NFL

NFL training camp 2019: NFC East preview

By Sports Desk July 17, 2019

The NFC East has seen a lot of movement during the offseason, including huge contract news at the defending division champions the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants losing Odell Beckham Jr.

Let's not forget the murkiness surrounding the Washington Redskins' quarterback situation, and whether Carson Wentz will manage to stay healthy throughout the season for the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Cowboys play a more difficult first-place schedule in 2019, while the Eagles look to return to the form that made them Super Bowl champions two seasons ago.

Here's the outlook for the NFC East heading into training camp:

 

TEAM ON THE RISE:

Dallas Cowboys

Are the Cowboys back? They went 10-6 last season to win the division as wide receiver Amari Cooper burst onto the scene in Dallas after he was acquired from the Oakland Raiders. The Cowboys went on to win a playoff game for the first time in four years.

But after a wild-card win over the Seattle Seahawks, they lost in the divisional round to the Los Angeles Rams, keeping the relative heat on coach Jason Garrett.

Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence – who has 34 sacks in five NFL seasons – was signed to a massive five-year, $105million deal, and the team has promised quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott new contracts. How that plays out could affect the season, on the field and off it. 

The team also promoted Kellen Moore to offensive coordinator after a successful season as the team's quarterbacks coach. All the pieces are there for success – the Cowboys simply need to execute.

TEAM ON THE DECLINE:

New York Giants

The Giants have been on the slide, and this year isn't going to be any different.

As previously noted, they ended up trading Beckham to the Cleveland Browns after their relationship soured and included defensive end Olivier Vernon in that deal. Also, Landon Collins left for the Redskins. 

The Giants also pained their fan base when they drafted a quarterback in Daniel Jones with the No. 6 pick in this year's draft but said they still plan on using the ageing Eli Manning, 38.

Essentially, the Giants will have a lot to prove because of their offseason decisions, and in a competitive division, there is no room for error.

ROOKIES TO WATCH:

Dwayne Haskins, QB, Redskins: The team's quarterback situation was in crisis mode last season – Alex Smith suffered a horrifying leg injury that might have derailed his career, and backup Colt McCoy went out a short time later with a broken leg. The Redskins were smart in drafting Haskins out of Ohio State, and apparently he's impressed in offseason work. Technically Case Keenum, who was traded to Washington, is slated to be the starter, but if he flounders in his first couple of starts, the job could belong to Haskins.

Daniel Jones, QB, Giants: How will the Giants use Jones? Many were perplexed over why he was taken so early in the draft, even though the Giants said they planned to use Manning for at least another season. If the Giants are subpar for the first few games, will Jones be subbed in? Or will he sit the entire season as Manning, whose QB rating has dipped the past three seasons, tries to recapture his Super Bowl touch? How the Giants handle their QB situation will be worth watching.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT:

Jordan Howard

The Eagles struggled running the ball last season, finishing 28th in the league, after Jay Ajayi was injured and had to rely heavily on the receiving corps to get things done. That looks to change this season, with the team getting Howard from the Chicago Bears. Before last year, Howard was part of an explosive ground attack in Chicago, running for more than 1,000 yards in 2016 and 2017, but last season new Bears coach Matt Nagy's offensive scheme didn't use him as frequently. Given the need to give Wentz a break and protect him from further injuries, Howard will need to step up and prove to be a productive and reliable back.

KEY INJURIES:

Derrius Guice, knee: The Redskins running back didn't even get a chance to play last year after he tore his ACL in preseason, and a reported hamstring injury causes questions as training camp rolls around. Guice downplayed the hamstring tweak, but the real test will be when he takes the field for his first game. Will he be able to blaze through defenses like he did at LSU?

Carson Wentz, back: The Eagles quarterback said he was almost 100 per cent before June's minicamp after he went down late last season with a fracture in his back, but it marks the second season in a row that Wentz has missed the playoffs due to injury. The question remains if Wentz can remain healthy for an entire season. Without safety net Nick Foles as backup, Wentz will need to be the one to lead the Eagles to the playoffs.

Related items

  • Saints deny trying to hide e-mails to New Orleans Archdiocese in relation to abuse claims Saints deny trying to hide e-mails to New Orleans Archdiocese in relation to abuse claims

    The New Orleans Saints accept they offered advice to the city's Archdiocese on how best to handle public relations for litigation on claims of sexual abuse made against members of its clergy, but refute suggestions they have tried to conceal information. 

    Reports emerged on Friday that attorneys for around two dozen men suing the church accused the NFL franchise of aiding the Archdiocese of New Orleans to conceal alleged crimes from members of its clergy.

    The Saints responded to those accusations via a team statement, insisting they are "offended, disappointed and repulsed by the actions of certain past clergy" and explained they advised the Archdiocese to be transparent in its approach.

    "While there is current litigation relative to the New Orleans Archdiocese and clergy sex abuse, our comments are limited only to the scope of our involvement," the statement read. 

    "The New Orleans Saints organisation has always had a very strong relationship with the Archdiocese. 

    "The Archdiocese reached out to a number of community and civic minded leaders seeking counsel on handling the pending media attention that would come with the release of the clergy names in November of 2018. 

