IRVING, Texas -- The last two times Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo played the Washington Redskins, he hurt his back.

Romo
Last December at FedEx Field, he was able to deliver the Cowboys a 24-23 victory with a fourth-down touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter, but five days later he underwent a discectomy. In October, Romo suffered two transverse process fractures in a 20-17 overtime loss at AT&T Stadium.

For those wanting the Cowboys to rest some of their regulars, like Romo, his recent history against the Redskins is the reason why.

"I go in with the exact, same mental approach I do every game," Romo said. "If you're a football player and there's a game, there's only one way to play and it's hard the whole time. You go all out. I think you're doing a disservice to the game and your team if you don't play that way. To me, regardless of circumstance and situation, if I'm out on the football field, you're going to see the best version of myself. And I think you're going to see that with our football team."

Romo has an 8-7 record against the Redskins. He has thrown for 3,698 yards with 25 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. With Jim Haslett as the Redskins' defensive coordinator, the Cowboys have scored fewer than 20 points in four of Romo's eight games, including the first meeting this season.

Romo completed a season-low 60.7 percent of his passes (17 of 28). He was sacked a season-high five times, including one that knocked him out of the game momentarily and cost him the next game against the Arizona Cardinals because of the fractures.

He has been sacked 18 times in the eight games against Haslett.

"They do a good job," Romo said. "We've played them a long time they know some of our stuff. We're going to have some different things up this time, (against) all out pressures that I don't think they'll be ready for and have seen before and then some of the other stuff we've done (against) some of the trap coverages. We'll have some stuff ready for that and I'm excited to go out there and execute."
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Victor Cruz knows a little something about post-touchdown celebrations in the end zone. His salsa dance is among the most renowned and recognizable in the NFL. So it is with some keen interest that the injured Cruz has watched from the sidelines as New York Giants teammate Odell Beckham Jr. deals with issues regarding his own post-touchdown celebrations.

Beckham was penalized for taunting after he spun the ball following his first touchdown catch Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. It was not the first time he'd celebrated in that manner. It was the first time he was penalized for it, and it prompted two conversations -- one during the game and one after -- with Giants coach Tom Coughlin about how to have fun and express yourself without allowing it to hurt the team.

[+] EnlargeCruz
Alex Goodlett/Getty ImagesVictor Cruz is well known for his salsa dance after touchdowns. Cruz said he thinks Odell Beckham Jr. is just expressing himself, not taunting opponents.
"I don't think he's taunting," Cruz said of Beckham and his celebrations. "That's his celebration. That's what he wants to do. I don't think he's the type of guy that would taunt another team. He's just expressing himself, just the way I express myself in the end zone."

Beckham is not shy about going to coaches or veteran players for advice, and Cruz said he and Beckham have had regular conversations since Cruz's season-ending Week 6 knee injury. Cruz said the thing with which he's trying to help Beckham the most is adjusting to the incredible amount of attention he's getting as a result of his remarkable early success.

"Just try to stay grounded," Cruz said in describing his advice to the rookie. "Just stick with the people who brought you here, the ones you know care about you. There are going to be a lot of people wanting things from you, and that can get overwhelming at times."

The Rams on Sunday were clearly working on trying to get under Beckham's skin, hitting him out of bounds and/or late a couple of times, including the one time that started a brawl that got three players ejected from the game. Cruz said it made him recall times during his career, right after he burst into his own stardom, when teams would try to get at him in a similar manner.

"Obviously, the St. Louis game wasn't the most fun for me to watch, because you could kind of see they were going after Odell and trying to make him a non-factor in the game," Cruz said. "I had some situations like that early on in my career. But he held it well, in my opinion."

Cruz said he's looking forward to recovering from his knee injury in time for training camp, and that the way Beckham is playing has him even more excited about returning to the field.

"Seeing the things he's doing out there has me motivated to come back and play next to him next year," Cruz said.

Cowboys vs. Redskins preview

December, 25, 2014
Dec 25
8:00
AM ET
video When: 1 p.m. ET Sunday. Where: FedEx Field, Landover, Md. TV: Fox.

The Washington Redskins don’t have anything to play for, other than pride and a feel-good vibe to close the season. It’s debatable how much the Dallas Cowboys really have to play for, too, considering the long-shot scenario for them to improve their playoff positioning with a win.

But the Redskins would like nothing more than to sweep Dallas. It wouldn’t exactly turn a 5-11 season into something other than bad, but it would pacify a group of fans who believe that beating Dallas is all that matters.

