NFC East Camp Preview: Commanders Search for WR Chemistry

Washington Commanders receivers
Washington Commanders receivers
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Offseason - The Dallas Cowboys are searching for a WR3, a TE2 and a K1. The Washington Commanders have high hopes for Jahan Dotson. The Philadelphia Eagles have big plans for A.J. Brown. The New York Giants are just holding on to their last shred of dignity. Walkthrough's 2022 NFC East Training Camp Preview will get you ready for all of the preseason action, from camp battles to joint practices to preseason games that might actually be worth watching. 

Dallas Cowboys 2022 Training Camp Preview

Heading Into Camp: Like the Packers and Chiefs, the Cowboys traded their top wide receiver this offseason to avoid a cap crunch. Unlike the Packers and Chiefs, the Cowboys: a) never accomplished all that much when they had that top receiver; and b) did not receive a bounty of high draft picks to restock their roster in exchange. Oops.

The Cowboys enter 2022 with a weaker roster on paper but greater expectations than in 2020 and 2021. They need a second tier of contributors to emerge to supplement their big-name stars. But isn’t that the story of every Cowboys preseason?

Camp Battles to Watch: The Cowboys did not just lose Amari Cooper but also johnny-on-the-spot super-sub Cedrick Wilson, who ranked 14th in DVOA in 2021. James Washington, Noah Brown and third-round pick Jalen Tolbert (South Alabama) will be battling for the WR3 role. Washington spent four seasons getting leap-frogged on the Steelers depth chart. Brown is a speedy, sturdy special-teamer. Tolbert was a small-school boundary threat. None of them are obvious candidates for a major role.

With Blake Jarwin gone, fourth-round pick Jake Ferguson (Wisconsin), right-tackle type Jeremy Sprinkle and former UDFA Sean McKeon will compete for the robust TE2 role in Kellen Moore’s offense.

In short: remember when the Cowboys were stacked with skill-position playmakers for Dak Prescott? That ain’t the case anymore.

Newcomer to Obsess Over: Undrafted rookie Jonathan Garibay (Texas Tech) is the only kicker on the Cowboys roster right now. Mike McCarthy says that’s just fine, because he relied on Mason Crosby for the 2007 Packers and everything turned out just peachy. Yep, that sure sounds like McCarthy logic! Gariby attempted just 27 field goals in two seasons as the Red Raiders’ placekicker, but one of them was a 62-yarder. Wanna bet Jerrah was watching that one on his luxury aircraft carrier? 

This story inevitably ends with the Cowboys panicking and signing someone like Sam Ficken. Until then, marvel at McCarthy’s eagerness to blithely tempt fate.

Circle-It Date: The Broncos host the Cowboys for joint practices before their preseason game on August 11. Both teams allow a lot of in-practice reporting and both press pools are pretty vocal, so these sessions are going to make for some fun Twitter scrolling.

New York Giants 2022 Training Camp Preview

What to Watch For: No general managers will roast the press pool for advocating goofy newfangled concepts like “analytics” or “fiscal responsibility.” No coaches will run laps, chastise reporters for addressing them improperly, fight in steel cages for their jobs or yammer and howl through routine press conferences like Tom Waits after dental surgery. It’s the Brian Daboll/Joe Schoen era in East Rutherford, and the Giants are looking forward to a dreary-but-uneventful bad-team camp.

Camp Battles to Watch: Wide receiver is the closest thing to a deep position group the Giants can claim, and it will be fascinating (by Giants standards) to see who earns what role. Friend-of-Walkthrough Zack Rosenblatt of reported during minicamp that Darius Slayton, once Daniel Jones’ favorite deep threat, didn’t see many first-team reps, despite the fact that Kenny Golladay and others were limited. Former 49ers receiver/returner Richie James stood out in minicamp, and second-round pick Wan’Dale Robinson (Kentucky) also flashed. Kadarius Toney, limited in practice but out of whatever doghouse he may once have been trapped in, appears to be in Daboll’s plans, and Sterling Shepard is the only person in the organization who knows the wifi password or something.

Newcomer to Obsess Over: For now, Daboll can skate by as The Guy Who Made Josh Allen. And as someone who isn’t a barking mad Belichick cosplayer, his lack of personality comes across as refreshing. Eventually, “competent and sane” won’t be enough, and Daboll will need to prove that he’s not just another Patriots functionary who stumbled into ideal circumstances in Buffalo. But hey, let’s enjoy the honeymoon for now.

Circle-It Date: The Giants are hosting a Fan Fest at MetLife Stadium on Friday night, August 5. They promise a scrimmage and fireworks, plus autograph sessions with Giants legends. If they threw in a free concert (Southside Johnny or better) and a medium soda and it would almost be worth the trip up the turnpike!

