NFC Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Washington


Someone is going to have to take the blame for what happened to the Cowboys this year when the regular season comes to a close. It won’t be owner Jerry Jones and he has made it explicitly clear it won’t be HC Mike McCarthy, either. That leaves DC Mike Nolan as a strong candidate to be fired after a rough year in charge of the Dallas defense. 

“You know, I don’t even think about it,” Nolan said via the Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken. “I just take it a day at a time anyway. It’s really not — I prefer not to even answer the question just because it’s not what’s on my mind. We just take it a day at a time, try to win this week’s game against San Francisco, and whatever happens after the season happens. When that time comes, we’ll deal with it if there is a change.”

  • Cowboys DE Randy Gregory is happy he gutted through multiple suspensions to return to the field for Dallas in 2020: “Just the fact that I never gave up. I’ve had times where I doubted myself. I’ve had times where I wondered what life would be like without football. … At the end of the day, I believe this is the place I need to be.” (Jon Machota)


Eagles DC Jim Schwartz said there was a moment in Week 14’s game that he thought they’d have to use a receiver as a defensive back. 

“You just have to do the best you can. We were scrambling. … We were going to have to go get one of the offensive players to go play a backline guy. You can’t really prepare for all those situations. You just have to put the fires out as they come and figure out some way that you can piece it together to be successful,” said Schwartz, via Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Regarding the Eagles’ injury situation at defensive back, Schwartz mentioned that DB Jalen Mills is currently the only starter fully healthy for Week 15.

“It’s certainly not an ideal situation,” Schwartz said. “But injuries happen in the NFL. Particularly at defensive back. Not only are there muscle pulls, but they are generally smaller guys that take a lot of contact and things like that. So we’ve seen that firsthand.


  • Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline notes people in the Giants building are ecstatic about HC Joe Judge and the team could make a move away from GM Dave Gettleman to get someone who fits better with Judge. 
  • Giants QB Daniel Jones says he feels like he can still play despite ankle and hamstring injuries, and shrugged off a question about if he would be hurting the team by playing at less than full health: “That’s not a decision that’s up to me. My job is to prepare to play and do everything I can to be prepared.” (Ralph Vacchiano)


  • The Athletic’s Ben Standig writes that as things stand now, don’t plan on QB Dwayne Haskins being on Washington’s roster in 2021. However, if Haskins gets a shot to play and impresses in the final three weeks of the season, that could change. 
  • Standig notes Washington has not opened any extension talks with C Chase Roullier yet. He adds the team is expected to open extension talks with DT Jonathan Allen next year before he enters the final year of his rookie deal. 
  • Standig says that with the performance of players like Wes Schweitzer and Cornelius Lucas, Washington might be okay to wait on addressing the left side of their offensive line and focus on other holes like wide receiver, linebacker or cornerback. 
  • While LB Cole Holcomb is a decent bet to return as a starter in 2021, Standig thinks Washington will have competition to sign LB Kevin Pierre-Louis
  • Washington QB Alex Smith (calf) did not practice Wednesday. He was noncommittal either way about playing this week: “I feel all right. It’s early in the week, and we’ll see how it goes.” (Sam Fortier)
  • If Smith doesn’t feel safe, he’s fine with making the decision to sit out: “If I feel like it’s something that prohibits or limits me, those are easy decisions.” (Nicki Jhabvala)
  • While the injury is to the same leg that had to be surgically repaired, Smith says it’s not related: “No. No. Not at all. Nope. So yeah, that’s all good news. Everything down there looks great. Yeah, it was obviously a freak thing that happened coincidentally to the same leg.” (Michael Phillips)
  • Rivera said Washington third-round RB Antonio Gibson (turf toe) has made “good progress” on his injury. (JP Finlay)

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