Regardless, the Cowboys will be in the playoffs and the Redskins will be watching them. A lot of this game comes down to this: Will Cowboys coach Jason Garrett play his starters -- as he has said?

ESPN Cowboys reporter Todd Archer and Redskins reporter John Keim look ahead to Sunday’s game.

Keim: At what point did you buy in to this Cowboys team and think it had a legitimate shot to win the division? And what is the difference in this group compared to the past couple of seasons?

Archer: Um, how about last week? I’ve been on the fence pretty much the entire season. And I still don’t know how good they are. I guess I just have to get over it. When you are around a team as much as we are around a team, you tend to see just the flaws. There were times in training camp when this defense was dreadful; I remember a day when the running backs weren’t touched until they were 10 yards down the field. I was among the more optimistic prognosticators when I predicted 8-8 at the beginning of the season, so I certainly didn’t see this success. I thought the offense would be terrific and the defense would be bad, and I didn’t envision the offense being able to protect the defense as much as it has. I also have to give the defense and coordinator Rod Marinelli credit. It has been far from perfect, but the unit has made timely plays all season. But back to the question: I think the second Eagles game finally got me convinced that the Cowboys have a chance. They were waxed by Philadelphia on Thanksgiving. In the rematch, they blew a 21-point lead and answered on the next drive. That was when I really thought, "They’re not the same old Cowboys." Maybe I was late to the party.

Cowboys fans surely are happy with the Redskins for beating the Eagles last week. The Redskins' season is over, obviously, and they can’t ruin the Cowboys’ season, but how much is at stake for Robert Griffin III?

Keim: There is a decent amount at stake, but as of now it appears Griffin will return, so on Sunday he’s not playing for his Redskins future. I haven’t gotten the sense yet that they would get rid of him. I also know that some of the issues the coaches have with his game will take a lot of work in the offseason to correct. It’s not just how he operates in the pocket; it’s also his mechanics as a passer -- inconsistency with his feet, his base, how he stands. One game won’t alter their opinion, but if he can play well and they win Sunday? It would go a long way toward showing the coaches how they can win with him.

How strongly should DeMarco Murray be considered for NFL MVP? Obviously his stat line is terrific, but what has he done that has put him in this category?

Archer: Oh, I think he should be considered for the award, but if I had a vote, I’d give it to Tony Romo. He is having his best season and has made big plays at big moments. But since you asked about Murray, I’ll stick with him. He needs 29 yards to pass Emmitt Smith’s franchise record for yards in a season. To me, the offensive line has played a big part in Murray’s season, but he did more work on looking at opposing fronts and trying to understand what the defense does and letting that flow into the Cowboys’ running game. He’s put up a lot of yards and had some big games, but I think his understanding of the Cowboys’ run schemes and what the defense wants to do have been the biggest difference. There have been times when you still wonder about his vision, but he has answered just about any question that people might have had about him. He deserves to be in the MVP discussion, as does Romo. It’s possible these guys could split their vote.

From the outside and with Texas ties, it’s all about RG III from the Cowboys’ perspective. Jerry Jones still sees the guy who ripped up Dallas on Thanksgiving two years ago. Can he be that guy again?

Keim: Oh, it’s all about Griffin up here, too. That is part of the problem, and it’s worn many out, including Griffin. It’s amazing to think that he might never be that guy again, but with some of the talent around him he’s capable of big games. Still, I don’t know if he can have that sort of magical year again. He has to definitely improve as a passer -- be more accurate, see the field better -- to regain that consistency. The spread offense in college did not prepare him for life in the NFL. Regardless, I’m not about to write him off, because of the memory of 2012 and because he’s rather young. Right now it’s hard to believe that he can play at that level consistently. (More than a few in the organization feel that way.) Griffin was more explosive then, and the offense did a good job of using his talents while defenses tried to figure him out. I always felt, even in 2012, that for him to keep growing as a quarterback, his mechanics and passing had to improve. They haven’t done so to the necessary level. I don’t know if he will ever be a truly good pocket passer -- is it instinctual? How much can it be developed? But let’s see what happens when Griffin gets another offseason in this offense and more chances to work on his fundamentals. It would also help Griffin if the Redskins improved more around him, lessening the need for Pro Bowl-level performances.

Do you get a sense from the Dallas offensive players as to why they have struggled at times against the Redskins’ defense?

