NFC East notebook: Major setback for Dallas reveals holes in offseason strategy

Welcome to your weekly edition of the NFC East Diary, your source for division news and notes! We’ll start in Dallas because we have a big injury update!

Earlier this week, longtime starting left tackle Tyron Smith seriously injured his leg. It looks like we are now starting to get a clearer picture of the injury and how much time Smith will miss.

This schedule will mean it looks like a best-case scenario, Smith won’t be back until Week 13. It’s a blow to a Cowboys team that was already thin along the offensive line. The Cowboys released La’el Collins and promoted swing tackle Terrance Steele to starting right tackle. Now, without Smith, there’s a huge void in a top job with no definite person to come in to replace him.

Tom Ryle from Blogging the Boys explained how the Cowboys got here and what could be next. It looks like first-round pick Tyler Smith could be the next man.

“First-round pick Tyler Smith worked almost exclusively at left guard, but he played left tackle in college. With just over two weeks until the regular season opener, the team can get him outside and prepare him as much as possible. Connor McGregor would become the starting left guard, which may not be as bad a situation as we once thought.

It looks like McCarthy has at least thought about that option in some form.

While they sought to offer a veteran option, the market is pretty thin at this time of year. The Cowboys could look to bring in names like Eric Fisher or Jason Peters, although injuries are a concern when it comes to names like those.

On a positive note, it looks like Michael Gallup won’t be starting the season on the PUP roster. If Gallop was on the roster, he would have to miss at least the first month of the season, but it looks like Jerry Jones doesn’t think he’ll be back anytime soon.

Jones seems comfortable with some of the strongest criticism this offseason regarding offensive line depth and wide receivers.

It’s been an interesting few days for the Philadelphia Eagles as their joint training had to be cut short as an outbreak of stomach bugs hit the Miami Dolphins changing room.

The day before, Nick Sirianni praised quarterback Jalen Hurts.

“I thought Jalen [Hurts] was outstanding in yesterday’s practice. I mean, for me, Jalen’s training yesterday was the best training he’s had as an Eagle – since I’ve been here, I can’t speak for the year leading up to my arrival here. Siriani said. “What he was doing with football, and being able to go through such quick reads and progressions and get the ball to where it needed to go, I thought was amazing.”

Sirianni has been about as vocal as possible in support of Hurts. Best practice as an Eagle against a good Dolphins secondary is enough to excite any fan. Although Bleeding Green Nation’s Brandon Lee Gowen had a rebuttal to this level of praise.

“If you want to argue that Hurts looked a little better than he was perceived, I think that’s reasonable. Best practice ever, though? It’s hyperbolic. And I think that the vast majority of practice observers would agree with that. Admittedly, as outside observers, we don’t know exactly what Hurts was being asked to do on those games. But that seems silly to me. from handing out gold stars to a quarterback performance where the offense struggled to move the ball. Not to mention the play where Hurts knocked down DeVonta Smith for what could have been a touchdown. Sirianni is obviously very important to support his players. Look no further than the way he wears t-shirts with their names and likeness. And I’m not going to blame him for having his back, especially when it comes to the QB start! But I think he could have more reasonably said that Hurts had had a better day born than the one he was credited with instead of claiming it was an all-time practice performance. It was a bit too much for me.

If there’s one thing Giants fans could relate to, no player is more scrutinized on the team than their polarizing QB1. There are those who love Hurts and those who want him to be part of Philadelphia’s fanbase. There will be no shortage of conversations throughout the season regarding Jalen Hurts.

Washington Commanders

Just a few years ago, Antonio Gibson was considered a thriving running back in the league. Unfortunately for him, it seems things are not going that way. Brian Robinson continues to push for the No. 1 running back spot in the Commanders offense. With JD McKissic handling the transmission roles, it looks like things aren’t going in the right direction for Gibson’s playing time. It seems like Ron Rivera is always willing to give Gibson a role, albeit in something Gibson has never really done before. Speaking to the media, Ron Rivera confirmed that Gibson will be the team’s kick returner for the upcoming season.

“I think we still need to see more things, but I think it’s [our top kick returner]”, Rivera said Thursday. “I do. I think he did a good job.

“Antonio is becoming more and more comfortable [returning kicks]”, Rivera said. “When you watch him on tape, you see him go around the ball, go under and get a good catch. It’s something he did well in college and we are glad he does.

While Gibson rushed for 1,000 yards last season, what continues to stand out is returning the ball. Gibson spat the ball 6 times last season and fumbled the ball several times during training camp and preseason.

Another person who has been in the spotlight in Washington is quarterback Caron Wentz. Although he had a top-down training camp like many NFC East quarterbacks, he is starting to build chemistry with wide receiver Terry McLaurin.

Rivera said Wednesday’s practice was “a pretty good display” and added a few moments where the timing was “perfect”. Wentz also led McLaurin on some passes that allowed him to open up. McLaurin is a big part of the attack and after signing a massive extension last month, will continue to be the offensive focal point for years to come. Wentz developing that chemistry with Wentz will be crucial for the team to be successful in 2022.

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