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NFC East roundup: The 'beaten down' Cowboys D

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NFC East roundup: The 'beaten down' Cowboys D

Year one of the Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator did not go as hoped in Big D. Rex's brother said as much in a recent interview with ESPN Dallas, coping to poor play calls and heaping to much of the playbook onto his new players.However, he does not regret repeatedly publicly touting his players as the most talented defense in the NFL even though statistical evidence (16th in points allowed) suggested something closer tomiddle of the pack. Oh, and the lack of remorse has nothing to with him being a Ryan boy and that's what Buddy Ryan's kids do. Rob said his beleaguered.troops needed positivity."Those guys had been beaten down so much that, in my opinion, I don't think they had the confidence to go forward," Ryan said.Osi no longer a Giant distractionNow that defensive lineman Osi Umenyiora has agreed to a one-year contract, the New York Giants have put to bed their one lingering off the field issue. We dont have to answer questions about it, Eli Manning said at a charity event Tuesday night. We dont have to worry about it. We just have to worry about playing football.Part of the imposing defensive line that combined with the Manning and the passing game to take the Giants on a magical Super Bowl-winning ride, the 30-year-old Umenyiora finished with nine sacks last season. He tacked on 3.5 more in the postseason. Now thatOsi is sticking around, Giants corner Antrel Rolle says more havoc is to come.We have an outstanding defensive line without Osi, but with Osi there it makes it that much better, Rolle said a charity event on Tuesday.I think we have a great team all the way around, not just the defensive line. Were stacked right now at each and every position.

As long as guys stay healthy its going to be a great run.DRC tackling Eagles outside corner roleDominique Rodgers-Cromartie's first year with the Eagles was fine - but it could have been better. Getting to square off against Philadelphia's dynamicreceivers like Jeremy Maclin should help, especially now that Rodgers-Cromartie is shifting back outside after a a season spent in the slot.Acquired from the Cardinals before the 2011 season, Rodgers-Cromartie was expected to be part of a dymanic cornerback group with Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel. Instead the Eagles collective secondary allowed 27 touchdown passes and numerous red zone completions. Oh, the trio also whiffed on plenty oftackles, 27in all by one estimate.You really can't just work on that during the off-season, as far as just getting the form of tackling down, said Rodgers-Cromartie, who takes over the spot opposite Asomugha now that the team cut ties with Samuel. You can get stronger in the weight room and just go from there. The main thing is getting my feet back under me and focus on covering now.

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Gruden: Redskins still sorting out offensive line changes

Gruden: Redskins still sorting out offensive line changes

Here are the salient points from Jay Gruden’s news conference on Wednesday:

—They want to get newly acquired center John Sullivan ready to play in a backup role this week. “He’s a very bright guy and I think he will be able to help this team in the long run.”

—Gruden said that the plan to cover the offensive line with two starters out is still being developed. He said that he wants Arie Kouandjio to get a “taste” of starting a left guard, which didn’t sound like much of a commitment to have him start. The door was left open for the possibility of Trent Williams starting at left guard although Gruden didn’t seem to like the idea of moving him.

—The team is doing well getting into the red zone and Gruden said that figuring out how to get the ball into the end zone rather than settling for three is “very high” on the list of concerns.

—There are injuries in the defensive backfield, too, but Gruden is not “overly concerned” about them. He likes the flexibility of the group and think that they can fill in with DeAngelo Hall on injured reserve and Bashaud Breeland out for at least this week.

—Jordan Reed has yet to catch a touchdown pass this year in part because teams are defending differently in the red zone. “Yeah, we are seeing a little bit more zone probably and when they play zone, sometimes they bang him when he gets off the line of scrimmage or they send an extra guy to him which is good. It should open up some other people but we just haven’t found the open guy consistently.”

—Will Josh Norman follow Terrelle Pryor, the Brown’s No. 1 receiver who had 141 yards receiving last week? “We’ll have to wait and see.” I wouldn’t expect an answer on this until game time but Pryor is not yet the caliber of receiver who would warrant be trailed by Norman. That’s not really his game, anyway. He is much more effective as a zone corner.

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Week 4 Redskins injury report: Three starters out of practice

Week 4 Redskins injury report: Three starters out of practice

The Redskins were missing three starters at practice on Wednesday as they began preparations to play the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland (ankle), guard Shawn Lauvao (ankle), and wide receiver DeSean Jackson (knee/ankle) all were out of practice. Breeland and Lauvao are expected to miss the Browns game; Jackson seems likely to play but we will have to see how things develop this week before that determination can be made.

WR Josh Doctson (Achilles) and CB Dashaun Phillips (hamstring) also were out on Wednesday.

Doctson, the team’s top draft pick who spend training camp and all of the preseason games on the physically unable to perform list, was a last- minute scratch for the game against the Giants last Sunday.

“He just didn't feel comfortable, couldn't push off the way he wanted to,” said Jay Gruden.

The injury has been hard to deal with from the beginning.

“We're trying different treatments for him to try to get him back in action as soon as possible,” said Gruden. “He'll take it easy this week, next couple of days then see what he can do on Friday. It's a wait and see kind of thing.”

Limited in practice were DL Chris Baker (elbow/tow), LB Trent Murphy (elbow/shoulder), and DL Kendall Reyes.