, but he missed the last 10 with a shoulder injury. You may recall that Buffalo was 4-2 through their first 6, but when just 2-8 over the final 10. A big part of that was a dip in offensive production -- some of that because QB Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn't getting the same kind of protection with Bell out.
- The Washington Redskins may have given up hunting for offensive line help in free agency. They struck out on Ben Grubbs and Demetress Bell, and now appear more likely to hope Kory Lichtensteiger and Jammal Brown are able to return to the lineup with health and production. The coaches were happy with the line that started the season, but the team's production dipped when those two plus Trent Williams suffered injuries. The Skins will likely seek to add depth in the draft.
- The Skins haven't quite given up on filling their void at safety. They cut Oshiomogho Atogwe (partly because of injuries and poor play, and partly because of the absurd salary cap penalty), and they let Laron Landry depart because of a recurring Achilles problem. Skins doctors recommended surgery to correct the injury, but Landry declined. Now he's on a one-year deal with the Jets. Washington brought Madieu Williams to Redskins Park -- a reserve safety for San Francisco last year. He's hardly an ideal solution, but the pickings at safety were slim from the start of free agency and have only slimmed further. Washington has offered him a contract -- likely a small, 1-2 year deal.
- Future Washington quarterback Robert Griffin, III was featured in an episode of Jon Gruden's QB Camp. The episode will be rebroadcast several times before the draft, most of them appearing on ESPNU. It'll also appear on ESPN2 this Thursday at 9:30 PM Eastern Time. Check your local listings.