Philadelphia Eagles 2022 Training Camp Preview

Heading Into Camp: The Eagles plan to perform a final evaluation on Jalen Hurts, while also remaining playoff competitive, while also hoarding future draft capital, while also fielding a veteran-heavy, cap-bloating roster. It’s like Howie Roseman dropped the Saints and Dolphins 2022 plans into a blender and pressed “Puree.” If all goes according to plan, the 2022 Eagles will be a Philly-style win-win: Roseman and the organization can claim victory while Sportstalk 95 WYSP howls about defeat.

Camp Battles to Watch: It’s gonna be a free-for-all at safety, with Marcus Epps and K’Von Wallace vying to replace Rodney McLeod (Colts) while newcomer Jacquisky Tartt pushes Anthony Harris for playing time. 
But really, Eagles camp is all about Walkthrough’s “boo-bird” neighbors and relations rooting against the disappointments who broke their hearts. So listen for: a) lots of chatter about how poorly Jalen Reagor is doing as fans hope he falls off the back of the wide receiver depth chart; b) JJ Arcega-Whiteside’s doomed transition from wide receiver to tight end; and c) tweet-by-tweet reports about the distance, direction and hang time of Arryn Sippos’ training-camp punts.

Newcomer to Obsess Over: A.J. Brown knows how to win over the Philly Phaithful. He caught some minicamp bombs from Hurts, has gone out of his way to praise DeVonta Smith, and even poured ice-water on Miles Sanders’ “all-star team” remarks, lest such talk conjures ghosts of the 2011 Dream Team. Now to stay healthy for 17 games …

Circle-It Date: The Eagles will travel to Miami for joint practices with the Dolphins on August 27 and 28. Jalen Hurts! Tua Tagovailoa! Brown! Tyreek! Nick Sirianni’s dudebrah energy! Mike McDaniel’s editor-of-the-cannabis-newsletter energy! And a meeting of two of the most caffeinated press pools in the NFL! If only Walkthrough could attend! Alas, it conflicts with various back-to-school schedules. 

Washington Commanders 2022 Training Camp Preview

Heading Into Camp: Entering a season with Carson Wentz as your starting quarterback is like agreeing to host a touring exhibition of priceless Faberge eggs. The Commanders must now spend the next seven weeks protecting Wentz from any threat to his fragile self-confidence, lest Left-Handed Shovel Pass Interception Szn come early in 2022. Since the Commanders couldn’t get through minicamp without their defensive coordinator condoning a little light treason, and their owner plans to live out his days in international waters like a Bond Villain, it’s hard to imagine a less hospitable environment for the NFL’s favorite orchid.

Camp Battle to Watch: The Commanders are hoping for a big sophomore leap from 2021 first-round pick Jamin Davis, but Davis was still splitting reps with journeyman linebacker David Mayo in OTAs. Ron Rivera needs a Luke Kuechly surrogate to emerge for a defense that was terrible in coverage and ordinary at everything else last year.

Newcomer to Obsess Over: Jahan Dotson made a positive impression during Terry McLaurin’s absence from OTAs, and the team would love to see Wentz and Dotson develop some real chemistry. McLaurin, Dotson and Curtis Samuel look like a solid receiving trio on paper. The problem is that Dotson is a rookie, Samuel was hurt most of last season, both look more like slot receivers than outside targets, there’s no depth behind them, and Wentz is their quarterback.

Circle-It Date: Taylor Heinicke is still around, rookie Sam Howell (North Carolina) is also on the roster, and both will get lots of preseason action as the Commanders play hide-the-Wentz. If you are fluent in Wentzese, you know that solid play by Heinicke and/or Howell will threaten him and cause him to run around panting like my dog before a thunderstorm. With that in mind, every Commanders preseason game, particularly Panthers-Commanders on August 13, will be rife with emotional conflict. 


21 comments, Last at 14 Jul 2022, 9:27am

#1 by young curmudgeon // Jul 11, 2022 - 9:52am

"Southside Johnny or better"  There are some better in concert than the Jukes, but not all that many. 

Points: 0

#2 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jul 11, 2022 - 9:58am

The Dallas Cowboys are searching for a WR3, a TE2 and a K1.

There are a few teams set at K1, but who isn't looking for a WR3 and a TE2?

It’s like Howie Roseman dropped the Saints and Dolphins 2022 plans into a blender and pressed “Puree.”

That's like a Schrodinger's Box except in one box Drew Brees shoulder works and in the other it doesn't.

