Eye On the Enemy: NFC East Roundup

Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons - USA Today

Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons – USA Today

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.

Week 12 Opponent: @New York Giants (3-7) (8:30 p.m.)
Line: Dallas (-3.5)

David Moore of the Dallas Morning News reports on Cowboys second-round pick DE DeMarcus Lawrence who has been sidelined with a broken foot:

The Cowboys second round pick is still looking for his first sack. But Lawrence has been active in his first two appearances of the season with four tackles and two quarterback pressures from his right end spot.

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli likes what he’s seen.

“Now it’s just about reps and practice and games and practice,’’ Marinelli said. “I think he’ll get a little bit better each week. It’s just about the keys and all of those things.

“He’s so hungry and eager. Now it’s just getting his pad level down, how he can jump out of his stance a little bit quicker, just those things. But the work is there and the want-to is there.’’

Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that the Cowboys will not limit DeMarco Murray in the final six regular season games:

The NFL’s leading rusher, DeMarco Murray, has already said he’s ready to carry the Dallas Cowboys to the finish line.

He leads the league in yards (1,233) and carries (244) and hopes to have a similar, if not a bigger, role over the final six games in the push for the NFC East title and playoffs.

Murray said he’s healthy and fresh after the bye week.

“I’m ready,” Murray said. “Like I’ve said before, whatever they ask me to do I’m going to do it times 10. It’s going to be an exciting next couple of weeks for us.”

Murray is averaging a league-best and career-best 123.3 yards per game. But he has never played a full 16 games in a season and this is the first year he’s played more than eight consecutive games without missing time to injury.

The Cowboys don’t plan to limit his carries going forward.

Week 12 Opponent: Dallas Cowboys (7-3) (8:30 p.m.)
Line: Dallas (-3.5)

Joe Giglio of NJ.com talks about the current rookie wide receiver class spotlighting Odell Beckham Jr. and Jordan Matthews:

No wide receiver class since the dynamic and illustrious 1996 group can compare to the early returns from the current crop of rookies catching passes and scoring touchdowns on a weekly basis.

Fans of the Giants and Eagles can certainly attest after watching Odell Beckham Jr. and Jordan Matthews, respectively, throughout their inaugural campaign in professional football. In total, eight of the 12 highest picked receivers taken in May’s draft have already surpassed 400 yards receiving—including both Beckham Jr. and Matthews.

When then 1996 class—led by Keyshawn Johnson, Marvin Harrison, Terrell Owens, Amani Toomer and Joe Horn—left the game, the group had amassed 26 Pro Bowl selections and over 10,000 more yards than any other draft class in history.

Bill Pennington of the New York Times reports that Eli Manning defended his play and deflected criticism of Tom Coughlin:

Eli Manning had one of the worst games of his N.F.L. career on Sunday, throwing five interceptions as the Giants lost to the San Francisco 49ers. But the performance has not shaken Manning’s confidence or his desire to remain a Giant for the rest of his career.

“I can still play at an extremely high level and take over games,” Manning said Wednesday when asked if he believed he had several good seasons left. “I can still make plays, and I still feel energized. I can still make all the throws.”

Manning has one year remaining on his contract at a salary of $17 million, which has prompted discussion about his future with the team. Manning conceded that anything could happen.

Week 12 Opponent: @San Francisco 49ers (6-4) (4:25 p.m.)
Line: San Francisco (-9)

Liz Clarke of the Washington Post reports that Jay Gruden won’t play young players just to gain them experience:

With Washington falling to 3-7, countless disillusioned Redskins fans are making mental roster moves, swapping untested youngsters for veterans who don’t seem to be getting the job done. Others are fantasizing about the NFL’s 2015 draft class.

But first-year Coach Jay Gruden made plain Thursday that he’s not interested in girding for next season with six games remaining. Until young backups prove they’re more capable than the veterans ahead of them, Gruden won’t be handing out starting jobs with an eye toward grooming young players.

“For us to take a starter out and put a young guy in, the young guy has to earn the spot. That’s No. 1,” Gruden said. “We’re still trying to win games. I think players will lose the fact that you’re trying to win games if you start doing that.”

Zac Boyer of the Washington Times talks about the adjustment period for the young, mobile quarterbacks:

Remarkably, Kaepernick’s feats that season weren’t all that unique. Cam Newton, also in his second year, and rookies Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson all helped redefine the quarterback position, signaling the potential end of the dominance of pocket passers in the NFL. It seemed to be a matter of when, not if, the college-style offense took over the professional game, with the four youngsters seemingly representing the new breed.

Now, not even two years later, those four have encountered a series of obstacles that have dimmed their once-bright futures. That prior success has been a burden, with the constant pressure and high expectations too much to handle. Injuries, an unavoidable part of the game, have been an imposition.

And, even though the ability to extend plays with their feet has greatly aided each player’s game, coaches are starting to realize the inevitable. Remaining in the pocket works, and teaching those quarterbacks the required fundamentals at this stage in their career is not a simple task.

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