From the Philadelphia Eagles:
Dirk Johnson had surgery in June to repair a sports hernia, but continues to be bothered by problems with his groin. He clearly was in discomfort trying to punt in Sunday's 49-21 loss to Denver and was unable to run downfield.
He was scheduled to meet Tuesday with Dr. William Myers, who performed the June surgery on him and there's a good possibility he'll be shut down for the season.
Monday, Eagles coach Andy Reid described the injury as "pretty significant." The Eagles brought in several punters for workouts Tuesday and will sign one of them if Johnson can't punt Sunday against the Redskins.
Meanwhile, the Eagles are hopeful of getting kicker David Akers back this week. Akers has missed the last four games with a torn hamstring, but did some kicking in the Eagles' indoor bubble last week and will try kicking in practice this week.
If Akers is able to play Sunday, the Eagles likely will still hang on to kicker Jose Cortez and let him handle kickoffs.
--P Dirk Johnson's season may be over. Johnson, who had surgery in June to repair a sports hernia, continues to be bothered by groin problems that are making it extremely painful to kick.
--PK David Akers may return this week after missing four games with a torn hamstring. He kicked last week in the Eagles' indoor bubble without any problems. Akers likely won't handle kickoffs when he returns, at least not initially.
--PK Jose Cortez likely will remain on the roster and handle kickoffs for the Eagles, even though David Akers may return this week after missing four games with a torn hamstring.
--QB Donovan McNabb continues to insist his sports hernia isn't affecting his ability to throw the ball. But he continues to be erratic. He completed just 12 of 34 passes in Sunday's loss to the Broncos.
--RB Brian Westbrook still has not had more than 20 touches in a game this season. He had 17 Sunday against Denver.
--WR Terrell Owens sprained his ankle in the second half Sunday, but continued to play. It's the same ankle he had surgically repaired last December. He had an MRI on the ankle Monday.
--WR Reggie Brown, the club's second-round draft pick, had his most productive day as a pro Sunday, catching a pair of passes for 44 yards in the Eagles' loss to Denver.
--TE L.J. Smith had just one reception Sunday, though it was for a touchdown. With the Broncos blitzing on almost every down, he had to stay in and block a lot more than he usually does.
--DE Jevon Kearse, who is not having a particularly good year, injured his shoulder in Sunday's loss to the Broncos. He didn't return to the game and had an MRI on the shoulder Monday. The Eagles are hopeful he'll be able to play this week.
Reports Card vs. Broncos
PASSING OFFENSE: F -- The Eagles were not at all prepared for the all-out blitzes the Broncos threw at them early in the game. Donovan McNabb didn't complete his first pass until eight minutes were gone in the second quarter. He finished with just 12 completions in 34 attempts.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C-plus -- The Eagles ran the ball 19 times, which, for them, is a lot. It was the second most rushing attempts they've had this season. Brian Westbrook did a decent job of running out of spread formations. Lamar Gordon had 16 yards on 2 carries.
PASS DEFENSE: F -- The Eagles were torched for four touchdown passes by Jake Plummer. That's 13 they've given up in the last five games. Last year, they gave up 16 the entire season. Plummer's bootlegs and play-action gave the Eagles major problems.
RUN DEFENSE: F -- Until they wore down in the second half, the Eagles actually weren't doing a terrible job against the run. They held Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell to a collective 78 yards in the first half. The Broncos finished with 255 rushing yards. Anderson and Bell both collected 100-plus.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus -- The extra distance and hang time provided by new kicker Jose Cortez helped the Eagles' kickoff coverage unit contain the Broncos' Darrent Williams. P Dirk Johnson had a 42.1 net average. KR Rod Hood averaged 24.8 yards per return.COACHING: F -- There's no excuse for how ill-prepared the Eagles were for the Broncos' early-game blitzes. Andy Reid's offense still was one-dimensional early. His quarterback completed just 12 of 34 passes.
Midway though the season, the Cowboys (5-3) have been one of surprises of the NFL. They are second in the NFC East and have legitimate playoff aspirations with as many wins as any team in the conference.
