NFC East training camp preview: Cowboys' grip is loosening

NFC East training camp preview: Cowboys’ grip is loosening

The Post’s Ryan Dunleavy breaks down the NFC East storylines going into training camp:

New York Giants

Coach: Brian Daboll (first year)

Training camp site: East Rutherford, N.J.

Key additions: The cap-strapped Giants chose to make their only real free-agent investments in G Mark Glowinski and QB Tyrod Taylor. The path to any immediate improvement is tied to rookies RT Evan Neal, EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, WR Wan’dale Robinson and CB Cor’Dale Flott becoming quality starters.

Key losses: In addition to losing former first-round pick TE Evan Engram and former second-rounder Will Hernandez in free agency, the Giants also cut two of their best players in CB James Bradberry and S Logan Ryan. S Jabrill Peppers and DT Austin Johnson also played major roles for multiple years before leaving in free agency.

Training camp storylines to watch: What will the offense — trapped in the Stone Age the past two years — look like when Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka blend ideas from the explosive Bills and Chiefs? The secondary went from a strength to a weakness in the offseason, which is concerning for defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s blitz-heavy calls. The Giants are asking for patience to build the right way after burning four years on failed quick-fixes, so the overall roster depth is too light to withstand the seemingly annual rash of injuries.

The Giants new regime of GM Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Po

Washington Commanders

Coach: Ron Rivera (third year)

Training camp site: Ashburn, Va.

Key additions: After inquiring about Russell Wilson, Washington settled for QB Carson Wentz to replace the retired Ryan Fitzpatrick. He will play behind an offensive line featuring new Gs Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner, and throw to new deep-threat rookie WR Jahan Dotson.

Key losses: A multi-year contract battle with G Brandon Scherff ended with Scherff joining the Jaguars. DTs Matt Ioannadis and Tim Settle are out of the middle of the defense. TE Ricky Seals-Jones stayed in the division, landing with the Giants.

Training camp storylines to watch: Football feels secondary in Washington to Congress’ investigation into the allegations of rampant misconduct by team owner Daniel Snyder. If that’s not enough, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio might have some explaining to do to players for comments that could be construed as racist and warranted a $100,000 fine. On the field, it’s now-or-never for Wentz, who has been blamed for underachieving teams in two cities as he joins his third team in three years. Former Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young’s second season was an injury-plagued disappointment. How does he look returning?

A.J. Brown
A.J. Brown

Philadelphia Eagles

Coach: Nick Sirianni (second year)

Training camp site: Philadelphia

Key additions: The Eagles did most of their improving in the draft and beyond, trading for WR A.J. Brown and selecting DT Jordan Davis and C Cam Jurgens with first- and second-round picks, respectively. Then they focused on the secondary by adding CB James Bradberry and S Jaquiski Tartt. EDGE Haason Reddick signed earlier in free agency.

Key losses: G Brandon Brooks retired, but he hadn’t really been a full-time part of the offensive line since 2019. S Rodney McLeod and CB Steven Nelson left in free agency, but their replacements represent an upgrade.

Training camp storylines to watch: It’s unclear how committed the Eagles are to QB Jalen Hurts. With extra draft capital in reserve for 2023, Hurts would be wise to have a big season and convince the Eagles no replacement is needed. Two longtime staples of the Eagles — the offensive and defensive lines — are undergoing changes. Right guard is a hole to fill in short order if the Eagles are going to be dominant in the run game again. A Bradberry-Darius Slay cornerback combination could be the NFL’s best.

Dallas Cowboys

Coach: Mike McCarthy (third year)

Training camp site: Oxnard, Calif.

Key additions: There’s no denying the Cowboys’ lost more than they gained when free agency netted out. WR James Washington and EDGE Dante Fowler headline the class. Rookies OT Tyler Smith and EDGE Sam Williams were high-risk, high-reward early draft picks.

Key losses: There will be new looks to the WRs without Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, and to the OL without La’el Collins and Conor Williams. Two strengths look like weaknesses now. S Keanu Neal wasn’t as good with the Cowboys as he was for the Falcons earlier in his career.

Training camp storylines to watch: Unemployed Super Bowl-winning coach Sean Payton will cast a shadow over McCarthy’s hot seat all season. It feels like the Cowboys’ championship window is closing now that the All-Pro offensive line is getting a rebuild and the Dak Prescott-Ezekiel Elliott-Amari Cooper triplets are down to two (and maybe one after this season). Will defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s magic touch carry over? Or was last year’s success too reliant on fickle takeaways? If Micah Parsons takes the next step in camp, he could be the defensive player of the year.

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