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NFC East notebook: Preseason action and position battles

After Week 2 of the preseason, rosters are starting to clarify

Washington Commanders Off-Season Workout Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Week 2 of the NFL preseason has come and gone for the NFC East. With systems being installed and depth being set, let us take a look around the NFC East and get the pulse of each team.

Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys battled the Los Angelos Chargers on Saturday night. With all the starters still out for the Cowboys, there was still one player that stuck out in particular.

KaVontae Turpin signed with the Cowboys coming off an MVP season in the USFL. Turpin made multiple splash plays for Dallas and looks like he will be an impact return man for the Cowboys this season.

Blogging the Boys touched on Turpin’s impact and his chances of making the team after that performance.

“As if this wasn’t already known, last night’s game removed all doubt. We weren’t able to see much of him the week prior in Denver as he didn’t find any space to run, but that wasn’t the case against the Chargers. Turpin scored his first touchdown when he took a kickoff 98 yards and hardly broke stride. It was just knowing where the holes were and then utilizing his pure speed. And if that wasn’t fancy enough, Turpin was at it again when he took a punt 86 yards for another touchdown. This time he showed off his elusiveness, wiggling his way through the holes before finally turning on the jets. It was quite impressive.”

While Turpin stole the show there were still things the Cowboys will look to improve on. Jalen Tolbert for the second straight week struggled and had what could have been a touchdown ruled incomplete when he failed to get two feet in bounds. Penalties also remained an issue for the team even though it was an improvement from last week. The Cowboys committed eight penalties on the night which, while still not good, is better than 17 the week before.

Another interesting development in Dallas is the battle for two of the Cowboys’ Day 2 picks in 2021 battling for a roster spot. 2021 second-round pick Kelvin Joseph and third-round pick Nahshon Wright are currently on the outside looking in after their play in camp and preseason thus far. The game against the Chargers didn’t solidify their spots on the roster and it is an intriguing development to watch.

“There was a moment in the first half where Nahshon (and Kelvin Joseph for that matter) had what felt like the beginning of a redemptive turn. It is no secret that the preseason opener was not kind to either 2021 draft pick, but shortly after those moments things regressed back to more of what we have seen.”

Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles took on the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles opted to not play their starters against the Browns. With that, some of the high-profile rookies again made appearances between Jordan Davis, Cam Jurgens, and Nakobe Dean.

Jurgens continues to make plays when given the opportunity. One highlight from the game was when Jurgens got into the second level and pancaked a defender.

Bleeding Green Nation touched on the continued play of Jurgens.

“If Kelce is not ready in time for the opener at Detroit on September 11, Jurgens appears capable of filling his role. Jurgens’ biggest issue will be defensive recognition since Kelce calls out the offensive line adjustments. Jurgens has nowhere near the knowledge that Kelce possesses instinctively at this stage in his career. Physically, Jurgens looks like the Eagles got a steal in the second round.”

Unfortunately for Philadelphia fans, Davis and Dean did not have the same impact today.

“Much was said about first-round draft pick Jordan Davis, referencing his size, his athleticism for someone his size, and how impactful he’s been on caving in the line of scrimmage. Against the Browns, he hardly seemed to be there.”

“Linebacker Davion Taylor and Nakobe Dean’s inability to shed blocks on a Browns’ screenplay on a second-and-six from the Cleveland 32 on its opening position. Dean later took a bad angle on the same drive.”

With the depth along the defensive interior, Jordan Davis won’t see a starting role this season behind Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox. Davis will have situations and packages that the Eagles will utilize him but he is more for depth and the future after Cox moves on.

Nakobe Dean had a major opportunity after being drafted by the Eagles in the third round. Being arguably one of the biggest needs on the Eagles roster, Dean had the opportunity to come in and be an immediate starter. Unfortunately for him, the inconsistency in his play has given Kyzir White and TJ Edwards the lead to be the starters in Week 1.

Washington Commanders

The Washington Commanders played the Kansas City Chiefs where both teams played their starters as a tune-up to prepare for the start of the regular season. The offense struggled as Carson Wentz and the Commanders failed to lead a scoring drive while Patrick Mahomes was Patrick Mahomes and scored on both drives to give the Chiefs a 14-0 lead while the starters were in the game. Hogs Haven touched on the first team play.

“Washington came into Kansas City to work some things out on offense and defense, but it was a lot of the same for both sides of the ball. Third downs continue to be a problem, and the disparity between the teams was pretty evident in the first half. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs scored twice while Carson and Wentz and the Commanders couldn’t put points on the board.”

One interesting thing to note is that Brian Robinson took over starting duties over Antonio Gibson. Robinson has been having a strong camp as Gibson continued to have issues fumbling the football. Gibson took the opening kickoff which was his first-ever special teams rep, momentum is on Robinson’s side as Gibson may need to carve out another role to continue to get playing time.

  • See SB Nation’s Hogs Haven for more about the Commanders