NFC Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Washington



Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy told reporters that LB Leighton Vander Esch is ahead of schedule in his return from a broken collarbone. 

I would say he’s ahead of schedule,” McCarthy said, via Pro Football Talk. “He’s definitely champing at the bit to get back, there’s no question about that. But obviously there’s medical procedures and process that he must go through and clear. But the doctors and the trainers feel really good about where he is. If I would go off of my personal communication with him, he would’ve played in Week 2. So he’s really pushing it and wants to get back. We have to make sure he’s clear and ready to go.

  • Following the news that Cowboys LT Tyron Smith is undergoing season-ending surgery, McCarthy told reporters that Brandon Knight has been working at first-team left tackle and they like his versatility: “We’ll see how we line up on Sunday.” (Michael Gehlken)
  • Should Knight or Terence Steele get injured, McCarthy mentioned that Zack Martin would serve as their swing tackle. (Gehlken)
  • McCarthy also said reserve OL Cam Erving is “getting close” to returning from an MCL sprain in Week 1. (Gehlken)
  • OUT for Week 5: C Joe Looney (knee), T Tyron Smith (neck)


Eagles OT Jordan Mailata made it clear that he’s ready for the opportunity to the team’s starting left tackle. 

“What year are you talking about? Year 1? Year 2? I had those times, you know, where I was like, ‘What am I doing?’ ” Mailata said, via Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I’ve always asked myself that, and then realized, ‘Yeah, this is what you wanted to do.’ I have this saying: Don’t dip your toe in the water; drown in it, and learn how to swim. I always go back to that saying and it pulls me out of that dark place. . . . I’m swimming.”

Mailata made the transition from playing rugby to being an NFL player a few years ago. 

“It’s just an identity thing for me,” Mailata said. “Being labeled as the guy who played rugby, even using that as an excuse for giving up a sack or having a missed assignment — I’d rather have a missed assignment because I don’t know the play, I don’t want to miss the assignment because I was a rugby player.

“Trying to be my own person in this sport, and not trying to rely on someone else’s past, or even my past.



Washington HC Ron Rivera said he has “by no means” given up on QB Dwayne Haskins, despite the decision to bench him this week for Kyle Allen

“By no means have I given up on him. I’m doing what I did because of circumstances that we’re in,” Rivera said, per John Keim of

“A big part of it is watching and studying,” Rivera added. “Like today, he was back there behind the quarterback watching the reps, looking downfield. Just being involved, staying connected, which is important. … I’ve told you guys the only reason I’m doing what I’m doing is because of the circumstances and the situation we’re in right now.

Rivera believes Haskins will learn from how Allen goes about running the offense. 

“There are things Dwayne was still learning to do that Kyle knows in terms of communicating with the offensive line,” Rivera said. “It’s something as we go through this and progress, Dwayne will learn and see how these things are done.”

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