NFC Notes: Commanders, Cowboys, Giants, Saquon Barkley

Commanders

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the Commanders’ seesawing Week 1 win against the Jaguars is how many weapons Washington has amassed on offense. Star WR Terry McLaurin has been the clear-cut top guy for a couple of seasons now but he didn’t get his first target until the second quarter. Fellow WRs Curtis Samuel and first-rounder Jahan Dotson led the way, with Samuel catching eight of 11 targets for 55 yards and a touchdown and Dotson snaring three of five looks for 40 yards and two scores, including the game-winner. 

Factor in guys like RB Antonio Gibson, TE Logan Thomas and RB J.D. McKissic, and S Jeremy Reaves called it “night and day” different trying to defend the offense in practice. 

“There are weapons all around (McLaurin) now,” Reaves said via the Athletic’s Ben Standig. “That takes the pressure off of him, and now (Wentz) can spread the ball out. It takes the pressure off the guys. Terry has been the guy, so everybody’s (focused) on him. … Now, it’s like, who do we account for?”

McLaurin finished with just four targets and two catches but one of those was for a 49-yard score. He knows bigger days are ahead for him too now that defenses can’t focus solely on taking him away. 

“Oh, it’s exciting,” McLaurin said. “I knew this was an emphasis for us in the offseason, to try to surround our quarterback with as many weapons as possible. To be an explosive offense and stretch the ball down the field, which I think we did (Sunday), was a great sign.”

Cowboys

  • The Athletic’s Jon Machota notes Cowboys WR Michael Gallup (knee) participated in team drills on Wednesday and was back in pads on Thursday.  
  • Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy mentioned Gallup did well on Wednesday: “He did a nice job. He looked good.”
  • McCarthy said OT Jason Peters is still ramping up after joining the practice squad and wouldn’t say whether he would line up at left or right tackle: “Can’t tell you, man. Not yet.” (Michael Gehlken)
  • McCarthy said third-round WR Jalen Tolbert‘s hamstring injury has kept him a “step behind the other guys” on special teams but has done well as a receiver in practice: “The last two weeks, he’s been crushing it in practice. I look for him to push for future opportunities.” (Michael Gehlken)

Giants

Giants RB Saquon Barkley‘s future will be a big question hovering over the entire season, especially if he continues to look as good as he did in Week 1 against the Titans. There’s still skepticism that the Giants will be willing to give him a significant long-term deal, however. 

“I’d highly doubt they give him a long-term deal,” a prominent agent who represents multiple running backs told Heavy’s Matt Lombardo. “I’ve got to believe they use the franchise tag. The team has all of the leverage in this situation. Plus, it’s a new front office. They didn’t draft him. They don’t have any allegiance to him.”

  • If Barkley can keep this up, including possibly for another season on the tag, multiple league sources told Lombardo a three or four-year deal at $15 million a year would be in play. 
  • Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post writes he spoke with people close to both Giants HC Brian Daboll and GM Joe Schoen who told him they took the job with a lot of skepticism about QB Daniel Jones: “Let’s just say they were far from sold — far from sold.”

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