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NFC East notebook: Jalen Hurts wins more awards, Cowboys getting healthy, and more

Your weekly source for news and notes around the division

Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Commanders Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

With Week 3 in the books and each team already playing a divisional game, things are starting to take shape in a suddenly competitive NFC East. As the New York Giants look to keep pace, let’s take a look and see what’s going on around the division.

Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys are just trying to keep afloat while they navigate the injuries that have continued to pile up. It looks like things are starting to trend in the right direction after the numerous Week 1 injuries.

Dak Prescott returned to practice with no brace or splint on his surgically repaired thumb. With only tape, Prescott got his first action.

Prescott will not return this week against Washington, but getting this rolling is giving more possibility that he could return to the lineup in Week 5. Though, it would be a tough ask, especially facing off against Aaron Donald and the LA Rams.

Multiple players have a better chance of making a return to the lineup this week though. Safety Jayron Kearse and guard Connor McGovern are practicing this week for the first time since getting injured in the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tight end Dalton Schultz also returned to practice as well. Schultz got injured in the Cowboys’ Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals and was inactive this past Monday night against the New York Giants.

Getting these players back will be a big boost to a team trying to keep pace with the red-hot Philadelphia Eagles.

While Prescott has been sidelined, backup quarterback Cooper Rush has filled in admirably winning both starts. This has caught the attention of Jerry Jones who has been vocal about his support of Rush.

Rush has thrown for 450 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions in his two starts. While he has been a solid game manager makeup of a top quarterback is a bit of a stretch. Jones though, will continue to hype up Rush, even as head coach McCarthy has to walk back some of Jones’ comments and clarify that Prescott is in no danger of losing his job.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles are off to one of if not the hottest start in the NFL. Starting the season 3-0 after back-to-back convincing wins, it is no surprise that their team is racking up rewards. The Eagles will add another one as Jalen Hurts was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September.

The news comes shortly after being named the FedEx Air Player of the Week for Week 3. After an off-season of questions around Hurts being the long-term answer at quarterback, the third-year signal-caller has responded in a big way. With 1,083 total yards and seven total touchdowns, Hurts is on an MVP-level pace and silencing the critics more each week. Hurts will look to continue this pace in October starting with a matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Speaking of this weekend’s matchup, the headlines have been dominated around Doug Pederson’s return to Philadelphia. Pederson took some time to open up to the media about his return to the city of brotherly love.

“I’m personally looking forward to coming back to Philly. Obviously, got a lot of fond memories there and what we did in 2017 is something we’ll always remember.”

Eagles fans have a pretty distinct reputation when it comes to how opposing teams and fans get treated. Pederson touched on what he thinks the reception might be like,

“I remember back when I was with the Chiefs and Coach Reid, we came back and he got a standing ovation, so hopefully it’s in that realm, but look, it’s Philly, anything is possible with these fans. I’m just looking forward to running out of that tunnel with the Jaguars and then getting ready to play a game at one o’clock there.”

With a statue of him at Lincoln Financial Field, it’s hard to see there being anything but a standing ovation for him in Philadelphia. Reputation aside, Philadelphia fans are extremely loyal to anyone who has brought them success. With Pederson guiding the team to its first Super Bowl victory in history, he will always hold a special place in the hearts of the Eagles faithful.

Washington Commanders

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Commanders after a Week 1 victory against Jacksonville, as they have dropped two straight. After a brutal showing against the Eagles, especially on offense, Ron Rivera still isn’t concerned about Carson Wentz.

“I’m not worried about Carson,” Rivera told NBC Sports Washington. “Carson’s going to bounce back. He’s a very resilient young man. And I loved his press conference, accepting responsibility. And he put it on himself and he tried to make sure everybody understood that this is a team game, we’re all culpable. And I don’t disagree with him. We are all culpable, myself included.”

Wentz threw for 211 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Wentz was sacked nine times and fumbled twice, losing one. This led to one of the lowest QBRs in Week 3 with only an 11.4. Rivera knows things have to turn around quickly to keep pace in the division.

“There is a sense of urgency. There is a ‘gotta have it,’ a ‘gotta go out and get it done’ type of mentality. It was the same thing last week. We wanted it. We worked to do it, and we’re going to do it every week that way. It’s just sometimes, it doesn’t work your way.”

Things will have to get right in a hurry. Facing off against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4, the Commanders will be buried at 1-3 and 0-2 in the division if they can’t overcome and Cowboys defense that gave Daniel Jones and the Giants offense nightmares.

The Commanders will be debuting some new threads this week though as part of the new relaxed uniform rules.

This will be the first of three times that the Commanders will wear this uniform combination. The Commanders will also wear the Black and Bold uniforms in Week 9 against the Minnesota Vikings and Week 12 against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Commanders will hope for a look good play good feeling this weekend as they look to snap that two game skid.

  • See SB Nation’s Hogs Haven for more about the Commanders