NFC East: 2013 Week 8 NFL Buzz

Locker Room Buzz: Washington Redskins

October, 27, 2013
DENVER -- Observed in the locker room after the Washington Redskins' 45-21 loss to the Denver Broncos:

Painful exit: Quarterback Robert Griffin III walked around in the locker room without much of a limp, after leaving the game following a crunching hit that left him grabbing his left knee momentarily. Coach Mike Shanahan said after the game that Griffin could have re-entered the game, but with the Redskins down by 17 late, Shanahan did not want to risk it, so they went with Kirk Cousins instead. Griffin later said he was more scared than anything, but he’s fine.

Shell-shocked: The Redskins tried to cling to the fact that there are nine games remaining. But there were a lot of confused, deflated looks in the locker room, more so than after most losses. They went from 21-7, thinking they could spring an upset, to 45-21 and wondering where they are headed. “I don’t know, man, I really don’t know,” Redskins defensive end Stephen Bowen said. “We made some mistakes.” He then paused to take a deep breath. “It was rough,” he said.

Blame game: Redskins left tackle Trent Williams, like many, pinned the loss on the offense. It failed to come through to help the defense once the Broncos started to gain momentum. “It’s Peyton Manning. You know he’s going to score points. We put our defense in a [bad spot].”

No solace: Cornerback DeAngelo Hall intercepted two passes and returned one for a touchdown. He paused for a second when asked if he could feel good about his own play the past several games. “When you’re not getting wins it’s not good for anybody in this locker room,” Hall said. “It’s nice to say, ‘Hey I played a great game.’ But you still leave with that bad taste in your mouth.”

Locker Room Buzz: Dallas Cowboys

October, 27, 2013
DETROIT -- Observed in the locker room after the Dallas Cowboys' 31-30 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Dez being Dez: Dez Bryant was unapologetic for his sideline outbursts, and coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo defended the wide receiver’s actions during the game and right after the game.

“I’ve been this way since Pop Warner,” Bryant said.

Said Garrett: “We want guys who want the football.” Said Romo: “Dez is never being a ‘me’ guy. That’s not who he is.”

Bryant has had such episodes in the past, but this one seemed to be more involved. DeMarcus Ware separated Bryant and Jason Witten, but later both players hugged in the locker room.

Blown opportunity: The Cowboys have had their share of gut-wrenching losses in recent years, but Garrett attempted to be as detached emotionally as he possibly could after the game.

The Cowboys blew two 10-point leads in the fourth quarter and allowed 24 fourth-quarter points, culminating in Matthew Stafford's 1-yard leap with 12 seconds to play. At 4-4, the Cowboys remain in first place in the NFC East, but they missed a huge opportunity to create more separation in the division, and now they have to worry about a hangover heading into next week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

“We didn’t do what we needed to do to win the ballgame, period,” Garrett said. “They did. We didn’t. We have to live with that and look ourselves in the mirror and it starts with me, the coaching staff, every player in that locker room. Just got to do better, and we have to learn from that experience and find a way to win that game. We were in position to win the ballgame and had opportunities on offense, defense and the kicking game to end it and we didn’t do it. We just have to understand the importance of each sequence, each play to the outcome of the ballgame, and we didn’t get it done.”

Nightmare return: Brandon Carr's return to Michigan did not go well. Calvin Johnson had a superhuman game with 14 catches for 329 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys had 268 yards of offense as a team.

Johnson had an 87-yard grab in the first quarter on Carr, and a 54-yarder in the fourth quarter. He set up Stafford’s game-winning touchdown with a 22-yarder down the seam to the Dallas 1.

“They had a player that was hot and they kept feeding him and feeding him and rode him to victory,” Carr said.

Locker Room Buzz: Philadelphia Eagles

October, 27, 2013
PHILADELPHIA -- Seen, heard and otherwise observed in the Philadelphia Eagles' locker room after their 15-7 loss to the New York Giants.

Brent Celek was not a happy man: The tight end is among the longest-tenured Eagles and endured every minute of the decline of Andy Reid. So he knows bad losses when he smells one.

“I’m about as angry as you can be after a game,” Celek said. “I may not show it, but I’m not happy. It’s something that needs to be fixed. It’s embarrassing to be at home and to have that happen. It’s the 10th straight loss at home. The fans, they’re pissed. I would be pissed, too. It’s ridiculous.”

Quarterback Matt Barkley did not take many first-team reps in practice: Even though starter Michael Vick was playing on a balky hamstring, Chip Kelly didn’t have the rookie Barkley take extra snaps in practice.

“I didn’t get many,” Barkley said.

Kelly said it was a “Catch-22,” because Vick needed extra work after missing two games.

Barkley should have thrown the ball away instead of taking a sack and fumbling: That was clearly Kelly’s read on the crucial play from the Giants’ 2-yard line late in the first half. It was also fair to wonder why the coach had his rookie rolling out to his left instead of giving the ball to the NFL’s leading rusher, LeSean McCoy.

“That’s the play I called,” Kelly said. “It didn’t work.”

Locker Room Buzz: New York Giants

October, 27, 2013
PHILADELPHIA -- Observed in the locker room after the New York Giants' 15-7 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles:

Schadenfreude: A group of Giants watched the end of the Cowboys-Lions game, in which Dallas blew a late lead and fell to 4-4, leaving the Giants just two games back in the NFC East standings. There was an audible cheer and laughter from the back room in which they were watching, though the party line in the interviews was that they weren't worrying about other teams' games. "We've got to put the blinders on," Justin Tuck said. "We're in a hole. We've still got a long way to go. We can't worry about what Dallas does or what anybody does."

My bad: Tom Coughlin said Antrel Rolle apologized to him immediately following the 15-yard penalty Rolle drew for a group celebration after his first-quarter interception. Rolle said he felt it best to get to Coughlin before Coughlin could get to him because "it was a bonehead move on my part, and it won't happen again."

Good to see you: Linval Joseph said he "almost" sacked Michael Vick a couple of times early, but his actual sack came later in the game after the Eagles had changed quarterbacks. "I'm glad it was Matt Barkley back there and not Vick," Joseph said. "Vick's too fast."