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Need to Know: Five Redskins who will be in the spotlight vs. the Dolphins

Sep 8, 2015, 5:39 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, September 8, five days before the Washington Redskins open their season against the Miami Dolphins.

Five Redskins who will be in the spotlight vs. the Dolphins

QB Kirk Cousins: When Jay Gruden said, “It’s Kirk’s team” the unspoken thought at the end of it was “as long as he plays well.” Playing well in the opener would buy a lot of capital for him to use if he should struggle down the road. If he stumbles he will be spending some good will that is in short supply.

RB Alfred Morris: If Cousins is going to be successful a strong running game will be his best friend. The vast majority of the rushing yardage will have to come from Morris. He is adjusting to a new scheme and a new line. If he struggles, Cousins’ chances for success against Miami’s tough defense drop dramatically.

RG Brandon Scherff: He will be tasked with controlling Ndamukong Suh, a tall order for any guard and especially tough for a player in his first NFL game. Scherff will get beaten; Suh can win against just about anyone. But if he can maintain his technique and hold his own more often than not he will have gotten past probably his roughest assignment of the year in the very first game.

DE Jason Hatcher: He is as healthy as he has been since he came to Washington. They need a wild card in the pass rush against Ryan Tannehill in case Ryan Kerrigan can’t get going. The Redskins didn’t get the season they were looking for out of Hatcher last year and he needs to get off to a strong start this time around.

FS Dashon Goldson: The veteran acquired by trade from the Bucs was not very impressive in camp. If they Redskins are going to be methodical on offense against Miami the defense has to avoid giving up big plays. A lot of that responsibility falls on Goldson, the last line of defense.


Today’s schedule: Player meetings at Redskins Park, no availability

—It’s been 254 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 5 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Rams @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 16; Eagles @ Redskins 26

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In case you missed it

  1. sidepull - Sep 8, 2015 at 6:48 AM

    Amerson better start looking like a CB instead of a piece of toast this year.

    • abanig - Sep 8, 2015 at 7:43 AM

      I honesty don’t think we’re going to see much at Amerson this year except on special teams, at best he’s the 4th corner and he may even be 5th because Justin Rogers outplayed him this offseason and preseason.

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 8, 2015 at 9:35 AM

        I hope they start taking a look at him at FS. Since he is further down on the depth chart why not give him some practice reps with the second unit and scout team there.

        • abanig - Sep 8, 2015 at 9:40 AM

          I hope so also, but it’s more likely Trenton Robinson and Kyshoen
          Jarett will get the back up FS reps, not Amerson.

        • captblood3000 - Sep 8, 2015 at 10:18 AM

          If Amerson’s struggles at cornerback are primarily mental, can we expect him to succeed at free safety? At FS he’ll have to know everyone else’s business as well as his own. I’m skeptical.

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Sep 8, 2015 at 11:06 AM

          Agree with Captblood3000. Your FS can’t be a dumb bunny.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 8, 2015 at 9:29 PM

          I don’t think Amerson struggles because of lack of studying. I think it’s more because he can’t flip his hips fast enough to turn and run with the WR. He is better when things are in front of him.

        • abanig - Sep 8, 2015 at 9:48 PM

          It’s both! He doesn’t study, doesn’t know the calls, isn’t prepared, has bad hip turn and he also has the worst technique I’ve ever seen

  2. abanig - Sep 8, 2015 at 7:41 AM

    I definitley agree with this group, and I’d add Jay Gruden. Jay’s made some bold decisions the past two years – at times probably against what the owner really wanted – when you take bold risks as a HC you must produce results. Last year Gruden didn’t produce results despite getting the two qbs he likes the most playing in the majority of the games and the team only won 4 games!

    Gruden is the one who has to start getting this team to at least look respectable on the field, especially since he kicked Robert to the curb.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 8, 2015 at 8:39 AM

      Not only the RG3 decision he alsopicked the Defensive Coordinator. I think that the GM is gonna use this year to evaluate Gruden. I think RG3 being on the roster is the GM’s decision and if it was up to Gruden he would be gone. Don’t be surprised if the team doesn’t do well we get a new Head Coach next year.If they go really bad he could be gon by years end

    • sidepull - Sep 8, 2015 at 9:01 AM

      Joe Barry bears watching thats for sure. That was a Gruden hire, a Gruden risk. They tried to help Joe out with some changes to the D. So we are going to see that D and what gives vs Tannehill and the Fins. He has better players than he had in Detroit Bottom line, they are going to need get off the field on 3rd downs.

