Here are a few stories to keep you entertained as you wait ... and wait ... and wait for tonight's Monday Night Football kickoff.
Let's start with this. I have suspected it since training camp, when New York Giants guard Rich Seubert skipped several days of practice, and we have discussed many times the possibility that Seubert has been been playing hurt. Seubert has not appeared on the Giants' injury report at all this season, but Mike Garafolo has finally gotten Seubert to admit he is playing with a shoulder injury.
"It feels good. I’m out there playing," Seubert said. "I’m an O-linemen. I’ve been through worse. Something isn’t going to keep me out until the coaches say I can’t play anymore."
Seubert has not had a good season, by his standards, and Garafolo reported that offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride knows Seubert is not 100 percent.
"I don’t want to make it a sob story, but he has my admiration the way he fights through that stuff," Gilbride said. ""He won’t even mention it. He doesn’t want to talk about it. Let’s just move on."
More injury news
Ralph Vacchiano reports that offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie and cornerback Corey Webster did not make the trip to Washington and will not play. On the plus side, Aaron Ross expects to play. Let's just hope Ross doesn't pull up lame while chasing a receiver down the field and surrender a big play.
Smith's dreams coming true
For Steve Smith, who has already set the Giants' single-season receiving record, his personal accomplishments this season are beyond even what he hoped for.
"I said before the season I wanted to have one of the greatest Giants seasons ever," Smith said. "And I didn't really realize that it could come true."
A little more than a year since Burress shot himself in the thigh before a game against the Redskins last November, the Giants return to Washington tomorrow night with a receiver who's having a record-setting season. Smith enters the game, now more crucial to Big Blue after the Cowboys ended the Saints' perfect season Saturday night, with 85 receptions, tied for fifth-most in the NFL with Arizona's superstar receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Smith, who has more catches than stars such as Houston's Andre Johnson and New England's Randy Moss, already has topped Amani Toomer's single-season team record of 82 catches set back in 2002 and needs just 15 more catches to reach 100 with three games remaining. That would be a remarkable achievement considering few figured Smith or any of the Giants' receivers would be able to fill the huge void left by Burress.
"All the naysayers and all the things we were hearing all season long ... it's not that people didn't believe, they just didn't know about us," Smith said. "We all had confidence and knew what we could do. We had a quiet confidence amongst ourselves. It is just about opportunity."
Despite not being nearly as big nor as fast as Burress, the 5-11 Smith has become Eli Manning's go-to guy. Smith has 1,053 yards receiving and five touchdowns. While rookie Hakeem Nicks and wide receiver Mario Manningham have proven to be explosive playmakers, Smith has been the rock of the receiving corps.
"I am not surprised," Manning said of his new favorite target. "I knew Steve would have a great year going into his third year. He has always been a key guy on third down working in the slot and moving him around. I knew when he became the starter, being on the field for every play, he was going to emerge and step up and make some outstanding plays for us."
About those Cowboys
Like it or not, the Cowboys were extremely impressive in beating New Orleans Saturday night. Via Twitter, Ian O'Connor opined that they looked like a certain team from 2007.
Could it be that 2009 Dallas is 2007 Giants? Head coach and QB on the brink before very late season run makes everyone a forever hero.
Peter King said it was the performance the Cowboys had been hoping for all season.
- Former Giants coach Jim Fassel is reportedly a candidate for the Oakland job if the Raiders fire Tom Cable. Fassel has been down this road before, with both Oakland and Washington. I have never understood why he hasn't been given another opportunity. I still think he deserves one.
- Mike Shanahan seems next in line for the Redskins job. The D.C. Sports Bog (yes, Bog) summarizes the various reports circulating about Shanahan.
- I missed it the other day, but Dec. 18 marked the 75th anniversary of the famous 'sneakers game.'