But Cowboys coach Bill Parcells says it's not time to get excited.
He said much work still must be done and that his focus during the bye to shore up the roster for the second of the season and put out fires caused by a number of injuries.
As a result, it was a busy Tuesday at the team's Valley Ranch training complex, featuring a number of roster moves.
Parcells has been concerned about the safety position all season. With a groin injury to backup Willie Pile in Sunday's victory against the Cardinals, the Cowboys went backwards for help.
The Cowboys were able to make the moves because they moved linebacker Al Singleton (shoulder) and defensive Jay Ratliff (ankle) to the injured reserve list.
Both players were injured against the Cardinals.
The Cowboys also released running back Anthony Thomas, who got $1 million to sign with the team as a free agent in the off-season. The Cowboys quietly tried to move Thomas in training camp. Thomas played sparingly early in the season before starting two games when Julius Jones went down with an ankle injury. He had little success and rookie Marion Barber started last Sunday against the Cardinals, rushing for 127 yards and two touchdowns.With Jones slated to return against the Eagles in two weeks and Barber firmly entrenched as the backup, Thomas was expendable.
--LB Kevin Burnett needs to step up his play. Coach Bill Parcells said the team expected more from the rookie second-round pick on special teams. And with Al Singleton out for the season with a broken collarbone, they need Burnett to contribute as a reserve at outside linebacker.
--DE Kenyon Coleman, who has been inactive the past two weeks and has lost the staring job at right end to rookie Marcus Spears, will likely get back on the field against the Eagles in two weeks because rookie defensive lineman Jay Ratliff has been placed on injured reserve.
--LB Scott Fujita will likely step in to replace Al Singleton at outside linebacker. Singleton is out for the season with a fractured shoulder blade. Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said the team will miss Singleton because of his experience, but he has liked what he has seen in Fujita so far. Parcells expects it to be a smooth transition because Fujita has seen increasing playing time in recent weeks. Fujita, who was acquired in a trade from Kansas City before the season, led the team in tackles against the Seahawks and recorded his first sack of the season against the Cardinals.
--QB Drew Bledsoe has been well worth the three-year, $14 million investment. Bledsoe (2,019 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, 6 interceptions) leads the NFC with a 97.4 passer rating and is on pace to break the Cowboys single-season record for most passing yards (3,980) set by Danny White in 1983.
--K Shaun Suisham made his only two field goal attempts against the Cardinals on Sunday in his first game with the Cowboys. But he didn't exactly engender confidence with a shaky pregame warmup. Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said he will not bring any kickers in for tryouts this week and will go with Suisham for now.
--CB Anthony Henry's status will not be made clear until the team returns to practice on Thursday. But the groin pull he suffered against the Cardinals has the Cowboys worried. He would not have been able to play if the Cowboys didn't have a bye this week and will likely need the full two weeks to heal to be ready for the Eagles game Nov. 14.
--WR Patrick Crayton will have the cast taken off his ankle on Monday and anticipating a return by the Giants on Dec. 4. The Cowboys have certainly missed his contributions. Crayton had 18 catches for 272 yards and two touchdowns before he went down. Peerless Price has two catches for 24 yards in the two games as Crayton's replacement as the third receiver.
--RB Marion Barber has rushed for 222 yards the last two weeks, including 127 yards against the Cardinals. Cowboys coach Bill Parcells credits Barber's college training and his pedigree as the son of an NFL player, calling him one of the most ready-to-play rookies he's ever had at running back. "As much as any player our expectations for that player coming here were pretty high," Parcells said. "I know his college coach well. I know he is well-prepared player. Plus his experience of having pro football in his family was another thing that kind of made me think this kid will be down the road further than the average rookie. And really he is. It just took a little while to get it all going. Fundamentally he was a very good player. He does everything required of the position. Now, he is not perfect. But there are a lot of kids who don't know how to do what he knows how to do. That is a credit to Glenn Mason and his coaching staff and whatever else his dad might have been able to relate to him."
