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NFC East Whispers

Cowboys continue to struggle at free safety

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By PFW staff

• If the Cowboys had a better alternative at free safety, they probably would bench Alan Ball. Right now, he has struggled, making it nearly three years of poor play at the position in Dallas since the Cowboys rewarded Ken Hamlin with a big payday. The team hasn't soured completely on Ball, but the idea that he is the team's long-term solution at the position is beginning to fade quickly.
• The Eagles might have been hurt in a way by CB Ellis Hobbs' toughness. Hobbs did not let the team know he was ailing while getting torched by the Titans in Week Seven, only admitting later that his hip flexor was extremely painful during the game. But it doesn't matter much now as Hobbs has been replaced by Dimitri Patterson, who is among the Eagles' better special-teamers.
• Giants OLB Keith Bulluck might start to make more of an impact, we hear, now that he has gotten back to full health. Although the Giants have found ways to scheme around their linebackers this season, they would like to use Bulluck in a role that best serves his strengths and find more ways to get him on the field.
• The Redskins love OLB Brian Orakpo, but that doesn't mean he can't improve in the run game. Orakpo sometimes plays himself out of his gaps and can overpursue. He's still one of the better young pass rushers in the game, but the Redskins would like to see some tweaks to his technique to become a better run stopper, which they think he can be.

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