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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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Pierre-Paul injury a big loss for Redskins' playoff rival

Pierre-Paul injury a big loss for Redskins' playoff rival

When you’re fighting for a playoff spot, it’s not only about what happens to you. It’s also about what happens to the teams you’re competing against for that playoff spot. And one of the Redskins’ main competitors got a some very bad news this morning.

The Giants, who are in the No. 5 spot in the NFC, the first wild card spot, got word today that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has had sports hernia surgery. The recovery time is at least four weeks, probably more like six. The Giants’ season is likely to be over by the time six weeks elapse, barring a playoff run without one of their best defensive players.

Pierre-Paul has helped solidify what was a shaky Giants defense last year. He has seven sacks and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. He has been heating up down the stretch with 5.5 sacks in his last three games.

His loss is a big blow for the Giants. They are a game ahead Buccaneers, who hold the No. 6 spot, and a game and a half ahead of the Redskins, who are currently seventh.

The Redskins play New York in Week 17 so the Redskins have to pick up just one game on the Giants over the next three to have a shot at passing them in the season finale.

The chances of that happening looked pretty good with Washington playing playing three teams with losing records in the Eagles, Panthers, and Bears and the Giants going against division leaders Dallas and Detroit in addition to the Eagles. With the Giants now without Pierre-Paul, the Redskins’ probabilities got tilted in their direction a little bit more.

Just finishing ahead of the Giants wouldn’t guarantee a playoff spot but it would come close. It would mean that the Redskins would have at least nine wins and the Redskins’ tie means that two teams would have to get to 10 wins to knock them out of the playoffs. The Bucs have to win threea more games to get to nine wins and the Packers and Vikings would have to run the table.

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Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked — and what didn't — against Arizona

Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked — and what didn't — against Arizona

CSN has teamed up with The Edge Systems to provide the occasional statistical review of Redskins game film. The Edge is analytical football software currently being used by coaches in the NFL, SEC, ACC and the media, providing some of the fastest and best data in football.

Below is a breakdown of the Redskins run game against Arizona - a game coach Jay Gruden admitted did not feature enough carries for Robert Kelley. 

The Redskins had a lot of success with their GAP runs early in the game.

In the first half they were successful on 75 percent of their GAP runs. 

As the game wore on the Redskins moved away from what had been successful and only ran two GAP runs in the second half.

As the Redskins power run game vanished, so did their prospects for winning the game.

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