Archer: The easy answer is execution. That’s what they always say. Some of it has been the plans put together by the coaches. Up until this season, the Cowboys had holes on their line and had a hard time with any team that featured a lot of pressure packages. In the first meeting, they struggled again with the pressure. It’s almost as if defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has Romo guessing. Romo is able to get a good feel for what defenses do against him during the course of his film study, but some of the stuff Haslett does has no rhyme or reason. As a result, the Cowboys can’t figure out the tendencies and are often left guessing, and too often they have guessed wrong. The past two times Romo has played the Redskins, he has hurt his back. Obviously that can’t happen Sunday, but the Cowboys had better get a read on what Haslett will do. To me, it’s imperative they excel on first and second down early in the game.

For as well as Romo has played this season, he still has to get over the Haslett hump. Does Haslett have the Cowboys' -- and Romo’s -- number?

Keim: It certainly seems that way at times. The Redskins have a great feel for what Romo and the offense want to do. And they have always felt that their style of play works well against Dallas. They have cornerbacks who can and like to play physical, and they don’t feel like the Dallas receivers will run past them. They have Romo’s cadence well-timed and, in the first meeting this season, did an excellent job of shifting at the last second. Why? Because they knew after the center made his protection call, Romo would then adjust and that would be it -- and that’s when the Redskins’ defense would adjust. They also love using stunts against young linemen, and that has hurt the Cowboys as well. But Dallas will be facing a different defense because of injuries.
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PHILADELPHIA -- The Eagles held the 22nd pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. So coach Chip Kelly knew he wasn’t going to have a chance to get wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from LSU.

Beck
Beckham
Seven months later, Beckham has exploded into stardom thanks to some amazing plays for the New York Giants. The Eagles’ first-round pick, linebacker Marcus Smith, has barely gotten on the field.

In looking at the draft class, Kelly could only marvel at the abilities of Beckham, Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans.

“We didn't have a lot of conversations about Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and Odell Beckham because we knew they were going to go in the top 10,” Kelly said. “When I look at Beckham, I mean, I love the guy.”

Kelly will get a chance to see Beckham up close twice a season, including this Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Against the Eagles’ defense, Beckham is apt to have some chances to impress.

“He's explosive, he's got outstanding hands, he's got great range, outstanding body control,” Kelly said. “He's a dual threat because he's also a tremendous returner, and did it at the college level. I think he could be an inside receiver, he could be an outside receiver. He had everything. He's a guy that I just thought was a real electric player.”

Beckham had just two catches for 28 yards when the Eagles beat the Giants in September. But that was before the rookie really found his way playing in the Giants' offense. In the second half of the season, Beckham has caught 69 passes for 1,014 yards and eight touchdowns.

By comparison, Eagles second-round pick Jordan Matthews has 59 catches for 767 yards and seven touchdowns in 15 games.

“I loved Odell Beckham,” Kelly said. “I thought he was a great player, and he's showing it right now. I was just saying when you looked at tape, that cat can play, and I think he's proved it in 11 games with 79 catches and doing a ton of really good things. So I can tell a really good player, I guess.”
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray went through his first full practice since undergoing surgery to repair a broken left hand last week.

Murray
Murray was limited in two practices leading into the Indianapolis Colts but played and had 22 carries for 58 yards and a touchdown in the Cowboys' 42-7 win. Rookie guard Zack Martin did not practice last week because of an ankle injury but also played against the Colts. Like Murray, he took part in a full practice Wednesday.

"I definitely don't want to go through not practicing again," said Martin, who was named to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday. "You'd be surprised on how many little things you can lose just by not practicing a couple times. So I'm happy to be back on the practice field today."

Josh Brent returned to practice in a limited fashion after missing the last two games with a calf injury. He was able to do some sprints before the Colts' game but acknowledged he would need to practice to get a better feel for his injury before determining if he could play Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

Quarterback Tony Romo followed his customary schedule of sitting out of Wednesday's practice. Right tackle Doug Free (ankle) also did not practice, and linebacker Rolando McClain was in Alabama after his house burned down on Monday. If he had been in town, there was a good chance he would not have practiced to rest his sore knee. Linebacker Dekoda Watson also did not practice, while safety Jeff Heath (thumb) took part in a full session.
PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles center Jason Kelce got the call a year late. It was Chip Kelly, his head coach, telling Kelce that he’d been chosen for the Pro Bowl.

