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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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Cowboys fans biggest fear - Major injury strikes Tony Romo in preseason

Cowboys fans biggest fear - Major injury strikes Tony Romo in preseason

Dallas Cowboys fans had high expectations for their team this season - as long as quarterback Tony Romo could avoid injury. Three weeks into the preseason, looks like that idea is shot.

Getting the start Thursday night against the Seahawks, Romo was slammed to the turf awkwardly and looked to injure his back. Immediate reports showed that Romo felt okay, but clearly the issues persisted.

Last season, Romo broke his collarbone twice and played just four games as the Cowboys limped to a 4-12 record. The season prior Romo led the Cowboys to a 12-4 record and an NFC East title. In 2013, Romo dealt with herniated discs in his back and had a cyst removed.

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Without Romo, Dallas will likely turn to rookie Dak Prescott out of Mississippi State. Prescott has looked impressive in the preseason, though it will be tough to step into the spotlight that accompanies the Cowboys quarterback.

Dallas travels to Washington in Week 2 of the regular season, so the Redskins defense can start preparing for Prescott, not Romo. 

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Former Redskins safety Dashon Goldson to work out with Falcons

Former Redskins safety Dashon Goldson to work out with Falcons

Still looking for a new team, former Redskin Dashon Goldson will work out with the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday, according to Ian Rapoport.

A knee injury to safety Keanu Neal exposed the Falcons' thin depth at the position. With Neal expected to miss three to four weeks, Atlanta has to explore other options.

Goldson, 31, became a free agent in March when he was cut by the Redskins.

A former Pro Bowler, Goldson was traded from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Redskins in April of 2015. In his lone season in Washington, Goldson started in 15 games recording 69 tackles. He also caught one interception which he returned for a touchdown.

RELATED: SOME GOOD LUCK, SOME BAD FOR COUSINS VS. BILLS

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Ryan Kerrigan's early exit vs Bills shows Redskins lack of depth at edge rusher

Ryan Kerrigan's early exit vs Bills shows Redskins lack of depth at edge rusher

Ryan Kerrigan exited Friday night's preseason game against the Bills in the first quarter with a groin injury. Word Friday night was that Kerrigan's injury was minor, though the Redskins outside linebacker is slated for an MRI exam Saturday on the groin.

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Even if the MRI reveals what Redskins fans hope - little to no damage and no prospect of missed regular season action - Kerrigan's exit from the Bills game reveals just how thin Washington is at outside linebacker.

Two months ago, OLB was considered a position of strength for Scot McCloughan's team. Junior Galette's Achilles injury changed that.

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Now, the Redskins have two very capable pass rushers in Kerrigan and Preston Smith. In five seasons, Kerrigan has averaged nearly 10 sacks per season, and anybody that watched Smith's rookie year and his excellent 2016 training camp and preseason must be excited about the second-year man from Mississippi State. Smith oozes the kind of All-Pro potential that scouts dream about going through the draft process.

But after those two, things change quickly.

Washington converted Trent Murphy back to OLB after an offseason experiment at defensive end. Murphy's move came following the Galette injury, and was done more for depth rather than the team expecting Murphy to suddenly become a sackmaster. But at least Murphy has experience and is capable of playing the edge in the 'Skins defense.

Behind Murphy, the Redskins can look to some combination of Houston Bates*, Willie Jefferson and Lynden Trail. Bates played some in 2015, and while a useful player on special teams, lacks the top end athleticism needed to consistenly get to opposing QBs. Jefferon (6-foot-5) and Trail (6-foot-7) possess great length and speed, but it's hard to think either could be counted on immediately for help. Jefferson experienced some success in the CFL last year, and Trail has shown flashes in Richmond, but both players are quite raw.

In addition to Trail, two more undrafted rookies have given the Redskins good snaps this preseason in Ejiro Ederaine and Mike Wakefield. That said, both Ederaine and Wakefield look like long shots to survive both round of cuts, let alone see the field this fall. 

While many fans focus on running back depth, outside linebacker remains a position that the Redskins scouting staff could be considering options outside of the organization. Should an edge rusher with talent emerge over the next two weeks as NFL rosters get trimmed, Washington will be watching. 

* Random note on Houston Bates - In the Redskins newly remodeled locker room, ping pong, foosball and shuffleboard tables have been installed. Multiple players have confirmed that Bates is the best shuffleboard player in the locker room, though plenty of guys are pushing for the title.