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NFC East: And the best player on the Cowboys is...?

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NFC East: And the best player on the Cowboys is...?

Yes, even those of in the DMV acknowledge that despite their lack of recent postseason success or consistent presence, the Dallas Cowboys have some talented players. As for who istheir best player, the answer offered up by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram may surprise you.Nope, not pass rushing force DeMarcus Ware. Quarterback Tony Romo or any of his pass catching targets? Wrong.Not even newly-added high-priced free agent corner Brandon Carr tops the list. The answer, Star-Telegram, if you please."Let's just call it like it is: Tyron Smith is the most talented football player on the Dallas Cowboys."Selected early in the first round last season, Smith is now transitioning from right tackle to becoming Romo's blindside protector."I think it's pretty high," Romo said of Smith's ceiling. "He takes it very serious, his job. It's great to see. "He's very committed. He has a high potential or talent level or whatever you want to call it. With his work ethic and his ability, he's only going to continue to get better and better."First rounder Cox filling Eagles defensive line needsThe Redskins gaping hole at quarterback, addressed with the fan-approved drafting of Robert Griffin III. Their division rivals in Philadelphia needed a run-stuffing defensive lineman capable of closing gaping holes created against them. With the 12th overall pick in the 2012 draft, the Eagles selected one in Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Perhaps somewhat surprising given their fickle nature, the team'susually hard to please rooters approved, according to CSNphilly. For now, anyway.If Cox goes out and makes the plays that had many a draft pundit deem him the top defensive tackle in the draft, the fans, even the Eagles prickly brood, will remain on his side.I just go out and be who I am, Cox said. Not trying to be some Superman, just go out and do what I did back in college and get better. I cant be Superman, trying to do things that I cant do.Randle's fortuitous fallWide receiver Rueben Randle went from being a college star at LSU to an NFL draft slider, falling to the end of round two after many labeled him a first round option. He ended up being drafted by theSuper Bowl champion New York Giants, a team with Eli Manning at quarterback and lost Mario Manningham in free agency.Yeah, not a bad landing spot when you think about it."It was a humbling experience," Randle said on Thursday at the Giants practice facility in the Meadowlands. "It wasn't really anything I could complain about, coming into a blessing and a home like this. Once I sat back and looked at it that way, it really wasn't a bad situation at all."With Manningham gone, wide receiver Hakeem Nicks out with an injured foot until perhaps the start ofthe regular season and the tight end position in flux, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound target is in position for some serious playing time.

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Redskins' Josh Norman earns Week 10 NFLPA community MVP

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins' Josh Norman earns Week 10 NFLPA community MVP

Redskins' Josh Norman is using his platform as a professional football player to help those in need, and this week it earned him NFLPA's community MVP.

The cornerback has been raising funds for youth enrichment programs in the D.C. area, as well as starting a campaign to help those affected in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria. 

Norman's foundation, Starz24, provides backpacks and school supplies for children in need and creates initiatives for students at Jefferson Middle School Academy in D.C.. He recently raised almost $100,000 for Starz24's Imagination Team Rooms, a STEM-based "makerspaces" that will be placed in several inner city middle and high schools. 

Then, when Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria back in September, Norman started a social media campaign to help those affected. The campaign brought in $150,000. Norman also donated $100,000 of his own with part of the money going to the Boys & Girls clubs in Puerto Rico.

I look at it as I’m on this earth to help people and help them be the best that they can be,” Norman said. “I have the means to do so. I’m going to do that.

Every week during the regular season, the NFLPA selects a NFL player who is making a difference in their community. They are going to be making a $10,000 contribution to his foundation or a charity of his choice in addition to an in-kind donation on behalf of their supporting partner, Delta Private Jets.

I am so honored to be recognized by the NFLPA for my work in the community,” Norman said. “All of this work is bigger than football. I want to make an impact in the lives of children who need it most and to help develop those children to help change the future.

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Week 11 Redskins at Saints: Getting desperate against the surging Saints

Week 11 Redskins at Saints: Getting desperate against the surging Saints

Though the Redskins sit just a game below .500, things are getting desperate if Washington wants to make the playoffs. Winning in New Orleans is hard, but it's a necessary evil for a Wild Card spot. 

The Saints have won seven straight. Seriously, the Saints are on a longer win-streak than the Redskins have wins. New Orleans hasn't lost since the Nats were still a viable option to win the 2017 World Series. 

It's no fluke either. For years now Drew Brees and the Saints offense has been productive, but this year, the New Orleans defense is more than capable. 

RELATED: FIVE REDSKINS UNDER PRESSURE AGAINST SAINTS

Winning on Sunday will be a tall order for the Redskins, but should they accomplish the task, here are three areas to watch:

  1. Wrong side - At 4-5, the Redskins are on the wrong side of the ledger when it comes to the playoff picture. While in past years, some teams could sneak into the final Wild Card spot at nine wins, that does not appear to be the case in 2017. Six teams are ahead of the Redskins in the Wild Card chase, and all of those teams have at least five wins. Yes, Washington has an advantageous final six games of the schedule, but with a loss in New Orleans, getting to 10 wins would require the Redskins to run the table down the stretch. That leaves no margin for error for a team with a recent, and not so recent, history of inconsistent play. 
  2. Run for your life - The Saints have not one, but two running backs averaging more than 4.5 yards-per-carry. Mark Ingram is the bell cow for this team, and he has rushed for 614 yards in seven starts. Rookie Alvin Kamara has another 417 yards on the ground. The entire Redskins offense has rushed for 870 yards. Since the Saints traded Adrian Peterson after Week 4, New Orleans has not had less than 100 yards rushing. Last week in Buffalo, the Saints posted 298 yards on the ground. In their last four games, the Redskins have rushed for 256 yards. The Redskins defense has given up at least 100 yards on the ground in each of their last four games. 
  3. So you're saying... - There is a chance. Don't count out the Redskins yet. Remember, this team won games both in Seattle and in Los Angeles, against two of the best teams in the NFC. Further, the Saints have been committing plenty of turnovers, but largely, their opponents haven't made them pay. (Listen to Saints analyst Deuce McAllister in the video above). If the Redskins can run the ball at a decent rate, Kirk Cousins protects the ball and gets the offense into the end zone, Washington could pull off another road upset. Winning eight games in a row is very hard in the NFL.

Quote of the Week: "We know that we don’t have a lot of margin for error right now. We have to go in there and play our best football. Knowing we’ve won on the road is great. We’ve played well on the road, which is great, but going out and doing it again is a different story," Redskins coach Jay Gruden on the team's success away from FedEx Field this season.

 RELATED: WEEK 10 NFL POWER RANKINGS

News & Notes

  • Vernon Davis needs three TD catches to pass former Redskins great Jerry Smith for sixth on the list of career touchdown receptions by a tight end in NFL history.
  • Kirk Cousins ranks sixth among NFL quarterbacks with three rushing touchdowns. Cousins ranks 12th among QBs with 130 rush yards.
  • With 1.5 sacks, Ryan Kerrigan  will join join Jared Allen, Derrick Thomas, DeMarcus Ware and Reggie White as the only players in NFL history to record 7.5 sacks in each of the first seven seasons of a career since the NFL adopted sacks as an official statistic in 1982.
  • The Redskins hold a 9-3 all-time record playing in the Superdome. 
  • Zach Brown is first in the NFL and the NFC in tackles (96).
  • Chris Thompson is first in the NFL and the NFC in receiving yards amongst running backs (494).

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