Kelce
This year’s Pro Bowl, not last year’s. Kelce missed four games this season after having surgery to repair a sports hernia. By his own admission, the injury has affected him all season.

"Unfortunately," Kelce said, "I’m not as good of a player as I was last year. I think it’s a little bit of injury and rhythm and everything like that. It’s just been the culmination of a lot of things."

Kelly saw it a little bit differently.

"If you ask Jason Kelce, he’s not the same player right now," Kelly said. "The kid is a flat-out warrior. He had a groin surgery that most people would have been out for the season on. He’s come back and played. But Jason’s not the same player this year that he was last year."

It’s often said that players make the Pro Bowl based more on reputation than on current credentials. If that’s the case, Kelce probably was overlooked last season. So this may be a makeup call.

"Sometimes you make the Pro Bowl on reputation," Kelly said. "You ask Jason Kelce, he’d be the first to tell you he played better last year than he played this year. Which is obviously true -- he missed four and a half games. It’s maybe a year later than he probably should have gotten it."

Kelce said the decision on whether to play in the Pro Bowl would depend on how he was feeling after the season.

"I’ll probably go if I’m healthy," Kelce said. "I’ve been battling a sports hernia all season. If there’s a chance that not going will help that recover quicker, there’s the potential that I wouldn’t go.

"I’m not a huge guy on the Pro Bowl, to tell you the truth. You feel great because of the respect you get from around the league. But to be honest, I don’t know how much the Pro Bowl really means. In my four years here, I’ve played in one playoff game so far. I’m not going to play in one this year. This game has never been about individuals. It’s always been team."
IRVING, Texas – A year ago at this time, Tony Romo was preparing for a back surgery that kept him out of the winner-take-all season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles and cast a doubt as to whether he would return to form.

“I think I feel better this time of year than I did last year at this time,” Romo said, “so that’s a positive. So Merry Christmas.”

Romo
The condition of Romo’s back has been a major storyline for the entire season. He did not work more than two straight days in training camp. He has not practiced more than two straight days during the regular season since the second game of the season, sitting out on Wednesdays.

It has led to perhaps the best season of his career: 32 touchdown passes, eight interceptions and an NFL-best passer rating (114.4) and completion percentage (70.3 percent).

It also led to the fourth Pro Bowl invitation of his career. Teammates Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin also were picked.

“I think we all recognized he had a really good year before [the Pro Bowl announcement],” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s played awfully well and handled all of the different obstacles of coming back from his injury really well. But Tony has been an outstanding player for a long time. I think we’ve gotten better around him. He’s certainly had as good of a year as he’s had in his career this year. He’s playing at a very high level.”

While recognizing the honor, Romo has larger visions.

“More than anything, you’re just so focused on trying to win a championship right now,” Romo said. “It’s obviously an honor anytime your peers and coaches and fans vote for you, and something like that it’s always a very humbling feeling. At the same time, I think we all know what our goals are and hopefully none of us are playing in that football team and we’re all playing in Arizona for the championship. I think that’s what our minds are focused on right now. It’s just getting ready for the second part of the season.”

That’s what drives Romo. He has been able to quell the December narrative by leading the Cowboys to three straight wins to clinch the NFC East for the first time since 2009 while throwing 10 touchdown passes without an interception.

If or when Romo throws an interception or the Cowboys lose, the criticism will return.

“I think we all understand that it comes down to winning a championship,” Romo said. “That’s part of it. For me, all of the other stuff is stuff to talk about. It comes down to that. I don’t shy away from that. I think that’s what makes the game great. It gives you to find your way to lead your team to a championship. That’s why you’ve got to cash in when you have the opportunities. We understand where we’re at and how important it is.”
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings returned to practice this week and is expecting to play in the regular-season finale against the Eagles this Sunday. Rookie linebacker Devon Kennard, who has a toe injury, is less certain.

Kennard had a plastic walking boot on his left foot and did not practice Wednesday. He said he injured his left big toe early in Sunday's game, kept playing on it, was sore after the game and was very sore Monday morning. He believes he can get ready in time for Sunday's game, but until he gets on the practice field he can't be sure.

Jennings was listed as a limited participant in practice but said he's playing Sunday. Also limited in practice were running back Andre Williams (shoulder), linebacker Jameel McClain (knee) and linebacker Paul Hazel (hamstring).