    "Greg Bensel, senior vice president of communications for the New Orleans Saints, was contacted and offered input on how to work with the media. The advice was simple and never wavering. Be direct, open and fully transparent, while making sure that all law enforcement agencies were alerted. 

    "The New Orleans Saints, Greg Bensel and (owner) Mrs. Gayle Benson were and remain offended, disappointed and repulsed by the actions of certain past clergy. We remain steadfast in support of the victims who have suffered and pray for their continued healing."

    The reports claimed the Saints are trying to take action to shield more than 200 e-mails, but the team insisted they are not attempting to conceal information.

    "Further, the Saints have no interest in concealing information from the press or public," the statement added. 

    "At the current discovery stage in the case of Doe v. Archdiocese, the Saints, through their counsel, have merely requested the court to apply the normal rules of civil discovery to the documents that the Saints produced and delivered to Mr. Doe's counsel. 

    "Until the documents are admitted into evidence at a public trial or hearing in the context of relevant testimony by persons having knowledge of the documents and the events to which they pertain, the use of the documents should be limited to the parties to the case and their attorneys. 

    "If admitted into evidence of the case, the documents and the testimony pertaining to them will become part of the public record of the trial of the case."

  • It was important for me to bow out as a Giant - Manning 'at peace' with retirement decision It was important for me to bow out as a Giant - Manning 'at peace' with retirement decision

    Eli Manning says he is "at peace" with his decision to retire as he had no plans to represent anyone other than the New York Giants.

    The Giants confirmed on Wednesday that the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback would retire from the NFL, ending a 16-year spell with the team.

    Manning joined the Giants in a controversial draft-day trade after being selected by the San Diego Chargers in 2004 and led them to Super Bowl success in 2007 and 2011, both victories coming against the New England Patriots.

    Plans are in place to retire Manning's number 10 jersey and the 39-year-old has not ruled out returning to the MetLife Stadium in a coaching capacity, but first he wants time to reflect on his career.

    "I'll take some time just to figure out how I want to spend these next years first," he said at Friday's retirement press conference.

    "This sport has very few real farewells. It's impossible to explain the satisfaction, and actually the joy, I've experienced being a Giant.

    "From the very first moment, I did it my way. I couldn't be someone other than who I am. 

    "Undoubtedly I would've made the fans, the media and even the front office more comfortable if I was a more rah-rah guy. 

    "But that's not me. Ultimately I choose to believe that my team-mates and the fans learned to appreciate that. They knew what they got was pure unadulterated Eli."

    Manning split opinion throughout his career and bows out with 57,023 passing yards, 366 touchdowns and 244 interceptions.

    Asked why now was the right time to announce his retirement, he added: "It was important for me to retire as a Giant. It was the right decision. 

    "I know it is and I'm at peace with it. I think that's what has made this day a little bit easier.

    "Wellington Mara used to say, 'Once a Giant, always a Giant.' For me, it's only a giant."

    Giants co-owner John Mara also spoke at Friday's ceremony and confirmed Manning will be inducted into their Ring of Honor next season.

    "This is certainly a day of very mixed emotions for us," he said. "It's sad in one sense because we're seeing the end of an incredible playing career and saying goodbye to someone who has been everything you could ask a player to be both on and off the field for the last 16 years. 

    "Yet we're also very happy to that we get to be here to celebrate that incredible career and we're also able to witness one of the greatest players in franchise history be able to leave the game on his own terms, having played his whole career with the Giants, something that doesn't always happen in this business.

    "If anybody deserved that opportunity it's Eli Manning. The last 16 years Eli has meant so much to all of us here with the giants and our fans. 

    "We all know about the two Super Bowl MVPs and all of the great performances on the field, but just as important was the way he conducted himself on and off the field as the consummate professional, always with dignity always with class."

  • Arrest warrant issued for Antonio Brown Arrest warrant issued for Antonio Brown

    Antonio Brown remained wanted by police in the United States on Thursday on charges of burglary with battery and criminal mischief.

    The former NFL star, who has been without a team since his release by the New England Patriots in September last year, was being sought after allegations made against him late on Tuesday.

    The Florida-based Hollywood Police Department issued a statement that said: "On January 21, 2020 at approximately 9:30pm, an arrest warrant was issued for Mr Antonio Brown who has been charged with one count of burglary with battery, one count burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, and one count of criminal mischief less than $1,000.

    "On January 21, 2020, at approximately 2:00 pm, officers of the Hollywood Police Department received a 911 call for a possible disturbance which occurred at 3600 Estate Oak Circle. When officers arrived on scene they made contact with the alleged victim who stated he was battered by Mr Antonio Brown and Mr Brown’s trainer, Mr Glenn Holt.

    "While on scene, officers made contact with Mr Holt who was subsequently taken into custody without incident. Mr Holt was charged with one count of burglary with battery. Officers attempted to make contact with Mr Brown but were unsuccessful."

    Wide receiver Brown has not yet commented on the allegations. CNN and other media said the property in question is 31-year-old Brown's home in South Florida.

    Police have not detailed the nature of the incident. CNN said it involved a dispute over the delivery of items to Brown's house.

    Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowler, left the Patriots amid allegations of sexual assault and rape, which he strenuously denies.

    He was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders in March 2019 after a tumultuous 2018 campaign; however, Brown did not play a game for the Raiders before moving on to his brief stint with the Patriots.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.