Eye On the Enemy: NFC East Roundup
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 (8-4)
The big first-place showdown in the NFC East never materialized because the Cowboys defense didn’t show up in the first quarter. Philadelphia traveled 80 and 88 yards with incredible ease for a quick 14-0 lead, and the Cowboys never mounted a challenge in a 33-10 defeat.
Over after one quarter? Well, consider the fact that in the final three quarters, the Cowboys spent exactly two minutes, 46 seconds in which they were behind by fewer than 10 points.
“You try not to look at the scoreboard, but I looked up and saw ‘30’ in the third quarter and thought, ‘Wow, that’s not us,’” defensive tackle Henry Melton said.
It definitely was the Cowboys on Thursday, and you have to wonder if this defense will be overmatched in every game until the season finale in Washington, which, come to think of it, looms as a somehow scary rematch with Colt McCoy.
Everyone showed up Thursday to see what Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called the biggest Thanksgiving game in his memory.
Everyone was there, that is, except the vaunted Cowboys’ offense.
DeMarco Murray didn’t get his usual 100 yards rushing, Tony Romo didn’t throw his usual touchdown pass and the offense spoiled everyone’s Thanksgiving with a 33-10 loss to Philadelphia that left the Eagles in control of the NFC East.
The Cowboys don’t ask their defense to win games. All the Pro Bowlers and all the money are on the offensive side of the ball. Romo, Murray, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Tyron Smith carry this franchise’s hopes for playoff berths and division titles — not Tyrone Crawford, Rolando McClain, Orlando Scandrick and Barry Church.
NEW YORK GIANTS (3-8)
Week 13 Opponent: @Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10) (1:00 p.m.)
Line: New York (-3)
Jordan Raanan of NJ.com writes about Tom Coughlin‘s coaching career as he heads into game number 300:
The season before Tom Coughlin began his NFL coaching career, San Francisco’s Steve Young was the league MVP, Bill Parcells was coach of the year (for the New England Patriots), and Los Angeles still had a football team.
It’s been a long time since Coughlin hasn’t been coaching an NFL team (aside from that year off between stints with the Jaguars and Giants). He’s been an NFL head coach for 19 seasons and, come Sunday, 300 career regular-season games ‐ all with the Giants and Jaguars.
“Really?” Coughlin said when told it would be his 300th career game Sunday when his Giants play in Jacksonville. “Thank you very much. I appreciate you saying that. I didn’t realize that.”
Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes about how Coughlin has come to the defense of coordinator Perry Fewell:
The day after the Giants blew a four-point lead — as the Cowboys, with the greatest of ease, shredded defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’s defense — coach Tom Coughlin seemed to suggest he was not happy with the lack of pressure dialed up by Fewell.
“We’d like to be able to do it over,” Coughlin said earlier this week.
On Wednesday, the coach came to Fewell’s defense.
“How would you like to be the guy who is sitting there calling pressures and we call pressures and nothing happens?’’ Coughlin said.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-8)
Week 13 Opponent: @Indianapolis Colts (7-4) (1 p.m.)
Line: Indianapolis (-10)
John Keim of ESPN.com discusses Robert Griffin III’s potential trade value:
I can’t imagine Cousins has much trade value at this point; a low-rounder at best, though I can’t say I’ve talked to a lot of people around the league about him. Nobody offered better than a fourth-rounder a year ago and while he showed some good things, he also threw costly picks and didn’t respond well to adversity. As for Griffin, I did talk to one executive who said he thought maybe a fifth- or sixth-rounder for him. But my guess is they could get maybe a third- or a fourth-rounder, depending on how many teams are involved.
Mike Jones of the Washington Post reports that Jay Gruden had the support of owner and general manager in his decision to bench Griffin:
On Wednesday, Gruden declared that he had the full support of Snyder and Allen in his decision to bench Griffin as well.
“We’re all on the same team. We’re all on board,” Gruden said. “There hasn’t been any arguments, ‘You play him. You do this. You do that.’ I think, ultimately, it was the coach’s decision but they’re on board. Had they been adamant and said, ‘No, play him,’ I don’t know what would’ve happened. I do know that they’re on board with the coaching decision to play Colt McCoy this week.”
People within the organization familiar with how the decision was made confirmed that Snyder and Allen agreed with Gruden when he discussed the situation, and all three men agreed that it was time to bench Griffin in hopes of helping him further down the road.
Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.