      Skins coaches under Snyder have an average of a couple years employment which is probably all they can handle before they implode. I bet Gruden knows this, and right or wrong, at least if he gets canned it will be due to risks he chose to take and not forced to take by Snyder. Go out being your own man. Or, hes a fledgling coach who turns out to be a good fit. I am always hoping for the best because stability to me at QB, coaching goes a long way to winning.

      • ET - Sep 8, 2015 at 11:33 AM

        I’m not sure any coach under Snyder’s reign has had enough leash to “be his own man,” just enough to hang himself. Gruden is in this boat as well—Cousins, the Barry signing, those are on Gruden, but I’m still not convinced he (or Shanny, or Gibbs, or Zorn, or whoever) is really calling everything.

        • TheHogs - Sep 8, 2015 at 10:32 PM

          And Gruden took the head coaching job despite this.

          Amazing how fans talk about how Snyder is the one “calling the shots”, and yet these same coaches go out of their way to work for Snyder anyway. Stop sympathizing with the coaches.

        • abanig - Sep 9, 2015 at 2:40 PM

          Marty Schotenheimer, Joe Gibbs & Mike Shanahan did what they wanted when they were HC & in charge of player personnel

    • shermanp79 - Sep 8, 2015 at 9:04 AM

      I’m not sure his decisions are so bold??? I think every coach and expert would say RG3 has serious issues. I would bet every other NFL Coach would make the same move. Others in the organization feel the same way. Last year an injury created the opening and down the stretch Gruden started RG3 because that is what was wanted from Allen and Snyder. So he will get the heat but unfairly based on his title.

      I obviously believe Gruden can be a good Coach, he just needs time to amass talent.

      • abanig - Sep 8, 2015 at 9:11 AM

        Griffin’s injury has created the opening to go with Cousins this year also.

        That’s not really the point though. The point is when the owner wants something and the HC wants to start a different player, the HC better end up being right in his decision. The Hc better win games.

        George Allen, Bethard, Casserly & Gibbs went against the wishes of Jack Kent Cooke all the time and they kept their jobs because they won! Their decisions turned out to be right, and Jack Kent Cooke’s ideas were often wrong.

        If Jay wants to stay, his decisions have to lead to wins!

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 8, 2015 at 9:32 AM

          I would like to see Gruden not give up at the end of games. There were a couple games he gave up at the end last year. I don’t care if you don’t think it is winnable or if it is out of reach. Giving up early sends a bad message to the team. If you have a head Coach who quits what do you think the team is gonna be like?

        • TheHogs - Sep 8, 2015 at 1:01 PM

          ET, if Mike “the genius” Shanahan could stake his coaching reputation that a QB like John Beck can play, who’s to say that Gruden didn’t smugly brag to Snyder that he’ll make Griffin a pocket QB if given the job? No one knows what was said during the interview, but if that *was* what Gruden said to convince Synder to hire him, then he has to complete the task. Thus far, Gruden has failed to do his job, and he can be rightly fired from it. Whether or not the job can be done is irrelevant.

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 8, 2015 at 9:17 AM

        How do you figure he played because of Snyder and Allen? There is Zero evidence to that. The Head Coach picks the Starters it’s in his contract.

