NFC East Training Camp Review: Eagles stay smooth sailing into optimistic 2023 while division foes stay ready

Jalen Hurts
Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

What a week for the NFC East and the Philadelphia Eagles.

The division has seen important holdouts, massive extensions being handed out, and interesting guarantees over the last few days as training camps open up across the NFL. Luckily for the Eagles, their relatively slow start shouldn’t deter anyone from believing they’re capable of reaching the Super Bowl for the second-straight year.

To do so though, the Eagles will need to maintain their success in divisional games. Therefore, it’s paramount to take a look at what each team is doing throughout the rest of the NFC East while the Eagles recharge for another stellar season.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) reacts following an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 22-16. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Philadelphia Eagles

Defending champs hold serve

It’s currently smooth sailing for the Eagles roster. Philadelphia came into camp with no major injuries and has already received strong contributions from their Georgia draft class this past draft. Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith were two major standouts from Wednesday’s practice while Jalen Hurts continued to show improvements in his mechanics.

While some sloppy second-team work is to be expected, the Eagles have had everyone come to practice in shape and healthy as they prepare for the start of the season right around the corner.

It’s a “back-to-work” approach in Philly.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 22: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott (4) looks to pass in the second half during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles on December 22, 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)
Dallas Cowboys 

An extension, a holdout, and a guarantee

Is everyone ready for a laugh? The Dallas Cowboys opened up training camp with their star quarterback guaranteeing he would not throw over 10 interceptions this year. While training camp is never an indicator of regular season success, Prescott has already thrown multiple interceptions in camp including this doozy of an underthrow.

Outside of the hilarity that Prescott’s comments have brought, it’s been an incredibly busy week for the Cowboys because…of course.

Trevon Diggs signed a five-year, $97 million extension early in the week. Diggs is a true ball-hawking corner with 17 picks in his first three years. While some within the Philly Sports Network may argue about his effectiveness in coverage, Diggs is a very good player and this was a no-brainer deal for Dallas.

Outside of Diggs, the Cowboys have some serious contract issues coming up. All-Pro guard Zack Martin is sitting out of training camp to hold out for a new deal while the team still needs to pay CeeDee Lamb, Dak Prescott, Micah Parsons, Tony Pollard, and a bevy of other talents. There are some difficult conversations coming Jerry Jones’ way.

Contract troubles aside, rookie Deuce Vaughn has done a good job of being effective in practice on the field. He’ll be a name the Eagles will have to be ready for when the two teams meet.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, left, is greeted by head coach Brian Daboll while leaving during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
New York Giants

Saquon Barkley returns, Danny Dimes excels

Saquon Barkley and left tackle Andrew Thomas have reported to Giants’ practice with nice new contracts. To their credit, the front office in New York played the Barkley negotiation perfectly and it aligns them to take advantage of a deep 2024 free-agent class without giving up massive amounts of cap space for a position that is losing value by the hour.

Outside of the extensions for Thomas and Barkley, Daniel Jones has been excellent to start training camp. He’s targeted Darren Waller more than Carson Wentz was yelled at for targeting Zach Ertz. All jokes aside, New York’s offense has been very strong to start camp and looks to shape up as a solid team headed into the regular season.

After Wednesday’s practice, the Philadelphia sports media world was bestowed an interesting nugget from Giants’ LT Andrew Thomas. When asked if he felt the team has caught up with the Eagles, the Pro Bowler was quick to comment on why Philadelphia has been so good as of late.

“I think we close that gap being more dominate in the trenches (and) being able to protect DJ to allow him to make the throws that he needs to and on the opposite side of the ball, our defenders putting pressure on the quarterback. I think that changes the outcomes of games,” Thomas said. 

The 2023 season will determine just how much ground the Giants have caught up. 

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Quez Watkins (16) carries the ball against Washington Commanders safety Bobby McCain (20) during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Washington Commanders 

A new era and quarterback in Washington

Let me be the first person to say that having Josh Harris own a team in Philadelphia while also owning one of the city’s biggest rivals is an absolutely bonkers situation and I cannot believe 76ers fans are allowing him to do it with little to no repercussions. With that being said the Commanders have already won the early portion of camp by getting Dan Snyder out of the ownership box.

Outside of the fact Josh Harris and Magic Johnson are debating between changing the team name again, Washington has been impressed with what they have seen from QB Sam Howell so far in camp. The second-year pro had a great first career start, but eyes will be on him to start the 2023 season. 

On the defensive side of the football, Chase Young is back at 100% after his ACL tear in 2021. If Washington can get improved quarterback play, Young dominating as the second-overall pick should, and a new era of ownership and morale surrounding the team, the Commanders can absolutely upset the Eagles in the NFC East.

Keep an eye on this team.

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AP Photo/Matt Rourke