Due to Jennings' injuries, Williams has taken over the team rushing yardage lead, 678 to 606. Jennings said he's happy about that and wants Williams to be a better player than he is. But he smiled and declined comment when asked if he hoped to pass him.
ASHBURN, Va. – Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams didn’t always like his performance this season. He also knew why it wasn’t always to his liking. First there were knee and ankle injuries and then a sprained shoulder.

Britt
Williams
But Williams’ ability to play through pain and his reputation combined to override any drop-off in performance, at least in the eyes of Pro Bowl voters. Williams earned his third consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl.

“I haven’t put my best work out there,” Williams said. “But this is a direct reflection on what guys around the league think of me as a person and a player. They read the injury report; they watch film. They know. You’re not fooling anybody. I think guys probably look at it like that and say he’s a leader, he fought through a lot of adversity and was able to play in circumstances that a lot of people wouldn’t even try to.”

Williams said he won’t play in the Jan. 25 game in Glendale, Arizona, if he still is dealing with injuries. He was unable to practice Wednesday, though he’s hopeful of playing in Sunday’s season finale vs. Dallas. Despite the injuries, Williams has missed just one game this season.

“I’d be lying to say I’m not thrilled about getting it,” Williams said. “It feels just like my first one. I’m excited to be selected and I feel really blessed. … When you don’t feel like yourself when you don’t feel you’re playing as good as you know you can, because you can’t move or you have lower body injuries or upper body injuries, it makes it tough.”
PHILADELPHIA -- The sutures run the length of Trent Cole's left hand. They are the visual evidence of the injury that could keep Cole out of what may be his final game in a Philadelphia Eagles uniform.

Cole broke a bone in that hand in the Eagles' loss to the Dallas Cowboys two weeks ago. He had surgery to place a small plate in the hand. Cole was unavailable for Saturday’s loss at the Washington Redskins. That game rendered the game against the New York Giants Sunday meaningless in the standings.

[+] EnlargeTrent Cole
Al Bello/Getty ImagesTrent Cole is still working his way back from a hand injury but he wants to play Sunday against the New York Giants.
Still, Cole is trying to get ready for it. He practiced Tuesday and Wednesday.

Of course he wants to play, Cole said. “I can only do what my body allows me to do. Check back with me later in the week. We’ll find out.”

Cole has three years left on his contract. However, his salary cap hit jumps from $6.6 million in 2014 to $11.625 million in 2015. So there’s a chance the Eagles decide to move on with the 32-year-old linebacker.

“I want to be here,” Cole said. “I certainly want to be here. I want to retire here. It’s a chance for me to be one of the first in Eagles history to retire and be with one team. That’s an accomplishment, but things change every year. They may not be able to keep me. They may have to get somebody else to fill some spots. This is the NFL. Business is business. But I would love to be here. This is my home.

“If I had to leave the Eagles and play somewhere else, Philly and Jersey would still be my home.”

Cole has now played two seasons as a linebacker in the Eagles’ 3-4 scheme. He has made the transition without complaint. Last Saturday’s game at Washington was the first one he didn’t start since 2011.

Brandon Graham, who started in Cole’s place, will be a free agent after this season. The former first-round pick said last week that he and the Eagles had begun talks toward signing a new contract.

Meanwhile, the Eagles used another first round pick this year on Marcus Smith. The idea was for Smith to develop into an outside linebacker who could eventually replace Cole. But Smith’s progress has been slow. Early in the season, Smith was moved to inside linebacker as a backup. Last week, with Cole out, the coaches moved Smith back to the outside. He didn’t play a down in Washington.

“There were a couple things that went in,” defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. “Early on, we did not have many snaps in the first half. The offense possessed the ball for most of the time, so early on we didn't make that rotation. Because there's separation. There's separation in talent. Now, the more it's clustered, the more we play everybody. The more there's separation, the less we make rotations.”

In other words, if Smith were anywhere near as good as Graham, he would have played. He is not. That doesn’t mean he can’t make progress before next season, but it does suggest the Eagles would be foolish to part with Cole and Graham until they’re sure about Smith.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Victor Cruz suffered his season-ending knee injury the week before Odell Beckham Mania began. On Oct. 12, during the New York Giants 27-0 loss in Philadelphia, Cruz told Beckham that more would be expected of him now that Cruz was done for the year. In the nine games since, Beckham has 73 catches for 1,048 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Cruz is loving it.

Cruz
"Watching Odell has been fun, man," Cruz said Wednesday. "Seeing the things he's doing out there, it has me motivated to come back and play next to him next year."

