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Cowboys are done for 2018, but should Redskins fans be nervous for 2019?

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Cowboys are done for 2018, but should Redskins fans be nervous for 2019?

The Cowboys season ended Saturday night in Los Angeles after a divisional playoff round loss to the Rams, but looking at next season, Dallas looks like a dangerous squad.

Could this Cowboys bunch be the first to win the NFC East in consecutive seasons sine 2004? Certainly the Giants, Eagles and Redskins will have a lot to say about that, but Dallas seems to be set up well for next year, even if the money looks dicey in 2020 and beyond. 

Offensively, Jerry Jones made a bold move in the middle of the 2018 campaign by trading for wide receiver Amari Cooper. Dallas gave up a first-round pick to the Raiders for Cooper, and while it was panned at the time, it looks strong now. 

In just 11 games with the Cowboys, Cooper established himself as a real deep threat and game-changer for QB Dak Prescott. And the team went 8-3 once Cooper arrived.

In 2019, Prescott, Cooper and running back Ezekiel Elliott will be in the final year of their contracts. Dallas retains a fifth-year option for 2020 on Elliott, but with Cooper and Prescott, it's pay up or face free agency. Franchise and transition tags could be in play too. 

On defense, the Cowboys will be focused on getting a deal done with pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence. That's no sure thing, and Lawrence already played the 2018 season on a $17 million franchise tag. Dallas seems unlikely to pay the mandatory increase to tag Lawrence again, especially as the team must work on deals for Elliott, Cooper and Prescott. 

The good news for a surging Cowboys defense is that young linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith are on rookie deals. Veteran linebacker Sean Lee seems like a salary cap casualty, but that would require Dallas making the logical and not emotional decision. 

There's not much good news for Redskins fans here. 

Before the trade to acquire Cooper, Dallas was a one-dimensional offense. After the Cooper trade, Dallas became dangerous. The defense was good before and after the trade.

In the NFC East, Dallas could easily be expected to win the division in 2019. And that's before the team makes a draft pick or spends any of its more than $50 million available under the salary cap for next season. Some of that cap room could be swallowed up by deals for Prescott or Cooper. 

It's also worth nothing that for many teams, paying $25 million or more per year to a quarterback becomes a losing proposition. Rookie deals are incredibly important for NFL clubs, especially at the league's most important position. What will that mean for the Cowboys and Prescott?

But for Redskins fans, it was probably hard to watch the Dallas loss Saturday night and think the Cowboys would not be a factor in 2019 in the NFC East.

In fact, if fans are being honest, this Cowboys team has the foundation of something that could be quite difficult for Washington to overcome. 

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Redskins Charitable Foundation donates over 2,500 food baskets at annual Harvest Feast

Redskins Charitable Foundation donates over 2,500 food baskets at annual Harvest Feast

The combination of frigid temperatures and the Redskins' scheduled off-day did not stop a few members of the Burgundy and Gold from giving back to the local Prince George's County community on Tuesday.

Linebacker Jon Bostic and offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom highlighted a handful of Washington players who participated in the Redskins Charitable Foundation's 17th annual Harvest Feast, an event designed to give back to the local community around Thanksgiving time.

Bostic and Bergstrom helped lead an effort with over 200 volunteers to put together 2,500 Thanksgiving food baskets that will be distributed to Prince George's County families in need on the holiday. Baskets include full turkeys and several side dishes for these families to get the full Thanksgiving experience.

As to why he chose to spend his little free time helping in the community, Bergstrom's answer was easy.

"This time of year, it’s all about giving thanks and being grateful," Bergstrom said. "We’re so grateful for a community that’s supported us through everything. So coming here and being able to be a part of their Thanksgiving, it’s awesome. Anything you can do to help."

In just a few hours, over 90,000 pounds of food and 30,000 pounds of turkey were packaged and ready to be sent out to those families.

Seeing young children volunteer at the event really stuck with Bostic, and that was one of the main reasons he wanted to give back.

"You see kids out here, I’ve been in places just like them," Bostic said. "Now, where I’m at, anytime I can help somebody else get to where I’m at, or give them some type of encouragement, I’m always up for that."

Both Bergstrom and Bostic have fond memories from Thanksgiving growing up and want families in their local community to experience something similar to what made their Thanksgivings so special.

“Every Thanksgiving, we’d go to my grandmother’s house and our whole family would be there," Bostic said. "You had people coming from all over, so I know how much I cherish family. So to be able to help them, get the family together, sit down and watch football, have a good time and enjoy each other, what more could you ask for?”

“Oh, man, it’s awesome. Football and Thanksgiving go together," Bergstrom said. "I grew up in Utah, but I was a Lions fan because of Thanksgiving. I probably couldn’t tell you a single guy on their team before that. Just being able to be a part of [these families] Thanksgiving is awesome. We’re making some Redskins fans for life.”

Several of the volunteers posed for pictures with the players and continuously thanked both Bostic and Bergstrom for coming out and giving back.

"Anytime you can put a smile on somebody’s face and better their day, that’s what we do it for," Bostic said.

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Adrian Peterson is not worried about splitting time with Derrius Guice, and there's one main reason why

Adrian Peterson is not worried about splitting time with Derrius Guice, and there's one main reason why

Entering the 2019 season, how the Redskins planned to split their rushing attack between veteran Adrian Peterson and second-year back Derrius Guice was sort of a mystery. Peterson was coming off a 1,000-yard season and proved he still has plenty in the tank, while Guice was in the final stages of his recovery from a torn ACL he suffered in August of 2018. 

But just hours prior to the Redskins Week 1 contest in Philadelphia, then-head coach Jay Gruden decided to make Peterson a healthy scratch for the first time in his career. The move did not sit well with Peterson and many of his veteran teammates. Guice injured his right meniscus in the loss and landed on Injured Reserve, forcing Gruden to activate Peterson the following week.

Peterson has been the Redskins lead running back since Guice's injury, but his production has greatly increased since interim head coach Bill Callahan took over in Week 6.

It's been nine weeks since Guice's injury, and he's healthy again and ready to play. For the first time in the 2019 season, both Peterson and Guice will be active when the Redskins host the Jets on Sunday.

So, will Peterson and Guice be the lead back going forward? While Peterson knows his role will slightly change, he's not worried about it. Why is that?

Well, there's one main reason: Jay Gruden is no longer the team's head coach.

"Yeah, coach Gruden was here," Peterson said. "He's no longer here, so it's a different scenario."

Peterson smiled a little while giving his response, but his message was clear. The 34-year-old was not pleased with his usage under Gruden in 2019.

While there seems to be a strained relationship between Peterson and his old head coach, there's no bad blood between Peterson and Guice. The veteran had to hold back tears after finding out about Guice's injury earlier in the season, and is looking forward to seeing what the duo can do in the coming weeks.

"It's going to be exciting. We were kind of just talking about it today as we were walking off the field," Peterson said on the duo. "Just having a guy, when you come out, you can kind of relax, because the guy that's in there is going to get the job done. It's going to be interesting to see how things go."

How Callahan determines the split between the two has yet to be determined, but both Peterson and Guice will have to be on their 'A' game on Sunday; only the Buccaneers allow less rushing yards per game than the Jets. 

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