        • bangkokben - Sep 8, 2015 at 10:00 AM

          There is a MOUNTAIN of evidence. It may all be circumstantial and hearsay at this point but there is a mountain. Every beat writer covering this team feels that Gruden has been held hostage by the organization to play Griffin and now keep Griffin on the team. They do not “believe” (Jason Reid) or “buy” (John Kiem) what Gruden says in press conferences about the rationale for Griffin being on the team. If you had Gruden swear under oath with his hand on a stack of Bibles he would tell you that he doesn’t want Griffin on the team and he didn’t want to start him against Minnesota or San Franciscoa last year and that he doesn’t think Robert can be an NFL QB.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 8, 2015 at 10:22 AM

          RG3 is on the Roster because of the GM not the Owner and Allen. As far as Gruden only playing RG3 because the Owner and Allen made him I Dont But It. If that was the case then why did they let him bench RG3? Why did he let Cousins be named the starter this year? These people are doing what you said Speculating. More than likely what you’ve seen Gruden do by changing QBs is Gruden. I don’t think Snyder is as hands on as everyone thinks he may voice his opinions on subjects and players he likes but for the most part leaves it up to the guys he hires. I’ve even read that this is how he is. I can’t remember where though. If I do I will get the link.

          On a side not I did sign up and checked out Pro Football Focus and for some reason they didn’t do the Time Till Pressure Stat. I wrote them and asked why and they said they where short staffed and couldn’t do some of the stats they’ve done in the past go figure.
          When I end up with a spare $50 I will check out Football Outsiders and check on the QB true sacks rate

        • abanig - Sep 8, 2015 at 12:57 PM

          You should tell them if you’re shot staffed, I’ll gladly take a job!

        • TheHogs - Sep 8, 2015 at 10:30 AM

          And, despite all of this, and despite the well-known dysfunction of the franchise and its front-office management, Gruden chose to accept the head coaching job of the Washington Redskins, and was given a primary task to develop Griffin as a QB. If the Redskins don’t win with Gruden’s roster decisions, we’ve seen what Snyder does to his head coaches, and Gruden knows that.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 8, 2015 at 10:54 AM

          “There is a MOUNTAIN of evidence.”

          That evidence is for the ones that choose to connect the dots without any facts. It’s just as feasible to assume that Gruden gave a commitment to Snyder and Allen that he could make RG3 into a NFL pocket passer. Would Snyder and Allen want to hire a coach that can develop RG3? Yes! And I’m sure that was a big part of any interview process. So Gruden could very well have a lot in stake based on what he committed to the FO in the interview. Regardless, this falls on the coach and NOT the FO. This spin on the FO is nonsense loser talk.

        • ET - Sep 8, 2015 at 11:52 AM

          “It’s just as feasible to assume that Gruden gave a commitment to Snyder and Allen that he could make RG3 into a NFL pocket passer. “

          No, it’s not. Not unconditionally, which is what you seem to be implying. Perhaps Gruden agreed to attempt it, assuming the normal performance-based logic of the NFL would apply (which clearly has not).

        • TheHogs - Sep 8, 2015 at 1:02 PM

          ET, if Mike “the genius” Shanahan could stake his coaching reputation that a QB like John Beck can play, who’s to say that Gruden didn’t smugly brag to Snyder that he’ll make Griffin a pocket QB if given the job? No one knows what was said during the interview, but if that *was* what Gruden said to convince Synder to hire him, then he has to complete the task. Thus far, Gruden has failed to do his job, and he can be rightly fired from it. Whether or not the job can be done is irrelevant.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 8, 2015 at 1:17 PM

          How can unconditional be what I’m implying if I include assuming as part of the statement?

          We could draw many different conclusion conjuring up one narrative after another. Mine was just one of many that come from this board. However, I admit mine is complete nonsensical just like the others being pushed on here. I was just providing a contrary narrative. The point is that it’s futile and quite silly to uses baseless claims as facts or to keep pushing some garden variety narrative as truth.

          The real facts are that Gruden is the head coach and is responsible for who he announces as starters on the team. He has openly stated he decides on the starters in public and so has McCloughan. The GM is in charge of scouting and personnel he brings to the team. He delegates various responsibility to the coach. These are their roles and responsibilities and each one’s performance needs to be measured by those roles. As a result, it was Gruden’s decision to start RG3 early and then change direction by going with Cousins.

          Cutting a player and especially a player drafted where RG3 is a more complicated matter. Ultimately, there are many parties involved in such a decision. You have the coaches input on player’s performance, the GM on the player’s potential, and yes Allen inputting salary cap impact. However none of that involves the owner playing favorites on a player. So enough of excuses about owner intervention. Both Mccloughan and Gruden signed onto their jobs so each one must own up to it.

