NFC Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Zach Ertz

     

Cowboys

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott said he has been focusing on his ball security for the last three games after committing six fumbles this season. 

“Just kind of the focus,” Elliott said, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. “Just locking in on having good ball security. I think it’s a lot of a mental thing. I think it’s something I have to make sure that I’m on top of day in and day out. If I handle it that way, then I’ll be good. But just locking in, focusing, practicing, just repetition of good ball security.”

Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones said he would like to have DE Randy Gregory get more opportunities on the field and believes the defensive end’s potential is finally showing after selecting him in the 2015 NFL Draft.  

“We need to have him in there every time that we get a chance,” Jones said. “I thought when we drafted him he was the best pass rusher in the draft. I thought he was, and that’s why I took the risk on him that I took. But it was a risk at the time. We paid for that risk. Randy will be the first to tell you, and it’s paying off for us. I’m just excited. I have visions of a future for Randy here with the Cowboys that can meet the promise we really were looking at when we drafted him in the second round.”

  • Cowboys assistant HC Rob Davis, assistant STs coach Matt Daniels, and offensive assistant Scott Tolzien did not travel with the team for Week 17 due to COVID-19 related issues. (Jon Machota)
  • Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News notes the Cowboys were able to practice on Saturday despite its recent surge in COVID-19 activity. 
  • Gehlken writes that the Cowboys are working closely with the NFL to ensure they are properly following all protocols. 

Eagles

  • Mike Kaye could see Philadelphia staying in-house to replace DC Jim Schwartz and names DL coach Matt Burke as a “suitable choice” for promotion.  
  • Jeff McLane also lists Burke as the “most likely in-house choice” if Doug Pederson wants to continue running the Eagles’ current defensive scheme.
  • McLane mentions that Eagels DBs coach Marquand Manuel and LBs coach Ken Flajole both have experience as NFL defensive coordinators. 
  • Eagles promoted DE Joe Ostma, T Prince Tega Wanogho and S Blake Countess to their active roster. 

Zach Ertz

This season could be the last time we see TE Zach Ertz in an Eagles’ jersey, and one anonymous NFL evaluator spoke about what type of future he may have whether he stays on the Eagles or not.

“After Kelce, [George] Kittle and [Darren] Waller, there aren’t many top-flight tight ends, and there aren’t going to be many in free agency,” the NFL evaluator said, via Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “That Ertz has just one year left [on his contract] should make him even more attractive. But he also should have another long-term deal in him. He just turned 30, has avoided a major injury, and tight ends don’t normally fall off cliffs like running backs. Does he move as well as he did five, three, even a year ago? No. But that’s inevitable. I see someone who still understands leverage as well as any tight end, and who consistently gets separation at the top of his routes. The quarterback play has just killed him, which was weird because [Wentz and Ertz] had great chemistry.”

Back in September, Ertz tried to make it as clear as he could that he wished to remain an Eagle.

“I want to be here. I’ve never thought of playing in another city,” Ertz said. “My family loves it here. My mom lives here. My brother is going to Temple. His fiancee is going to school out here. So we have roots here now. This is home to me. … I’ll never let the thought of playing in another jersey creep in because I don’t think I can picture that thought in my brain yet.”

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