We are hearing the following whispers from around the NFC East:
• Expect DT Antonio Dixon to remain a starter after the bye even if Brodrick Bunkley returns healthy from his elbow injury. Dixon has impressed since getting his opportunity, and the coaches think he gives the team a better chance to penetrate up front and stop the run. Dixon's strong play against the Titans, helping shut down RB Chris Johnson, really impressed the team.
• It's no surprise that the Giants placed DE-LB Mathias Kiwanuka on injured reserve after it was found that his neck injury was more serious than hoped. The team had special-teams concerns it had to address. But now you have to wonder if Kiwanuka will be a Giant next season. He is an impending free agent and has not been offered an extension. With first-round DE Jason Pierre-Paul in tow, the Giants could opt to move on without Kiwanuka next season.
• Don't expect a youth movement now that the Cowboys have lost their starting quarterback and the chances of making the postseason look grim. Among the younger players who likely will have to continue to sit is RB Tashard Choice, who has gone three games without a carry despite playing a noticeable role last season. The coaches want to continue to run Marion Barber and Felix Jones even though the run game has not been consistently fruitful.
• Redskins RB Clinton Portis is at least two weeks from returning from a groin injury, and he might not regain his starting job with the way Ryan Torain has been running. But the question then becomes: What do you do with Portis when he does come back? He might best serve the team at that point as a third-down back, considering the way Portis can pick up the blitz. It's an interesting scenario for head coach Mike Shanahan down the road.