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NFC East notebook: Cowboys in full campaign for OBJ, Commanders continue to make headlines, and more

Your source for news and notes around the NFC East

Washington Commanders v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Let’s take a look at some news and notes around the NFC East before the week 10 action on Sunday.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys’ defense has been an impressive unit all season long. The Cowboys are 6-2 despite quarterback Dak Prescott missing five games with an injury and the defense was a big reason why. According to PFF, two members of the Cowboys would make their midseason All-Pro team. PFF broke the teams down into first-team and second-team honors.

The first member was going to be an obvious one, linebacker Micah Parsons made the first team as an edge rusher.

“Micah Parsons has transitioned to a full-time edge rusher who still moonlights on occasion as an off-ball linebacker, and his threat as a pass-rusher is overwhelming to offenses. He has 39 pressures and 20 defensive stops this season while opening things up for other Cowboys pass-rushers to make a major impact with less attention on them.”

The second member made the second team and it was safety Malik Hooker. While Hooker had an underwhelming start to his career and the Colts decided to move on from their first-round pick, he has had a resurgence in Dallas. The sixth-year safety currently has an 82.6 PFF grade on the season, which is good for third in the NFL.

With the defense playing well and the team not acquiring anyone at the trade deadline, it doesn’t seem like the Cowboys are satisfied just yet. After it was reported that the Cowboys had an interest in wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the team has gone on a full courtship of the receiver.

While Jerry Jones and Mike McCarthy have already publicly endorsed Beckham, now players are starting to join in. Micah Parsons was seen recruiting on Twitter and Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have spoken to the media about it. Now it looks like CeeDee Lamb is joining the campaign trail for the Cowboys.

“Why wouldn’t you want to add more firepower to the offense?” Lamb said about Beckham while speaking with reporters on Thursday, per Mike Fisher of FanNation’s Cowboys Country. “I feel like we had three No. 1 receivers in my rookie year. Why not get back to that?”

The Cowboys are all in on lobbying to let Beckham know just how appreciated he would be in Dallas. It will be interesting to see if Dallas would be willing to offer a three or four-year deal to Odell with the amount of high-priced contracts on the roster as well as some players coming up for contract extensions shortly. It would be interesting though to see the reception Odell Beckham would get at MetLife wearing the star on his helmet.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles are off to an 8-0 start and quarterback Jalen Hurts has been an MVP-level player. It wasn’t long ago that many were confused about the Eagles drafting Hurts in the first place. Hurts was taken in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft just one year after Philadelphia extended quarterback Carson Wentz on a $128 million contract. So the pick was a surprise to everyone, apparently even to Jalen Hurts himself.

On Jason and Travis Kelce’s ”New Heights” podcast, Hurts opened up about where he thought his career was going to start.

“I thought I was going to Pittsburgh,” Hurts said. “So when I saw (a Pennsylvania number on my phone), I thought, ‘This is it.’ (Then) they said the Philadelphia Eagles. ... I had no idea I would come here. I had no idea.”

Instead, the Steelers went with wide receiver Chase Claypool a few picks before the Eagles selected Jalen Hurts. With the Eagles at 8-0 and the Steelers at 2-6, this will spark plenty of what-if conversations in the state of Pennsylvania, especially western PA, about what could have been.

Even though the Eagles are on pace to be the best in the NFC, that hasn’t stopped them from making additions when available. The Eagles have been aggressive in player acquisitions, so it some wondered if a name became available, say in the coaching ranks, if Philadelphia would look to add on.

Frank Reich was fired from the Indianapolis Colts after a tough start to the season and now some wonder if Sirianni would consider bringing him back to Philadelphia. Reich and Sirianni go back to the then San Diego Chargers in 2013 through 2015. The relationship continued when Reich first got hired as a head coach and he decided to make Sirianni his offensive coordinator from 2018-2021. Reich has been one of Sirianni’s biggest influences and the Eagles head coach has referenced the lessons he has learned from the former Colts head coach.

It was only natural that reporters would ask if Sirianni would consider bringing Reich back to Philadelphia.

“I don’t know yet.

That’s not something that’s been — that happened, what, Monday, and my focus has been completely on Washington. So, again, you know how I feel about Frank, and I’m always going to use him as a consultant whether he’s in the building or he’s not in the building. But, I haven’t really thought about that, to be quite honest. We’re just really focused on today, to get ready for Washington.”

Reich will always be remembered, along with Doug Pederson, for being instrumental to the Eagles’ first Super Bowl victory. While Reich may not have a place within the current coaching staff, his voice continues to be a presence among those on the sidelines in Philadelphia.

Washington Commanders

There is no team in the NFL that has dominated the news cycle more than the Washington Commanders. Unfortunately, it hasn’t really been for anything on the field.

On Thursday, attorney general Karl Racine filed a consumer-protection lawsuit against the Washington Commanders and its owner Dan Snyder, over the team and league’s response to allegations that dozens of team employees had been sexually and verbally harassed. Interestingly, The DC attorney general also named the National Football League and commissioner Roger Goodell a part of the lawsuit.

The complaint alleges that the team and the league colluded “to deceive residents of D.C. about their investigation into a toxic workplace culture that impacted employees, especially women.” Racine’s office said the complaint filed Thursday seeks a court order forcing the NFL to release the findings from that investigation, which was initiated by the Washington football team before being taken over by the league.

Many have called for the NFL to release the findings which the NFL has continuously refused to do. As many would expect, The Commanders would not take this news well. They released a statement, which might have rubbed some within the organization the wrong way.

“Less than three months ago, a 23-year-old player on our team was shot multiple times, in broad daylight,” the statement began. “Despite the out-of-control violent crime in DC, today the Washington Commanders learned for the first time on Twitter that the D.C. Attorney General will be holding a press conference to ‘make a major announcement’ related to the organization tomorrow.”

Besides the Washington organization clearly not knowing the job of an attorney general, you would think the public relations team would have a better pulse on what to say in response besides bringing up the traumatic experience of their rookie running back. Of course, this statement didn’t go over well with Brian Robinson or others in the locker room.

“I told him how I felt about it and put it past me,” Robinson said to ESPN. “I can’t control that. I’m just going to continue doing what I’ve been doing.”

Robinson’s teammate Charles Leno Jr had a bit more telling response.

“Everyone wants to be PC, but of course it’s upsetting,” Leno said. “He should never have been a part of that situation. I’ll just leave it at that. ... His feelings and what he’s gone through should have been a completely separate deal.”

The Commanders really can’t get out of their own way. Sweeping changes need to be made and it looks like those changes could possibly be coming with the potential sale of the team. Whoever takes over this organization will have to take a long hard look at everything and will have a lot of work cut out for them to clean up the culture of this franchise, apparently even down to the public relations department.