  3. timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 8, 2015 at 8:46 AM

    I was on my Redskins account last night to see if there were any up coming events .when I saw I had an open invoice?????? My tickets have bin played for so I checked it out. The Redskins want me to pay for Wild Card Play Off Tickets by September 11th!!!! I thought ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!! LOL Pretty bold prediction right? Needless to say I will be calling the ticket office in a little bit to see what the deal is.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 8, 2015 at 9:59 AM

      That’s nice added pocket change for the organization. It allows them to hold onto other people money and earn a return on investment or for other appropriations while the likelihood is the money will just be returned, but at a date and time at their convenience.

      • gasngo14 - Sep 8, 2015 at 4:55 PM

        Sounds like Scot, Allen and Gruden are looking for a little bonus money……hahaa!!!

    • goback2rfk - Sep 8, 2015 at 6:03 PM

      Wild Card Tickets?! What kind of shit is that. They should be asking you to pay for the NFC Championship Game at FedEx. We got this shit. Cousins is getting the arm warmed up right now.

  4. bangkokben - Sep 8, 2015 at 9:01 AM

    I agree with the list but will add Desean Jackson and Ryan Kerrigan as being in the spotlight. Neither of these guys were seen in the preseason as precautions. Time to see how rusty they are.

    For Ken from Keim:

    “Roster age. One thing general manager Scot McCloughan did is reduce the age of the roster — the Redskins have just five players who are 30 years or older (and a sixth on injured reserve in Adam Hayward). Four of those five start: center Kory Lichtensteiger, corner DeAngelo Hall, defensive end Jason Hatcher and safety Dashon Goldson. So it’s easy to look at the defense as still being in transition — it wasn’t going to be fixed in one offseason. Hatcher’s age (33) means the Redskins must do a good job rotating their ends — and then probably needing to find one in the offseason. But if they can keep him healthy, he can help. For what it’s worth, the Redskins had 10 players who were 30 or over at the end of last season (three were on injured reserve).”

    • sidepull - Sep 8, 2015 at 9:08 AM

      Agree on youth movement. I dont think Hatcher, Goldson, or Hall will be here next year. They are probably going to get what they can out of them this year and go younger.

    • shermanp79 - Sep 8, 2015 at 9:12 AM

      Our age will drop more Scotts 2nd year. I could see all those guys gone after this year

      The age list is so misleading. When you see how slight the difference is from top to bottom. We aren’t talking about teams averaging 30 years of age and others 22. This had more impact back in the mid 90s and really 70’s and 80’s than today. I was surprised it’s the Colts at 27 something, leading the list.

    • kenlinkins - Sep 8, 2015 at 2:45 PM

      Just read a story that said the NEW GM had a turn over rate of 72% after two years in San Fran (38% this year in DC) also saw the Redskins have gone from 31st in 2013,to 24th in 2014 and 17th in 2015 in avg. age. All in All it seems that the new GM is moving the rebuild along at about the same pace as his days in San Fran. I am glad that the talent that I saw has made the Practice Squad which now gives the new GM a chance to double dip. If some of the guys I listed earlier do not produce as required maybe the new GM will dip into the Practice Squad and give some of the developing guys their first NFL playing time (i.e. he gets 2 bites of the apple for the price of one). That is something I would not have wanted in years past as the Talent level was just not there and the development never showed up. In short, the plan seems to be on target even with the short comings of a few of the guys listed by Rich (and a few I would add) that really need to step it up.

  5. firesnyder - Sep 8, 2015 at 10:17 AM

    Miami is nothing but trouble with a tough D and a rising offense. Tannehill’s stats are trending well and reports out of camp were that his deep ball was much better this year. He will burn our CBs. This smells like a barn-burner. Ugh.

    • bangkokben - Sep 8, 2015 at 10:24 AM

      I think any Redskin fan will take a “barn-burner” – usually a term used for high scoring affair with a lot of back and forth in lead changes. What you may be predicting is a “dumpster fire” which nobody wants.

      • firesnyder - Sep 8, 2015 at 10:28 AM

        lol, yes, I guess I meant a one-sided barn burner…. aka a dumpster fire.

