Training camp is in full swing around the NFL and with the first week of New York Giants padded practice in the books that was topped off with a fun Fan Fest. With our comprehensive coverage of training camp let’s look around at the rest of the division and see some news and observation around the NFC East.
There is a lot to dissect when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys training camp. With many notable players moving on the Cowboys were looking for players to step up. Blogging The Boys has insight into what’s going on over in Dallas.
One of the big questions marks coming into the season was what was going to happen with the wide receiver room. With Amari Cooper in Cleveland and Cedric Wilson Jr in Miami, players on the roster needed to step up. That was magnified when we found out Michael Gallop was going to miss time as well for who was going to step up next to CeeDee Lamb and help out Dak Prescott.
So far though it looks like the wide receivers are answering the call. Rookie Jalen Tolbert has shined throughout training camp and Noah Brown continues to be a valuable depth piece for the Cowboys.
“Jalen Tolbert seems to be claiming a starting job alongside Lamb and Brown. Dennis Houston, a bit of an unheralded UDFA signing, was the player that started getting the first team reps as soon as Washington went down. T.J. Vasher has used his length to his advantage and had the most impressive reception of camp to date. Second-year player Simi Fehoko has inserted himself into the conversation with a very good camp.“
Jalen Tolbert has some strong hands. pic.twitter.com/nyP00h3RGQ— David Helman (@davidhelman_) August 4, 2022
In regards to the Cowboys’ young prospects from this year’s draft, it sounds like it’s looking good so far. Tolbert has had a very good camp so far as touched on before. Tyler Smith was the Cowboys’ pick in the first round and has been making plays in the run game.
“He has had some powerful pancakes, even if those might have drawn flags in a real game. But he has been impressive all around. With the team insisting it will be leaning on the running game, that is important, even if a questionable overall strategy. Getting the offensive line right was crucial for the offensive success in both phases. So far, Smith looks like the absolute right decision.”
In the second round, the Cowboys went with Sam Williams out of Ole Miss. It looks like while initially, Dallas thought that they would be bringing in Williams off the bench, he is continuing to show flashes and may get starting looks.
“Expectations for the second-rounder were that he would be more of a rotational piece to start the season, but he is making a serious bid to grab the starting job. Dallas may have to depend more on the defense as they try to get all the new pieces working on offense. That will mostly be on the many returning veterans on defense, but Williams could be a very key addition for Quinn.”
On the downside outside of the many notable depth issues due to injuries and losing players this off-season, it looks like there will be a big problem in the kicking game for the Cowboys this year.
After deciding to move on from Greg Zuerlein, Dallas turned to UDFA Jonathan Garibay. So far though that decision has not looked good as Garibay has struggled mightily all throughout camp. The Cowboys then brought in Lirim Hajrullahu, who while showing to be a slight upgrade has also struggled during camp.
“Further, it is not at all unusual for teams to sign a street free agent kicker and start them with little to no preparation. The disappointment comes from the Cowboys once again having a clear need and doing little to nothing about it. While we can semi-jokingly discuss going for it on fourth down all the time, there are inevitably situations when winning or losing can ride on a dependable kicker. Dallas has none at the moment. It needs to change.”
- See SB Nation’s Blogging The Boys for more about the Cowboys
The folks over at Bleeding Green Nation have been covering the Philadelphia Eagles training camp and have had complete coverage of quarterback Jalen Hurts. They have had a stock up stock down on Hurts since Day 1 of camp and this is what it looks like so far.
JALEN HURTS STOCK TRACKER OVERVIEW
Day 1:Stock even
Day 2:Stock down
Day 3:Stock down
Day 4:Stock even
Day 5:Stock up
Day 6:Stock down
Day 7:Stock even
For those keeping score that is one stock up, three stock evens, and three stock downs through the first seven days. The folks over at Bleeding Green Nation have comprehensive breakdowns of all of Jalen Hurts through training camp so be sure to be on the lookout for that for some insight into what we can expect out of Hurts when they play the Giants.
Newcomer AJ Brown has had an exceptional camp so far clearly establishing himself as Hurt’s top target. Even with Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay in coverage, Brown has been able to continuously make plays for the Eagles. Bleeding Green Nation has been on top of all the Eagles coverage.
