Posted: Tuesday July 11, 2006 10:05AM; Updated: Thursday July 13, 2006 1:00PM
Impact player in the making
Andre Carter had 4.5 sacks for the 49ers last season.
Greg Flume/Getty Images
ANDRE CARTER, WASHINGTON
We haven't heard much from Carter since his breakthrough 12.5-sack season of 2002 in San Francisco, but he's a great athlete who should create havoc coming off the edge in Williams' defense. Carter can play the 4-3 end position and handle a 3-4 outside linebacker slot when Williams decides to change up the Redskins' look. If Carter plays like we think he will, the Redskins faithful will forget about Arrington by mid-October.
Story to watch
Sorry, haters of hype. Normally I'm with you. But when it comes to watching how the Parcells-Owens shotgun marriage will play out this season, well, who will be able to totally avert their eyes? We happen to think that this particular honeymoon will be rather lengthy, but that won't keep anyone from taking daily temperature readings. Even AndyReid's curious.
Biggest offseason splash
Let's see. The Eagles' headline addition was defensive end Darren Howard. The Giants picked up yet another pass rusher in Arrington. And the Redskins signed almost every available free agent, as usual. And all those moves combined didn't move the needle one tenth of the amount that the long-anticipated Owens-to-Dallas relocation did. As splashes go, it was the equivalent of a Nate Newton cannonball into the deep end of the pool.
Pay no attention to ...
The endless Eli-PeytonManning comparisons. The Giants' third-year starter had his moments last season, but he's nowhere near the polished product his older MVP-winning brother is. Eli has a propensity for sailing a few passes high over the heads of his targets, and his tendency to stare down his receivers in key situations cost him in 2005. As young quarterbacks go, Eli is doing fairly well. But as Peyton's little brother, the bar is set almost impossibly high.
Potential land mine
The Giants' locker room. New York running back Tiki Barber is the consummate professional and way too sharp to repeat his blunt assessment of Tom Coughlin's coaching job after New York's 23-0 playoff loss at home to Carolina. But Coughlin-style discipline tends to best be accepted when it is accompanied by winning. The Giants have more than their share of opinionated veterans -- such as Plaxico Burress, Jeremy Shockey and MichaelStrahan -- who have chafed a bit in the brief Coughlin era. Let's see what happens to team harmony if New York struggles early, not an unlikely scenario given the Giants' tough September schedule (vs. Colts, at Philadelphia, at Seattle).