The question before the house is whether the Giants were really that good last week when they pulverized the Washington Redskins 36-0, whether the Redskins were simply that atrocious, or whether the Giants were playing on emotion since it was their first game since the death of 89-year-old owner Wellington Mara early last week.
"We found a new level for our defense," Giants weakside linebacker Nick Greisen said. "Now we have raised the bar and it is up to us to play at this new and higher level."
The problem is, they won't be playing in their house on Sunday. Rather, they'll be all the way across the country in San Francisco, and the 49ers have a few questions of their own that need to be answered.
For instance, is this misbegotten franchise really emerging as one of those teams you might beat but can no longer take for granted? Or did the 49ers play over their heads when they upset Tampa Bay last Sunday - in their house?
Most of the Giants agreed that "playing one for Mr. Mara" had something to do with the emotional level. Others just felt the Giants are improving week to week and that the emotions served as merely a catalyst to bring the team up.
"We have been playing better," veteran wide receiver Amani Toomer said. "Of course, we felt a special inspiration because Mr. Mara had passed away, but our team is better than it was at the start of the season."
If that is the answer, then the 5-2 Giants, currently residing in first place in the NFC East, should have little trouble with San Francisco on Sunday. Then it's back home to play the Mess in Minnesota, which, in turn, leads to a dramatic confrontation - again at home - with Philadelphia, the defending NFC champion and the "team to beat" in the division."Just one game at a time," warned running back Tiki Barber, who gained a career best 206 yards against Washington. "We can only get in trouble if we start to think ahead of ourselves."
--SLB Carlos Emmons missed last week's rout with a partially torn right pectoral muscle, and coach Tom Coughlin lists him as day-to-day this week. "If this was game day, I don't think he'd make it," he said of his veteran on Monday.
--DE Justin Tuck, a 6-5 and 265-pound rookie who ran down superback LaDainian Tomlinson when the Giants were in San Diego, suffered a sprained ankle against the Redskins. Coach Tom Coughlin said it should be a "manageable" injury.
--QB Eli Manning is starting to show that he can engineer a victory without having superlative statistics. "It isn't supposed to be all about me," he says. "We were getting great blocking from the offensive line, so we decided to run the ball more. It worked." The Giants gained 262 yards rushing while Manning only passed for 124.
--QB Tim Hasselbeck got to see his first action of the season. He came in for most of the fourth quarter, when the Giants ran 12 straight rushing plays.
--RB Tiki Barber was especially close to Wellington Mara and one of his 40 grandchildren, Tim McDonnell, who had served for years as a bellboy at training camp. "I wanted a touchdown for him," Barber said, "because I wanted to give him the ball." Barber scored, and since all the grandchildren were on the sideline, he ran over and handed it to McDonnell. McDonnell, a college graduate, is now an assistant on Charlie Weis' staff at Notre Dame.
--RB Brandon Jacobs, the hulking 6-4, 265-pound rookie, got a season high eight carries for 14 yards and a TD against Washington.
--RB Derrick Ward, slightly more experienced in blitz pickup, played more than rookie Brandon Jacobs, carrying 13 times for 42 yards.
--WR Plaxico Burress had only four catches and still led the team in that category. "We were going with what was working best," he said, "and what was working best was Tiki Barber."
--WR Amani Toomer had two catches - second-most on the team last Sunday, for 43 yards.
--TE Jeremy Shockey, visibly sobbing when Mara's granddaughter, Kate, sang the national anthem, caught three passes for 29 yards and a TD, giving him four scores for the season. Plaxico Burress has five.
--PK Jay Feely finally missed a kick, watching a 51-yard field goal attempt clank off the left upright. He had made 13 in a row and is now 16 for 17 on the season, in addition to having made all 23 PAT attempts.
--DE Osi Umenyiora is continuing his emergence as a star pass rusher. He had two sacks against the Redskins and now has five for the year; he had seven all of last season.--DE Michael Strahan had one sack and has 6 1/2 for the year. He recorded only four all last season, when he missed the final eight games with a torn pectoral muscle.