NFC Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants


  • Cowboys’ executive Stephen Jones said DC Dan Quinn has made a “big difference” for their defense in his first year as coordinator: “He’s made a big difference in terms of the way we’re playing defense this year. We got a lot of guys who are playing on the defense this yr that were on a defense last year that struggled quite a bit but are back playing at a high level.” (Calvin Watkins)
  • Quinn declined a chance to interview for the Jaguars’ head coaching job at this time, and regarding potential interviews he said earlier this week: “I wasn’t coming here to look what my next job would be. I wanted to come in here, have a blast & hopefully kick ass…If (head coaching opportunities) come, I’ll be ready for them…But I’m having a blast being right here with this crew and going for it.” (Jon Machota)
  • As for Cowboys LT Tyron Smith‘s future with the team, Jones said they will address his situation after the season: “As far as anything to do with our future, we’ll certainly address that when the season is over when we’ll have plenty of time to work through all that.”  (Watkins)
  • Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott believes his knee is getting healthier: “I’m very encouraged by the direction it’s going. I feel more explosive. I can tell I feel faster. I can tell there’s more stability. …If I keep progressing, by playoffs, I think I’ll be close to 100” (Michael Gehlken)


One of the keys to the Eagles’ turnaround the past several weeks has been improvement on the defensive side of the ball. First-year DC Jonathan Gannon was in the crosshairs of a lot of criticism early on in the year but things have calmed down as the defense has played better. 

“As you go along the season you figure out certain ways how you want to play and who you’re defending and what’s working and what’s not,” Gannon said via Pro Football Talk. “I really think it’s a credit to the position coaches and the players that we’ve kept improving just a little bit each week. Sometimes it doesn’t show up and you might get gassed or lose a ballgame or not play as well as you want to play, but I feel like we’re starting to hit our stride a little bit. With saying that, it’s a week-to-week league, guys. You know that. The challenge is ahead of us for this upcoming week, and just because you think you’re playing well for the last couple weeks doesn’t mean that’s going to go onto the field and you just show up and that is what it is. So, we got to put the work forth ahead to give us a chance to win the game.”

  • Regarding his injured ankle, Eagles QB Jalen Hurts said on Wednesday: “It feels fine. Been good enough for us to get two wins.” (Jeff McLane)


  • SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano goes through some potential candidates to replace Giants GM Dave Gettleman, with most around the league expecting the team to promote VP of football operations Kevin Abrams.
  • Others think an experienced candidate like former Browns GM and current Lions senior exec John Dorsey makes a lot of sense. If ties to HC Joe Judge are prioritized, Vacchiano mentions Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort and Patriots exec Dave Ziegler.
  • Vacchiano notes current Patriots front office consultant Eliot Wolf was once thought to be a target by the Giants in 2017, and he’s held in high regard by former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi which would still carry weight with the team. Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen is in a similar boat as a highly-regarded future GM candidate and highly recommended by Bill Parcells.
  • Vacchiano thinks former Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell could get an interview if recommended by former Giants HC Tom Coughlin, who worked with him in Jacksonville, but hiring him seems untenable given his lack of success.  
  • ESPN analyst Louis Riddick has interviewed for GM jobs in recent years, including with the Giants in 2017, and former GM Scott Pioli also drew interest from New York at one point. Seahawks exec Alonzo Highsmith rounds out Vacchiano’s list.
  • According to Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post, the Giants offered QB Colt McCoy a contract extension during the season last year after he was solid in relief work as a backup. The two sides entered the offseason with an understanding they would keep in communication. 
  • McCoy’s camp told at least one interested team he was staying in New York but the Giants ultimately elected to sign Mike Glennon as the new backup due to concerns about McCoy’s arm strength. McCoy is 2-1 in spot duty this season, Glennon is 0-3. 
  • Judge said both Glennon and QB Jake Fromm could end up playing in Week 17. (Jordan Raanan)
  • Giants RB Saquon Barkley doesn’t think this is his final season with the team. (Zack Rosenblatt)
  • Giants first-round WR Kadarius Toney picked up a new shoulder injury and did not practice on Wednesday. (Pat Leonard)

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