Welcome to this week’s edition of the NFC East notebook, your source for news around the division. The NFC Beast continues to roll with three teams sitting at 3-1 or better. With no inter-divisional matchups this week, it will be a good gauge to test the division against the rest of the league.
The Dallas Cowboys have managed to keep pace in the NFC East even without Dak Prescott at quarterback. Cooper Rush has done an admirable job filling in for the Cowboys and has yet to lose a start going 4-0 as a starter for the team. If Rush can get a win on Sunday, he will be one of only 14 quarterbacks to go 5-0 in their first five starts. Though the last quarterback to do it never replicated that success as it was Kyle Allen with the Carolina Panthers.
There are players on the Rams though that still aren’t buying into the Cooper Rush hype. Bobby Wagner had something to say about Rush when he spoke with the media on Wednesday.
While Wagner does have a point that on paper this is the most talented defense Cooper Rush has faced the team hasn’t exactly played up to its talent level so far. While the trio of Aaron Donald, Bobby Wagner, and Jalen Ramsey are respected around the league the team defense as a whole has not delivered. Comparing it to a Giants defense the Cowboys and rush have already faced, the New York Giants have given up fewer passing yards and fewer pass touchdowns than the Rams. If you also want to consider getting after the quarterback as Wagner implied, The Giants have nine sacks on the year under Wink Martindale’s heavy pressure scheme while the Rams have seven.
In injury news, a lot of people noticed a new name pop up on Thursday. Dallas Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb was held out of practice with a groin injury that may have left some people with worry about his status for the Week 5 game. It looks like it may be more precautionary than anything with his status becoming more clear today.
CeeDee Lamb being held out of practice on Thursday was precautionary - per MM - and he'll do a little more work on Friday and is expected to practice normally on Saturday before traveling to Los Angeles.— Patrik [No C] Walker (@VoiceOfTheStar) October 7, 2022
"We're just being smart." https://t.co/9MtOM8yrlm
CeeDee Lamb has been an important part of the Cowboy’s offense this season with 288 yards and two touchdowns. Against a Rams defense that boasts Jalen Ramsey, having your most talented receiver to occupy him will give the rest of the team plenty of opportunities to attack the defense.
For the fourth week in a row, a member of the Philadelphia Eagles has won player of the week. This week Hasson Reddick will take home the honor of NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Reddick had a huge game for the Eagles this past Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The veteran edge rusher has four tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries to help ensure the Eagles’ victory. This is now the third week in a row that a member of the Eagle’s defense has taken home this honor. Darius Slay took it home in week two after shutting down the Vikings and Brandon Graham won it the following week after dominating the Commander’s line. This is the first time that has happened since the 2000 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
At this rate, the only thing that seems like could slow the Eagles down could be injuries. With multiple players going down due to injury against the Jaguars we have been keeping a close eye on the injury report.
Jake Elliot has already been ruled out for the game this Sunday. As it looks now Jordan Mailata and Avonte Maddox are not trending in the right direction to play. With Andre Dillard still seeming like he is a week away from returning, the Eagles will turn to Jack Driscoll to protect the blind side.
The great news for the Eagles though is that Darius Slay was a full participant after leaving last week’s game with a forearm injury. Slay and former Giant James Bradberry have formed the highest-graded cornerback duo in the league. Having both available and healthy will be a big boost in trying to keep the unbeaten streak alive.
The Washington Commanders are yet again a mess. Starting the season off 1-3, there are starting to be some questions about what might end up happening in the nation’s capital. Head coach Ron Rivera is 15-22 so far as the Commander’s head coach and is trending to another lost season. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN though, it looks like the Commanders will be patient.
“Coaches must win to survive. I sense Washington is willing to be patient here, barring a season that completely goes off the rails. The heightened drama surrounding the organization probably helps Rivera’s case, since he’s a calming figure through all of this. He’s a stable, face-of-the-franchise figure amid the Dan Snyder mess. If there’s a chance to score a top QB next year, Rivera could craft an offense on his terms. And there’s still time to pull off some upsets and reach a respectable spot this year. Now, assuming he survives another losing season, the heat will inevitably rise next season.”
It’s a fair assessment to have with the current state of the Commanders franchise. Ron Rivera has been there to guide the players through all adversity and off-field problems. Firing Rivera could have a backward effect on the locker room during the season, though it’s all up in the air if they end up one of the worst teams in the NFL when the season ends.
Speaking of adversity, Commander’s running back Brian Robinson is getting closer to his return to the football field. In fact, Robinson is so ready to return to the field the team had to check him.
Ron Rivera on Brian Robinson: "He wanted to do more and we had to slow him down a bit. ... I think he's in a good place and, for us as a football team, it's good to see him out there."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) October 5, 2022
It’s understandable for Brian Robinson to feel this way, after an impressive preseason that saw him end up being RB1 on the depth chart. The rookie is ready to make his impact and prove that he can be the bell cow back for the Commanders. After everything, it puts things in perspective when you go through something like that, which Rivera talked about to the media.
“I think his mental frame of mind is really good. We talked about how fortunate he was ... and I think it’s given him more insight into how every moment is precious.”
After everything that happened, the progress of Robinson’s recovery is impressive. Hopefully, we will see Robinson make his regular season debut soon.