Since the Commanders couldn’t get through minicamp without their defensive coordinator condoning a little light treason, and their owner plans to live out his days in international waters like a Bond Villain, it’s hard to imagine a less hospitable environment for the NFL’s favorite orchid.

It does sort of make sense. No one has any time to pay attention to the QB crapping his pants when a firework factory is exploding in the background.

Points: 0

#5 by mehllageman56 // Jul 11, 2022 - 12:12pm

It's not an orchid, it's a triffid.

Points: 0

#3 by Pat // Jul 11, 2022 - 10:15am

It’s like Howie Roseman dropped the Saints and Dolphins 2022 plans into a blender and pressed “Puree.”

Philly's got $58M cap space on a 3-year timescale with the second-most people under contract for next year. The Saints have like -$15M on a 3-year timescale.

I totally agree Philly's vet heavy but it's not that bad. It's more like the Saints 2022 plans but not insane.

Points: 0

#7 by Harris // Jul 11, 2022 - 4:49pm

They've got some expensive contracts, but Cox is the only questionable one and that's only for one year. AJ Brown got a bag, but top WRs get paid.

Points: 0

#15 by Pat // Jul 12, 2022 - 9:51am

but Cox is the only questionable one

uh... no. Graham, Johnson, and Kelce are carrying a combined near $100M remaining and Philly'll be lucky to get 5 player-seasons of high-level play out of those guys combined and there's not a small chance all 3 of them will be boat anchor contracts after this year (hell, not a small chance 2/3 of them will be boat anchors this year).

It's not a huge problem because they're also hopefully carrying super-cheap contracts too, if Sweat, Mailata, and Smith continue to develop. Certainly a better position than the Saints are in.

Points: 0

#21 by Pat // Jul 14, 2022 - 9:12am

And yet, the money will remain...

To be clear Kelce's the least of those worries, but they did push several million from him (around $18M) forward. Personally I think Kelce's fake future years are actually the least risky of all of those vets, but he's the most likely to retire.

Points: 0

#4 by theslothook // Jul 11, 2022 - 11:18am

I'm rather bullish about the commanders this upcoming season. They profile as a typical defense heavy, win close ones en route to a double digit win season type of team.

On paper you like a lot of their talent. Wentz makes me nervous but not for the reasons Tanier implied. For all of the idiotic moments he's guilty of, he also has a lot of brilliant plays mixed in as well that ultimately net out to above average. 

No, my problem is that he's a major injury risk, meaning hes likely to miss anywhere from 3 - 12 games at any time. 


Points: 0

#14 by RickD // Jul 12, 2022 - 9:17am

It's not like the Commanders have a history of losing their new QBs to spectacular injuries early in the season in recent years.


Points: 0

#6 by mehllageman56 // Jul 11, 2022 - 12:13pm

With the title (Commanders searching for WR chemistry), I was expecting a Dax Milne joke.  Oh well.

Points: 0

#8 by Dan // Jul 11, 2022 - 4:50pm

The Cowboys signed Lirim Hajrullahu a couple weeks ago to compete with Garibay.

Points: 0

#11 by JoelBarlow // Jul 11, 2022 - 6:45pm

(or contract?)

seems awfully low

Points: 0

#12 by Slobis // Jul 11, 2022 - 10:08pm

If Carson Wentz became the Patriots’ backup quarterback three years from now, would your trollitude fry the cosmic power grid?

Points: 0

#16 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jul 12, 2022 - 10:15am

No, because Wentz becoming a Patriots backup QB would mean Belichick was retired or dead.

Points: 0

#13 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jul 11, 2022 - 10:26pm

As God intended. 

Points: 0

#18 by horn // Jul 13, 2022 - 1:20pm

Wentz wasn't afraid of competition in Indy so that comment makes no sense. Indy decided they didn't want him so they moved him to WAS. Nothing to do with Carson hearing footsteps at Lucas Oil and it's pretty silly to assert that. 

Amazing how protesting is now treason when the wrong side does it. SMDH. He just can't help himself with the virtue-signaling:

1000 protestors shut down the Senate, requiring some Senators to be locked in their office for safety and the office building and the Capitol shut down for the day.... - This footage, shared by Women’s March, shows protesters filling several floors of the atrium"

The Women's March twitter acc't stated: 'the authorities were so scared of us they shut down the Capitol building.' I guess this is perfectly ok exercise of 1A rights? To invade the Capitol, bang on Senator's doors where security had locked them in to get your way...?

Jan 6th the Capitol was re-opened a couple hours later. Unlike closed for the day in 2018.

2018's behavior - it's apparently fine when one side tries to dethrone the processes of the Constitution by the very same logic. But hypocrites can't help but only apply it to one side.

Points: 0

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