Giants offensive success headlines latest storylines for NFC East as 2023 camps open

Giants fall to Eagles 38-7
Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick, right, applies pressure on New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones during the first half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
AP Photos

No other division has a tougher 2023 schedule than the NFC East. The New York Giants, fifth in terms of owning the toughest schedule by team will need to keep pace with some of the other dynamic organizations in their own division. 

Luckily for them, the start of 2023 camps across the league couldn’t have been a better start for Big Blue. They’ve had early practice success, key players return, and strong coaching adjustments. 

Will it be enough to lay claim to the NFC East crown? Today we review what each team has done over the first week of practice. 

New York Giants

Saquon Barkley returns, Danny Dimes excels

Daniel Jones Giants
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) passes against the Dallas Cowboys during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J.AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

The biggest storylines for New York came before practices even began. Saquon Barkley and Andrew Thomas had been locked up with contract extensions that kept both players happy. In Barkley’s case, the grueling contract extension may have frustrated him, but he’s simply focused on the season ahead. 

“It feels good. Good to be back in the locker room, good to see familiar faces within the facility. I’m doing what I love. I’m out there playing football. I’m happy,” Barkley said after Thursday’s practice. 

Outside of Barkley’s return to the field, the Giants have gotten some incredible play from Daniel Jones to start camp. Jones and offseason acquisition Darren Waller have hooked up for touchdowns at several points through the first two practices. It’s been the type of duo that should have New York thinking past just simply their divisional success. 

All in all, there’s a reason expectations are sky-high with the Giants.

Dallas Cowboys 

An extension, a holdout, and a guarantee

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys will take on the 49ers
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) runs into the end zone on a touchdown carry during the first half of an NFL wild-card football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

As usual, storylines haven’t been quiet when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys as they opened up camp this week. First, they were able to lock up All-Pro cornerback Trevon Diggs to a five-year, $97 million extension that keeps him as the team’s top corner for the long term. He has recorded 17 interceptions while continuing the mantra of the ball-hawking cornerback. 

It hasn’t all been good news for Dallas though. All-Pro and future Hall-of-Famer Zack Martin has not reported to camp because he wants a new deal. He’s severely underpaid based on his position (he has a $7 million salary right now) and is a massive loss if the Cowboys can’t get this resolved. Of course, having to pay Martin, CeeDee Lamb, Micah Parsons, Dak Prescott, Tony Pollard, and several others isn’t exactly a good problem to have in a salary-cap league. 

Finally, on the practice field, while Dak Prescott may have guaranteed that he wouldn’t have 10+ interceptions again this season, he’s already been picked off twice in practice. Jokes aside, the Cowboys have loved what they’ve seen from Deuce Vaughn at running back so far. While Pollard comes back from his major injury, having a good back like Vaughn should certainly help the team in the short term. Safety Donovan Wilson did suffer a calf strain that could keep him out of the preseason but is not expected to have him miss significant regular season time. 

Philadelphia Eagles 

Defending champs hold serve

Is Jalen Hurts a Super Bowl MVP favorite?
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts passes during the second half of the NFC Championship NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Smooth sailing for the Philadelphia Eagles and the team to end the Giants’ season in 2023. Philadelphia came into camp with no major injuries and has already received strong contributions from their Georgia draft class this past draft. 

New York having to deal with more Eagles’ pass rushers certainly isn’t a good thing with the team easing in John Michael Schmitz at the center position, but it’s clear Philadelphia is prime for another run. 

One interesting nugget from the Giants practice Wednesday though is that All-Pro left tackle Andrew Thomas stated that he felt to close the game with the Eagles, the Giants would need to be better up front. 

“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. 

Washington Commanders 

A new age and quarterback in Washington

Josh Harris has led a group to buy out Dan Snyder for the Washington Commanders
FILE – Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris speaks with members of the media during a news conference at the NBA basketball team’s practice facility in Camden, N.J., Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Two people with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press a group led by Josh Harris and Mitchell Rales has submitted a fully financed bid for the NFL’s Washington Commanders. The Harris/Rales group, which includes basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, is one of multiple bidders involved in the sale process.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)AP Photos

Daniel Snyder is out as the owner of the Washington Commanders. That alone is enough to name the franchise winners before practices even begin. 

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 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 and 100% from his ACL tear back in 2021. If Washington can get improved quarterback play, and Young dominated as the second-overall pick should, the Commanders are a dark horse in this division to upset even the Giants. 

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