FRISCO - When you think of the NFL and the word "ridiculous,'' the NFC East comes to mind. Unless you are Leighton Vander Esch.
We are 12 weeks into the season. The Dallas Cowboys are 3-8. That puts them in last place in the division, fueling talk of a high pick in next year's NFL Draft. At the same time, 3-8 means Dallas is only a game back of the division lead.
Given all of this - the fact is, this is an historically division is - surely the players discuss the situation among themselves ... right?
Wrong, says Vander Esch.
“Don’t take this personal,'' Vander Esch says, "but I think that’s a ridiculous question.''
Well, excuuuuuuuuse me.
Now wait a minute. The standings are available to all. Cowboys players are surely aware that each of the four NFC East teams - the Cowboys, Eagles, Giants and Washington - have losing records. That doesn't mean they have to know the mathematical details of NFL history, like for instance, that NFC East is on pace to have only the third team in NFL history make the playoffs with a losing record. It doesn't even mean they have to do the oddball math on this season, when these four rivals have a combined record of 14-29-1, and mostly only win they play each other.
But they don't even talk about the standings? To the point where asking about is "ridiculous''?
Vander Esch explains further ...
“We’re focusing on ourselves, we’re focusing on what we can do to make the playoffs. That comes week after week after week. We focus on ourselves every single day in practice, every meeting, getting the most out of it, taking it slow, not getting too far ahead of ourselves, not worrying about other teams in our division or other teams around the league.”
The "focus on ourselves'' mantra is what Vander Esch is really referring to here, and anything contrary to that is truly what he's objecting to. But let's be fair: There are a lot of "ridiculous'' things going on right now in the NFL, in the NFC East and inside the Cowboys.
And asking questions about the "ridiculousness'' isn't one of them.