NFC Notes: Commanders, Cowboys, Eagles, Jalen Hurts


Commanders DL coach Jeff Zgonina played seventeen seasons in the NFL, capturing a Super Bowl championship with the Rams. He weighed in on several topics regarding Washington, including injuries and specific players.

“Next man up, that’s what it is,” Zgonina said of the team’s injuries, via “That’s why we practice through camp and everything. And we just prepare like we do all the time and we just keep plugging along.”

Zgonina gave his opinions on DT Daniel Wise, DT Daron Payne, DT John Ridgeway, DE Montez Sweat, and new assistant DL coach Ryan Kerrigan.

“Well, he’s here ’cause he’s a good football player,” Zgonina said of Wise. “I mean, that’s why we have him. We saw something in him. He does good things for us and that’s why he is here.”

“Daron is an exceptional athlete and a football player,” Zgonina said of Payne. “I mean, he’s been building ever since I’ve been here. He’s been building and building and building and now it’s starting to show more. He’s a really good football player. I thought he was doing good things last year. It’s not like he just, all of a sudden appeared. I mean, if you watch tape over the years, he’s been getting better and better. Getting older, getting a better understanding of the game. All his hard work is coming to fruition.”

“I knew quite a bit because he is a rookie,” Zgonina added of Ridgeway. “So, we just had the Combine a few months ago and I spent some time with him there in the train station. Got to know him. He’s a big kid. He’s learning behind the rest of the guys. We got a bunch of new guys, but behind the guys that have been here of course. He is picking it up fast. He’s a smart kid, with a big body. I see him being good for us down the road. The more he learns the faster he’ll play. I’ve known him since the Combine.”

“His play has been outstanding,” Zgonina said of Sweat. “He doesn’t have the numbers yet, but once he breaks through, I see a landslide. I think he works very hard. He’s a student of the game. He’s able to ask questions that’s how I know he’s studying. I know he’s into it. I mean, he has always been that way. And again, once it clicks, you know, he’ll start rolling. He (Sweat) has not shown any frustration or pressing. He understands he’s doing some good things. He understands that it’s gonna come. He’s not at all and nor are we pressing him.”

“Ryan brings a whole different set of eyes for me,” Zgonina shared of Kerrigan. “I was a defensive tackle, he’s a defensive end. I think it’s a good combination we have in the room right now. He sees things differently than I did. I’m learning from him as he’s learning from me from the inside. So, everything’s been really smooth and it’s been a good relationship.”


Cowboys LB Micah Parsons picked up another pair of sacks in Week 2 against the Bengals, pushing his total in his first 18 games to 17 which is the most by any player all-time since sacks started being recorded officially in 1982. He’s done all of that despite not being a full-time pass rusher, which doesn’t appear like it’s going to change anytime soon. 

“What I do know is if you’re always in the same spot, those are likely where they go to put someone for extra help,” Cowboys DC Dan Quinn said via the Athletic’s Jon Machota. “If you move that person around inside to outside to backer it can make it much more challenging, so the extra stress goes onto the players around the front seven because they have to do other jobs. That kind of versatility takes time to practice.”

“I think there’s temptation to keep him there because he’s had success doing that,” Quinn added, “but he’s also a really good linebacker, too. And he can make plays off the ball that may not add up into some of the spaces. Having the ability to be not always where you’re supposed to be, there’s definitely games where he’ll be featured more on the line of scrimmage, whether it’s as linebacker or at end more than this.”

  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on why the team didn’t retain WR Amari Cooper: “The issue with Amari Cooper was how much we were paying him, and what we could do with that money. Completely. Amari Cooper is a real good player. Top player. … You can’t have it all.” (Jon Machota)


Eagles HC Nick Sirianni had high praise of QB Jalen Hurts and thinks his development has been clear to see. 

“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. I’ve seen the growth,” Sirianni said, via “We talk about this so much with Jalen. Why is he going to continue to reach his ceiling? Because he’s tough, he has high football character, and he loves football. He’s going to reach his ceiling. It’s fun watching him grow.”

Hurts credited his production through the first two weeks of the season to his teammates. 

“I said it earlier, no man is an island,” Hurts said. “You have to draw your strength from others. I can’t perform without the other 10 on the field. Same on the other side. They need me to do my job for them to eat. It’s a collective group. It was a big team win. A big-time team win. It’s something that we will definitely enjoy, but we have a short week. We’re headed to [Washington,] D.C., so we’ll enjoy it for a little bit and get ready for our next opponent.”

Sirianni believes the game has slowed down for Hurts and called him a leader of their team. 

“He’s put in so much work. Of course, it has, it’s slowing down,” Sirianni said. “But it should, right, at this point. He is further into his process, and we’re talking about getting better every day and he lives that. He’s one of our of captains, one of our leaders, and he lives the theory of getting better every day. That’s why you’re seeing major improvements, it’s because of the type of person and the type of player he is.”

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