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Around The NFC East: Cowboys, Redskins, Eagles Storylines

Week 6 news, notes and nuggets about the Giants’ NFC East rivals

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

With Week 6 of the NFL season this weekend, there are headlines across the NFC East. Let’s take a look at what’s going on with all of the New York Giants division rivals in this week’s Around the NFC East.

Washington Redskins

Redskins looking for someone to step up to replace Josh Norman; First look at ‘Skins vs. 49ers | Hogs Haven

A Kyle Shanahan-Kirk Cousins pairing could happen, but it's not a lock - Washington Redskins Blog- ESPN

There's mutual respect between Redskins QB Kirk Cousins and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan. Both have long-term needs. Yet there are hurdles to a reunion.

Washington Redskins looking for someone to step up to replace Josh Norman

Redskins trying to figure out how to replace Norman in their defensive backfield.

Washington Redskins miss departed Pierre Garcon - Washington Redskins Blog- ESPN

Pierre Garcon was a reliable target for the Redskins, who will see him Sunday on the opposite sideline when they face the 49ers.

Redskins could break 12-year streak with a big win against 49ers | NBC Sports Washington

The Redskins have not covered a double-digit betting spread in more than a decade. Sunday against the 49ers, the team gets another chance.

Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. 49ers | NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: Here is a first look at the Redskins and what is, frankly, a bad upcoming opponent.

These are the Redskins’ most successful play concepts on offense this season | Washington Post

With a quarter of the season behind them, it’s a good opportunity to evaluate what has worked best for the Redskins. The offense didn’t get off to the best of starts, but it’s picked up as it finds a rhythm. Here’s a closer look at some of their most successful play concepts.

Running plays

One of the Redskins’ most successful and common run plays has been the counter trey. It’s a play made famous by former Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs during his Super Bowl-winning tenure in Washington.

[Roger Goodell says NFL believes players should stand during national anthem]

The Redskins didn’t use it in their opening game against the Eagles, but it has been run in every game since.

Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles vs. Panthers Final Injury Report: Updates on Johnson, Cox, and Smallwood | Bleeding Green Nation

Philadelphia Eagles released their third and final official injury report in advance of their Week 6 game against the Carolina Panthers.

Eagles starting right tackle Lane Johnson is OUT, as expected. Johnson suffered a concussion on Sunday and still hasn’t passed through the mandatory concussion protocol. Halapoulivaati Vaitai will take over in his place.

Now, this is obviously a big loss for Philly. The Eagles are 9-2 in their last 11 games when Johnson has played. They are 2-8 in the last 10 games he’s missed.

In my opinion, Johnson’s injury is exactly why Thursday Night Football sucks, by the way. There’s a decent chance he’d be able to play if this game was on a Sunday. But I digress.

Starting defensive tackle Fletcher Cox is questionable to play tomorrow evening. He was a full participant in practice on Tuesday, so that’s an encouraging sign, but it still seems like there’s uncertainty if he’ll play. Doug Pederson said he’ll be a game-time decision.

Running back Wendell Smallwood is also questionable. He didn’t practice at all this week, however, so I’d have to think he’ll be out again. Expect to see a lot of LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement with Kenjon Barner also being mixed in to the rotation.

In other injury news, Ronald Darby is out again. Defensive tackles Beau Allen, who is Cox’s top replacement, and Destiny Vaeao are questionable. It would be a huge concern if none of those three tackles (Cox, Allen, Vaeao) can play. Veteran defensive end Chris Long is questionable. If he can’t go, that’ll mean more playing time for Derek Barnett and Steven Means. Safety Jaylen Watkins is questionable for the second week in a row. He didn’t suit up last Sunday despite being a full participant in practice all week. We’ll see if that’s the same case this week.

Eagles vs. Panthers: 5 matchups to watch | Philly Voice

The 4-1 Carolina Panthers were a dominant team in 2015, when they started 14-0, finished 15-1, and lost in the Super Bowl to the Denver Broncos. In 2016, they started 1-5 and finished at 6-10. Make no mistake, this Panthers team is closer to the dominant team it was in 2015 than the disappointing one it was in 2016.

Here are five matchups to watch this Thursday in Charlotte:

1) The Eagles' rushing attack vs. the Panthers' front seven

Barring any roster moves, the Eagles' offensive line depth chart heading into Thursday night will look something like this, sans Lane Johnson:

Dallas Cowboys

Source: Cowboys defensive tackle Stephen Paea is retiring | Blogging the Boys

There’s a lot of talk happening about the Dallas Cowboys, and a lot of it isn’t even about football. While they are the Dallas Cowboys, this is a bit much even for them considering it’s their bye week. All of that is hitting a new level as one of their defensive tackles, Stephen Paea, is officially retiring per a source.

Cowboys have a team meeting about Jerry Jones' anthem edict | Yahoo Sports

Signing Colin Kaepernick wouldn’t be any more of a distraction than what Jerry Jones dumped on his unsuspecting Dallas Cowboys team this week.

The Cowboys are 2-3 and probably don’t need to be wasting time worrying about the national anthem, but that’s the situation Jones put them in. With some oddly timed comments after Sunday’s loss against Green Bay, Jones basically said players who don’t stand for the anthem won’t play.

The players seemed blindsided by it, and had a team meeting Wednesday to discuss it according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. These messages from an unnamed Cowboys player to ESPN’s Josina Anderson are telling:

#Cowboys player to me on J. Jones mandate to stand: "I've never heard this tone from Jerry, ever. Goes against everything he told us in Arz"

— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) October 11, 2017

#Cowboys player cont: "Jerry told us to trust in him on this sit'n. Now I don't know what 2 believe.That whole kneel b4 t/ anthem was trash"

— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) October 11, 2017

Does this seem like a good situation, football-wise, for the Cowboys after losing back-to-back home games?

It’s not like Jones can or would walk back his comments. Whatever the motivation behind changing his tune after kneeling with the team before the anthem at a “Monday Night Football” game at Arizona, Jones has drawn a line and dared players to cross it.

It’s no surprise that players are surprised and upset. Rapoport said the coaching staff listened to the players, but the players were told to talk to Jones. This could get ugly. It’s not like the Cowboys are a team where the owner is rarely seen or heard. Jones is always around. He is always speaking to the media about the team. The Cowboys won’t find it easy to separate what they do on the field with an off-field battle with a disengaged owner, because Jones is the opposite of disengaged.

And all it would take is for one player, or multiple players, to challenge Jones on his edict to blow this up into a much bigger controversy, perhaps the biggest we’ve had since Kaepernick first sat for the anthem in August of 2016.

Already a labor union has challenged Jones. Just imagine the fallout if a player knelt and was cut. Now imagine if it was one of the Cowboys’ true stars.

You’d think an owner judged to be a Hall of Famer would not do something he had to know could directly harm his team’s chances of winning. But that’s what the Cowboys are stuck with now.