NFC Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Washington



Cowboys OLB Aldon Smith has exceeded all expectations in his comeback after not playing football since 2015. The 31-year-old veteran has five sacks on the season and is likely playing himself into another contract, whether it’s in Dallas or elsewhere, though Smith isn’t thinking that far ahead. 

“I’m extremely grateful for the Cowboys giving me a chance,” Smith said via Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams. “I mean, I appreciate that. I’m not thinking about next season. I really just want to — I want to win. I want to keep getting better every week, and I want to keep getting better every week. I want to win. That’s what I’m worried about. That’s what’s on my mind.”

  • Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy said RB Ezekiel Elliott (hamstring) is expected to play this weekend: “Ezekiel Elliott is feeling better today. He has been limited in practice this week. Elliott is still expected to play Sunday against the Steelers.” (Jon Machota)
  • McCarthy said of CB Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring, IR): “I’m really not sure if he is going to go.” However, McCarthy added that this isn’t a situation that is likely to require surgery. (Michael Gehlken)
  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday that they got in the weeds a little bit” on three potential trades before the trade deadline. Jones mentioned that these were deals that would have impacted the Cowboys more in the long term than immediately and two involved trading players away with the other acquiring a player. (Jon Machota)
  • OUT for Week 9: P Chris Jones (abdomen)
  • QUESTIONABLE for Week 9: RB Ezekiel Elliott (hamstring), DE Aldon Smith (knee), LB Joe Thomas (wrist)



  • Giants HC Joe Judge said there are a lot of possibilities for WR Golden Tate‘s role in Week 9. Judge left the door open to Tate not starting in Week 9: “There are a lot of options we’ll discuss after practice.” (Ryan Dunleavy)
  • Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated is unsure about Giants GM Dave Gettleman‘s job situation and floats the possibility of him taking a “lesser role” with the organization. 
  • Breer feels that Giants HC Joe Judge has done enough to warrant a second season with the organization and mentions Patriots executive Nick Caserio, Titans executive Monti Ossenfort, former Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, and former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli as some possible general manager candidates to keep an eye on for New York should they make a change.
  • According to Zack Rosenblatt, the Giants are committed to QB Daniel Jones and will likely still be their starter in 2021 even if they are in a position to draft a quarterback such as Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence or Ohio State’s Justin Fields.
  • Albert Breer of SI believes the opposite and says that the team would likely draft Lawrence and move on from Jones, as they have not yet seen enough out of him to warrant keeping him.
  • OUT for Week 9: RB Devonta Freeman (ankle), CB Ryan Lewis (hamstring)


Washington HC Ron Rivera spoke about the quarterback situation for the team, specifically going in-depth about QB Dwayne Haskins.

“This year, we gave him a lot of opportunities and you still see the rawness,” Rivera said, via Ben Standig of The Athletic. “To me, it’s really about him developing and growing. He’s going to have opportunities. But right now, we’ve got Kyle as our one, Alex as our two, and he’s our three. We’ll go from there. I think my belief in Dwayne is probably somewhere, uh, gosh, probably give it somewhere in the 70s. He’s got a terrific arm. He really does. He has an NFL arm. He’s got a good release, good athleticism — but he’s got a lot to learn and that’s what I learned from my 11 weeks with him as our starter. We went through seven weeks of training camp. He took every snap with the ones. We went four games. He took every snap with the ones. But as we were going through it, one of the things I saw was that he’s got a lot to learn. It’s funny, I benched the guy and it’s like everybody thinks his career is over here in Washington. It’s not. There’s potential, there’s an opportunity because, again, the kid has an NFL arm, it’s just a matter of him developing. Remember, everybody, forgets he played (13) games in college. Last year (with Washington) he didn’t really get into the swing of things until the end of the year. (This year) he didn’t have OTA, he didn’t have a mini-camp, he didn’t have a normal training camp. But, I did everything I could to give him 11 weeks as No. 1. And, he did some good things. I’m not going to deny that because, again, he has the arm. But with him, I think it’s about development and growth. That’s what we want to do. This guy is young. He’s got an opportunity to develop and grow. We’ll see what happens as we go forward.”

  • Rivera also mentioned potentially passing on acquiring rental players at the trade deadline: “That’s going to be tough if you make a deal and all of a sudden, the guy’s gone in a year.”
  • Standig also theorizes that the 2021 quarterback likely is not on the Washington roster as the team could move on from Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, and Alex Smith.
  • Rivera said they’re hopeful RB Bryce Love, who is on injured reserve with a knee injury, can return in the next few weeks: “The opportunity to get him back on the field is coming soon.” (Sam Fortier)
  • DOUBTFUL for Week 9: T Geron Christian (knee), WR Dontrelle Inman (hamstring)
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