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Rowan: I don’t think it’s a question of fatigue. We used to be critical of him for taking unnecessary contact, and now it appears to be the opposite worry. It could be protecting himself after a knee injury earlier in the year. There was one run against the Giants where he ducked out a few yards earlier than he should have and gave himself up too quickly with the opportunity to make one man miss. I think he’s still learning the right time to fight for extra yardage and the right time to evade unnecessary contact. As far as his initial cuts, he’s doing a much better job in the zone scheme.
David:Jason Garrett talked about this at his press conference Monday. He acknowledged that the coaching staff had talked with Murray about missed opportunities for more yardage, but he also mentioned that Murray might be smart for avoiding unnecessary contact. Personally, I didn’t have a problem with any of Murray’s decisions. He was physical when he needed to be between the tackles, and he made a few decisions that kept him from taking some hits he didn’t need to take. For a guy whose durability is a much-discussed issue, that seems like a sound strategy.
Is it just me, or with the decline of the NFC North, does it feel like we could be seeing the Eagles back-to-back at the end of the year?
Rowan: That’s an interesting question, and the wild card race is still very much up in the air. But I still don’t see a wild card coming from this division. It’s a possibility, but I just think with what Carolina’s doing, with San Francisco and Arizona still in the hunt in the West and with the bevy of teams from the North, the NFC East is only getting the division winner in.
David: I don’t see it. The Eagles look hot, so it’s easy to see them ripping off some wins in the final month. The Cowboys are in first place and just grabbed a gritty road win, so they seem prepped for a strong run to close the year. But these two teams are still pretty flawed, and I don’t think they’ll both be able to pull that off. Carolina, San Francisco and Arizona are all going to play a role in the wild card race, as Rowan mentioned. You also can’t forget that Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler are likely going to be back before the season ends. I still think the NFC East sends just one team to the playoffs.