        • bangkokben - Sep 8, 2015 at 5:02 PM

          Yes. The old Sherman’s march through ol’ Dixie setting everything ablaze – including the barns type “barn burner.” As bad as our team as been – and it has been bad for so long, this season there seems to be more of that type of expectation more so than ever.

    • abanig - Sep 8, 2015 at 12:44 PM

      Miami doesn’t have much in the way of playmakers. Their offense doesn’t scare me at all. Tanehill is average. When Cousins is on his game, Cousins is the better quarterback of the two.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 8, 2015 at 4:13 PM

        I think Jarvis Landry is a up-and-comer who may look like Julio Jones playing against our coverage team.

        • abanig - Sep 8, 2015 at 4:16 PM

          He’s good but their wrs aren’t as good as ours. Jordan Cameron is good, but not as good as Jordan Reed, our RBs blow them out of the water and again when Cousins is in a good rhythm/zone he’s better than Tanehill.

  6. 226thebeatdontstop - Sep 8, 2015 at 11:54 AM

    Well Cousins once again has an opportunity the question is will he embrace an grow or will he will when pressure an adversity occur.

    Miami had a good defense without Suh, now they have him an very aggressive linebackers lets see what Gruden schemes up for his boy…

    If the Redskins can’t establish the run ,game over..Miami has had 2 weeks to review game tape of Cousins,that’s not good news for the Redskins…I’m a Redskin fan, not rooting for or against Cousins just want team to win…

    Not for or against RG3 but if he chose not to run read option even disguising it to pass then so be it cause he’s not a pocket passer.. If Gruden is so smart he should have sschemed up something for Griffins skillset…Anyway we will see immediately Sunday Cousins fate…..

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 8, 2015 at 1:39 PM

      That’s a good point about the need for a successful run game. Miami’s biggest weakness was against the run and they shored that up some with the addition of Suh. However, that is where success needs to be begin to help the passing game. Cousins won’t have backups to rip defenses apart and he needs 4 good quarters to give this team a chance of a win.

    • skinsgame - Sep 8, 2015 at 11:38 PM

      If you’re not rooting for the Redskins QB then go get yourself a Dolphins jersey.

  7. mr.moneylover - Sep 8, 2015 at 11:57 AM

    Some people that cover the team needs to stop putting players weakest out there because players from other team read them and write it down as notes…the media needs to fall back and just talk about what they expect out of players and not expose they weakness to the public thats how other teams know what to expose during game day….in 2012 the media wrote all these stories about how bad rg3 look in practice when week 1 came around fans didnt expect rg3 to put up 35 points neither did the saints…the whole year other teams couldnt find out what redskins weakest was and that led redskins to the playoff…clinton portis said it best the DC media is famous for tearing down they own star players who go on to have better success on other teams… if the media put out more postive stories about the team that positive rubs off on the team that they cover…its not all about keeping it real with the stories that come out learn from the patriots and seattle and saints or even the Panthers…

    • hk2000 - Sep 8, 2015 at 5:10 PM

      Yeah well, most NFL teams are covered by media people who are fans of the team, DC media on the other hand, hires people from all over the nation and those writers and reporters don’t give a damn about the team and are only in it for the money-some are even fans of rival teams and have a desire to expose the weaknesses.

  8. Robert Spain - Sep 8, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    Growing up in So. Florida being a Dolphins fan comes with the territory.
    I’m hoping this will be the breakout year for Tanahill. We’re tired of mediocrity and unfortunately that is what he’s shown me.
    He has all the resources to make a difference.
    If it doesn’t happen this year, I might not be a fan until he’s replaced.
    Never thought I would say that!!!

    • bangkokben - Sep 8, 2015 at 6:41 PM

      Robert, thanks for the perspective. Lot’s of folks up here with the same sense of commitment and patience. Living a wonderful portion of my adult life in Dade county, I know how fair-weather, fans in Miami can be about their fins. Used to hear Hank Goldberg blast the city for being Bush League. Never thought that that mindset would replace the one I grew up with concerning the Redskins but it has.