Cruz tore his patellar tendon that night in Philadelphia, requiring surgery and a long rehab process. He said the rehab is going well -- that he's walking on the treadmill, doing some trampoline work and some strength exercises for the muscles in his leg.

"I'm pretty much fully mobile," Cruz said. "I'm just not running yet."

Cruz said he spoke with teammates Zack Bowman and Marcus Harris, who have come back from the same injury, and that he came away from those conversations encouraged about his chances to return to pre-injury form. He said he believes his leg can come back even stronger than it was before the injury, and his goal is to return in time for training camp next July, though he said he'll of course listen to the doctors and trainers with regard to timetable.

"There's no doubt in my mind that I'll return to form and be the payer I was in years past," Cruz said. "I'm just excited to get myself together and play next to that kid next year."
PHILADELPHIA – Even before the Eagles were officially eliminated from the playoffs, the public debate had begun about their 2015 quarterback situation.

Privately, however, Chip Kelly and the Eagles’ coaching and personnel staffs haven’t even begun the task of evaluating Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez and the team’s options for next season.

“I just haven’t evaluated anything,” Kelly said. “For me to stand here on Wednesday, the day before Christmas, and say I’ve made my full evaluation of the quarterbacks, is not fair to anybody. We have a process that we go through. I’m going to watch every single game, every single throw, every single decision that everybody made at every position before we make legitimate decisions in terms of what we do.

Sanchez
Foles
“I don’t think it’s fair to any player to say, `Yeah, I saw enough. Let’s sit down today and make a decision on what we’re going to do for the rest of the year.’ That’s just not the way we do it. We have a process that we go through, and that process takes a while.”

Foles started the Eagles’ first eight games. He threw at least one interception in seven of those eight games. He threw for more than 300 yards in each of the first three games then topped 300 just once in the next five games.

Foles’ worst performance came at San Francisco, where he completed 21 of 43 passes for 195 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. His best game was against Washington, when he completed 27 of 41 passes for 325 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

At Houston on Nov. 2, Foles completed 9 of 12 passes for 124 yards before leaving the game with a broken collarbone. He was not cleared to return to action, although he has practiced the past two weeks.

“We’ll sit down and totally evaluate everything,” Kelly said. “It’s no different from any other position. Tell us what we have available right now, let’s take a look at it, let’s go through the film again, let’s get everyone’s opinion. I don’t think you can look back and say, `This clouds this,’ because it doesn’t matter. He got hurt. We’ve got to make decisions moving forward.

“I can’t say, `Let’s not make a decision because I need to see him play 16 more games.’ You’ve got to make it based on what you have. We don’t have any control over the injury. We can’t go back to the Houston game and not get him injured. It is what it is.”

Foles has one more year left on his rookie contract. This is the first season NFL rules would permit the Eagles to extend his contract. With a strong season this year, Foles would have been in position to get a lucrative new deal. The way this year went, the Eagles are not likely to rush that decision.

They have less time to decide on Sanchez. His one-year deal will expire at the end of this season. Sanchez is likely to wait until he sees what his options are in free agency before re-upping with the Eagles as Foles’ backup.
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys will be more than happy to give up their sixth-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens in 2015 for what Rolando McClain has meant to their success in 2014.

Because McClain will play in more than 50 percent of the defensive snaps, the Cowboys will fork over their sixth rounder to the Ravens, while getting Baltimore’s seventh-round pick in return, as per the July trade between the clubs.

McClain
The Cowboys made a low-risk deal that could have cost them nothing in return. In desperate need to find a replacement for Sean Lee, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in May, the Cowboys simply hoped McClain could regain some of the form that made him the eighth pick of the 2010 draft for the Oakland Raiders. He had retired twice and his time with the Raiders did not go well.

Jason Garrett reached out to his former boss and McClain’s coach at Alabama, Nick Saban. Jerry Jones reached out to McClain while on vacation in Turkey.

It could not have worked out any better.

According to the coaches’ breakdown, McClain leads the Cowboys in tackles with 108. He also has one sack, nine tackles for loss, five quarterback pressures, two interceptions, five pass breakups and one forced fumble.

He has played in 633 of 950 snaps while not playing in two games because of groin and knee injuries.

He is set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season. The Cowboys will have Lee returning from his torn anterior cruciate ligament, but they could keep McClain and move Lee to the weakside linebacker spot.
IRVING, Texas -- When the Dallas Cowboys' offense is at its best, everybody is involved.

