Preseason reasons to be cheerful in the NFC East

Preseason reasons to be cheerful in the NFC East
Reading Time: 4 minutes.

If week 2 of the preseason is a table read, then week 3 is the dress rehearsal. This is the time where teams give their starters their longest playing time ahead of kick off. Clara Lilley takes a look at the stories around the NFC East… 

Cam Sims and the Curse of the Talented Wide Receivers 

The Redskins preseason narrative has centred on tackle Trent Williams’ hold out, or their starting quarterback competition. Their receiver roster battle has been raging under the surface without much media attention. However, this week it began to bubble over. 

Washington has a good problem at receiver. There are more reliable players than there are roster spots, making for a vicious fight on the field. Their three certain starters are Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson and Jamison Crowder, which leaves another spot on the roster open. This is assuming they’re looking for four starters. 

Undrafted Alabama receiver, Cam Sims, has his sights set on the roster. He has eight catches for 179 yards, leading the Redskins in receiving through three preseason games, even with a touchdown catch called back last week against the Jets. He’s 6″5′ and has a frame that could handle another 20 pounds of muscle put on through an NFL strength program. Sims is a player with huge upside potential.

It’s hard to imagine him not making the starting roster with such a high ceiling. 

The Giants hit the road 

The quarterback battle rages on in the New York media cycle after the Giants’ 25-23 win against the Bengals

Daniel Jones showed composure and toughness in his first road game. Eli Manning went 4-8 for 41 yards and a field goal over one series before being subbed in for the rookie. Jones one-upped him. He was 9-of-11 passing for 141 yards, with a fumble on a sack. He recovered the fumble, and recovered from it with a tenacious touchdown drive. Jones has now completed an impressive 25 of 30 passes for 369 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions, through three preseason games. Pat Shurmer has reiterated that Manning is still the starting quarterback. Yet, it’s difficult to not buy into the hype with those kinds of numbers. 

We also saw some great plays on special teams. 31-year-old Brittan Golden’s 68-yard punt return touchdown to put the Giants ahead late in the game, was an extra tick on an already impressive preseason for the specialists. Corey Ballentine had a 40-yard kick return in the preseason opener. TJ Jones had a 43-yard touchdown in week 2. Jones also added a 20-yard return on a punt. Golden might have muffed a punt after his touchdown return, but this bodes well for the Giants after favoured receiver Corey Coleman suffered a torn ACL at the start of camp. 

Another positive week for Big Blue to show they’re a serious contender this season. 

The Governor’s Cup   

The Texas Governor’s Cup (also known as the Battle of Texas) is the trophy awarded to the winner of the Cowboys and Texans matchup. Currently, the record is tied at 8-8 after Dallas shut out Houston this week.  

The game kicked off with quarterback Dak Prescott throwing for a touchdown in traffic to receiver Michael Gallup. Coming into his second season, Gallup has his sights set on greatness, and is keen to show this off. He did what he needed to do on the field, with one reception of 12 yards for a touchdown. His chemistry with Prescott is evident, and will stand him in good stead for being targeted in their crowded receiver field alongside Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin and Noah Brown. 

Back up quarterback Cooper Rush made an impact in this game too, staking his claim to be Prescott’s backup. Playing with the first team for a drive, Rush directed the Cowboys to a field goal, after a touchdown pass was reversed due to a penalty. He was not perfect, but he finished the first half completing 15 of 25 passes for 173 yards. Prescott is clearly the starter, and the Cowboys don’t want to imagine a team without him, but Rush outplayed Mike White this week. 

The Battle for Texas rages on. 

A rookie, a veteran, a rainstorm 

The Eagles headed into the locker room trailing 26-0 at the half looking totally defeated against a dominant Ravens defense. Their return to the field was fierce, and signalled they were down to stage an incredible comeback. However, mother nature had other ideas and cut the game short. 

Fresh out of retirement, 40-year-old quarterback journeyman Josh McCown took his first snaps as an Eagle. He finished 17 of 24 for 192 yards with two touchdowns, looking as good as he ever has done. It’s easy to see why coach Pederson chose him after back ups Nate Sudfeld and Cody Kessler went down with injuries. Whether he starts next week’s game against the Jets is a mystery, but it seems as though he’s done enough to prove himself. 

McCown threw an incredible 20-yard pass down the right sideline to rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside for a touchdown, shining a spotlight on the Stanford receiver. He has led the team with 12 catches for 147 yards and a touchdown so far. He has shown he knows how to use his 6-foot-2 frame to be a weapon in the end zone. With receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson missing seven games combined last year, there’s a good chance his preseason effort will propel him to fill their cleats.

Clara is an avid NFL fan, with a passion for the off the field stories that inform the plays on the field. She used to host a former comedy podcast ‘Ice Up Sun’ combining her love of the game with astrology, and currently contributes to NFL Girl UK. A long suffering Tennessee Titans fan since 2010, she’s hoping this will finally be their year. 
Twitter: @yellilaralc Instagram: @yellilaralc

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