  9. mr.moneylover - Sep 8, 2015 at 12:07 PM

    Jay gruden gotta learn how to shut up when he talks to the media learn from the other coaches…last year he put rg3 name out there to the media now he putting brandon scherff name out there to the media would if he struggle week 1 and hear his name in the media again before week 2 and struggle again that guy will lose confidents because hes gonna start getting talk bad about in the media ppl was already saying he was a bad pick at number 5 in the draft after that lions game if you the head coach just say hes a hard worker and he getting better and better

    • goback2rfk - Sep 8, 2015 at 6:00 PM

      To pick an Offensive Lineman that high in the draft he better be a beast. NFL ready holding his own. If he is struggling out of the gate than that is not a good sign. Great pro bowl caliber offensive lineman can be found much further down in the draft. We could have had another top pass rusher with that pick. Now we are weak on one side of the d-line. Scherriff got to step up.

  10. Skulb - Sep 8, 2015 at 12:29 PM

    I agree with this list but would replace Alf with Amerson I think. Not that the running game isn´t important or anything, but avoiding big negative plays was a bit of an issue last year and still seems to be, if the first quarter of the dress rehearsal is anything to go by.

    • bangkokben - Sep 8, 2015 at 6:44 PM

      The only place I want to see #39 is on the bench – maybe even the inactive list.

  11. rtcwon - Sep 8, 2015 at 1:44 PM

    My five – 8, 75, 76, 25, 91

    8 & 75, same as Rich, I’ll defer to the pro’s write up.

    76 – let’s not forget it is also Moses’ first time as more than an injury replacement, will we have to worry about him all season or be able to focus on just the rookie?
    25 – to me, slot corner is vital, can he show us something?
    91 – can he be a one man show or will he be schemed out of putting up pressure like Orakpo?

    Morris will do his thing and we know what he’ll bring, he has the vision, patience & burst to excel in any scheme.
    Hatcher and the rest of the DL are the strength of the D, they’ll make plays like DJax, fun to watch but expected.
    Goldson isn’t great but he won’t be as bad as he was in Tampa’s cover 2 and even if so, still better than Clark.

    • abanig - Sep 8, 2015 at 2:33 PM

      I’m glad guy said Orakpo was schemed out of putting a lot pressure on qbs over the year and I wasn’t the only person who knew this…

    • goback2rfk - Sep 8, 2015 at 5:57 PM

      I keep thinking Morris is gunna get off for sure. I have a feeling the team will play hard overall. Maybe the play action will get going and we all know how much Cousins likes throwing the ball from the boot-leg. If Cousins has improved the INT bug we should have a chance in this game.
      If cousins pulls a 3 INT nightmare scenario than I think the cries for RG3 are going to start immediately.

    • bangkokben - Sep 8, 2015 at 6:47 PM

      So Rogers is keeping 25 and Chris Thompson is getting a new number? Is that news? I hadn’t heard the new number assignments. You know back page stuff since we’ve got a whole lot of speculating to do.

  12. goback2rfk - Sep 8, 2015 at 2:41 PM

    I will be focusing hard on RG Brandon Scherff: I want to see what this 1st pick by the Skins is really made of. I thought it was a horrible move at the time and hope I am proved wrong. I want to see Scherff play well and he should be expected to be NFL ready at that high of a pick.
    The O-Line may win or loose this game for the Skins against Miami. I wonder if Cousins will have any time in the pocket or will it be a bum rush every play.
    We will see, season kicks off on Thursday! I am very fucking excited its been a long offseason.

    • bangkokben - Sep 8, 2015 at 6:52 PM

      Dude. An F bomb? We’re all excited but this is everyone’s sand box. (Okay, it’s Rich’s sand box, but plenty like to play here.) No need dropping deuces in it.

      • goback2rfk - Sep 8, 2015 at 9:28 PM

        Pardon me.I guess my excitement got the best me. Or the beers.

        • bangkokben - Sep 8, 2015 at 10:15 PM

          It’s all good. We can’t have you getting banned. Not like I agree with you much but you do provide conversation starters.

  13. sullivandeezoldeezol67 - Sep 9, 2015 at 8:02 AM

    Rich Tandler forgot that the Skins beat the Cowboys on MNF. The win against the Eagles (week 16) was the SECOND NFC East win of the season. Archives

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