NFC East: 2013 Week 6 NFL Buzz

Locker Room Buzz: Dallas Cowboys

October, 14, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Observed in the locker room after the Dallas Cowboys31-16 win over the Washington Redskins.

Atop the East: With Philadelphia winning earlier in the day, the Cowboys knew they needed to win to keep pace in the NFC East. Sunday’s win sets up a first-place showdown with the Eagles (3-3) next week at Lincoln Financial Field. “Obviously this was a big game in the division,” tight end Jason Witten said. “You want to get to 2-0 in the division. Two losses there in a row [overall], too, but we know how important to get that win in our division was. Especially after last year, they took it to us pretty good twice. That’s a big win for us. Our division games are always that way. They’re tight. They’re ugly in a lot of ways. I thought we did a good job fighting through it.”

Situational defense: After getting torched in their last six quarters, the defense responded with a better effort in slowing down the Redskins. They allowed 216 yards rushing on 33 carries, including a 45-yard touchdown from Alfred Morris, but they were able to keep Robert Griffin III out of the end zone and hold him to a 58.3 passer rating, sacking him three times and intercepting him once. Most important, they were able to keep Washington out of the end zone on three red-zone trips, one week after they allowed Denver to score on six of seven red-zone possessions. “Any time you can keep a team out of the end zone, that’s huge,” linebacker Sean Lee said. “They made some plays, but we were able to come up with plays when we needed them.”

Health check: DeMarco Murray and DeMarcus Ware will undergo MRIs on Monday after being forced to leave the game with knee and quadriceps injuries, respectively. Murray has a sprained MCL in his left knee. The team is not sure of the severity of the injury, but Felix Jones played through the injury last season with a heavy tape job on both knees. Ware was walking fine after the game, and said that he would be OK.

Locker Room Buzz: Washington Redskins

October, 14, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Observed in the locker room after the Washington Redskins' 31-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Reality check: For the fourth time this season the Redskins had a quiet locker room. But there was more of a shell-shocked look on the faces of the players. Nobody is more surprised by the 1-4 start than the Redskins’ players and coaches. “Lack of execution is costing us games,” running back Alfred Morris said. There’s still a long ways to go, and perhaps that’s why Reed Doughty spent several minutes "coaching" up Jerome Murphy in the locker room, going over scenarios and different plays. But they all know time is getting short.

Ouch: Cornerback David Amerson left the game in the second half with a concussion. Coach Mike Shanahan did not have an update after the game, but Amerson will be evaluated throughout the week. Special-teamer Bryan Kehl said he felt something pop in his knee on the Cowboys' second-quarter punt return for a touchdown. The killer on that play: Kehl had the angle on returner Dwayne Harris. "I would have made the tackle," Kehl said. He'll undergo an MRI. Long-snapper Nick Sundberg suffered a knee injury as well. Shanahan was not sure how serious it was, but Sundberg could not finish the game.

Dead zone: The Redskins had three trips inside the red zone, but settled for field goals of 20, 32 and 33 yards. Meanwhile, the Cowboys had four trips in the red zone and came away with three touchdowns. That’s a 12-point difference. “I think we had a solid game, but we need touchdowns instead of field goals,” Redskins center Will Montgomery said.

Locker Room Buzz: Philadelphia Eagles

October, 13, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. -- Observed in the locker room after the Philadelphia Eagles31-20 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

MRSA worries allayed: The Eagles were concerned but comfortable playing despite the Buccaneers’ MRSA issue. Linebacker DeMeco Ryans, the NFL Players Association rep for the team, said he “didn’t want my players being scared or worried.” Coach Chip Kelly said the Eagles met with Dr. Deverick J. Anderson of the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network, which is managing the Bucs’ situation. “He came over and met with myself, Howie [Roseman, the GM], Don [Smolenski, team president], our doctors and [athletic trainer] Chris Peduzzi,” Kelly said. “He gave us the whole rundown. I think we felt comfortable in his answers. He was very helpful, and then our doctors talked to the players.” Ryans added, “They let us know we would be safe playing. That was the biggest thing for me, making sure our players would be safe coming down here. Nobody had any worries in the back of their mind about having a chance of catching MRSA.”

Felt like home: The Eagles’ third consecutive road game felt like a home game. Quarterback Nick Foles was confused by the way the sellout crowd reacted to a few plays. “I felt like it was a home game,” Foles said. “There’s a couple times the crowd was yelling and I thought, 'Oh, no, what happened?' I saw all the green and white jerseys, so it was our fans. We had a tremendous amount of support here. It’s pretty fun.” Kelly said, “To be in an away stadium and listen to the crowd chant us on like that, it was awesome.”

Kelly would've kicked: The Eagles were up 28-20 with just more than three minutes left, and had the ball on fourth-and-inches at the Buccaneers' 17-yard line. Kelly sent the offense out, but only with the hope that Foles could draw the Bucs offside. “It worked,” Kelly said. “You want to kick a field goal in that situation. You want to make it a two-score game, but if we could extend the clock a little bit. Could you go up 11 and take a little more time off the clock? They jumped.” The neutral-zone infraction gave the Eagles a first down. They wound up kicking a 24-yard field goal with 2:34 on the clock. Tampa Bay used all three of its timeouts to stop the clock after the penalty.

Locker Room Buzz: New York Giants

October, 11, 2013
CHICAGO -- Observed in the locker room after the New York Giants' 27-21 loss to the Chicago Bears:

Emotional Eli: After his latest three-interception game raised his league-leading total to 15 for the season, Giants quarterback Eli Manning took the blame for the loss. "I feel like I'm not doing my part," he said. "That's the frustrating part. I feel like our guys are fighting hard, and guys are doing their parts, and I need to start doing mine."

Down with the ship: Safety Antrel Rolle said he's sticking to his belief that the Giants can win the rest of their games, even though he said that two weeks ago. "People are counting us out, and I don't blame them," Rolle said. "Outside looking in, I'd probably count us out, too. But we can't. We have to count ourselves in."

Injury update: Running back Da'Rel Scott injured his hamstring late in the game, and after the game wore a protective sleeve on his right leg while he received help getting dressed. He also had crutches propped near his locker. Wouldn't look for him to play again any time soon. The Giants will probably be hunting for a running back again next week.