Tony Romo's four touchdown passes in the 42-7 win against the Indianapolis Colts went to four different receivers: Terrance Williams, Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten.

[+] EnlargeTerrance Williams
AP Photo/Tim SharpCan Terrance Williams follow up his two-TD game when the Cowboys play at Washington in Week 17?
For all of the focus Bryant and Witten get, the Cowboys need Williams and Beasley to come through.

"That goes to show you how many playmakers we have," Beasley said. "We had so many guys score touchdowns, just glad I could do it."

Williams' first touchdown came on an underneath route that the Cowboys have had success with multiple times this season. Witten and Beasley run out-breaking routes and Williams breaks free across the middle.

Williams said Romo changed the play at the line after seeing the Colts' defense.

"It's our job to find a way for him to throw the ball," Williams said. "I think we do a good job of trying to complement him."

Williams caught two passes for 52 yards and two touchdowns against the Colts. His second touchdown was a 43-yarder from Brandon Weeden in the fourth quarter. He has back to back games with multiple catches for the first time since Weeks 9-10. His 52 yards were the most since he had 69 on Oct. 27 against the Washington Redskins. It was his first multi-touchdown game in 10 games.

He has eight touchdown catches on the season, the most by a receiver not named Bryant for the Cowboys since Laurent Robinson had 11 in 2011.

"Anytime a player is productive or as productive Terrance was [Sunday] it's a good thing for them, whether or not he needs it," coach Jason Garrett said. "I don't know that he needs it. One of the things he does is when he gets opportunities he cashes in on it. I think [Sunday] was a great example of that. He got the third down early to score the touchdown. Then he gets the chance late to run by the guy on the nine route. So he's always ready. He always plays the right way. When he gets his chances he typically comes through."

Five questions facing the Redskins

December, 24, 2014
Dec 24
11:00
AM ET
  1. What is their motivation? OK, that sounds like something an actor would ask before a scene. The Redskins haven’t quit, and that was apparent in earlier games, especially in the victory over Philadelphia. It’s always been about sloppy execution. There’s no doubt they want to win, though I’m guessing the desire is strongest among the coaches and especially Jay Gruden. A 5-11 record – though not too good, as Steve Spurrier once said – looks better than 4-12. Dallas still has something to play for, though its chances of earning home-field advantage throughout the playoffs are slim.
  2. Griffin
    How big is this game to quarterback Robert Griffin III? Well, I don’t think he’ll still change the minds of the coaches as to how much work needs to be done on his game. But if Griffin can lead the Redskins to two wins to close the season and play well in the process, it would be a step toward showing he can be an effective quarterback. And it would no doubt solidify his standing with owner Dan Snyder. It will not be Jay Gruden’s call alone on what the team does with Griffin. He absolutely must improve his fundamentals in the pocket and the Redskins know they must bolster everything around him; once upon a time he made others better, but now it has to be the other way around.
  3. Can the defense stop Tony Romo again? Sure, why not? The problem, though, is that the run defense will be tested and losing rookie linebacker Trent Murphy hurts. He was better against the run than the Redskins anticipated and now they’ll be starting Jackson Jeffcoat, who has spent most of the season on the practice squad. Their secondary will be tested again. Keep in mind, too, that Romo has thrown eight interceptions in eight games vs. Washington since 2010. The Redskins timed his cadence well in the first meeting, helping them on adjustments and stunts.
  4. Does Dallas Week still matter? To the fans it certainly seems to, and the players pick up on that feeling. But it’s it’s hard to say it would top beating the Eagles last week and helping eliminate them from playoff contention. And it would be difficult to say that a lot of players have a true dislike for the Cowboys, though it’s clear they understand the fans’ sentiment. Having a 4-11 record doesn’t help, either.
  5. Who else is this game big for? Probably defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. It’s silly to blame him for everything that’s gone wrong with the defense during his five years – it’s been an organizational failure. But it also would be wrong to absolve him of any blame; at some point the numbers are what they are and the guy in charge is held accountable. It’s life in the NFL. But what if Haslett’s defense – and it’s an undermanned one; even his critics should be able to see that – leads another upset of Dallas? Would it somehow alter the opinion of those in charge? Again, it will not be Gruden’s decision alone as to Haslett’s fate. General manager Bruce Allen and Snyder sort of have a big say, too. On Tuesday, Gruden praised Haslett's job this season. That does not mean that Haslett is definitely returning.

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