“A.J. Brown has been feasting on Darius Slay this summer. Brown faked a route to the outside with his release during a 1-on-1 rep before quickly cutting inside and scoring a touchdown on a slant. Brown has been a slant machine.“
Former Giant James Bradberry has also had a good summer for Philadelphia. After becoming a cap casualty here in New York, Bradberry signed a one-year deal with the Eagles and so far living up to expectations
“James Bradberry continues to have a good summer. The veteran cornerback had sticky coverage on DeVonta Smith, who’s a savvy route runner, to help force an incompletion in 1-on-1s. Bradberry squeezed John Hightower close to the sideline on a go route to prevent a deep pass from Hurts. Bradberry also knocked down a Hurts pass over the middle in 7-on-7s.”
After the media pretty universally had the Philadelphia Eagles being a draft night winner, it looks like that may have been a little premature. The Eagles were universally applauded for taking Nakobe Dean in the third round of the NFL draft. While it’s still early, it doesn’t seem like Dean will make the immediate impact many thought he would in what was considered a positional weakness for the Eagles.
“Still waiting to see anything from Nakobe Dean, who took his first first-team reps this summer. The most memorable play from him in camp thus far is overrunning a tackle attempt on A.J. Brown today. Dean’s been outshone by T.J. Edwards, Kyzir White, Davion Taylor, and Shaun Bradley thus far. That much is hardly the end of the world; Dean is obviously a rookie while those guys are multi-year vets. Still, Dean’s invisibility could serve as a sign to pump the brakes on him making an immediate impact this season.“
- See SB Nation’s Bleeding Green Nation for more about the Eagles
Over in Washington, all eyes are on quarterback Carson Wentz. Moving on to his third team in three years, Wentz is looking to reestablish his career and prove that he can still be a QB1. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo gave his thoughts on how the first week of training camp has gone for Wentz.
“Tuesday was a good day for Carson Wentz and the Commander’s offense, Wednesday when we were here also a good day for Wentz and the Commander’s offense. The reason I say that is because Monday and the days previously, not as good for the Commander’s offense. The Commanders are saying privately, relax it’s a process.”
Wentz’s training camp has been highlighted by inaccurate passes and decision-making continues to be an issue that we had seen with his previous two teams. The Commanders won’t overreact to this just yet. Wentz is still learning a brand new offense and working on building a rhythm with all new weapons that he has not played with before. The Commanders still believe this is all a part of the growing pains.
This feels like it’s the last stop for Carson Wentz to prove he is a starter in the NFL. After being replaced by Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia and Matt Ryan in Indianapolis, Wentz needs to establish himself as a starting caliber quarterback with the commanders, or his chances may be running out.
Rookie first-round pick Jahan Dotson has had a strong start to training camp. With Curtis Samuel missing time in camp, it has given Dotson plenty of opportunities to showcase his skill set. Dotson is making the most of his opportunity and has left quite the impression on the coaching staff.
Ron Rivera spoke about Dotson to the media and touched base on the flashes that were shown.
“Jahan has an opportunity to be an integral part of what we do already, He’s shown some very impressive flashes. So we’ve got to be very diligent, very smart about it as we go through this process.”
Seeing Dotson’s highlights at camp, with strong hands and the ability to twist and make acrobatic catches look routine. It’s hard to not see a little Odell Beckham Jr in his game just looking at the ability Dotson has. This will be one fun player to keep an eye on during the season if Wentz can deliver the ball to him.
Jamin Davis was taken in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft and needless to say things did not go as planned during his first year. After only registering a 46.8 PFF grade in year one, many were hoping he would be able to make a jump in year two.
Things so far in camp have not looked much better for the former Kentucky standout. While he is currently still listed as the other starting linebacker next to Cole Holcomb, Davis is losing reps to David Mayo. Hogs Haven was able to touch on the linebacker situation in Washington.
“LB David Mayo ran with the starters today in short-yardage defense, specifically in Washington’s 5-2 defensive front alongside Cole Holcomb. It appears that Rivera and the staff have identified a role for Mayo. Rivera confirmed that there are certain “groups” where Mayo is more valuable than Davis. “That’s just kind of the way some of the defenses are set up. We have a couple defenses where we have certain elements of it where it’s what we consider our big group. Other elements, we just have one linebacker on the start. So for the most part, the first guy in is gonna be [LB] Cole [Holcomb]. It’s just really the group.”
Ron Rivera still shows confidence in Davis though stating “He’s much more comfortable with what we’re doing.”
There is no quicker way to start setting a franchise back than missing on first-round draft picks. The staff in Washington will continue to back Davis publicly and say everything to continue to instill confidence in the first-round pick. It seems clear though that the clock is ticking on Davis to stay in his starting role.
- See SB Nation’s Hogs Haven for more about the Commanders