Eye On the Enemy: NFC East Roundup


Tony Romo

Once a week, we’ll take a spin around the NFC East to check in on what’s going on with the Eagles’ division rivals.

DALLAS COWBOYS (6-3)
Week 10 Opponent: @Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) (1 p.m.) (London)
Line: Not listed.

Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Cardinals’ defense was impressed by DeMarco Murray:

What do opponents think of the way DeMarco Murray is playing this season? Well, ESPN Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss recently got that answer from a couple of Arizona defenders.

“Honestly, after playing him, he’s breaking tackles, a lot of times he’s hit in the backfield but he squirts out for 3 or 4 yards,” nose tackle Dan Williams said. “He is definitely as good as advertised.”

Arizona has been the only team to hold the league’s leading rusher under 100 yards this season. Murray rushed 19 times for 79 yards during the 28-17 Cowboys loss last Sunday.

“He’s the real deal though,” Cardinals linebacker Larry Foote said. “I respect him a lot. Great running back.”

Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that former NFL quarterback Brad Johnson reached out to Tony Romo:

Johnson texted his former Cowboys teammate, Tony Romo, soon after he saw Romo get kneed in the back by Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson in an Oct. 27 game.

“I knew [Romo] was in pain,” Johnson said in a phone interview. “There’s nothing you can do about it. It takes time, and taking a pain shot is not going to help. I know exactly how he feels.”

Johnson, who is retired and living in Athens, Ga., was injured on a scramble against the Detroit Lions when 320-pound defensive tackle Shaun Rogers fell on top of him.

“We didn’t want to let anything out,” Johnson said. “…But once I got home, I couldn’t move. I was done.”

He missed the final two games of the 2002 regular season. After a first-round playoff bye, Johnson returned for the playoffs, and the Bucs won Super Bowl XXXVII.

NEW YORK GIANTS (3-5)
Week 10 Opponent: @Seattle Seahawks (5-3) (4:25 p.m.)
Line: Seattle (-10)

Paul Schwartz of the New York Post says that Ben McAdoo will still have the Giants throwing the deep ball this week:

It was noticeable that Eli Manning attempted to throw the ball down the field more often against the Colts than he has in any game this season. This was not the result of trying to please general manager Jerry Reese, who said he’d like to see more aggressiveness.

“Every week is a different week,’’ offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said Thursday. “You put together a plan that you think gives you the best chance to win, obviously. We felt that gave us a chance to win. We did a nice job with protection early up front. We had some chances down the field to make some throws and make some catches and we didn’t come up the way we would like to.”

Manning did not connect on any of the long attempts — he was 0-for-6 on passes that traveled 21 or more yards from the line of scrimmage — and now he faces the Seahawks and their renowned Legion of Boom secondary. Time to dial it back again?

Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News reports that Jason Pierre-Paul slammed his teammates for a lack of heart:

Another day in this 3-5 season, another Giant calling out his teammates for a lack of fire. On Thursday, it was Jason Pierre-Paul’s turn.

“There is a lot of talking going on, but at the end of the day, it is all about heart,” Pierre-Paul said. “I can sit here and talk all day to you, but at the end of the day, it is all about that individual and what he’s got going on.”

Then, the crushing statement.

“It (heart) is definitely missing out of a lot of guys,” he said.

It was not a new criticism for a team that faces a daunting challenge this Sunday, when it visits the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Earlier this week, safety Antrel Rolle delivered his latest radio rant, questioning his teammates’ passion, the third straight year that he’s felt the need to bring up those issues. One day later, two first-year Giants, defensive end Robert Ayers and linebacker Jameel McClain, agreed.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-6)
Week 10 Opponent: Bye

Liz Clarke of the Washington Post writes about veteran LB Adam Hayward‘s approval of Jay Gruden‘s blunt assessment of the team:

But while Gruden’s blunt assessment shocked some, veteran linebacker Adam Hayward said he feels it’s precisely what Redskins players need and appreciate.

“I love it because you know what you’re getting,” said Hayward, who is captain of Washington’s special-teams unit. “A coach like that, you know what he wants, what he expects. If you don’t give it, he’s going to let you know. He’s not going to beat around the bush and sugar-coat things and be like, ‘Well, this was good and that was…’

“No. If it sucked, it’s: ‘It sucked. We need to get better, or we all won’t be here.’”

Gruden singled out the defense for praise after the 20-17 toppling of Dallas in overtime, in which quarterback Tony Romo was sacked five times, and awarded defensive coordinator Jim Haslett the game ball afterward.

Tom Schad of the Washington Times talks with FB Darrel Young about the long-awaited bye:

With the first nine weeks of the season behind them, Young and the Redskins participated in a light conditioning session Tuesday morning and then scattered to begin a five-day break. Players have the option of staying in town and lifting weights at the team’s facility each morning. But for most, the bye week is an opportunity to leave Ashburn and recharge, both mentally and physically.

“You’ve got to get away from the game a little bit,” Young said. “Think about why you do what you do, why you love what you do. You kind of forget in the season because everything’s so repetitive every day. So from that standpoint, just go out there and remember what you’re here for and remember those goals you set before the season to try to accomplish some of them.”

Under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, players must receive four consecutive days off during a bye week. They are allowed to receive treatment or use the team’s facilities but not practice or otherwise receive coordinated instruction from the coaching staff.

Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.