Philadelphia Eagles News

NFC East Update; A Visit With Jon Gruden

INDIANAPOLIS -- How much has the picture changed in Week 2 in the NFC East? Washington's quarterback picture changes. Dallas is encouraged. And the Giants are a flat-out mess.

By the time the Eagles boarded their flight from Philadelphia on Sunday to arrive here, the news about Robert Griffin III was out: He suffered a dislocated ankle early in Washington's win over Jacksonville and is out for a long, long time. And the defense will turn its attention to Kirk Cousins next Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field once, of course, the Eagles have played Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday night.

It was an eventful Sunday for the NFC East and perhaps a more realistic performance from a division that, aside from the Eagles, had wipeout Week 1 losses.

Cousins is a better option for Washington at this point from the standpoint that he is less prone to mistakes and is more apt to stay within the confines of the Jay Gruden offense. Washington is less likely to run its read-option offense, and the improvisational abilities of Cousins don't come close to matching Griffin's.

As Cousins took control on Sunday and Washington's offense, moribund a week earlier in a loss at Houston, came to life, the national reaction was swift and predictable. Redskins fans took to social media to cast their votes for Cousins as the new "Franchise Quarterback" for Washington. The national media went bonkers.

"So, when do the RGIII trade rumors start?" tweeted @CharlesRobinson from TheBigLead.com. "Helluva rise & fall for RG3 in DC. Kirk Cousins era underway in Washington."

Before anyone falls in love with Cousins, take a peek at his final two starts in 2013. Following an encouraging performance in a loss at Atlanta, Cousins completed 21 of 36 passes for all of 197 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a loss to Dallas, and then was just 19 of 49 for 169 yards with two interceptions in a season-ending 20-6 loss at the Giants.

Cousins makes decisions quickly and has a good head for the game. He's got a decent arm, but it's nothing special. He will play well in the right system, and he certainly was outstanding on Sunday for Washington. But the Eagles will have a chance to study him thoroughly and come up with something to slow a Redskins offense that was terrific against Jacksonville.

It's not looking likely at this point that Washington is questionable to have the services of wide receiver DeSean Jackson on Sunday after Jackson went down with a shoulder injury against Jacksonville. Jackson suffered a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder, the same injury he had in the preseason. Jackson is officially listed as day to day with the injury.

The Redskins came to life defensively with 10 quarterback sacks and had a very balanced offensive attack to get the victory. And the Redskins believe in Cousins. A very confident Washington team visits Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.

  • Dallas is riding running back DeMarco Murray, and he is responding. After gaining 118 yards in the opening loss against San Francisco, Murray carried 29 times for 167 yards and a touchdown in Dallas' 26-10 win over Tennessee. This is a formula Dallas has folllowed sporadically in the past, and once the Cowboys have strayed and thrown the football, they've gotten into trouble. The Dallas defense is playing better than expected as well, getting very strong play from linebacker Rolando McClain, whom the Cowboys acquired from Oakland at the cost of a sixth-round draft pick in the offseason. Don't count out the Cowboys. They play at anemic St. Louis on Sunday and then have home games against New Orleans and Houston before a telling road game at Seattle prior to opening the NFC East schedule.
  • The Giants are in trouble. Deep, deep trouble. They lost to Arizona and backup quarterback Drew Stanton on Sunday. New York lost this one on special teams, surrendering a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown by Ted Ginn, Jr. and then fumbling the ensuing kickoff. Eli Manning was improved, completing 26 of 39 passes for 277 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, but the Giants scored only 14 points. And the defense is holding its breath on the MRI results for linebacker Jon Beason, who suffered an injury to the same toe that sidelined him throughout the summer. The G-men are in huge trouble. They show sparks, but they haven't been able to put anything together for a long period of time. The Giants host Houston on Sunday.
  • Jon Gruden and the ESPN broadcast team was waiting for the Eagles when the team arrived on Sunday in downtown Indianapolis. Gruden picks the Colts to win this high-scoring game, saying it's hard to go against quarterback Andrew Luck at home, but he is impressed with the job head coach Chip Kelly is doing. "I feel really good about Chip. Obviously his offense has got a lot to it," said Gruden. "When you're the head coach you are responsible for the whole team and they've got to play better on defense. They've got to keep them off the field more than they did a year ago, but I do like what he's bringing to the NFL and to offenses. He's very creative.

"Every year he cateters his offense to the strength of his team and if you know Chip Kelly you know he wants to run the football. ... And the centerpiece is LeSean McCoy and he's as good a back as there is in the NFL. And to have Darren Sproles as a backup, to give the Eagles that kind of juice coming out of the backfield in a no-huddle offense every down, awesome."

  • Tight end Brent Celek on playing on Monday Night Football:"When I was a kid, it was everything. I was allowed to stay up late and watch it. Now, it's fun to be a part of and I know it's the only game being played, but it's just another game. That's the way you have to approach it." Monday is Celek's 10th appearance on Monday Night Football.
  • Defensive end Trent Cole on playing Colts quarterback Andrew Luck: "He's a big guy who moves well and knows what's going on out there. He's definitely one of the best in the league. You have to be sound with your assignments and make sure everyone is on the same page or he will find a hole and make a big play."
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