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Around the NFC East: Cowboys, Redskins, Eagles storylines

Week 14 news, notes and nuggets about the Giants’ NFC East rivals

NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With Week 14 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

The 5 O'Clock Club: Will Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins new starting left guard? | Hogs Haven

The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

Jay Gruden fielded a couple of questions about Ty Nsekhe at the Friday press conference, and his answers proved to be interesting. Nsekhe had spent the week leading up to the Dallas game preparing to start at left guard, but following the injury to Morgan Moses, had to play right tackle for much of the game:

For the most part, when you’re playing every snap at left guard and getting ready to play left guard during the week and then all of a sudden, the second possession or the third possession, whatever it was, you’ve got to go play right tackle. It’s a totally different technique and all that stuff. I think he had a few issues there.

Unfortunately, he’s had to play all three – left guard, left tackle and right tackle. It’s easier said than done for these guys. It’s a different stance. It’s a different technique. It’s just totally different to be a left guard, left tackle, and then all of a sudden play right tackle.

I thing moving forward, we’ll try to get him in a spot where he can play and focus and play that spot.

Can Redskins count on Josh Doctson to be the team’s No. 1 receiver in 2018? | Washington Post

The Redskins’ playoff hopes have all but disappeared, and the attention now turns to the bigger questions the team needs to address in the offseason. Outside of the obvious situation at quarterback with Kirk Cousins’ contract, one of the biggest issues the Redskins will face this offseason is the wide receiver group. The Terrelle Pryor experiment failed, and it would seem unlikely he’s back. That leaves the Redskins with a need for a true No. 1 receiver.

That is, unless Josh Doctson can step up and fill the role. The second-year receiver’s stats don’t exactly jump out as spectacular, with just 24 catches for 354 yards, though he does lead the team with five touchdown receptions. It’s taken a while for Doctson to get fully healthy and find his feet in the NFL. But once Pryor went down injured, Doctson has become the full time starter at the X receiver position, and has shown flashes of the potential that led to him being drafted in the first round.

Doctson has become known for his ability to outleap defenders and steal spectacular catches over the top of them. It’s taken a while for quarterback Kirk Cousins to fully trust his ability to win, but in recent weeks that’s become less and less of an issue as Cousins has given Doctson plenty of opportunities.

Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles are now underdogs against the Rams after opening as favorites | Bleeding Green Nation

For the first time since Week 6, the Philadelphia Eagles are not favored to win their upcoming football game.

The Eagles originally opened as 2.5 point favorites over the Rams in Los Angeles. The line has since swung to the Rams being favored by 2.5 points.

This sudden change tells us that a lot of people have been putting money on the Rams.

People have seemingly lost faith in the Eagles after Philadelphia lost to the Seahawks on Sunday night. The Eagles opened as 5.5 point favorites against Seattle. That number crept up to as high as six at one point before dropping down to 3.5 before the game. The drop can be explained by a lot of the “smart money” being placed on the Seahawks. They clearly call it smart money for a reason.

There’s still plenty of time for the Eagles-Rams line to change prior to Sunday’s game. For now, it’s not a shocker to see the Eagles as underdogs. The Rams are a very good team.

Los Angeles ranks No. 1 in DVOA and No. 1 in points per game (tied with Philly). Rams rookie head coach Sean McVay is arguably the favorite for Coach of the Year. Jared Goff looks much improved in Year 2 and running back Todd Gurley is a beast. On defense, Wade Phillips is still one of the league’s best d-coordinators. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is arguably the best defender in the NFL; he can wreak havoc.

Will Eagles' Zach Ertz play vs. Los Angeles Rams? |

The Eagles will start practicing on Wednesday for their game this Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, but when they take the practice field at Anaheim Stadium, they will be without tight end Zach Ertz.

Speaking at the team's hotel in Costa Mesa, Calif., head coach Doug Pederson said that tight end Zach Ertz is still in concussion protocol. Ertz suffered the concussion in the team's 24-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday.

A positive sign, however, is that Ertz is taking part in meetings, meaning he is starting to advance in the concussion protocol.

Dallas Cowboys

Will McClay is likely to get attention again this offseason for general manager positions | Blogging the Boys

The Dallas Cowboys have quite the talent evaluator in Will McClay, who’s official listed titled is Vice President of Player Personnel.

However it’s defined, most Cowboys fans know exactly what Will McClay does, he’s as much of a general manager of the team as there can conceivably be. Our own Tom Ryle did a great job of outlining it all here:

And the way this team was built gives some real hope that this is not just a flash in pan type of season, but one that may be sustained - because the main architects who constructed it could be around for quite a while, including one Will McClay, the one main figure who is often thought could be lured away. But is he really going to go to another team so he can be a “real” general manager?

As you can see, the question as to whether McClay would defect from Dallas has been asked before, especially if a legitimate title were involved. It’s that time of year, and Will McClay’s name has started to surface in those discussions once more.

Cowboys don’t think Dak Prescott’s hand will be an issue | NBC Sports

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott hurt his right hand during last Thursday’s win and briefly left the field to get X-rays, but didn’t wind up missing any snaps because Ryan Switzer‘s punt return touchdown kept the offense off the field until Prescott was ready to return to action.

Prescott said after the game that his hand was OK and it doesn’t look like the intervening days have done anything to change that outlook. Prescott was at practice on Wednesday and coach Jason Garrett said, via David Helman of the team’s website, that he doesn’t “anticipate that being a real issue” against the Giants this weekend.

The Cowboys have linebacker Sean Lee back at practice this week and he’s expected back in the lineup after missing the last three games.

Cornerback Orlando Scandrick, left tackle Tyron Smith, right tackle La'el Collins, linebacker Justin Durant and defensive lineman David Irving did not take part in the practice.